War's hard truths remain


Saddam Hussein's capture and the hope he will be held accountable for crimes against the people of Iraq and neighboring states is welcome news, no matter what one's position on the U.S. invasion of Iraq. 

But this doesn't vindicate the U.S. invasion. It doesn't change the fact that the administration lied about Iraq's alleged weapons of mass destruction or that Iraq is undergoing occupation, not liberation. 

Nor does it vindicate more longstanding U.S. policy. It is crucial that Saddam's eventual trial covers the entire history of his crimes and of those who supported them. We need answers. Why did the Reagan administration provide Saddam with military intelligence to help him in his savage attacks on Iran in the 1980s? Why did U.S. companies provide Iraq with chemicals and seed stock for biological weapons? Why did the United States continue to fund Saddam and provide him diplomatic cover, even after he gassed the Kurds of Halabja in 1988? 

And, what did current Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld say to Saddam when he met with the dictator as Reagan's special envoy to the Middle East in 1983? Will Rumsfeld be subpoenaed to testify about it? 

If Saddam's trial is conducted openly and honestly, U.S. crimes in Iraq and throughout the Middle East, through Republican and Democratic administrations alike, will be laid bare for the world to see. 

More important, however, we must recognize that the key issue is the occupation, not Saddam. There is little indication that either the brutality of the U.S. occupation, or the armed resistance to it, will end soon. 

Military officials have quietly admitted for months that Saddam had little to do with coordinating the resistance. London's Independent newspaper identified at least 12 different loosely connected guerilla groups, only one of which could be identified as Saddam loyalists. Most of the people fighting never had any love for Saddam; one British expert has referred to the resistance as "self-generating." 

The fighters likely have various motivations, but they share a common goal: ending foreign occupation. After last month's running battles in Samarra, where U.S. forces killed dozens, one Iraqi said, "Everyone is with the resistance. Saddam Hussein is finished. We are protecting our honor and our land."

Resentment against the occupation goes far beyond the armed resistance. And, given the nature of the occupation, that's hardly surprising. After a brief period of freedom, the Coalition Provisional Authority imposed press censorship in June. The U.S. military estimates 10,000 Iraqis are being held, most without charges, in camps under dehumanizing conditions. Many were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. Hundreds of civilians have been killed by troops who, Iraqis are convinced, place little value on Iraqi life. 

Beyond that, Iraq has been a laboratory for the administration's extremist economic ideas. With the stroke of a pen, U.S. viceroy L. Paul Bremer cut Iraq's highest tax bracket by a factor of three. He threw 400,000 people out of work, with no provision for re-employment. He laid the groundwork for rapid privatization of Iraq's industry, a fire sale not seen since the fall of the Soviet Union. And with all that, to this day, electrical power and basic services have not been restored to prewar levels. According to some surveys, infant mortality in Iraq is double what it was before the war. 

Worse yet, for all the posturing about restoring Iraq's sovereignty, the real plans of the administration are rather different. The U.S.-appointed Governing Council was created as a temporary puppet government under Bremer's control and as a springboard to the next stage -- a permanent government that will be nominally independent but function as a U.S. client state. While many Iraqis are calling for free and open elections, the provisional authority is peddling a convoluted caucus plan specifically designed to keep the Iraqi people out of the emerging political process, restricting political participation to groups that have already decided to collaborate with the U.S. occupation. 

Americans are left facing the same harsh facts we have always had to face: The conquest of Iraq had nothing to do with the safety of Americans or the freedom of Iraqis. It was designed to extend and deepen U.S. dominance over the strategically crucial energy resources of the region. 

That goal has little public support, either in Iraq or in the United States. While Iraqis celebrate the capture of Saddam Hussein, Americans should mobilize to pressure our government to end the occupation now.

 

Mahajan is the author of "Full Spectrum Dominance: U.S. Power in Iraq and Beyond." Jensen is the author of the forthcoming "Citizens of the Empire: The Struggle to Claim Our Humanity."[email protected]; [email protected]

Source: Austin American-Statesman


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  23 Comments   Comment

  1. H.A. from Transgressor County, USA

    Hey Scotty,

    Stop being victims of emotional propaganda. Who likes the USA in the world today? Almost no one. Try taking a trip abroad. You'd be very lucky not to come home in a body bag!!!

