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 Occupation falls into shadows : by Dahr Jamil

اذهب الى الأسفل 
كاتب الموضوعرسالة
Dr.Hannani Maya
المشرف العام
المشرف العام

الدولة : العراق
الجنس : ذكر
عدد المساهمات : 42319
مزاجي : أحب المنتدى
تاريخ التسجيل : 21/09/2009
الابراج : الجوزاء
التوقيت :

مُساهمةموضوع: Occupation falls into shadows : by Dahr Jamil   السبت 20 مارس 2010, 03:46


Occupation falls into shadows

by Dahr Jamail

As Afghanistan has taken center stage in US corporate media, with President Barack Obama announcing two major escalations of the war in recent months, the US occupation of Iraq has fallen into the media shadows.

But while US forces have begun to slowly pull back in Iraq, approximately 130,000 American troops and 114,000 private contractors still remain in the country (Congressional Research Service, 12/14/09)-along with an embassy the size of Vatican City. Upwards of 400 Iraqi civilians still die in a typical month (Iraq Body Count, 12/31/09), and fallout from the occupation that is now responsible, by some estimates, for 1 million Iraqi deaths (Extra!, 1/2/08) continues to severely impact Iraqis in ways that go uncovered by the US press.

From early on in the occupation of Iraq, one of the most pressing concerns for Iraqis-besides ending the occupation and a desperate need for security-has been basic infrastructure. The average home in Iraq today, over six and a half years into the occupation, operates on less than six hours of electricity per day (AP, 9/7/09). “A water shortage described as the most critical since the earliest days of Iraq’s civilization is threatening to leave up to 2 million people in the south of the country without electricity and almost as many without drinking water,” the Guardian (8/26/09) reported; waterborne diseases and dysentery are rampant. The ongoing lack of power and clean drinking water has even led Iraqis to take to the streets in Baghdad (AP, 10/11/09), chanting, “No water, no electricity in the country of oil and the two rivers.”

Devastation wrought by the occupation, coupled with rampant corruption among the Western contractors awarded the contracts to rebuild Iraq’s demolished infrastructure, are to blame (International Herald Tribune, 7/6/09). Ali Ghalib Baban, Iraq’s minister of planning, said late last year (International Herald Tribune, 11/21/09) that the billions of dollars the US has spent on so-called reconstruction contracts in Iraq has had no discernible impact. “Maybe they spent it,” he said, “but Iraq doesn’t feel it.”

Last January, the Los Angeles Times ran a story (1/26/09) that highlighted the lack of electricity: “As elections near, people say it’s hard to have faith in leaders when they don’t even have electricity,” was the subhead. But most other large US papers have avoided the topic-unless it is brought up in such a way as to blame Iraqis for the problem, as the New York Times (11/21/09) did with its piece, “US Fears Iraqis Will Not Keep Up Rebuilt Projects.”

Further complicating matters, a drought that is now over four years old plagues most of Iraq. In the country’s north, lack of water has forced more than 100,000 people to abandon their homes since 2005, with 36,000 more on the verge of leaving (AP, 10/13/09).

Corporate media coverage of the ongoing Iraqi refugee crisis-the UN estimates that more than 4.5 million Iraqis in all have been displaced from their homes (UNHCR.org, 1/09)-continues to be scant. The stories that do appear tend to be local stories about Iraqi refugees in the newspaper’s home city (e.g., Chicago Tribune, 10/25/09).

For Iraqis who remain in the country, another critical story is cancer. The US and British militaries used more than 1,700 tons of depleted uranium in Iraq in the 2003 invasion (Jane’s Defence News, 4/2/04)-on top of 320 tons used in the 1991 Gulf War (Inter Press Service, 3/25/03). Literally every local person I’ve ever spoken with in Iraq during my nine months of reporting there knows someone who either suffers from or has died of cancer.

The lead paragraph of an article by Jalal Ghazi, for New America Media (1/6/10), is blunt:

"Forget about oil, occupation, terrorism or even Al-Qaeda. The real hazard for Iraqis these days is cancer. Cancer is spreading like wildfire in Iraq. Thousands of infants are being born with deformities. Doctors say they are struggling to cope with the rise of cancer and birth defects, especially in cities subjected to heavy American and British bombardment."

Ghazi reported that in Fallujah, which bore the brunt of two massive US military operations in 2004, as many as 25 percent of newborn infants have serious physical abnormalities. Cancer rates in Babil, an area south of Baghdad, have risen from 500 cases in 2004 to more than 9,000 in 2009. Dr. Jawad al-Ali, the director of the Oncology Center in Basra, told Al Jazeera English (10/12/09) that there were 1,885 cases of cancer in all of 2005; between 1,250 and 1,500 patients visit his center every month now.

