Four Long Years of War

By Dr. AS Nakadar, Muslim Media News Service (MMNS)

It was four years ago today, March 19, 2003, that President Bush announced the start of the war in Iraq, and after 4 years the president orders more troops to Iraq. Soon after, President Bush announced “Mission Accomplished” and that “Major combat operations in Iraq have ended.” Now, we have over 3,200 dead soldiers, about 30,000 wounded, and perhaps 31% have returned from the war with mental illnesses. Over half a million children had died following UN sanctions, brought on by us during the 1990’s, and now perhaps 500,000 Iraqi’s have died in this current conflict–we don’t even know how many innocents have died.

There is at best sporadic electricity in the nation; gasoline is a scarce commodity in a country with immense reserves. People are scared to venture outside to buy groceries; hospitals are filled with dead bodies instead of medicine. Only 30% of the children now attend school, as compared to two years ago when it was 75%. Today, nearly 100% of Iraqis say they don’t feel safe. In the last four years we have seen nothing other than death, destruction, disorder and spiraling violence.

It is unfortunate that Bush and company felt they could do anything they wanted to just by chanting the 9/11 mantra as justification. Had the president bothered to check history, which involves reading, thinking and analysis (some say these are beyond him) he would have realized that the present policies were doomed.

The Iraq invasion is getting messier by the day. It is not only a disaster, but a huger disaster that one could have imagined.

And we call this a fourth anniversary of Iraq war? The terminology “Anniversary and “War” are both misnomers in this case. Most people use “anniversary” to express celebration, and there is nothing to celebrate in the Iraq invasion. There is also a connotation behind such words that the “war” will continue on the annual basis. Two sides declare a war. This is a one-sided affair, in which under false pretences we simply invaded a foreign country.

Many feel that the conservatives in this country gained immense monetary and political capital with this invasion. Political gains as indicated in the 2004 elections, and immense monetary gains by Dick Cheney and his friends from Halliburton and other crony companies. Cheney owns shares and awarding contracts to those companies.

He benefits financially on the backs of US soldiers.

On April 9, 2003, a rope around the neck of Saddam Hussain’s statue pulled it down. On December 14 of the same year, US forces announced his capture. His execution, ironically took place on December 30, 2006, on the day of Eid of Adha.

Iraqi poet Abbas Chaychan, a Shi’a once exiled during Saddam’s regime wrote after the invasion: “we have breakfast of kababs and qaymar;” after the hanging he wrote: “It wasn’t a rope that wrapped around the neck/ It was the neck that wrapped around the rope.” What a change in thinking bought on by the present conditions in Iraq.

We invaded Iraq, lying to the world that it had WMD. The absence of WMD was the first chink in the armor. This was followed by the argument depicting Saddam Hussain as a dictator and dangerous for the world. When captured and no longer effective, the reason for staying in Iraq was to establish democracy. Just as if it was a panacea for the Middle East. This disregards the fact that our biggest allies and trading partners, like Kuwait, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, and China are not democracies. Democracy can’t be imposed, it has to be governed by the will of the people. So now we are in Iraq because of sectarian violence and if we pull out there will be a bloodbath. What is it now? What do you call it? Who created all this mess in the first place?

Mr. President, let us stop adding lighted candles in the memory of our brave fallen soldiers. Bring them home. We need to pay more attention to our domestic issues of unemployment, health care, education, inflation, and our falling dollar.

We are in quicksand, in Iraq as well as at home–get us out before it is too late.