    Want to avoid big bangs???

    If so, then just stop supporting your corrupt and tyrannical gov't that has high affinity for dictators and zionist regimes & ,of course, cheap oil in the world.

    &

    Stop wasting your time watching nude movies. Instead find out the stupid things your gov't is doing around the world with your names and tax dollars.

    Fearful of another 9/11???

    Well, ...as you let your gov't sow your tax dollars to Israel(the Zionist regime) and to Muslim dictators, so will you reap in the NY City and Washington. NOT A SHOCKER AT ALL to me.

    Don't blame AL-QAIDA for big bangs!!! You're (the people of the U.S.) the real culprits. I know it's a hard pill to swallow, but that's the truth. Al-Qaida used to be your gov't's FREEDOM FIGHTERS before & now your gov't call them enemies of freedom. How silly and moronic!!!

    You all (people of the U.S.) have been acting like fearful cowards. Shame on you!!! I see more TERROR ALERTS than weather alerts. Too sad. See!!! what your gov't has done to your land and see the manipulation!!!

    That's what happens when you shake hands and nourish dictators and kings & also when you support THE ZIONIST REGIME w/ your tax dollars.

    I wonder who is going to pay the price if such trends are allowed to continue.....

    Answer: Sir Scott's offsprings.

  2. Ahmed from UK

    You've proved my point "Scott." You people know your leaders lie and still stand by them. Bravo !

    You people are sick. A fine example of "freedom loving" types who believe in nominal democracy at home and dictatorship abroad. You simply dont know what you're talking about.

    As far as showing anybody "whos boss," you obviously believe in terrorism and using it against people who've done you no harm, killing over a million Iraqis over the past dozen years. I got news for you little man, God Almighty is the boss, and the Supreme does not bless the wicked.And America is no exception.

    Keep standing by your unelected dictator, you're no better than him.

  3. Khan from Singapore

    l totally agreed with the writer. You had summoned up the situation very well. Thank you

  4. D Scott from CANADA

    You forget about Sept 11.

    The Americans invaded Iraq for a bigger reason than Oil. They need to show who is Boss! This is the first of many like it. I hope. There are things i like and dislike about living in a democratic society, but I do no that I would rather live how I do here with many different nationalities than in a world were the people are raised as sheep, and kill with no purpose. Even if Bush is a redneck, I don't really care. I'll stand behind him and his country, to make sure my children can live in a land of freedom. If the people of your countries want freedom you need to stand up to your own corrupt governments and fight them with the suicide bombs. Then I would also stand behind you!

  5. Ahmed from UK

    Actually Scott, most of the people who post here ARE experts in politics, particularly when compared with criminally ignorant simpletons who believed that Iraq had WMD, or had links to 9/11, and continue to insist so.

    Your post applies to your own countrymen, willing to believe retarded lies than reality.

  6. mohamednur5 from U.S

    i have not much to say, but those of us who thinks the invasion of Iraqi is to librate Iraqis or to get rid off WMD, it is not. if US/UK want to librate a country why didn't they librate plastian people. were Iraqis life under saddam hussein worth than the life of plastian? i don't thik one would say that. also if they were looking WMD why didn't they go after Noth Korea, which is clearly have nuclear. well the unswer is easy the invasion wasn't about libration or WMD. Then what is it? it is regime change, which will continue throughout the middle east.

  7. Yahya Bergum from USA

    I might have deduced the authors' motives behind this article. The authors would seem to be demanding more dirt, possibly for flinging during the U.S. presidential election campaign. Such dirt seems much less likely to be mined from the legal proceedings the Iraqi officials are planning for Brother Saddam. In addition, an even bigger mess in Iraq might serve the authors' cause as well - who knows?

  8. Scott from USA

    I think it's quite funny how everyone thinks that they are experts in politics. The bottom line is that no one here knows what really goes on in any government in this world. Every government has its secrets, its sins, its follies, and its good points. Deal with it.

  9. Zainab Ahmed Mohammed from Germany

    Assalamu alaikum,

    puting Sadam on trial in Irak or before an International court should not be an issue at stake.Where ever Sadam is tried,his godfathers should be ready to account for role in his past mistakes.Who provided the fomer Iraki leader with weapons to fight Iran?These are some of the questions that must be answered by those concern.The fact remains that Atrocities commited by Sadam was never a one man affair.Every one guilty must face the law but not him alone.

