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Ten years after Iraq war, the hell fires of disaster capitalism

21 March 2013 07:34 pm - 1     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}


Ten years on, the lies and deception surrounding the invasion of Iraq continue as a battered Iraqi people wait in desperation for the promised dawn.

The Panorama programme on BBC on Monday took pains to show the whole invasion was based on lies of two Iraqi spies. The flawed logic was simple: The spies told the Americans and the Brits that Iraq’s dictator Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction and they believed them.

Although the programme highlighted how subsequent information prior to the war indicated that Iraq had no WMDs and the war party refused to give it due consideration, there was no attempt by the presenters to accuse Bush or Blair of deliberately manipulating intelligence to justify war. The programme had Lord Butler, who investigated the intelligence failure that led to the Iraq war, and Sir Mike Jackson who led the head of the British Army, to say that Blair did not lie, because he genuinely believed Saddam Hussein had WMD.

So the whitewashing of the war criminals continues. “Blair lied and millions died” was the catchy slogan of the anti-war activists who gathered outside sham trials the British government initiated to cover up its shame. The West’s war on Iraq has brought death to more than 1.4 million Iraqis. Prior to the war, nearly one million Iraqis – half of whom were children -- died due to the crippling United Nations sanctions imposed on Iraq at the insistence of the United States and its allies. Yes, it’s a price worth paying for, said the then United States Secretary of State Madeline Albright. And in the end, it was the Iraqi people who paid with their lives for the war party to plunder not only Iraq’s national oil wealth, but also the American people’s tax money.

They plotted, they came, they conquered and they plundered. The Iraq war was a plan hatched by a neoconservative cabal that authored the infamous white paper called the Project for the New American Century. The group on its website still says that American leadership is good both for America and for the world; and that such leadership requires military strength, diplomatic energy and commitment to moral principle.

Iraqi boys walk near the ruins of a building, which residents and the Local Council claim was bombed during the 2003 Iraq War led by the U.S. forces, in a desert south of Samawa, 270 km (160 miles) south of Baghdad March 14, 2013. REUTERS/Mohammed Ameen

Behind the veneer of such lofty words was moral bankruptcy that manifests in their plot to militarily dominate the world and plunder the resources of other people. The neocon cabal tried to sell their project to President Bill Clinton, but he refused to buy it. They found a willing partner in President George W. Bush.

Dick Cheney, Bush’s Vice President, Donald Rumsfeld, his Defence Secretary, Paul Wolfowitz, his deputy defence secretary, John Bolton, his man at the United Nations, and Lewis ‘Scooter’ Libby, a key White House advisor, were some of the main PNAC architects who served the Bush administration.

One of the first tasks Bush handed over to Defence Secretary Rumsfeld soon after assuming office in 2001 was to work out a plan for an attack on Iraq. This was months before 19 terrorists hijacked civilian planes to attack New York’s World Trade Centre and Pentagon on September 11, 2001. Bush tried to seize the opportunity in the 9/11 attacks to launch a war on Iraq. But he was later convinced that the road to Iraq was through Afghanistan. Overwhelming evidence indicates that the 9/11 attacks could have been prevented. But the Bush administration ignored the warnings from his own national security advisors and also from friendly countries. Many analysts still believe the Bush administration let the attacks happen so that it could launch its PNAC project.

Under the guise of launching a morally right just war, the bombs first fell on Afghanistan first. As the war on Afghanistan continued, the Bush administration began bombarding the American public with lies and deception. In speech after speech in the early days and months after the 9/11 attacks, Bush lumped Iraq together with Iran and North Korea and described the trio as the nations that belonged to the axis of evil. He said Iraq was behind the 9/11 attacks and Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction that posed a threat to world peace.

A majority of the American people, who were still recovering from the 9/11 shock believed him and gave the Bush administration the licence to maime and murder anyone who posed a threat to America. Bush and Blair manufactured intelligence, presented such intelligence as facts at the United Nations Security Council, twisted the reports of United Nations weapons inspectors and misinterpreted a UNSC resolution as authorizing war on Iraq, though it was not. The then UN Secretary General Kofi Annan declared the war illegal. For saying this, he was accused of favouring his son as a supplier under the UN food-for-oil programme that sought to minimise the suffering of the Iraqi people during the sanction days.

The Americans cheered when the US troops marched into Iraq, a favoured nation during its war with neighbouring Iran. American companies even supplied Iraq with chemicals which Saddam Hussein converted into chemical weapons and used against his own people.

The modus operandi for both the Afghanistan and Iraq ground invasion was more or less the same. In Afghanistan the Americans had an ally in the anti-Taliban Northern Alliance. In Iraq, it was the Kurds who were fighting for a separate state in the north. The Shiite political dissidents in the south of Iraq were as also roped in. They saw in the US invasion a golden opportunity to set up a Shiite-dominant government for the first time in Iraq’s history.

