Saturday, June 02, 2007

Iraq: we didn't really win, then? *Confused*

It's just that a few years ago I remember scenes of British and American tanks driving into Baghdad amidst supposed universal jubilation. The 'war' (on Terror) which had somehow mysteriously wound its way from Afghanistan where Bin Laden the 9/11 perpetrator was apparently hiding to Iraq which didn't seem to have a lot to do with either Terror or Al Qaeda, was over after just a few days of superior American precision bombing which hadn't killed or inconvenienced anyone but which had got rid of that nasty Saddam Hussein.

Saddam Hussein, we were told, was such a bad man that some of us started to wonder why he wasn't, then, in cahoots with that other really bad man Osama Bin Laden against the shining heroes of the West. But it seems that he wasn't. Perhaps the two of them had just never hooked up.

Anyway, Saddam was defeated. America and Britain had generously liberated Iraq from their evil dictator. Job done. All that remained was for them to hang around fixing things up while a grateful Iraq quickly and democratically chose its new leader.

OK, I skipped a bit of news reading after that, but the fact that hundreds of thousands of people have since been killed there - including several Americans - and that there's no water or electricity in the cities and the country is in national crisis does now seem to be ever so slightly at odds with the initial reported scenes of jubilance. But it's ok, we're reassured that this is but a minor hitch due to some quaint confusion amongst the Iraqi people, (who obviously are taking some time to get used to the idea of democracy,) which will be soon ironed out. Meanwhile, we must rest assured that the allied forces have definitely destroyed the Axis of Evil and are in the process of rebuilding Iraq's police force (so when did that get destroyed, to need rebuilding..? I must have missed that bit..) and assisting with the rebuilding of the country.

They sneak these words in like 'rebuilding' without explaining the background. Because rebuilding implies they were there before, and are now not, but doesn't state why not.

And now we're suddenly told that five Western men have been kidnapped by Iraqi people. From the 'Shi'ite-controlled Foreign Ministry'. By 80 (or 40 - later reports suggest an earlier witness may have been suffering from double vision) policemen, in police cars, with official security passes to enter the building. And it just so happens that some of the men in question were there in an 'advisory' capacity, 'advising' the new, liberated Iraq on how to rebuild its oil industry. (There's that rebuild word again.)

80 (or 40) policemen stroll into the Shi'ite-controlled Iraqi Foreign Office, extract five Western men with no trouble at all, then drive away in their police cars. It was suggested that these 80 (/40) might have even been policemen!

So. Not the grateful, 'liberated' Iraqis we've been led to believe, perhaps? Not quite the smooth, ordered transition of power that was described to us regarding this act of benevolent generosity on behalf of America (and Britain) to the Iraqi people?

And imagine us sending 'our people' to talk to the Iraqis about oil! We'll be selling sand to the Arabs next. Literally. Well, we might as well: they're selling water to us, an island nation with a temperate climate.

So, given that it seems like we haven't been getting a full and frank version of events from our governments or our media, I have a few questions to throw out into the ether, to see what answers come back if any.

1. Did this invasion really have anything to do with Bush's cooked-up war on an abstract noun?

2. Did it even have anything to do with 9/11?

3. Is it really, absolutely, all about oil?

4. If so, why didn't they tell us that instead of giving us the fairy story version of events?

5. Who's cashing in, out of the whole situation? Because we can be sure it won't be the general British or American public. And it certainly doesn't seem to be the average Iraqi citizen. So, assuming there are vast profits somewhere involved, where might they be going, exactly?

6. Come to that, where are they coming from exactly?

7. OR.. was it all about Iran? Or Israel? And what's the story there? In fact, does anyone know what's really going on in the Middle East? Anyone at all?

Because I'm interested, now.

NB: Special prizes for the person who can spot the most uses of irony and sarcasm in the above text ;-)

Hey, and what are we still doing in Afghanistan, come to think of it? I thought we'd 'won' there too.


Blogger Ruth said...

The secret of a successful "win" appears to be not to stay too long afterwards - otherwise you're still around to blame when it becomes obvious that there's no such thing as a winner of war. Trite, sad, but true.

My own feeling is that Iraq had nothing to do with attacking abstract nouns, and only a little to do with oil. I think that Bush had a score to settle, and got obsessed and fixated with working Saddam into the picture somehow, so he could batter him, and Blair leapt on the band wagon out of a desire to be the guy who liberated an oppressed people. You can call that a noble desire to do good from his position of power, or you can call it arrogant imperialism and imposing his value system on the world, according to preference, but I think that's how we got involved.

8:47 am, June 02, 2007  
Blogger Elaine said...

When gas and electric prices get 'hiked up' there are no mass demo's, When petrol prices get 'hiked up' the country is brought to a halt.
Have electric outages-no reaction
Have petrol/diesel shortage-anarchy
Bribe people with cheap car tax in the budget and you can throw in tax on anything else without a backlash.
Keep airport taxes down, and up council tax, same again.
Message loud and clear to gov is ''secure oil supplies and you can do anything you want''
Blair has shown repeatedly that he has no empathy with 'the people' he is merely 'in the job' for the purpose of 'self glorification' and he knows that 'give the masses their cars' = 'mandate of own choosing'
We put him there, and it seems whilstever children can be driven to indoctrination camp (school) in gas guzzlers there he and his ilk will remain. That is why Iraq was invaded there was no other reason it was just to secure the west it's oil supply.

10:17 am, June 02, 2007  
Blogger Ruth said...