Babies born to US veterans of the 1991 war are showing birth defects very similar to affected Iraqi babies (Sunday Herald, 3/30/03), and many US soldiers are now referring to Gulf War Syndrome 2, alleging they have developed cancer because of exposure to depleted uranium in Iraq (New America Media, 1/6/10).

How has this ongoing story been covered by the corporate media? It hasn’t, at least not in the last five years, with the exception of an article in Vanity Fair (2/05) and a few isolated Associated Press stories, like “Sickened Iraq Vets Cite Depleted Uranium” (8/13/06). While smaller publications like the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs (11/05) and the Public Record (10/19/09) have taken it on, none of the other big outlets have touched the story.

While US newspapers have been following the lead-up to the Iraq elections, there has been virtually no coverage of the mass arrests Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki’s government is busy conducting in predominantly Sunni areas of Iraq. As the Iraqi daily Azzaman (1/4/10) reported:

"Iraqi security forces have launched a wide campaign in Sunni Muslim-dominated neighborhoods of Baghdad and towns and cities to the north and west of the capital…. The campaign is said to be the widest by the government in years and has led to an exodus of people to the Kurdish north."

Family members of those being arrested are not told where their loved ones are being held, only that those arrested will remain behind bars until after the elections. These sweeps have collected members of the formerly US-backed Awakening Councils, Sunni militias once paid off by the US to stop their attacks on occupation forces. The cutoff of US support for the Councils is another underreported story.

Meanwhile, the hardship for Iraqis continues unabated, along with the need to find alternative sources for accurate information - or any information - about an occupation that continues to involve as many troops as when Iraq dominated US headlines in 2004 (Congressional Research Service, 7/2/09).

Posted by Iraq Solidarity UK at 8:56 AM 0 comments Links to this post

Iraqi Women Miss Saddam

by Dahr Jamail

Under Saddam Hussein, women in government got a year’s maternity leave; that is now cut to six months. Under the Personal Status Law in force since Jul. 14, 1958, when Iraqis overthrew the British-installed monarchy, Iraqi women had most of the rights that Western women do.

Now they have Article 2 of the Constitution: “Islam is the official religion of the state and is a basic source of legislation.” Sub-head A says “No law can be passed that contradicts the undisputed rules of Islam.” Under this Article the interpretation of women’s rights is left to religious leaders – and many of them are under Iranian influence.

“The U.S. occupation has decided to let go of women’s rights,” Yanar Mohammed who campaigns for women’s rights in Iraq says. “Political Islamic groups have taken southern Iraq, are fully in power there, and are using the financial support of Iran to recruit troops and allies. The financial and political support from Iran is why the Iraqis in the south accept this, not because the Iraqi people want Islamic law.”

With the new law has come the new lawlessness. Nora Hamaid, 30, a graduate from Baghdad University, has now given up the career she dreamt of. “I completed my studies before the invaders arrived because there was good security and I could freely go to university,” Hamaid tells IPS. Now she says she cannot even move around freely, and worries for her children every day. “I mean every day, from when they depart to when they return from school, for fear of abductions.”

There is 25 percent representation for women in parliament, but Sabria says “these women from party lists stand up to defend their party in the parliament, not for women’s rights.” For women in Iraq, the invasion is not over.

The situation for Iraq’s women reflects the overall situation: everyone is affected by lack of security and lack of infrastructure.“The status of women here is linked to the general situation,” Maha Sabria, professor of political science at Al-Nahrain University in Baghdad tells IPS. “The violation of women’s rights was part of the violation of the rights of all Iraqis.” But, she said, “women bear a double burden under occupation because we have lost a lot of freedom because of it.

“More men are now under the weight of detention, so now women bear the entire burden of the family and are obliged to provide full support to the families and children. At the same time women do not have freedom of movement because of the deteriorated security conditions and because of abductions of women and children by criminal gangs.”Women, she says, are also now under pressure to marry young in family hope that a husband will bring security.

Sabria tells IPS that the abduction of women “did not exist prior to the occupation. We find that women lost their right to learn and their right to a free and normal life, so Iraqi women are struggling with oppression and denial of all their rights, more than ever before.”Yanar Mohammed believes the constitution neither protects women nor ensures their basic rights. She blames the United States for abdicating its responsibility to help develop a pluralistic democracy in Iraq.