The Americans thought the Iraqis would welcome them with rice and rose waters. But all hell broke loose when the American boots touched Iraq’s soil after the ‘Shock and Awe” aerial bombing that destroyed much of what was once the cradle of civilization. One fourth of Iraqis became refugees or internally displaced while hundreds of thousands died. The Americans dissolved Iraq’s army and appointed a pro-consul. As the resistance grew, the US and British troops resorted to war crimes of shocking dimensions. Prisoners were tortured and killed. The Abu Ghraib prison pictures, still available on the internet, were a testimony that the Americans were no angels when it comes to war.

The people of Fallujah, a Sunni Muslim city in Iraq, were the first to pluck up courage and tell the Americans to get out. The Americans turned the city into a free-fire zone, using even the banned white phosphorous bombs. As a result almost every other child is born in this city with a birth defect and an unusually a high number of people die of cancer. The horrors of Fallujah and similar stories are rarely reported in the US media which willingly submitted to the Bush agenda. The media called it embedded journalism – which is nothing but prostituting journalism and producing bastardised news. The war also saw the privatisation of military operations with companies such Blackwater undertaking to do the dirty work of the war – the killing and torturing of the Iraqi people.

The resistance in its early days was nationalistic in nature. The Shiites in the south and the Sunnis in Baghdad, Fallujah, Tikrit and other places came together in their opposition to the Anglo-British occupation of the country. The Iraqis were not strangers to occupation. Twice they had chased the colonialists out – first after World War 1 and then after World War II. On both occasions, they said the Brits had said they had come to Iraq as liberators – a lie that every occupying power utters.

So in 2003, when the resistance showed signs of Iraqi unity, the invaders devised a scheme to divide the people. Soon Iraq witnessed a sectarian bloodbath that was absent in its history.

The Iraqi people believe that secret agents of the occupation force were behind such attacks initially. With the sectarian war intensifying, the US facilitated what it called democratic elections. But the democracy which the Americans introduced to Iraq after they ousted Saddam Hussein was limited to only elections. The sham behind the process was exposed when the US opposed the appointment of Ibrahim al-Jaafari as prime minister even though his party won the elections and wanted to make him the PM.

Along with this sham democratisation began the loot. As some US companies including Dick Cheney’s Halliburton, made billions of dollars in profit when Iraq’s reconstruction contracts were handed over to them, others targeted oil. Some oil companies have even started entering into deals with the regional administration run by the Kurds in the North, instead of the central government -- and this could even lead to a civil war against the Kurds as things stand today.

As the plunder continues, the Iraqis live in a socio-economic hell. They feel they were better off during the Saddam regime when they had water, electricity and some security. Today ten years after the invasion and a year after the American troops withdrew, albeit on paper, many areas still have no water facility or uninterrupted electricity.

Bombs still go off in Iraq where the United States’ has set up its biggest embassy with security officials alone numbering 15,000. On March 19, the day on which the Anglo-American war on Iraq began ten years ago, more than 50 people died in a series of bomb blasts that were blamed on a mysterious outfit called al-Qaeda in Iraq.
As the Iraqis marked the tenth year of the invasion that robbed their independence, Iraq is today caught in a labyrinth of global power games. On the one hand, the government in Baghdad is being dictated to by the United States on what to do with oil and to whom to hand over the contracts. On the other,  Iran’s influence on the regime and on Shiite organsiations, including the powerful Mehdi Army of the radical cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, is increasingly evident.

Turkey, meanwhile, plays a different game by supporting the autonomous regime of Iraqi Kurdistan although it is fighting a war within to crush a rebellion by its own Kurdish population.

Adding to Iraq’s problems is the spillover of the civil war in neighbouring Syria. In the event the Syrian crisis erupts as a regional war, Iraq and Iran are likely to be dragged into it in support of the Bashar al-Assad regime in Damascus.

As nearly one trillion dollars in American public money and billions of dollars in Iraq’s oil revenue are spent on the destruction of Iraq and the subsequent reconstruction of it, a safe assumption is that much of this money would have gone to the companies with neocon backing. Activist and journalist Naomi Klein describes this plunder as disaster capitalism where big-time companies thrive in the misery of the people.

Meanwhile, President George Bush enjoys his retirement in his Texas ranch while Tony Blair builds his financial empire by giving advice to companies on how to win drilling contracts in Middle Eastern countries. There is no serious attempt to take them before a war crimes tribunal.
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  • chux Friday, 22 March 2013 09:54 AM

    US who is responsible for these crimes....what a shem for the most powerful nation in the world.

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