Published On:Saturday, August 27, 2011
Posted by Sri Lanka Guardian
by Shenali Waduge
(August 27, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) Iraq was invaded illegally, occupied illegally & Saddam Hussein its erstwhile leader was sentenced to death illegally. That was the West’s democracy for Iraq. That the West freed Iraq from its “dictator” was all that really mattered & post-war Iraq in short is nothing but miserable. Dissent in Saddam’s rule might have meant death, democracy post-Saddam means one can talk but no one listens or reacts. Where lies the difference for the people?
The Iraq war was a concocted one. The strategy used was the excuse of weapons of mass destruction while a puppet-UN endorsed inspectors & slapped the country with numerous resolutions, trade embargoes & sanctions, the very ingredients that lay the foundations for leadership change in countries. All these notions were orchestrated to perfection with international media playing their part by ensuring that their countrymen & opposition legislatures backed the calls for invasions. Locally, infiltration of people, arousing of public emotions was easy to garner in a country that had warring factions within (Sunni-Shiates) & people who could easily be aroused to think that deposing Saddam would usher in a new era & a new beginning for them. The stage was set & the drama unfolded with sensationalized stories telecast the world over with journalists & media competing for the best coverage & relaying of on the spot news.
A dictator becomes a “dictator” abhorred by his countrymen when he has overused his authority & power. These are good lessons for such leaders overstepping their power because they have come to equate power as their right. Such have been the countries that the West have been quick to ear mark & target for overthrowing these countries has been an easy effort to enter & dislodge these leaders. It is these very citizens who end up helping the overthrow take place, thus the non-requirement for stretched military equipment or personnel & the use of their own to minimize the casualties to their own countrymen. Collateral damage is what the West would call this. The countries where these leaders become “dictators” are often rich in natural resources which are one reason why they end up misusing the mandate given to them & becoming power hungry & their stooges & families end up devastating the country to which they are supposed to function as custodians.
Therefore, Iraq & all other countries of the world need to realize that the leaders that they vote must lead only for a certain term only, that there is a limit to misusing his own country wealth at the cost of the tax payers money & that any time more than that in office naturally leans towards bad & unethical leadership practices. It is a natural phenomena but one that is being artfully used to effect a far worse dictatorship through the arrival of Western neo-capitalist regime totally degrading society & the countries that the West occupy & overthrow. Most of these very countries have all been previously occupied during colonial times which has meant most of their natural resources have been fleeced & the current trend is to repeat that same policy once more.
We are all aware that the West did the unpardonable in the manner it invaded & occupied Iraq & the objective was never about destroying weapons of mass destruction or even ridding the country of Saddam & most importantly liberating its people. As a one time CIA agent, it would not have been difficult for Saddam to function in a similar role once more & Saddam himself until his last days may have revisited his own past & his own guilt at the wrongs to his own people, to the people of Iran & Kuwait must surely have haunted him.
If we are to believe the telecasts by international media & the journalists on ground during the last days prior to the fall of Iraqi forces & the capture of Saddam Hussain, viewers would be awed by the public outcry for the capture of Saddam & more importantly the jubilation of the Allied troops that had come to save them. If any country should be saved by the West it should be Palestinians suffering in Gaza for years as a result of Israeli. What does the US do instead – it vetoes Resolutions brought against Israel in the UN.
Now here lies the anticlimax & this is where the crux of the invasions & overthrowing actually rests.
Governments, leaders, dictators or whatever other names the West calls these people ruling a nation have been overthrown in carefully orchestrated maneuverings & operations on the grounds that the people of these countries are promised “freedom”, “democracy”, a new life, a new beginning, to be treated like humans….& now comes the most important question what type of “democracy” & “freedom” or a better life have these people got or been given by the West after they have overthrown the “dictator”?
It is the lack of answering this all important question that demands the West not to use these false clichés of “freedom from dictators” as an excuse. No sooner these “dictators” are overthrown the first thing the West ends up doing is to tap the natural resources, take over the economic hubs & privatize all channels that will supply their countries a steady flow of monetary returns & economic gain. All those who played an indirect role in aiding the West by providing support end up just turning their heads away. Therefore, when we all know Iraq was a mistake it is good to now ask whether Libya is going to be another – where the consequences to the future of the people of these countries were never part of the strategy or overall plan!
Let us look at things from the people’s perspective. In Iraq, naturally a large number of Iraqi’s suffered from Saddam in a country divided by tribal factions whether they all belonged to the Islam faith. Therefore, when developed countries like US, UK & its allies made it known publicly that they were going to free the Iraqi people from a dictator who would object? It is what they got in return for that jubilation that actually matters post-Saddam & it is the guilt that these countries did not deliver & more importantly never really planned to deliver is what matters in this whole exercise of overthrowing Governments.
What makes the reality far worse is that UN bodies & international media two supposedly “independent” bodies simply watch these same blueprints take place repeatedly in different parts of the continent & the numbers are rising & what is worse is that these “independent” bodies have become part of this exercise itself.