  10. Abdul Hadi from England

    Saddam is no brother of mine and has asked for all that is comming to him ,,,, every person living in iraq has my deepest sympathy,,, this war was a sham ,, please America and the west put down your guns and go home ,,,, or stay and learn the words of the profet , peace be upon him

  11. idris bankston from Detroit, MI

    As Salaamu Alaikum!

    When you create a "monster" to do the evil

    you are afraid to do, you are over-joyed.

    When your "monster" runs rampant and does

    more harm than good you should not be

    surprised. Saddam, Inshala, will reveal to the

    world the truth, the whole truth and nothing but

    the truth. I think that the-powers-that-be are

    in for a big surprise after Saddam starts to

    speak.

  12. H.A. from Transgressor county, USA

    H.A.'s list of people who should be put on trial along with Saddam:

    1. Rummy the Rumsfeld (the Redneck)b/c he shook hand with Saddam and gave Saddam the papers detailing confirmation of chemical transfer and bioagnets from a lab in Maryland (USA).

    2. Reagan the Tyrant - b/c He wholeheartedly supported Saddam in 1980s b/c Saddam wanted to fight Iran. He suffering from Alzheimer.

    Let H.A. quote the Al-Quran: "Those whom WE bring unto old age, We (Allah) reverse him in creation, making him go back to weakness after strength. HAVE YOU THEN NO SENSE??????"

    Lesson for American infidels and Zionists: Did the military might of U.S. exist before 1920s? Is your current might going to last forever? Will you not be militarily weak again?

    Where was Saddam before and where is he now? Heard about Roman invaders occupying your land in the recent week? Dear people!!! Wake up!!!

    .

    3. Georgy the Daddy - the aggressor and transgressor

    4. Georgy the Son (the American Ranchboy) - b/c # 1 INTERNATIONAL TERRORIST, #1 EMOTIOANL HOMO SAPIEN, #1 MORON, #1 AMERICAN WHO SPEAK BROKEN ENGLISH, THE BOY WHO DREAMS ABOUT CRUSADING...& b/c he lied, yet he goes to Chruch and read scriptures....How Infidellic?

    5. Ariel Sharon the Zionist - gave false information about WMD and Saddam biochemical programs to the America's ONLY SMART BOY. My Dear Boy. Let vote for my BOY again so that he can start another war in the name of peace.

    5. Chalaby - the Infidellic Muslim b/c he wants to become Saddam himself.

    6. All the kings and Queesn of Middle East who flee Middle East in the month of Ramadan for the fear of fasting. & b/c they are NO DIFFERENT THAN SADDAM - U.S's best friends exactly like Saddam Huessein was.

    7. All the zionists in the United States who backed the war.

    8. All the people of the United States whose true colors still SHINES brighter than Nothern Star. Martin Luther King has failed to get rid of their true color. We NEED another MLK and Malcol

  13. Yahya Bergum from USA

    Assalamu Alaikum Akbar Khan: you might wish to consider turning your head to the left before spitting and perhaps even conserving your saliva so to speak 😉

    Wassalam

  14. Yahya Bergum from USA

    Following the settlement of "Gulf I" what grounds might there be for handing Brother Saddam over to an international lynch mob? Please note that Kuwait, Iran, Jordan, Syria and various other nations have already had a say in the settlement of "Gulf I" - that as I recall is why Saddam was still available for "Gulf II" - remember? As I recall, in some cases those nations even received compensation (of one form or another) from the Republic of Iraq. Now then, have any of you perhaps ever heard of "double jeopardy?"

    Furthermore, if I remember correctly, IslamiCity had a link to an article reporting that a survey (of over one thousand Iraqis) found that 91 percent of Iraqis had absolutely no interest in seeing Saddam Hussein held accountable for his actions (prior to his capture). Sorry - but I myself would hope that Iraq's majority would endorse a more Islamic alternative to an international, three-ring, media circus. Of course, I would imagine that some of us might wish to see the Shiites deprived of a major opportunity for establishing a judicial system within Iraq.