That's not me at the top by the way:) I think it was about oil and I think 9/11 was used as an excuse to go and get it.

11:48 am, June 02, 2007  
Blogger Allie said...

I think it was about oil.

Given that Saddam was backed so enthusiastically by the US back in the 1980s, I think it may also have been a message that the US will not tolerate disobedience from the dictators it protects. I don't want to imply that Saddam wasn't a horrific tyrant - he was - but I think he always had been.

I also think it was about money making for a few, extremely influential, companies that are securing contracts 'rebuilding'.

I don't really understand the British govt fixation with doing what the US demands. Sometimes I wonder if there is some really nasty secret they can hold against successive British PMs...

12:48 pm, June 02, 2007  
Blogger Gill said...

It's the guile that really.. eaurgh.. puts me off believing anything anyone in power has to say about anything.

The fact that we're spun line after line to keep us from suspecting the truth about what's happening in our name with 'our' money.

Makes me feel like the people making the decisions are not on our side. I might be wrong, but their behaviour doesn't help me to think so.

Maybe it's naive of me to expect to hear any truth from politicians.

9:03 pm, June 02, 2007  
Blogger 'EF' said...

I know this may be a bit 'out of date' but I am still reeling from the shock of them hanging saddam. We just did not know what to say to our eldest kids about it when they asked about it (the headlines were everywhere and peeps were kind of gloating and going over it here) kill is wrong, that is why he was...erm...killed.

Personally, I need an Idiots Guide to the war in iraq - is there one? Shall have to google it.

Plus, that saddam was such a nasty piece of work I don't know..I honestly don't know anything about it (I dont read the news see) but I would have thought they could have done some sort of research on him to find out what makes a guy become that...surely if we are all so scared of the Hitlers and Bin Ladens and Saddams or whoever then we need to find out what makes them spearhead evil movements....that would be progress.

Alice Miller wrote a lot about Hitler in 'For Your Own Good' about violence in childhood. Apparently when he was a tiny kid he used to stand on a hill in the playground and verbate the other kids ...I cannot remember what for, probably for not having their shoes tied right.

As Tolstoy said 'War. What is it good for?'.

1:59 pm, June 03, 2007  
Blogger Baz said...

When Iraq invaded Kuwait in August 1990, Osama bin Laden offered to defend Saudi Arabia by sending "jihadist" warriors from Afghanistan to repel Saddam's forces. After the Gulf War, bin Laden continued to criticize Saddam's Ba'ath regime, emphasizing that Saddam could not be trusted. Bin Laden told his biographer that "the land of the Arab world, the land is like a mother, and Saddam Hussein is fucking his mother."

I think that sums up the relationship between Bin Laden and Hussein. There was none. Even the US 9/11 committe decided there weren't.

When, in the UK, Blair released his "dossier" on Iraq, and the infamous 45 minute claim was made it rang alarm bells in my head, because the Prime Minister of the UK stood up and said that within 45 minutes Saddam Hussein could threaten British people and British interests.

What he conviniently forgot to mention was that his 45 minute claim referred to Iraq possibly being able to deply Scud type missiles with the range to hit an RAF base in Cyprus if they had continued to develop rocket technology or had somehow managed to get new rockets from the North Koreans despite the continued and increased UN sanctions since 1991 and the monitoring of the country.

Of course, people made the link - UK, Iraq, WMD, 45 minutes. Thats where the initial support in the war came from in the UK. It relied on a man who alot of people took very very seriously missing out a few facts in a TV soundbyte.

In the US the con-job was undertaken using parrot technique and association by decree. Very clever. War on Terror, Saddam Husseein, 9/11, Al -Queada, Iraq, War on Terror 9/11 - rinse and repeat. Its easier in the US because the place is so damn big and self sufficient that alot of the people their have no idea about the world at large - and if you've ever seen anything from the Fox News Network then you'll know just how sickeningly facist it is.

Fact is that the US was fine propping up Iraq as a counterweight to the revolution in Iran until Saddam Hussein got a bit greedy and decided he'd quite like a slice of the Kuwait oil revenues. Bush Snr had no UN mandate in 1991 to topple Saddam Hussein (even though the Kurds repeatedly asked the US to keep going at the time). Bush Jnr took the very next opportunity to remove Hussein after that, post 9/11, riding on the back of the paranoia and the fear at the time.

The oil fields were the first things secured in the invasion of Iraq, and they were the first things to be bought back online and working properly, which I think says alot.

Americans like to say that their troops in Iraq are "fighting for their freedoms". What they are actually fighting for is to keep US petroleum prices low :(

8:53 am, June 04, 2007  
Blogger Gill said...

EF, I feel exactly as you do about Saddam. And America is seriously worrying me at the moment, more than usual. Someone sent me some links, which I mean to study as soon as I get chance. So much to read though.

Baz - that'd be our idiot's guide then! Thanks for that :-)

1:15 am, June 05, 2007  
Blogger shukr said...

1984 we are here.

11:00 am, June 05, 2007  
Blogger Tim said...

Frankly, I don't think the US has a foreign policy. All that matters is how something suits the big corporates who bankroll the politicians and how it can be made to play to redneck voters. Which really is not the same thing at all.

9:06 pm, June 05, 2007  
Blogger Gill said...

Yes I've been thinking about 1984 in relation to those 'wars' too Shukr.

Tim yes the businessmen are the politicians, aren't they? It was ever thus. I've got more to blog on that later.

9:05 am, June 07, 2007  

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