Top Ten Myths about Iraq, 2008

1. Iraqis are safer because of Bush's War. In fact, conditions of insecurity have helped created both an internal and external refugee problem:

' At least 4.2 million Iraqis were displaced. These included 2.2
million who were displaced within Iraq and some 2 million refugees,
mostly in Syria (around 1.4 million) and Jordan (around half a
million). In the last months of the year both these neighbouring
states, struggling to meet the health, education and other needs of the
Iraqi refugees already present, introduced visa requirements that
impeded the entry of Iraqis seeking refuge. Within Iraq, most
governorates barred entry to Iraqis fleeing sectarian violence

2. Large numbers of Iraqis in exile abroad have returned. In fact, no great number have returned, and more Iraqis may still be leaving to Syria than returning.

3. Iraqis are materially better off because of Bush's war. In fact, A million Iraqis are "food insecure"
and another 6 million need UN food rations to survive. Oxfam estimated
in summer, 2007, that 28% of Iraqi children are malnourished.

4. The Bush administration scored a major victory with its Status of Forces Agreement. In fact, The Iraqis forced on Bush an agreement that the US would withdraw combat troops from Iraqi
cities by July, 2009,and would completely withdraw from the Country by
the end of 2011. The Bush administration had wanted 58 long-term bases,
and the authority to arrest Iraqis at will and to launch military
operations unilaterally.

5. Minorities in Iraq are safer since
Bush's invasion. In fact, there have in 2008 been significant attacks
on and displacement of Iraqi Christians from Mosul. In early January of
2008, guerrillas bombed churches in Mosul, wounding a number of persons. More recently, some 13,000 Christians have had to flee Mosul because of violence.

The sole explanation for the fall in the monthly death rate for Iraqi
civilians was the troop excalation or surge of 30,000 extra US troops
in 2007. In fact, troop levels had been that high before without major
effect. The US military did good counter-insurgency in 2007. The major
reason for the fall in the death toll, however, was that the Shiites won the war for Baghdad, ethnically cleansing hundreds of thousands of Sunnis
from the capital, and turning it into a city with a Shiite majority of
75 to 80 percent. (When Bush invaded, Baghdad was about 50/50 Sunni and
Shiite). The high death tolls in 2006 and 2007 were a by-product of
this massive ethnic cleansing campaign. Now, a Shiite militiaman in
Baghdad would have to drive for a while to find a Sunni Arab to kill.

7. John McCain alleged that if the US left Iraq,
it would be promptly taken over by al-Qaeda. In fact, there are few
followers of Usamah Bin Laden in Iraq. The fundamentalist extremists,
if that is what McCain meant, are not supported by most Sunni Arabs.
They are supported by no Shiites (60% of Iraq) or Kurds (20% of Iraq),
and are hated by Iran, Syria, Turkey, and Jordan, who would never allow
such a takeover.

8. The Iraq War made the world safer from
terrorism. In fact, Iraq has become a major training ground for
extremists and is implicated in the major bombings in Madrid, London,
and Glasgow.

9. Bush went to war in Iraq because he was given bad intelligence
about Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction capabilities. In
fact, the State Department's Intelligence & Research (I & R)
division cast doubt on the alarmist WMD stories that Bush/Cheney put
about. The CIA refused to sign off on the inclusion of the Niger
uranium lie in the State of the Union address, which made Bush source
it to the British MI6 instead. The Downing Street Memo revealed that
Bush fixed the intelligence around the policy. Bush sought to get up a
provocation such as a false flag attack on UN planes so as to blame it
on Iraq. And UN weapons inspectors in Feb.-Mar. of 2003 examined 100 of
600 suspected weapons sites and found nothing; Bush's response was to
pull them out and go to war.

10. Douglas Feith and other Neoconservatives didn't really want a war with Iraq (!). Yeah, that was why they demanded war on Iraq with their 1996 white paper for Bibi Netanyahu and again in their 1998 Project for a New American Century letter
to Clinton, where they explicitly called for military action. The
Neoconservatives are notorious liars and by the time they get through
with rewriting history, they will be a combination of Gandhi and Mother
Teresa and the Iraq War will be Bill Clinton's fault. The only thing
is, I think people are wise to them by now. Being a liar can actually
get you somewhere. Being a notorious liar is a disadvantage if what you
want to is get people to listen to you and act on your advice. I say,
Never Again.

See also my article in The Nation, "Iraq: The Necessary Withdrawal," and this piece in the Toronto Star.

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