“The real ruler in Iraq now is the rule of old traditions and tribal, backward laws,” Sabria says. “The biggest problem is that more women in Iraq are unaware of their rights because of the backwardness and ignorance prevailing in Iraqi society today.”Many women have fled Iraq because their husband was arbitrarily arrested by occupation forces or government security personnel, says Sabria.

More than four million Iraqis were estimated to have been displaced through the occupation, including approximately 2.8 million internally. The rest live as refugees mainly in neighbouring countries, according to a report by Elizabeth Ferris, co-director of the Brookings Institution-University of Bern Project on Internal Displacement.

The report, titled, ‘Going Home? Prospects and Pitfalls For Large-Scale Return Of Iraqis’, says most displaced Iraqi women are reluctant to return home because of continuing uncertainties.The Washington-based Refugees International (RI) says in a report ‘Iraqi Refugees: Women’s Rights and Security Critical to Returns’ that “Iraqi women will resist returning home, even if conditions improve in Iraq, if there is no focus on securing their rights as women and assuring their personal security and their families’ well-being.”

The RI report covered internally displaced women in Iraq’s semi-autonomous northern Kurdish region and female refugees in Syria. “Not one woman interviewed by RI indicated her intention to return,” the report says.“This tent is more comfortable than a palace in Baghdad; my family is safe here,” a displaced woman in northern Iraq told RI.The situation continues to be challenging for women within Iraq.

“I am an employee, and everyday go to my work place, and the biggest challenge for me and all the suffering Iraqis is the roads are closed and you feel you are a person without rights, without respect,” a 35-year-old government employee, who asked to be referred to as Iman, told IPS.“To what extent has this improved my security,” she asked. “We have better salaries now, but how can women live with no security? How can we enjoy our rights if there is no safe place to go, for rest and recreation and living?”

Posted by Iraq Solidarity UK at 8:49 AM 0 comments Links to this post

Returning to Iraq after 10 years

by Hela Rahman

Driving through the streets of Baghdad is a heartbreaking experience. Rubbish lies uncollected, roads bear the scars of exploded munitions and impoverished children play outside destroyed buildings, fires still smouldering amongst the rubble. There is no green now, only dust and sand. There are no ambitions for the people of Iraq bar one - to survive another day. This is the Iraq of today. This is my homeland.

When I look back it doesn’t seem real. It doesn’t seem like I actually went to a country almost half a world away, a country invaded and occupied since 2003 by Western forces, a place that has suffered over a million civilian casualties and that continues to suffer day after day. Not having been back to Iraq since 1999 I didn’t really know what to expect. A lot has happened in the past decade, a decade which I safely spent in New Zealand away from the violence. The closest I ever came to Baghdad was news reports and phone conversations with family still there. So when November 26th rolled around I still hadn’t realised that this would be a life defining trip, an experience more eye-opening than any news report.

The final leg of our journey to Baghdad was a flight from Amman, Jordan, care of 'Iraqi Airways.’ Flights to Iraq have been a rarity since the First Gulf War and have only recently resumed, with most travel previously done by road. Like most of Iraq’s infrastructure, Iraqi Airways is severely under resourced - our plane was rented from the Ukraine. All the announcements were in English as none of the hostesses spoke any Arabic, but the food tasted like a home cooked Iraqi meal. As the plane began its descent I could see patches of light amongst the night. Since sanctions were imposed upon Iraq after the 1991 Gulf War, electricity has been very limited and supplies fluctuate depending on the situation. Each suburb receives eight hours of electricity a day, administered in two hour blocks. What I was seeing were suburbs receiving their two hour share.

My uncle had organised a driver to pick us up as only travellers, officials, workers and taxi drivers are allowed into the airport. This is a security measure designed to protect the area around the airport, which is now an American base. United States forces have occupied numerous properties once owned by Saddam Hussein, including 'The Republican Palace.’ This is now the United States Embassy and part of the 'Green Zone’ - a secluded area where US soldiers, overseas civilian workers and Iraqi parliamentary officials are based. This area enjoys electricity 24 hours a day. It is also relatively safe, with access to clean water, fresh food and all home comforts. The rest of the country makes do with almost nothing.

