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iraq: They came, they saw, then hell

22 December 2011 06:30 pm - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}


A war that began with lies, damn lies and weapons of mass deception is supposed to have ended with another heap of lies.

Lest we forget, the eight-year-and-nine-month long US military and neo-colonialist presence in Iraq was based on fictitious claims that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction and that it had links with the 9/11 attacks. These claims, made repeatedly by the then US President George W. Bush and the then British Prime Minister Tony Blair, who came to be known as the US president's lapdog, were dressed up in false evidence and special-effect dramas. They included the then US Secretary of State Collin Powel's powerpoint presentation at the UN Security Council, purportedly showing Saddam Hussein's mobile labs for WMDs and Blair's sexed-up dossier which was later found to be a part of a thesis of an Egyptian student rather than any facts based on intelligence.

It is no big secret today that the Iraq war was preconceived. Prize-winning journalist Bob Woodward in his book Plan of Attack says one of the first duties President Bush entrusted the then Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld with was to prepare a plan to invade Iraq.

"President Bush, after a National Security Council meeting, takes Don Rumsfeld aside, collars him physically, and takes him into a little cubbyhole room and closes the door and says, 'What have you got in terms of plans for Iraq? What is the status of the war plan? I want you to get on it. I want you to keep it secret,'" Woodward says in his book.

The war was part of a grand plan aimed at extending US military dominance to all parts of the globe. Known as the Project for the New American Century (PNAC), this plan authored by hardline neoconservatives, who are pro-Zionist and pro-capitalist or pro-one percent as the greedy Wall Street elite are known today, was a blueprint for military conquests of Middle Eastern nations that posed a threat to US-Israeli interests. In retrospect, the PNAC stamp is not only evident in the invasion of Iraq, but also in the Libyan war and probably in the ongoing moves against Syria and Iran.

The United States spent more than one trillion dollars on the war and sacrificed more than 4,800 soldiers. What has been a loss to the US public or the economy was a gain to war profiteers such as the then Vice President Dick Cheney's Halliburton and other war industry giants like General Electric and Bechtel.

But little is spoken about the one million plus Iraqis who died as a result of the war or about the war crimes committed by US troops, especially in Falluja where the alleged use of depleted uranium or other secret weapons is being blamed for a high number of births of deformed children. Also not mentioned in the Western corporate media were the shame of Abu Ghraib sex torture and the horror of Haditha, where scores of civilians were killed in a manner that would rank Bush's Marines with Hitler's Nazi forces.

True, Saddam Hussein was a tyrant who should have been ousted long before the US invasion in March 2003. When the Iraqis rebelled against him in the aftermath of the first Gulf War in 1991, the US pretended to be supporting them but later allowed him to massacre them. This was because the US felt there was little space for a puppet government if the revolution had succeeded. But ten years later, there was a PNAC plan along with a hawkish president to effect regime change in the oil-rich country. The plan ensured that Washington had full control of events not only during the war and occupation but also after the war.

Yes, full control is the name of the game and the ground reality today. Will the US after making so vast an investment and so colossal a human sacrifice withdraw from Iraq and let neighbouring Iran fill the vacuum?

The Americans have not withdrawn from Iraq, although President Obama brags that he has fulfilled his campaign promise. But what he does not say is that he took three years to do it instead of 16 months as he promised. It appears that the game of deception continues. Even the so-called troop withdrawal is also a charade because Obama has kept behind a massive diplomatic force in Baghdad and other key cities where US oil interests are at stake.

Well, the Americans appear to have set a world record for posting the largest number of diplomats in one embassy — more than 16,000. A few of them are diplomats in the professional or conventional sense of the word, some of them are military experts who will be monitoring the security situation and neighbouring Iran, but most of them will be private security officers or mercenaries, like Raymond Davis, the CIA operative who shot dead two Pakistani youths in Lahore early this year and got away. Perhaps, the lesson learnt in Pakistan during the Davis affair has prompted the State Department to give these mercenaries a diplomatic label so that they would be spared jail when they kill Iraqis or commit any crime in Iraq.

So the claim that the Americans have withdrawn — leaving behind some 150 troops to train Iraqi forces — may be technically correct on paper but in reality it is not. Besides, thousands of American troops are stationed in Kuwait on the border with Iraq ready to be deployed when the need arises, while the Central Command set up in Qatar is yet to be dismantled and Bahrain hosts the US Fifth Fleet.

Such a monstrous military presence in the troubled region is of course to protect the US economic and strategic interests — with the main focus being Iraq's oil sector which has virtually fallen into the hands of US and Western oil giants. Then there is also the need to check Iran's rising military power in the region. Reports indicate that while the West has been trying to stop Iran from making nuclear weapons, the Islamic Republic has acquired advanced cyberwar capabilities to bring down drones and hack into spy satellites. Though Iran's achievements have caused alarm in western capitals and in Israel, the US feels they are all the more reason to maintain a heavy military presence in the region.

But what is more disturbing for peace-starved Iraqis and peace-loving people in the rest of the world are fears of Iraq plunging into a sectarian hellhole. Already Prime Minister Nouri Al Maliki, a Shiite, has read the riot act to the Sunni Vice President Tariq al-Hashimi, who has fled the capital and found refuge in the autonomous Kurdistan region. The main charge against the Vice President is that he ran a death squad. The political tension has the potential to spark sectarian clashes with regional implications. Perhaps Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Iran and even Syria could be drawn into the conflict. Yesterday's deadly bomb blasts perhaps portended the beginning of it.

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