Bits and Pieces

Thursday, June 12, 2003

The Future of Iraq

I'm finding it more and more difficult to remain civil with people who speak of our 'victory' in Iraq. They speak as if we anti-war protestors claimed that we may lose the war, and that our easy victory in some way validates their position and undermines our own.

The truth, of course, is that the only people who ever claimed that Iraq may have won the war were Saddam Hussein and his employees, including that beloved cult figure the Iraqi Information Minister. Every other sensible person on Earth predicted the outcome as a victory for the Coalition.

But where is this victory? Our motive for the war was, supposedly, to stop Hussein from employing his huge arsenal of weapons of mass destruction. As none have yet been discovered, this should present a huge problem for our governments. It reveals that we, the people, were actively deceived into sending our loved ones off to fight and die in foreign lands for no reason.

The ability of the anti-war protestor to pin down his or her argument against the war became increasingly difficult as time went on, and today it is nigh on impossible to present a coherent argument that says 'this is why we shouldn't have attacked Iraq'. The reason for this, of course, is that the Administration used some bumbling propoganda tactics that worked in their favour. Way back at the start of the campaign was a claim that Iraq was violating UN resolutions with regard to disarmament, resolutions ratified at the end of the first Gulf War. As we know the argument was based on a claim that Saddam was in possession of WMDs. As this claim became harder to believe (as a result of the sterling work carried out by Hans Blix and co., as well as the fact that much of the 'evidence' touted by Bush was revealed to be inaccurate or just plain fake), Bush and Blair had to shift their strategy.

What came next was an appeal to our hearts and minds. Bush claimed that the purpose of a pre-emptive strike was to topple Saddam from power. We were faced with a barrage of stories of inhuman torture of dissenters. This strategy struck home with Americans, especially, who value above all freedoms such as free speech. The idea that Saddam was denying his people the freedoms we take for granted hit home, and Bush succeeded in getting those who had remained on the fence to take on a pro-war stance.

Once this was achieved, the UN was no longer necessary. We went into Iraq ad won our war. Those of us who stuck by our beliefs were ridiculed as cowards. As the war progressed we were met with often violent condemnation because we did not 'support our troops'. We were told to either shut up or get out.

Now, at the end of the war, we are further condemned. The news networks are flooded with images of mass graves and newly emptied torture chambers. The official line now is the if we had our way these graves would still be being filled, and the torture chambers would be full. How can we possibly defend our position against this? It's true. If we hadn't entered Iraq people would still be dying.

The problems with this idea are two-fold. First, if we cared so much about those being tortured and killed, why did we wait this long to act? We not only knew innocents were being killed, but we knew the actual locations of these graves. Why did we allow Saddam to kill his people since the last Gulf War?

Second, and more relevant, how is the current situation any better? The real issue today is that we have been left in charge of a nation not just on the brink of chaos, but firmly over it. The purported intention of the Bush Administration is to introduce democracy to Iraq, in the hope that this will set off a chain reaction resulting in a democratic Middle East. Anyone who believes that this will occur should get out of the sun and take on some fluids. We don't understand Islam. We don't understand the Middle East. Hell, we don't even understand democracy. The idea that we could successfully impose our own values and beliefs on people so different from ourselves in culture, history and ideology is ridiculous. We can't even enforce democracy in the US. How can we expect to enforce it in Iraq?

This is the reality that Bush and co. do not want to face: the Middle East will never be democratic. Never. I won't live to see it, and neither will my children or their children. It just isn't compatible. Until our governments learn this truth, you and I will piss away our tax pounds and dollars on a fruitless endeavour. Fortunately for Mr. Bush, this won't stop him getting his hands on that oil money.
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