by Enver Masud
"I'm delighted that I've been invited out here today to salute you,
who, in my view, are doing the Lord's work."--"Bush Salutes U.S. Air
Strikes on Iraq as 'Lord's work'," AFP, January 19, 2000
January 16, 2001 marks the 10th anniversary of the beginning of the
darkest forty-three days in recent American history.
On this day, 10 years ago, the United States and its allies, began
the systematic destruction of a country whose defense spending was
about one percent that of the U.S.
In the next forty-three days the guardians of the "civilized
world" would kill a hundred thousand men, women, and children, wound a
million more, and destroy $200 billion worth of property in the cradle
Their cause was "just." They were after the new Hitler. Never mind
that until August 1990, this Hitler was their ally in the war with
Iran. Never mind that President Saddam Hussein, by no means admired by
many of his own people, was not nearly the worst of his breed.
And, of course, oil and the intractable problems at home had
nothing to do with it. President George Bush proclaimed a New World Order. Or was it merely
old world imperialism? Divide, conquer, plunder, and keep the natives
in their place.
The invasion of Kuwait was wrong. Iraq should have settled its
dispute with Kuwait peacefully. But was the nature and scale of the
U.S. response (sanctioned by a United Nations bullied and bribed into
submission) proportionate to the atrocities committed by Iraq?
Having stalemated the
United Nations for years, the United States in its newly found zeal,
led the western crusade to rid the world of Saddam Hussein.
Never mind that it was silent when Israel bombed Iraq in 1981.
Never mind the twenty-three-year occupation by Israel of the West
Bank. Never mind all the other atrocities which Amnesty International
has reported year after year. Saddam Hussein became the monster that
had to be beheaded.
The vast majority in the western world applauded, as they viewed
the real life Nintendo game on their television screens. Never mind
that lost in the fog of "precision" laser bombing were thousands of
innocent men, women and children.
Never mind that the United Nations resolution called only for
removing Iraq from Kuwait. While babies in Iraq went without milk, the
armchair Rambos, ensconced before their television screens, smelled
blood. They howled for going all the way to Baghdad.
They were comforted by an American president who assured them that
the United States had no gripe with the Iraqi people. They were only
after that new Hitler. Tell that to those Iraqi people who will live
with the wounds of war for generations to come.
But a brave minority kept alive the flame of freedom and justice.
For upholding the right to free speech, and protesting President
Bush's relentless rush to war, they were labeled unpatriotic. This
minority did not forget the principles of the founding fathers, and
the siren song of freedom that brought their forefathers past the
Statue of Liberty.
This minority realized the horrors being committed, and may yet
awaken America's conscience, so that freedom and justice for all are
the principles which guide us in our dealings with nations and people
So while some may recall the euphoria of an unprecedented victory,
let us not forget the holocaust in Iraq, and the continuing sanctions
which kill about 5000 every month.
[According to the award winning documentary Panama Deception, the
U.S. invasion of Panama in 1989, to capture Gen. Noriega, took about
ten times as many lives as were taken by Iraq's invasion of Kuwait.]
["The most difficult issue is UN control of Iraqi oil revenues. President Bush will
certainly be lobbied by American oil companies, which want their share of the
business of refitting the Iraqi oil industry."--Barnaby Mason, "Bush Faces Iraq
Dilemma," BBC News Online, January 1, 2001]
[Iraqi deaths are now calculated at around one million. According to international
organisations monitoring migrations, Iraq is going through one of the largest and
most serious humanitarian crises in the world, with population displacement within
and from Iraq. Last November, cholera figures were the worst for 40 years, says an
Iraqi health minister. Childhood diseases are rampant. There are relentless
bombardments across the country, for reasons not given, on people unseen and
labelled al-Qa'ida.--Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, "Our crimes in
Iraq must not be forgotten," Independent, February 12, 2008]
Copyright © 2001 The Wisdom Fund -
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