Bruce Clark: Bring Back Saddam
Bring Back Saddam
By Bruce Clark
This title is meant only as an attention-grabber; no one in his right mind would seriously want the infamous mass-murderer back. But it serves to make the point that , after three years and in spite of all the lofty sounding platitudes about freedom and democracy, the invasion of Iraq has brought only death and destruction.
Yes, there have been elections, but no viable government has been formed after more than three months.
The infrastructure of Iraq has taken a terrible pummeling with lower than pre-war oil output, long queues for petrol in one of the most oil-rich countries in the world, less hours of electricity and severe shortages of essential medical supplies.
Sectarian violence is at such levels that there is a debate now as to whether or not this constitutes civil war; there are more than 30 killings per day and Shiites and Sunnis are being forced to flee their respective areas, with daily bombings, kidnappings, abductions and murders by militias, some of which are linked to the government.
. The seasoned BBC Journalist John Simpson recently wrote that he has made eight visits to Baghdad in the last year and each time he found the situation worse. Do we trust his judgment or that of the US military spokesmen who assure us all is going swimmingly in Iraq.?
These indicators are, ofcourse, disappointing, but are as nothing compared to the loss of tens of thousands of innocent Iraqi lives, and the climate of terror in which ordinary Iraqis now live .
The actual numbers killed is an interesting issue in itself. Estimates vary from less than 20,000(Iraqi Body Count) to over 100,000 in Les Roberts study published in The Lancet. The Bush government naturally likes to quote the former figure.
Its easy to forget that the stated reason for the invasion was the fear of Saddams weapons of mass destruction. We now know from the leaked memos from Downing Street and Washington,( the latter one was recently publicised by that bastion of radicalism , the New York Times), that Bush and Blair had decided on invasion well before the diplomatic processes were exhausted. The head of MI5, Sir Richard Dearlove stated that, in his opinion, “the intelligence and facts were being fixed around policy” by the Bush regime. A later leaked memo, ( mentioned in Phillipe Sands recent book),merely confirms what we already knew: Bush and Blair deliberately lied about their intentions and bypassed the Security Council. ( This information is available on the not very radical BBC site – search under memo and Iraq)
. If the information revealed in the leaked memos demonstrate that Bush and Blair lied in order to prosecute an illegal invasion in which many thousands of innocent people have been killed, western democracy has come to something of a pretty pass when it can countenance such action by the countries that gave us constitutional government and the democratic republicanism.
Ofcourse, when the weapons of mass destruction were not found, as had been predicted, the script did a U-turn and changed to a more noble cause; that of bringing freedom and democracy to the poor suffering Iraqis. When we look at the many vicious regimes that the US is happy to support , only the extremely naïve could possibly accept this thesis. The US has a proven record of undermining democracy when it doesn’t’ suit their grand plan and of supporting vicious dictators when it does. William Blum in his recent book gives a quick overview of the lengths the US will go to in order to protect its interests. Note that the US’s chief backers in the region, Uzbekistan, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan are very far from being models of democracy.
The Neo Cons who now dominate the Bush government have always openly stated that they aspire to project US power throughout the world, countenancing no other rival and with a willingness to use force in the interests of the expansion of US Power.(look for Project for the New American Century in Google) I’m probably understating their intentions, but there is no doubt that US foreign policy has moved dramatically in this direction and, tragically, the most obvious victim of this new philosophy of American dominance is Iraq.
As was stated at the Nuremberg trials, initiating a war of aggression is “the supreme international crime, differing only from other war crimes in that it contains writing itself the accumulated evil of the whole” I believe this was an illegal war of aggression prosecuted in the pursuit of the interests of the US and its allies; no doubt the international lawyer might argue this point, but what is unarguable is the terrible cost inflicted on the Iraqi people.