De recente uitgebreide detail-onthullingen van Wikileaks over de oorlog in en bezetting van Irak, worden door professor Paul Rogers (Oxford Research Group) geplaatst in de bredere context van de gehele oorlog en bezetting.
Zijn uitstekende evaluatie zou verplichte leesstof moeten zijn voor iedereen die enigermate betrokken was bij deze oorlog en/of betrokken is bij ons huidig veiligheid- en defensiebeleid.
Terzijde: als men de kwalijke Canard van onze Volkskrant in herinnering brengt, met haar pagina-breed uitgemeten ‘martel’-aantijgingen tegen onze militairen in Irak, dan valt te betreuren dat onze onderzoek-journalisten destijds hun aandacht niet op de bredere context van de oorlog hebben gericht.
…Internal US military logs on the Iraq War released by Wikileaks on 22 October have raised numerous issues about coalition behaviour, including attacks on civilians, as well as collusion in covering up the abuse and killing of prisoners. The document releases also show that coalition forces kept numerous records of civilian casualties while claiming that “We do not do body counts”. On this issue, a full analysis of the vast number of records will take many months, but extensive work already undertaken by Iraq Body Count – a partner organisation of ORG – shows that the logs contain details of at least 15,000 civilian deaths not previously recorded. Adding the new information to the careful monitoring carried out by IBC since the war started, indicates that around 150,000 violent deaths related to the conflict have been recorded since the war began, with 122,000 of them being civilian.
While the majority of all the civilian deaths resulted from insurgent action or because of the extensive inter-communal conflict that developed after the initial occupation, some tens of thousands stemmed from coalition military action. Furthermore, once Iraq had been occupied by US and other coalition forces, those forces were legally responsible for maintaining order in what was now an occupied territory. This they failed to do.
If lessons are to be learnt from the Iraq War, among the key questions are, why were so many civilians killed by coalition forces, and why were the coalition forces unable to contain the rapidly developing insurgency? There is enough information available to provide answers to these questions, but much of the analysis has to relate to events unfolding right at the start of the war…
Seeking to understand the behaviour of the coalition forces – especially the troops on the ground – is in no way an attempt to justify it. Indeed many of the actions may well amount to war crimes. What it does try to do, though, is to put it in context. What happened in Fallujah and Baquba, and what was repeated many times across Iraq, was a consequence of the original decision to go to war. This, in turn, was a core part of the Bush administration’s determination to extend the conflict against al-Qaida to a much wider conflict against an axis of evil.
This was a political decision taken by those at the core of the Bush administration and it is there that responsibility finally lies. The recent revelations confirm in some detail what was already widely suspected and lend further support to the case for a fundamental reappraisal of the entire war. More generally, and in relation to civilian casualties, they offer support for a movement within significant elements of international civil society that is beginning to attract attention. This is based on the argument that any party that embarks on a war should report in detail on the people it kills and injuries and on the circumstances of those actions. It may take years for such an apparently straightforward task to be widely accepted but, if it eventually is, then a much more accurate understanding of the true costs of war might become possible.
Paul Rogers is Professor of Peace Studies at the University of Bradford and Global Security Consultant to Oxford Research Group (ORG). His international security monthly briefings are available from the ORG website atwww.oxfordresearchgroup.org.uk, where visitors can sign-up to receive them via email each month. These briefings are circulated free of charge for non-profit use, but please consider making a donation to ORG if you are able to do so.
…In fact the world’s press and media have been, by default, the frontline data-gatherers of this war. Without journalists and the organisations for which they work, the world would know little of substance about the Iraq Death Toll.
But today’s release reveals that there has been another frontline data gatherer, the US Army.
Day by day, secretly, soldiers all over Iraq have been writing detailed reports of every violent death they cause, witness, or are informed about. Dates, times, precise locations, names, ages, and occupations of victims, have all been stored away in these logs.
It is very good that the data was collected. But it is wrong and unjustifiable that it has been kept secret for so long…
Based on our careful sampling, we estimate that when fully analysed, these logs will bring to public knowledge more than 15,000 previously unreported civilian deaths, to add to the 107,000 which area already in the IBC data base.
15,000 is a huge number, equivalent to five 9/11s or nearly 300 7/7s.
However the newly revealed deaths do not primarily come from large bombings like this. Most of these larger incidents were already well reported by the world’s press and media.
