Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Three bloody years

Three years ago yesterday, that statue of Saddam was toppled in Baghdad, marking the end of the invasion and the beginning of the occupation. What have those three years achieved? I could reel off the statistics - 34,000 confirmed civilian deaths by violence; an estimated 100,000 excess civilian deaths in the first 18 months, over and above the number killed by Saddam and dying of malnutrition and preventable disease under the cruelty of sanctions; 1300 dead due to "sectarian violence" last month alone, the per-capita equivalent of a September-11th-scale attack every single week - but I think the most telling point is this: on April 9th, 2003, Iraq was (nominally) a totalitarian dictatorship, where opponents of the government faced torture and death at the hands of a death squad. Today, it's still happening, only to different people, and by the agents of an elected government rather than an unelected one. What have all those people died for? So Shi'ites can apply the cordless drills to the kneecaps and elbows of Sunnis, rather than vice-versa?

The fact is that the invasion has changed nothing - and killed a hell of a lot of people to do it. And they're still dying. When I browse BBC, barely a day goes by without a story of another series of car bombs (killing 6 on Saturday, 79 on Friday) or more bodies found in a rubbish dump, hands bound behind their backs, shot execution style in the head, and bearing the scars of torture on their bodies. And meanwhile, politicians are falling over themselves to deny the stunningly obvious: that there's a low-level civil war going on, and that there has been for quite some time.

America has broken Iraq. It wasn't good to start with, but they've managed to make it worse. And Iraqis will be dying for their mistake for some time to come.


I don't quite see how the brutality of Muslim vs Muslim violence can be blamed on America - who are putting their soldiers lives on the line to stop it. What moral culpability rests with Iraqis or foreign fighters who bomb shopping squares and Mosques? Are they anti-Imperialist freedom fighters? Or cold-blooded murderers? Wishing-oh-so-strongly that Iraq was back under Saddam and his sons seems very you, Idiot. Would Indonesian violence have convinced you that East Timor was best left under Indonesia?

Posted by Anonymous : 4/11/2006 02:06:00 PM

I agree with the above post - it's Muslims killing Muslims.

The blame doesn't belong to the Americans - regardless of the war if Saddam had been toppled internally I suspect the volience would be the same or greater.

The number of Iraqis that died while Saddam was in control was much greater than the numbers you report.

Islam the religion of peace - my ass.

Posted by Anonymous : 4/11/2006 03:07:00 PM

anonymous, the cause of the present inter-communal violence is not Islam, it's Saddam's decades of persecution of the Shi'ite majority. It's a tribal-based conflict which just so happens to coincide with the religious division.

Quibbling about whether or not this is a civil war seems a rather unproductive activity. One thing to note is that the Shi'ite leadership have done quite a lot to quell anger at insurgent provocation. With the leadership not wanting a civil war things are a lot better than if they did want one.

Posted by Anonymous : 4/11/2006 03:31:00 PM

Adrien - where has idiot/savant EVER said that he wished iraq was back under saddam's control?

This seems to be a very common and false argument. Most commentators who are against the war in iraq are coming from a standpoint that it was based on lies and that there are better ways to achieve change than by invasion.

Anonymous - Whoever created the situation for the secterian violence to escalate must take some of the blame. And in this case the violence has increased as a direct result of the american invasion. Sure it might still have happened under different circumstances but america did open the door, funnly enough this is exactly what many people warned would be the outcome of an american lead invasion.
Also Islam is a religion of peace (like most religions) The problem is that it (like christianity)has been twisted into a tool to serve the desires of people who wish to gain control, be they warlord or president.

Has anyone read the writings of Richard Pearle? Particularly those concerning The Project for the New American Century. In these papers he calls for a global american dominance. cultural, economic and millitary. One of his claims is that america needs to sieze control of the means of oil production and that the catalyst for the american public to be behind such a move would need to be a modern day Pearl Harbour. Strangely enough its all there in black and white and all published BEFORE 9/11.


Posted by Anonymous : 4/11/2006 03:50:00 PM

What - so Iraqi's aren't culpable for their actions according to you Fraser? This is such a typical left moral cretinism: We can't hold the poor natives to any real ethical standard regarding their behaviour, so we'll blame the nearest Westerner. As has been pointed out many times, this is akin to saying 'they're children, lacking the moral self-awareness of adults'.

The 'creation of the situation for sectarian violence' as you put it, was the toppling of a brutally oppressive police state that had hitherto stopped sectarian violence through massive repression. if you are unhappy with that, then you plainly DO think Iraqi was better off under Saddam and his security apparatus.

And as for Islam being a 'religion of peace' - my ass. You're a typically ignorant left-winger, aren't you? Islam since its inception has spread through the sword. You wanna explain why the 21st century slave trade still centres around Islamic countries? Or perhaps you could explain away the brutalization of women throughout the Islamic world? Religion of peace indeed...

Posted by Anonymous : 4/12/2006 01:42:00 AM

adrien - "so Iraqi's aren't culpable for their actions according to you"

I didnt say that did i. note the word "some" when im talking about blame. Yes the situation was going to get bad with the removal of saddam. That was pretty self evident. But the american authorities there did things to inflame the situation. For example, laying of thousands of workers and being more interested in opening up the local market for foriegn investment than rebuilding local infrastucture.

At the core of most religions is a base of peace. The problem is that religion is, and has always been subverted by people seeking control and power. much like politics, religion can be easily used as a control mechanism. Yes Islam has been advanced by the sword, and so has probably most other religions, but is that the fault of the religion or the people who wish to dominate? Take your claim of the brutalization of women. Is this caused by the religion itself, or is it because of people using the religion as a method of justifing their position?

also please dont make assumption about me and my political standpoint - you dont know me in the slightest. And if youre going to resort to insults why dont you go over to sir humphries.

Posted by Anonymous : 4/12/2006 09:20:00 AM

Maybe it's the fault of the relgion's founder who did a lot of killing and ordering-killing himself. This 'core' of peace you speak of - not really easy to find, is it? I notice you've chose not to comment on slavery or the treatment of women whilst pontificating about this 'base of peace'. Probably just as well.

As for America's culpability in this 'Civil War' - can you please explain how 'laying off thousands of workers' ushers in mosque bombings and the barbarity and strife we've seen between Shiites and Sunnis? Pretty pathetic 'smoking gun', and very easy to sit in a comfortable moral armchair and say 'this and that were wrong' after the fact: actually I can't remember hearing too much opposition from anyone when the US disbanded Saddam's armed forces/militia.

Posted by Anonymous : 4/12/2006 10:38:00 AM

The laying off of Saddams armed forces and militia was the only possibility as was the rounding up of Saddams commanders.

They were involved in extreme acts of suppression of most of the Iraqi populace.

You wouldn't defeat Germany and then give the keys back to the SS would you.

In fact the current lot of Muslim murders and thugs in Iraq appear to be more and more like the SS in Germany where any act of brutality can be justified.

Posted by Anonymous : 4/12/2006 05:06:00 PM