by Arundhati Roy
. . . After using the "good offices" of UN diplomacy (economic sanctions
and weapons inspections) to ensure that Iraq was brought to its
knees, its people starved, half a million of its children killed,
its infrastructure severely damaged, after making sure that most of
its weapons have been destroyed, in an act of cowardice that must
surely be unrivalled in history, the "Allies"/"Coalition of the
Willing"(better known as the Coalition of the Bullied and Bought) -
sent in an invading army! . . .
After days of enforcing hunger and thirst on the citizens of Basra,
the "Allies" have brought in a few trucks of food and water and
positioned them tantalisingly on the outskirts of the city.
Desperate people flock to the trucks and fight each other for food.
(The water we hear, is being sold. To revitalise the dying economy,
you understand.) On top of the trucks, desperate photographers
fought each other to get pictures of desperate people fighting each
other for food. Those pictures will go out through photo agencies to
newspapers and glossy magazines that pay extremely well. Their
message: The messiahs are at hand, distributing fishes and loaves. . . .
[. . . it would now appear that disruption of electric-supply
leading to grave shortage of safe drinking water to the population
in and around Basra was part of a
deliberate ploy on the part of the Coalition Forces to create a
humanitarian crisis there. What is lending credence to the suspicion
that this crisis in and around Basra is stage-managed is the
reported strategy on the part of the Coalition Forces to gain
confidence of the Iraqi people by providing them "humanitarian aid".
Even before the safe drinking water supply system was disrupted in
Basra, a British supply ship 'Sir Galahad' was already on its way to
the port of Umm Qasr and shortly arrived there "loaded with the
first military shipment of relief aid for Iraqi civilians."--N. D.
Jayaprakash, "The Price of Indifference," counter Punch, April 2,
[Never mind that forty years ago, the CIA, under President John F.
Kennedy, orchestrated a regime change in Baghdad. In 1963, after a
successful coup, the Ba'ath party came to power in Iraq. Using lists
provided by the CIA, the new Ba'ath regime systematically eliminated
hundreds of doctors, teachers, lawyers, and political figures known
to be leftists. An entire intellectual community was slaughtered.
(The same technique was used to massacre hundreds of thousands of
people in Indonesia and East Timor.) The young Saddam Hussein was
said to have had a hand in supervising the bloodbath. In 1979, after
factional infighting within the Ba'ath Party, Saddam Hussein became
the President of Iraq. In April 1980, while he was massacring Shias,
the U.S. National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinksi declared, "We
see no fundamental incompatibility of interests between the United
States and Iraq." Washington and London overtly and covertly
supported Saddam Hussein. They financed him, equipped him, armed
him, and provided him with dual-use materials to manufacture weapons
of mass destruction. They supported his worst excesses financially,
materially, and morally. They supported the eight-year war against
Iran and the 1988 gassing of Kurdish people in Halabja, crimes which
14 years later were re-heated and served up as reasons to justify
invading Iraq. After the first Gulf War, the "Allies" fomented an
uprising of Shias in Basra and then looked away while Saddam Hussein
crushed the revolt and slaughtered thousands in an act of vengeful
The point is, if Saddam Hussein was evil enough to merit the most
elaborate, openly declared assassination attempt in history (the
opening move of Operation Shock and Awe), then surely those who
supported him ought at least to be tried for war crimes? Why aren't
the faces of U.S. and U.K. government officials on the infamous pack
of cards of wanted men and women?-- Arundhati Roy, "Instant-Mix Imperial
Democracy, Buy One Get One Free," May 13, 2003]