By MARC McDONALD
Remember the Iraq War? That bloody conflict disappeared off the American public's radar screen a long time ago.
Americans got weary of the endless stories of violence and bombings and turned their attention elsewhere. We've now gone back to our usual MSM diet of stories about Paris Hilton's latest hairstyle and Britney Spears' latest tabloid escapades.
Unfortunately, someone forget to tell the Iraqi people the war is over. And that's a shame, because it's the Iraqi people who have to live with the continuing horrific violence that continues to plague the nation.
All told, George W. Bush's Iraq War is probably one of the great tragedies of human history. It's an illegal, immoral war that cost the American people $3 trillion. And it has thus far cost 1.4 million Iraqi people their lives.
What's worse is that the Iraq War continues to grind on, day after day----all but ignored by the U.S. media. Sure, the MSM will devote coverage to the occasional spectacular bombings that periodically kills dozens. But the day-to-day horrific violence, which still continues, has long ago disappeared off the MSM's radar screens.
Consider the violence that occurred in Iraq just this past week (a very ordinary week that was no bloodier than any other week). Just in the past seven days, Iraq was hit by the following violent attacks:
1. News Item: On Oct. 19, a roadside bomb hit the convoy of the top U.N. official, Ad Melkert, in Iraq after a meeting with Shiite cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani in Najaf. Melkert was unhurt, but the blast killed an Iraqi policeman and wounded three others.
That same day, three explosions targeted the houses of police officers in Tikrit city north of Baghdad on Tuesday morning. 11 people from one family were killed in the first explosion and two members of another family were wounded in the second explosion.
2. News Item: On Oct. 18, a roadside bomb detonated targeting the convoy of Jasim Ali Mahmoud, Baghdad provincial council member in downtown Baghdad. Jasim was killed and three of his guards and five civilians were wounded.
3. News Item: On Oct. 17, gunmen stormed several goldsmiths' shops in Baghdad, killing three shop owners. A citizen ran to inform the nearby police patrols and police clashed with gunmen as they left the building. Gunmen used grenades and machine guns killing two policemen and the citizen that informed the police. Police returned fire and killed two of the gunmen.
4. News Item: On Oct. 15, a magnetic bomb that was stuck to the car of a college professor, Saad Abdulwahab, detonated in Baghdad, late Thursday, killing the professor and seriously injuring two civilian passers by.
The preceding just included some of the highlights of daily violent attacks that continue in Iraq, day after day, week after week, month after month. As horrific as the violence was during the past week, the fact is, it was just another typical week of bloody mayhem in a country that remains very much at war.
True, few U.S. troops are dying in Iraq these days (mainly because most troops are confined to their bases). But the fact is, U.S. soldiers are still dying in Iraq. The latest casualty, Pfc. Dylan T. Reid, 24, of Springfield, Mo., died Oct. 16 in Amarah, Iraq.
Just how bleak is it in Iraq these days? One telling indication is the ongoing humanitarian crisis of millions of Iraqis who have fled their country and are afraid to return home. Over 2 million Iraqis continue to live in neighboring Syria. Another million have fled to Jordan. And those few who've been brave enough to venture back home are regretting their decision, a recent poll indicates.
Although Americans don't pay much attention to the Iraq War these days, it's still costing us plenty. After all, 50,000 troops remain in the country. The Congressional Research Service reports that the Pentagon continues to spend $5.4 billion per month in Iraq (and another $8.6 billion per month in Afghanistan).
Much has been made of President Obama's decision to reduce the number of troops in Iraq. But less attention has been paid to the fact that the U.S. has greatly expanded the number of private contractors working in the country. As the Nation has pointed out, "using private forces is a backdoor way of continuing a substantial US presence under the cover of 'diplomatic security.'"
There have been many losers in the ongoing Iraq War fiasco. The Iraq people. The American people. U.S. troops, who suffered in a war based on lies. The moral standing of America, which has now been shattered forever.
But for all the mayhem and violence, there has been at least one winner in the Iraq War: the multinational oil corporations. After all, as Alan Greenspan noted in his 2007 book, the Iraq War really was about oil.
ExxonMobil and Shell are among those who've lined up to reap the massive reward of Iraq's oil fields. And Halliburton, of course, hasn't been left out either. On Oct. 14, Dick Cheney's old outfit was awarded a nice, fat contract by ExxonMobil Iraq Ltd.