    I've submitted it before (to this very site) and I'll submit it again. If Saddam Hussein decided to surrender to Coalition forces (which he did), the United States in my estimation would simply no right to participate in legal proceedings against Saddam Hussein (may Allah have mercy on us all), other than by complying with such instructions as are issued by Iraq's judiciary officials as well perhaps by volunteering to provide bailiff services for Iraq's court system.

    Assalamu alaikum.

    --Yahya Bergum

  15. khursheed siddiqui from USA

    I am in agrement with the authors. American people need to mobilze and pressure the US government to be open with there people and tell the truth.

  16. Shazia from Canada

    Assalamo Alaikum

    I could'nt have said it better myself. Who ever has done injustice and is doing injustice should be held accountable. Otherwise there will be unrest throughout the world and we cannot see lasting peace without justice that Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta'la has commanded us to establish.

    If we are unable to hold somebody accountable for whatever reason then rest assured that God is All Mighty and All Powerful, few free days in this world cannot protect the tyrants from God's justice.

    Wassalam

  17. Abdul Abdulbarr from United States

    How easy does man forget that one day he will be brought before his Lord. And that we all will be questioned about our actions in this life. When I read these articles and I hear the author asking who will bring Bush, Blair, Rumsfield, etc. to Justice, I think of that day. The Day of Judgement. Where a mans good and bad deeds the weight of an atom will be known to him.

    My Muslim brothers have patience and pray to Allah(swt) for forgiveness for your sins (whatever they may be) so that you may not be among the losers on that day.

  18. acklima from TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO

    The Americans are only interested in Iraq Oil.

  19. Halim Aziz from MALAYSIA

    When Sadams armies marched into Kuwait the whole world screamed they dont understand how in modern time one country can conquer another neighbouring country. Now when US invaded Iraq and Blair accused Sadam will launch WMD to destroy England within 45 minutes, the whole world turned quiet. What happen?

  20. Akbar Khan from Canada

    I wanna see pro war American nutcases answer to the articles 2nd paragraph! How can people be so blind as to deny the fact that USA created Saddam, that you created Osama bin Laden, and the Mujahideen, and you gave them weapons, you gave them chemical weapons, you sat back as Iranians, Kurds, and Afghani's died when the situation was CONVENIENT FOR YOU!!! Self-absorbed delusional ingrates are those who support this administration. I spit at your feet because you digust me....

    You speak about Muslims being bad Muslims, and Arabs being screwed up and stuff...fix what is in your own backyard first before you go nudging into the rest of the world's business. You will reap the consequences for your actions, the way Hitler's Army paid for theirs when GOD caught them while they marched to the Soviet Union in that snowstorm....you do not own the world and you do not have the right to monopolize the natural resources of a nation that you have jurisdiction over, as you have violated Geneva Conventions, the Declaration of Human Rights, and you have violated even the constitution of the United States of America. It is not only Saddam who must stand trial, not just in Iraq, but before the entire world, and American government troublemakers should stand next to him so that the world can hear from Saddam's own mouth that he received orders from Americans to use the chemical weapons they gave him, to use on Iranians who were a so called threat the USA, as the new Ayatollah overthrew your installed SHAH....that's right...we can't have Saddam in an International Court, because if that happens, all the skeletons in your closet will come out....you ingrates, I spit at your feet. Bush is a baseball bat and Saddam has been a fly for the last 23 years. You keep swinging trying to hit the fly, and over the course of all that time, you destroyed everything in the process and missed the fly. Now you finally caught it. 2 little 2 late..justice I say.

  21. Ahmed from UK

    Excellent article, concise and truthfull. Rest assured, the wet dreams of these evil demented warmongers wont be realized.

  22. Yahya Bergum from USA

    What were the authors' motives in omitting anti-Zionist rhetoric? They omitted nothing else. On a possibly unrelated note, leaving the Iraqis to fight their civil war (without restraint) doesn't sound much like a quest for world peace.

  23. Richard from USA

    This article is 100% correct. I could not have said it much better myself. The United States helped create the Saddam and Iraq we all know. This of course will be covered up as much as possible. The Iraqi People are doomed to live under the rule of a USA puppet government. They'll watch their natural resources and way of life disappear. All in the name of the US dollar.