The new deaths are concentrated in small incidents killing one or two people at a time, scattered all over Iraq, and occurring almost every day for the whole period…
Iraq War Logs: Context (IBC)
The “Iraq War Logs” released by WikiLeaks, which are a version of the SIGACTS (Significant Activities) reports compiled from 2004-2009 by the United States military,1 is not the first release of US military data on Iraqi casualties. It is, however, the first time that it has been possible to examine such data and to compare and combine it with other sources in a way that adds appreciably to public knowledge…
All information about the deaths caused in any disaster, be it a man-made war or a natural catastrophe, is public information which no state has a right to withhold from the public indefinitely. Even in military circles, the latest thinking accepts this view, for a variety of reasons that include its own best interests…
Yet these Iraq logs (like the “Afghanistan War Diaries” released by WikiLeaks earlier in 2010) contain information on civilian and other casualties that has been kept from public view by the US government for more than six years. Even knowledge of the details within them – such as the fact that they record the names of thousands of Iraqi civilian victims – has been kept secret.10 Far from being data “stolen” from the US military as asserted by a spokesman, the data on casualties contained within these logs is information about the public (mainly, the Iraqi public) that was unjustifiably withheld from both the Iraqi and world public by the US military, apparently with the intent to do so indefinitely.
While the Iraq War Logs are likely to be of intense media interest in the short term, it is in the public interest that their release is accompanied by authoritative and comprehensive analysis over the longer term. IBC is well placed to supply such an analysis, drawing as it can on its experience in collecting and analysing Iraq casualty data on a detailed incident by incident basis for more than seven years, with the resolve to continue this work into the foreseeable future…
A final key area of concern for IBC was that nothing we publish should put lives at risk. In fact, IBC itself never publishes ‘unprocessed’ information of any kind – that is, everything published by IBC has been fully studied and analysed first by members of the IBC team. This means that, for example, names of primary source witnesses could never unwittingly be published by us. Given that such scrutiny cannot possibly be applied by NGOs, or even by major media organisations, within a matter of weeks to 390,000 multi-entry logs, WikiLeaks has consulted widely on possible solutions, including with IBC, and has decided to heavily redact the content of the Iraq War Logs prior to release. Although such intense redaction will fall far short of the ideal of transparency for such releases, we agree with WikiLeaks that this is the best solution short of postponing the release of the logs indefinitely – the very situation this release aims to remedy.
Bold new claims, no new evidence:
NATOʼs ʻavoidanceʼ of civilian harm
needs measuring, not re-stating
…While NATO may indeed be doing everything possible to minimize civilian casualties, without transparency, people will rightly question whetherthe statement “We take extra measures to avoid the statement “We take extra measures to avoid
killing or injuring civilians” isnʼt simply negated by killing or injuring civilians” isn’t simply negated by
“but in conflicts such like the one in Afghanistan “but in conflicts such like the one in Afghanistan
you regrettably cannot avoid the loss of civilian lives”.
Waartoe zal de door de klokkenluiders-site Wikileaks – en zijn ‘media-partners’ The New York Times, The Guardian en Der Spiegel – op 26 juli publiek gemaakte ‘Afghan War Diary, 2004-2010’ allemaal leiden? Men mag hopen tot tenminste een algemeen realistischer inzicht bij westerse beleidsmakers en opinieleiders, ook in Nederland, zo stelde ik op 27 juli.
Na zijn Afghanistan-oorlog onthullingen heeft Wikileaks.org op 23 oktober bijna 400.000 (!) vertrouwelijke Amerikaanse verslagen van de oorlog in Irak gepubliceerd…
De NAVO – en dus ook Nederland – lieten zich door Bush en Blair cs meeslepen in een niet te winnen en onnodige wereldstrijd tegen zich verenigende islamitische groeperingen en landen.
Naast de deelname van de NAVO aan de zijde van de VS in Irak, Afghanistan en op zee, zijn EU-landen de facto gaan bijdragen aan de bescherming van een zionistisch Israel, door participatie in de VN-vredesmacht in Libanon. Wanneer de conflicten in die verschillende regio’s, mede door onderlinge beinvloeding, verder gaan escaleren – hetgeen te verwachten is -bevindt Nederland zich nog steviger ‘aan de verkeerde kant van de geschiedenis’.
Dat hebben we aan onszelf te wijten door het stellen van verkeerde prioriteiten in en tussen onze binnenlandse en buitenlandse politiek.
‘Irak’ op deze site
‘Afghanistan’ op deze site
‘Preventieve’ aanval op Iran’ op deze site