The 20th century witnessed the world’s two biggest wars, as well as hundreds of bloody regional wars, military operations, conflicts, riots and civil wars. In the 55 years following WWII, some 200 wars took place.
According to official figures, the death toll of these wars and conflicts reached 150 million, and 80% were civilians, not to mention the injured, disabled people or those who lost their families, who are not even included in the statistics.
We have left the 20th century behind but regrettably the same cannot be said for war. On the contrary, wars continue at full speed, threatening to turn into disasters of even bigger scales. For the past 15 years, millions of elderly, women and children have lost their lives in the wars that target particularly the Middle East and Islamic countries such as Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Libya, Pakistan, Somalia and Palestine.
Even worse is the fact that the global powers behind them have been portraying them as ‘wars of necessity’.
For instance, the Iraq war started in March 20, 2003 under the leadership of the USA and Britain with the pretense of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction, and the subsequent military occupation that lasted until 2011. More than 1 million Iraqis, a majority of whom civilians, lost their life due to this invasion.
There was no need at all for such a tragedy. Since 2009, a UK Commission, headed by Sir John Chilcot, has been working on the legality of Tony Blair's administration’s involvement in the Iraq War in 2003 and the conclusion of their inquiry was as follows:
- Iraq didn't pose a threat. The judgment about the severity of the threat posed by Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction was presented with a certainty that wasn't justified.
- The UK’s policy on Iraq was made on the basis of flawed intelligence and assessments. They were not challenged, but should have been.
Tony Blair, following the publication of the Chilcot Report, which included heavy criticism of him when he was prime minister, said that he felt sorry for the losses in the Iraq War, but had made the decision in good faith and he didn't regret it.
Freddy Ford, the communication director of former U.S. President George W. Bush, a main player and architect of the Iraq War, also spoke after the inquiry results were published. He said: ‘Despite the intelligence failures and other mistakes he has acknowledged previously, President Bush continues to believe the whole world is better off without Saddam Hussein in power.’
Clearly, the Iraq War wasn't a ‘war of necessity’, but instead a ‘war of choice’, based on different agendas. As a matter of fact, Labor Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, after opposing the war decision in 2003, also said that the Iraq War ‘was an act of occupation based on the deliberate misrepresentation of facts.’
The correspondences between Blair and Bush made during those days and that were leaked by Wikileaks clearly show that they knew since the beginning that there had been no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, but used it instead as an excuse to invade and occupy the region.
Another recent example of wars portrayed as a ‘war of necessity’ is the Afghanistan War. This time the 9/11 attacks used as an excuse. In the war, known as the ‘fight against terrorism’, countless carpet bombings took place without making any distinctions between civilians or soldiers. Tens of thousands of civilians lost their lives as a result of air strikes, drone attacks and attacks of coalition forces.
Afghan scientist Mohammad Daud Miraki, in his book entitled ‘Afghanistan after Democracy’, explains how the occupying NATO forces tested their white phosphorus and depleted-uranium munitions on the Afghan people, despite these being considered crimes against humanity for the horrendous deaths they cause.
There are thousands of Afghan women, children, elderly, disabled civilians that were shot by firing squads on the roads, in villages and towns by the so-called ‘death teams’ of U.S./UK soldiers and mercenaries, just for their supposed fun. Except for a few procedural investigations, countless cases of such shameful incidents are not even being thoroughly investigated.
Interestingly, U.S. President Barack Obama, despite being awarded 2009 Nobel Peace Prize, would defend this war of atrocities, in a clear contrast to his prize. He said: ‘This is not a war of choice. This is a war of necessity. … So this is not only a war worth fighting. This is fundamental to the defense of our people.’
Like thousands before them now Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Yemen and others are the most recent locations of wars that were certainly ‘not necessary’. No war can be justified or considered necessary, unless it is fought to defend oneself, one’s country, life, dignity or freedom in the face of attacks.
War is considered a necessity only by imperialist countries, deep states, arms dealers, business speculators and certain central banks to maintain their wealth in the face of dwindling revenues.
In the past, wars were fought between soldiers in the battlefronts, but today that has been replaced by air strikes and mass destruction. Therefore, in the wars of the future, massive civilian death tolls are inevitable; indeed, WWII was in retrospect a preview of such atrocities. That’s why, no matter what the reasons are, starting or participating in a war is tantamount to making the decision of massacring thousands of innocent lives.
The right to life is an unchangeable article of all international treaties on basic human rights and freedoms. Violation of the right to life is punishable by capital punishment, a life sentence or aggravated life imprisonment in many legal systems due to its being immoral, cruel and illegal. Inciting wars, fueling conflicts and exacerbating tensions, which could lead to massive causalities would be a serious lapse of reason.
For this reason, it is crucial to swiftly eliminate every bit of war justification, through peaceful and diplomatic methods.
This is certainly not a utopian idea, but a clear fact. A lack of love and compassion play an important role in the current fight for sharing the world. Certain circles are making the mistake of trying to solve their problems not with communication and diplomacy but with violence.
However, it is very easy to reason with people just like it is very easy to get out of a system that tries to achieve results by killing people. Surely, this may not be achieved overnight, but it is important that every conscientious person supports this goal and voices opposition through legal rallies. The time has come for the international public, media, and NGO's to come together and stand in solidarity against lobbies of war. The bloodshed has to stop.
Adnan Oktar's piece in Tehran Times & News Rescue: