Genocide Etiquette

When Kurdish emissaries spoke to him in 1991 of killing 180,000 Kurds he bridled at the allegation and said the real figure was closer to 100,000.

Ali Hassan al-Majid was the Heinrich Himmler of Iraq. After Saddam Hussein appointed him the all-powerful overlord of northern Iraq in March 1987 he oversaw the murder of more than 180,000 Kurds in just over a year. “The armed forces must kill any human being or animal present,” he decreed.

It was for this crime of genocide against the Kurds that Majid, also known as “Chemical Ali”, and two other defendants were yesterday sentenced to death by hanging by a court in Baghdad.

Britain expressed anxiety and grave concern about allegations over the use of chemical weapons but promptly doubled the export credit facility available to Iraq. The US sought to implicate Iran in the use of poison gas. Kurdish claims that they were the victims of genocide were dismissed as exaggerated or politically inconvenient by Western governments.

Because 100,000 is fine? Maybe there are rules of etiquette for war criminals that I just don’t know about, perhaps by them the 3/4-1 million Iraqis we have killed are ok because the period includes a leap year?

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Blair Helped Destroy The UN’s Humanitarian Work

The Iraq war has shattered the cause of humanitarian intervention endorsed by Tony Blair and directly led to the targeting of relief workers in conflict zones where they are no longer considered to be neutral, according to a former senior UN official.In a speech in London tonight, Sir Mark Malloch-Brown will say: “The brutal truth is politics is making it harder and harder to serve victims’ needs by reaching them with assistance or bearing witness to their suffering and thereby staying the hand of those who would harm them.”
Sir Mark, the former UN deputy secretary-general under Kofi Annan, however, points out that the Sudanese President, General Omar al-Bashir, has been able to use the Iraq invasion as the prime reason to delay acceptance of a UN force in Darfur. “Tony Blair and George Bush have repeatedly called for the right kind of action in Darfur only to be rebuffed as the architects of Iraq. Bashir has tried to make them his best weapon.“It is not their loss of credibility that concerns me today, but rather that of humanitarian workers. The trouble is the two are linked,” he goes on. “I have watched the work I used to do get steadily more dangerous as it is seen as serving Western interests rather than universal values.”

Many argue the corruption of UN work to partisan ends is not that new, but when a senior UN figure admits it the debate looks over. Of course that does suite many people who never liked the idea of helping other people at all. Social Darwinists of the conservative bent simply saw a Malthusian process where those that died or were killed was a necessary process (Kissinger’s ‘useless eaters’) of survival of the…cruelest and whitest usually. How could capitalism work when some damn fool kept going around helping it’s unwanted victims. While this may be played as a tragic unintended consequence, so many people over so many years can’t all have been oblivious and/or stupid. This is a deliberate consequence much desired by bastards everywhere. And now, the inevitable Bolton clip.

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Rain Still Wet, Grass Still Green

Right wing ideologue and Bush appointee to head world ‘poverty-reduction’ bank. Anyone spot any problems with that sentence? Because apparently no one on the board did.

 Robert Zoellick, a seasoned player in international financial and diplomatic circles, won the unanimous approval of the World Bank’s board on Monday to become the poverty-fighting institution’s next president.

Zoellick, 53, brings to the World Bank years of experience in the foreign and economic policy arenas under three Republican presidents, starting with Ronald Reagan. Zoellick left the Bush administration last year to become an executive at the Wall Street giant Goldman Sachs. 

By tradition, the World Bank has been run by an American. The Bush administration made clear it wanted to keep that decades-old practice firmly intact throughout the Wolfowitz debacle. The United States is the bank’s largest shareholder and its biggest financial contributor. 

Erm, now this may just be me, but how is a man who served under conservative administrations who all increased poverty meant to be the answer to global inequality? Huh, anyone?