AN OCCUPATION BY ANY OTHER NAME:
Iraq 11 Years After the Invasion
March 19, 2014

Although the prevailing narrative tells us that the US "fully withdrew" from Iraq in December 2011, the reality is that the American occupation and influence continue long after the March 19, 2003 invasion. The US embassy in Iraq is the largest in the world. In late January, military publication Stars and Stripes reported that there are 250 US troops still in Iraq, "about half assigned to the Office of Security Cooperation-Iraq, which oversees the US military's interaction with Iraqi forces."*1 The country is wracked with internal fighting that leaves hundreds dead each month. As the Iraqi government struggles with the forcible takeover of several of its western cities, the US has gladly been selling military equipment to Iraq. Despite the talk of how it is feared that the current government, like Saddam Hussein's government before it, could use such weapons to repress its political opponents, the sales have received congressional blessing. *2

DEATH TOLLS, DESTROYED NATION

The withdrawal of combat troops in 2011 has reduced American deaths to near none, but at least 4489 soldiers died there after the 2003 invasion. Military figures show that at least 32,239 others were seriously wounded as well.*3

Meanwhile, at least 121,786 civilians in Iraq have died since the invasion.*4 Nearly 9000 died in 2013, with another 1000 killed in January 2014.*5 This level of killing did not exist before the US invasion.

And Iraq, once arguably the most advanced nation in the Middle East, is suffering from massive environmental degradation, with less than 50% as much potable water now available compared to 1977.*6 The countryside is contaminated by the remnants of US artillery tipped with so-called "depleted uranium," (DU) a heavy armor-piercing metal which is, despite its name, extremely toxic and radioactive. A study released in early February found that DU used over 30 years ago is still harmful to humans, warning that "attempts by the UK and US governments to downplay concerns on the findings... are not supported by the available science."*7

Moreover, where women in Iraq enjoyed more equal rights than most any nation in the Middle East before the 1991 attack and 2003 invasion, laws are being proposed to cut back on those rights, including allowing nine year old girls to marry.*8                   Back to top

HOW THE WARS KEEP GOING ON

While the US is continuing to push for Afghanistan to sign a long-term agreement to keep thousands of troops in that country past the end of 2014, some in Congress have been calling for the US to send troops back into Iraq to deal with the militant uprisings there..*9 As mentioned