A gathering of rich oil Arabs pledged $30 billion this week at a meeting in Kuwait to start rebuilding war-shattered Iraq. Sounds nice but these kinds of conclaves are notorious for offering big but delivering little.
The event was billed as helping Iraq repair war damage caused by ISIS. In fact, most of the damage from that short-lived conflict was caused by US bombing and a few Russian air strikes. ISIS, as this column has long been crying in the wilderness, was largely a paper tiger confected by the US, Britain and France to justify their military re-entry into Syria.
Iraq's government says it needs at least $88 billion to rebuild war damage. What the US-imposed client regime in Baghdad won't or can't say is that the damage to Iraq is far greater than $88 billion and was largely inflicted by US air power in 1990-1991 and 2003.
Iraq was ravaged, as I saw myself while covering the wars. This small nation of 23-25 million souls, a third of whom were in permanent revolt against the Baghdad government, was pounded into rubble by US air power and cruise missiles. First in 1990-1991, then in 2003, everything of value was blown to bits: hospitals, schools, food factories, chemical plants making insecticide, bridges, and communications. In short, all the attributes of a modern state.
Most shocking to me, was the destruction of Iraq's water and sewage treatment plants by US air strikes.
Their destruction resulted in epidemics of cholera and other water-born diseases. Children were the primary victims. The UN asserted that over 550,000 Iraqi children died as a result of contaminated water. US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright later notoriously asserted that these deaths were 'a price worth paying.' I call them a war crime.
In 2003, 900,000 US-directed troops massed in Kuwait, invaded Iraq to finish off, it was claimed, the 'work that the first president Bush failed to achieve,' the overthrow and lynching of Iraqi president, Saddam Hussein. If Saddam had any nuclear or broad-area biological weapons, the invader's buildup in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia would have been a dream target.
But Saddam Hussein had no nuclear weapons, contrary to US and British claims. I discovered in Baghdad a group of British scientific technicians who had been sent by the UK Ministry of Defense to build outlawed biological weapons at Salman Pak. These included deadly anthrax and Q-fever – but only for use against Iran if a second Iraq-Iran War erupted.