The US and its sidekicks Britain and the EU have been engaged in imperial wars against a great many Muslim countries since at least 1991. These wars have devastated country after country. Whole societies have been wrecked, ruined, and reduced to chaos and misery. Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia, Yemen, Libya, Syria. Countless millions have become refugees. Countless millions have died.
This excellent article by the British scholar Nafeez Ahmed assembles the best evidence for how many have died as a result of these wars. His conclusion: at least 4 million and probably several million more. Most of these deaths have been civilians. Many have been children.
Ahmed draws on a detailed study by the Nobel-Prize-winning organization Physicians for Social Responsibility. After carefully reviewing and assessing the best available data, they conclude that the death toll for ten years of the so-called “War on Terror” has been at least 1.3 million and possibly 2 million. This tally is only for the wars from 2001-2011 and only for Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan.
But the US wars in the Middle East have been far more extensive. The first war against Iraq was in 1991. Perhaps 200,000 died, mostly civilians. This was followed by a decade of murderous sanctions. These sanctions were an economic blockade that denied Iraq even the most basic necessities. The result was massive death from malnutrition and disease. Many types of medical supplies were embargoed. Water treatment technology was banned. Even things as simple as pencils were prohibited: after all, pencils contain graphite which could be used in nuclear bombs. Something like 1.7 million died as a result of the sanctions. Most of these were civilians. Half were children.
US intervention in the Middle East actually goes back even further. Starting in the early 1980s, the US armed and supported the Mujahideen guerrillas in Afghanistan. The purpose in doing this was to destabilize the Soviet-friendly Afghan government and drag the Soviet Union into a costly Vietnam-like quagmire trying to defend it. Millions died.
Here is a table of Ahmed’s death estimates for some of the US wars against Muslim countries:
|Iraq||2003-2011 war and after||1,300,000-2,000,000|
Please note that we have not even discussed the destruction in Somalia, Yemen, Libya, and Syria, where many hundreds of thousands more have died.
The sole purpose of these wars is to establish US dominance of the Middle East and to put the world on notice of what happens to countries that displease the US. And to keep the well-oiled and highly profitable US war machine in operation.
I won’t even bother to refute the official claim that the US is fighting to save the world from terrorism and promote democracy and women’s rights.
These millions of deaths, and the vast swath of destruction and chaos sown by US wars, should be remembered whenever you hear the standard anticommunist denunciations of Stalin the mass murderer. The truth is that Stalin never did anything that exceeds what the US has done to the Middle East.
And don’t forget: the Middle East is only the latest chapter in US imperial devastation and mass murder, which goes back to the very beginning of the country (and even earlier) and continues without letup to this very day.