Sunday, February 19, 2006

Iraq - 35 years of American Intervention

US And Iraq: Thirty-Five Years of Interventions, Invasions, and Isolation
WorldNews Guest Writer, Beverly Darling, 12/13/05

If it were not so sad, it would be laughable as American politicians and world leaders dispute about U.S. troop reduction and complete withdraw from Iraq. The real debate should center on the causes and effects of U.S. interventions, invasions, and isolationist policies in Iraq for the past thirty-five years. U.S. politicians are not known for their long-term memory and knowledge when it comes to historical matters and international relationships. Regrettably, American statesmen like to live for the moment, be entertained, and rarely think about the consequences of past and present actions concerning their policies. It is time for the U.S. to be confronted and paint a true picture of its imperial ambitions in Iraq. The picture that is painted, may not be a pleasant one.

The painting begins in 1972, when President Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger met with the Soviet Union to discuss how to ease tensions in the Middle East. Kissinger claimed the U.S. was committed to bringing about a settlement by a relaxation of the armaments race in that region. Instead, with the urging of America’s ally the Shah of Iran, the U.S. shipped sixteen million dollars worth of military aid to assist the Kurds in their autonomous fight. In 1973 when oil and OPEC brought Iran and Iraq together, the Kurd’s hope for a homeland was dashed when both Iran and the U.S. abandoned them. Several Kurdish leaders were executed and 200,000 refugees fled to Iran. The only response from Washington was the refusal to allow any Kurdish national to seek political asylum in the U.S.

In 1979, when the ruthless Shah of Iran was overthrown, once again relations were strained between the secular fundamentalist Aytollah Khomeini of Iran and Iraq’s secular Ba’th Party represented by Saddam Hussein. Hussein sent Iraqi troops into Iran in 1980 over a border dispute concerning the Shatt-Al-Arab Marsh and other territories that Iran was supposed to return to Iraq in a 1975 treaty. While the UN, for the next several years, attempted to broker a cease-fire between the two countries, Donald Rumsfield, a member of the Reagan Administration, flew to Baghdad and with the aid of front groups, banks, financial institutions, and other countries loaned and sold an estimated six billion dollars worth of radar equipment, tanks, small arms, cluster bombs, missiles, and biological-chemical weapons to Hussein and his regime.

Ironically, Reagan was also covertly selling weapons to Iran and using the monies to fund the Contra Fighters in their terrorist war against the poor and the Sandanistas of Nicaragua. Although the Iraq-Iran war, which lasted eight years, resulted in the death of two million soldiers, from Washington’s perspective, by pitting Iraq and Iran against each other and funneling weapons to fuel a conflict, both countries would be weakened and powerless to act and become a major player in the Middle East.

In 1990 and 1991 with Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait, (some Iraqi’s still view Kuwait as one of their provinces since Britain colonized it for its own military and economic use after WWI), the U.S. led a 500,000 man army and a coalition consisting of several countries to force Iraq’s withdrawal. Known as the First Persian Gulf War, what motivated America in their concern over Hussein‘s occupation of Kuwait? One can speculate about the Pentagon’s fear of having its budget slashed in the wake of the Cold War ending and a small scale war would prevent this. America also wanted to play the role as the lone super-power in the world-especially the Middle East. There was also a debate in congress concerning the initial funding of a Peace Dividend that would promote education and cultural understanding instead of combat.

One can know for sure that U.S. leaders were fighting to preserve their way of life, attempting to ‘kick’ the Vietnam Syndrome, showing and marketing high-tech military weapons systems to other countries, and of course, oil. To be fair, human rights abuses did occur in Kuwait. But also from the start, the U.S. never gave peace a chance, only layers of conditions. During the Persian Gulf War I, tens of thousands of retreating Iraqi soldiers and civilians were killed and buried alive, as was evident from eye witness accounts and the pictures of burned-out military and personal vehicles and carcasses that littered the road from Kuwait to Basra.

Two operational nuclear plants were bombed along with the targeting of Iraq’s water purification systems, electrical grids, and pharmaceutical and sewage plants. When a shelter was destroyed along with 1500 civilians, mostly women and children, a Pentagon spokesman asked why the people were even there in the first place. One U.S. general claimed that Iraq had been ‘bombed back to the stone-age‘. He was right, as the poor and the oppressed suffered from dysentery, typhoid, and the contamination of water and food supplies.

Not yet satisfied, immediately after the First Persian Gulf War ended, President George H. W. Bush encouraged the Shiites in the south and the Kurds in the north to rebel against Hussein’s regime. The revolts were suppressed, and instead of aiding these rebellions, the U.S. started the Second Persian Gulf War, also known as the No-Fly-Zone War (NFZW). The U.S. and UK patrolled the northern and southern skies over Iraq excluding any Iraqi aircraft from these areas. In 1996, President Bill Clinton extended the NFZW to include Baghdad and central Iraq. Hundreds of sorties were flown by the U.S. and UK throughout the 1990’s to target missile sites, radar sites, and nuclear sites. Many Iraqi civilians were also killed in these raids. Horrific economic sanctions were also imposed on Iraq isolating many Iraqis from the rest of the world. It is estimated that over 400,000 Iraqi children died of malnutrition, disease, lack of medicines, and needed surgeries. When Madeline Albright was asked if the sanctions were worth the cost of human lives including children, she replied with a definite ‘yes’.

In 2003, as President George W. Bush mistakenly linked 9-11 to Iraq, falsely claimed that Hussein was days away from producing a nuclear weapon, while U.S. attacks spiked in the no fly zones, the Bush regime invaded and occupied Iraq instead of allowing the nuclear inspections team to complete their findings and exhausting all means necessary to prevent Persian Gulf War III. As Iraq is now embroiled in a civil war, secret prisons and torture chambers are being discovered, corruption is rampant, terrorism is increasing, Iran and Syria’s borders are unstable, and the U.S. Empire has expanded into the Middle East and Caucuses at the expense of 17,137 U.S. casualties and more important over 400,000 Iraqi casualties, it is evident that years of U.S. arbitration has turned into attrition and numerous atrocities. With friends like the U.S., who needs enemies?

On December 15, the Iraqi’s will continue to work for and cast a vote for the future of their nation. President Bush, of course, will take credit. Will President Bush and former leaders also take credit for thirty-five years of U.S. interventions, invasions, and isolationist policies towards Iraq? Will the U.S. confront its years of deceit, manipulation, and partial responsibility for creating a culture of death and destruction in certain areas of Iraq? At this time in history, the greatest thing the U.S. can do for Iraq is not to impose a continuous military presence but instead a promise consisting in an apology, war reparations, badly needed humanitarian aid, and a commitment never to intervene again in the affairs of Iraq. The elite millionaire politicians and corporate entities who grew wealthy from Iraq’s demise should contribute money immediately for the affliction they have caused.

The Iraqi people are resilient as proven in their past history of dealing with detrimental and destructive outside forces. The people of Iraq should now be given a chance to determine their own future. Thirty-five years of failed U.S. intervention policies and three wars have proven this.



1 comment :

Anonymous said...

very nice writeup, USA thinks they are the only sane people to govern the world.