Mass Extermination Weapons
Many millions of people are killed every year. Systematic food deficiencies and limited access to basic resources are the main means of mass extermination. Those who organize war, displacement, massacres or food shortages share the same attitude. What they care about is to manipulate events in their favor, disregarding or even intending the extermination of people.
Wars were somewhat restricted during the Cold War, but always caused many deaths as well. The relation between the number of deaths and the weapons used is weak. The choice of weapons depends on the technological and organizational capabilities of the combatants. No real limitation was ever imposed in that sense. But there were and are some limitations to the use of weapons against civil population.
There are no Mass Destruction Weapons
If people use 'primitive' (low tech) or 'sophisticated' (high tech) weapons is mainly a question of availability, tactics and strategy. Because it does not really matter what kills you, the important point for us should not be what weapons are used but how many people get killed.
Using only low tech weapons the genocide in Rwanda killed some hundred thousand people in a very short time. The invasion of Uganda and Rwanda into the DR Congo caused an estimated 2 million deaths.
The atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki at the end of WW II killed masses of people. The brutal attack had not much to do with winning the war. The Japanese military was already beaten and didn't pose any real threat to anyone. The action mainly intended to make sure to everyone that the U.S.A. are the dominant force of the post war order.
There is a Will to Exterminate
At the end of the Cold War the USA again had to make sure to everyone, that it is willing and able to use its military superiority in the fight for influence and control between the Great Powers and against the rest of humankind. A target country had to be selected and war being waged. To be successful, the aggression had to be short and highly destructive. From the very beginning, the main policy aim was the symbolic punishment of Iraq through mass extermination of its people and re-underdevelopment (the destruction of essential infrastructure and production capacities of Iraq).
After the Iraqi capitulation, the UN/US aggression was continued with no-fly zones and the UN protectorate in the northern Iraqi provinces, frequent missile and aircraft bombings, covert operations to destabilize the government, trade restrictions and UN control of Iraqi oil revenues. In addition, large reparations have been awarded to members of the coalition of aggressors in a grotesque procedure under the UN Compensation Commission, cutting deeply into Iraqi oil revenues.
Iraq is the example, that the USA and their key allies are able and willing to use their military potential to force their will. Who will suffer and prosper, control over development is the essential question. Iraq is one of the countries in the forefront of the fight against re-colonization and imperialist domination. We can only salute the heroic resistance of the Iraqi, like the Palestinian, Chechen and Kashmiri peoples, who continue despite incredible suffering and overwhelming violence to stand up and struggle for their liberation.
Iraq, like no other example, symbolizes the US efforts and project to define relations in the immediate post Cold War era. Working through the UN, imposing the most comprehensive sanctions, blockade and embargo ever, using its full military potential below the level of atomic bombs against the defenceless country, taking away control of its northern provinces through the establishment of a UN protectorate, intensive open and covered operations to organize internal unrest and uprising, always accompanied by more bombing and missile attacks, two million Iraqi people were systematically exterminated mostly through a combination of environmental poisoning, impoverishment and diseases.