March 19, 2021, New York – On the 18th anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, the Center for Constitutional Rights issued the following statement:
Eighteen years after the United States invaded Iraq on a patently false basis, we uplift the work of Iraqi activists, civil society, and their partners building local and transnational social justice movements under extremely precarious conditions. As we join their calls for redress for past harm, we also resist the continuation of U.S. impunity and condemn President Biden for carrying on the legacy of illegal bombings.
Two decades of U.S. military operations and occupation, in Iraq, Afghanistan, and many other countries in the surrounding regions well beyond the so-called battlefield, has left millions of civilians with lost livelihoods, lost homes, lost loved ones, and lost lives. It has left them, as well as many U.S. military personnel, with debilitating long-term physical and mental health effects. And it has left those tortured inside U.S.-run detention centers and black sites, including the infamous Abu Ghraib prison, still seeking accountability.
Meanwhile, we see ongoing militarism from the new administration, most recently in the bombing of Syria—a continuation of the endless, geographically boundless war-making that has spanned both Republican and Democratic administrations.
Enough. We call on the Biden administration to finally provide remedies and reparations for generations of endless war.
One immediate step President Biden should take is to withdraw the Trump administration’s amicus brief filed in our case, Al Shimari v. CACI, , brought by three Iraqi men against the private military contractor that directed and participated in their torture at Abu Ghraib, and instead support the victims’ position that the Supreme Court deny certiorari and return the case to the district court for trial.
Biden must lead a shift away from the unlawful policies of endless war and militarization toward rights-based policies and practices consistent with constitutional and international law obligations, centering those most impacted—Iraqis calling for justice and liberation from U.S. militarism and its legacies of sectarianism and violence.
The Center for Constitutional Rights works with communities under threat to fight for justice and liberation through litigation, advocacy, and strategic communications. Since 1966, the Center for Constitutional Rights has taken on oppressive systems of power, including structural racism, gender oppression, economic inequity, and governmental overreach. Learn more at ccrjustice.org.