Do people of this world have anywhere they can reach out for justice? NO.
Iraq is a failure because there was never a plan to rebuild Iraq. A country like US & UK & its allies do not commit trillions of dollars if all areas & angles are not calculated & looked at. There are think tanks & strategists & counter strategists that look at different ways countries & leaders can be overcome. There is no one plan in place & for every plan there is always immediate alternatives therefore it is very clear that all that was planned in the invasion was the deposing of Saddam Hussein. The occupation has been only a strategic goalpost to show that America has the mettle to exist in the Middle East. Operation Libya cannot be far different. The mistake if any is to supply arms to Libyans & the dangers of that mistake may be seen in the forthcoming days if not now as it appears no one knows who is shooting whom. Libya is a risk to the US who has pocketed $1.3trillion for the Iraq & Afghanistan operation. All these investments are likely to see their fruits only in future. In Kosovo now independent almost all its oil now belong to US interests, those that were euphoric about “freedom” find themselves unemployed or employed as prostitutes as it has become the city of the red light trade. Bombings means a boost to the construction trade & US construction industry will see a boom just like they experienced in Iraq. US security firms will also be flourishing just like they did in Iraq. In 2007, there were 180,000 US private contractors working in Iraq. This is capitalism at its best being practiced at the cost of innocent civilians who have jumped from the frying pan into the fire!
As of Jun 2011, there are 46,000 US troops in Iraq. All other nations have withdrawn their troops. It is estimated that civilians deaths hover around 600,000. If death by Saddam was feared, since February 2004 daily insurgent attacks have risen drastically & on some days over 150 deaths have taken place. Since US occupation in 2001 there have been 2.2million internally displaced Iraqis while a further 2.25m are living as refugees in Syria & Jordan. There is no demand for resettlement or rehabilitation by any world body upon the US or its allies certainly not like that which Sri Lanka is experiencing despite within a short span of 2 years resettling almost 96% of all internally displaced Tamils. Iraqi unemployment rate is almost 60%. 28% of Iraqi children are suffering from chronic malnutrition. 70% of Iraqi’s are without adequate water supplies.
The best example for the loss of Iraqi people’s freedom can be seen in the fact that 40% of Iraqi professionals have left the country since 2003. Where there were 34,000 physicians before 2003, by 2005, 12000 had left Iraq & 2000 had been murdered. Where is the freedom that the Iraqi’s had been promised? Freedom for Iraqi’s does not connote to mean that they all flee their country!
What of the US troops themselves. Over 32,000 have been wounded with over 20% having serious brain & spinal injuries. Over 30% of US troops are suffering mental health problems. Does any of these ills really matter to administrations or the real culprits that bankroll all the ills that take place around the world. Political leaders unfortunately are in reality just stooges themselves & that is the anticlimax about democracy…..a lot of nice words & clichés but nothing more.
Let us now wonder what the people of Libya think. Gaddafi was no CIA puppet. He was allied to countries & movements fighting imperialism. He nationalized oil & developed the Libyan economy. Libya is Africa’s 3rd largest oil producer & has 44.3billion barrels. The punishment was the bombing of Libya in 1986 killing his infant daughter which not many media cared to even publish. Knowing the threats to Libya Gaddafi even opened Libya’s economy to foreign banks, corporations & agreed to the infamous IMF SAP programs of privatizing state enterprises & cutting state subsidies on food….Sri Lanka please take note. As a result Libyans are suffering from the same high prices & unemployment other countries that are having “rebellions” are suffering from. The NTC that is spearheading the calls for “freedom” in Libya are all long-standing agents of imperialism…Sri Lanka too has its set of such agents.
It is not hard to deduce that all of the efforts to overthrow Governments whatever type of governance has taken place in these countries are done so purely on the basis of acquiring the wealth of these nations. The calls for removal of these “despots” or “dictators” are mere slogans helped greatly by the mass media that provides the visuals of sensationalism to justify the overthrowing by painting the perfect picture of saviors against despots. It took no time for Mubarak of Egypt, the one time darling of the West to be portrayed with so much hatred by the media with no reminder to the public that he was an agent of the West. This is what is likely to happen to all other political leaders who think they will remain the darlings of the West & continue corrupt leadership.
In any democracy where people come to power on the strength of a vote it is natural that almost half the nation will not vote in favor of the overall winner. This is certainly not basis for any country to say that a leader is opposed & plans set to overthrow him.
The countries that are currently earmarked for regime change will know from diplomatic statements where their countries are heading for & this alone should suffice to ensure the country is set in order & issues that are likely to be used as excuses are properly taken care of. Corruption being one excuse is a perfect area to ensure that politicians, their stooges & the corrupt public service immediately function as they should & not as they want to run for the repercussions are far more dangerous in the present context. Sri Lanka & Sri Lankans in particular need to be cautious at all times. There are none more patriotic than one’s own countrymen & we must remember this always. Outsourcing freedom should never be a prerogative at any time.