March 20 will mark the 20-year anniversary of what former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan called the illegal invasion of Iraq by America, Britain and the “coalition of the willing.” Based on a pair of fictions – the presence of weapons of mass destruction and Iraq’s connection to Al Qaeda and 9/11 – the invasion has had a devastating impact in the region, resulting in hundreds of thousands dead and millions displaced.
In 2007 Gen. John Abizaid, former head of U.S. Central Command and Military Operations in Iraq, stated: “Of course it’s about oil; we can’t really deny that.” Two decades later, the country lies in disaster and endemic violence persists, while the profits of oil and weapons giants continue to grow in tandem with the body count.
Shamefully, despite claims to the contrary, Canada did not stay out of the war. The duplicity of the Canadian government was revealed by Wikileaks release of U.S. diplomatic cables showing Canada’s willingness to “discreetly” assist in the military effort.
Wikileaks’ Iraq war logs providing further evidence of America’s war crimes also elicited no condemnation of the world’s “sheriff,” but did result in an all-out assault on Wikileaks and its founder Julian Assange. Canada’s and the media’s silence on the imprisonment and possible extradition of Mr. Assange to the U.S., where he faces up to 175 years in prison, is a disgrace. Their silence, then and now, on the criminal invasion of a sovereign nation and the horrors it has inflicted on the region, is equally reprehensible.
Our crimes are not crimes at all, whitewashed from history. The architects of “Operation Iraqi Freedom” – Tony Blair and George W. Bush – remain free, continuing to occupy our airwaves and newspapers with “opinions” and condemnations of the crimes of others.
The double standards and groupthink of Western journalists and politicians is driven by an ideological conformity that has blinded them to the multitude of epic crimes perpetrated by Western nations in the pursuit of global domination and capital interests.
As a new cold war emerges, the demonization of Russia and China is paving the way for increased military spending and a clampdown on dissent, a dangerous combination, while the very real threat of corporate power remains unchallenged and unacknowledged.
Vagner Castilho is a member of Coalition Écologique La Pêche Coalition for a Green New Deal.