The very next day my uncle took us out for a drive around the streets. I had thought things were bad during my 1999 visit, but I had no idea back then that the worst was yet to come. We only drove around inside one 'area.’ Nowadays Baghdad is set up in an interesting yet frustrating way. Each 'area’ has only one road for entry and exit called the checkpoint, where Iraqi soldiers check each car that passes through for explosives. The rest of the roads to and from each area are blocked off with big concrete blocks, so if you’re travelling by car you are forced to use the checkpoints. This is meant to ensure security – although given past events this hasn’t seemed to have worked – but at the same time it just makes life really difficult as all the checkpoints become very congested. During critically dangerous periods, people in each area would open up shops and markets within their houses, so when it was too dangerous to pass through a checkpoint most of the things you might need would be available within the area.

Life in Baghdad is simple yet tough. People are down to earth, happy with what they have and try to get on with day to day life. Visitors stopped by all the time and one of my mum’s cousins would always pop by every now and then and give us homemade pickles and olives or goodies he picked up from the markets. Despite all they have endured, they still try to smile. However, it can be difficult to smile when necessities are expensive and sometimes impossible to obtain. Electricity constantly goes off. Food is expensive and water isn’t always clean – a couple of times when I was washing fruit and vegetables, mud started coming out of the tap. Due to the tremendous heat, water coolers are almost as essential as oxygen in most of the Middle East but because of the electrical cuts the water is tepid at best. Petrol is very expensive – ironic considering Iraq’s large oil reserves. Since the invasion, most oil produced is exported overseas. Infrastructure is poor – rubbish collectors will only take away rubbish for cash in hand. As no one has cash, rubbish lies on the footpaths and on the streets. Every day is a struggle.

Safety isn’t ideal in Baghdad. The explosions started one Tuesday while I was chatting to my grandmother over breakfast. The house suddenly shook and the windows trembled violently as though they were about to explode. I got a huge fright but my grandma just brushed it off with "Oh yeah, it’s just another explosion." It was saddening to hear her nonchalance. She, along with the rest of the country, has become numb to the violence that surrounds them. For people in Iraq, news of a friend’s passing due to natural causes is met not with grief, but with relief that it wasn’t because of another bomb.

That Tuesday there were four more explosions - several governmental buildings were targeted and there were over a hundred civilian casualties. One of my uncles was lucky to have survived. He was working near one of the places that were targeted and later that day we saw him on the news. There is a routine for whenever there is an explosion – we’d usually go up to the rooftop to see where the smoke was coming from in order get an idea of which area the attack was in, and if we knew any friends or family members near the area we would give them a call to see if everyone was alright. The news over there is real news, not the watered-down version we get in New Zealand. Baghdad news channels stream live immediately after an explosion. Footage of bloody bodies being pulled out of rubble or severed arms and legs are no stranger to Iraqi screens.

The next three weeks in Baghdad consisted of meeting relatives I had never met before and coming to understand my surroundings. Photos of me were all around my grandparents’ house. I never realised how hard it must have been for them when we had left for New Zealand. Many of my relatives that I hadn’t met before didn’t expect me to still speak Arabic properly, so when I was being introduced to them they started speaking to me in English and when I answered them in Arabic they were shocked.

When I was there I took the opportunity to talk to friends and family members about their thoughts on the US-led invasion and their experiences over the years. I wanted to hear what the people actually had to say in comparison to what Western media feeds us. I listened to many horrific stories, from explosions to people having their home taken away from them. A lot of the time if a house is seen empty or unoccupied for a period of time it is broken into and claimed by others. As some areas become more dangerous than others or houses are destroyed by the war people have no choice but to look for abandoned houses. My uncle said that between 2005 and 2007 they would sometimes wake up to find dead bodies dumped outside their house.

A story that was vividly explained to me described a shoot out between United States forces and whoever had claimed the house next door to my grandparents. An American helicopter landed on the rooftop and the soldiers jumped out and started shooting into the house. All the windows of my grandparents’ house were shattered in the firefight. Other stories told of family friends killed on their own doorsteps, of friends being killed outside by a stray bullet while talking on the phone and of other horrific bombings during the war. A friend told me that schools still opened during the war, and that between 2005 and 2007, when things were really dangerous, they would have to sometimes evacuate the room during exams due to bomb warnings. They would go outside, listen for the explosion and then go back inside and resume the exam.

The most dangerous period since the US-led invasion of March 2003 was mid 2005 to mid 2007. Violence during this time was at its peak, with insurgent groups active since 2003 in response to the invasion. The political instability caused by the US invasion has left the door open for intrusions from surrounding countries and has escalated insurgency and sectarian violence. The next two years were safer in general, but towards the end of 2009 violence increased. People assume that the elections to be held on the 7th of March are linked to the rise in violence – after the Tuesday bombings there was at least one explosion every day after that. People are scared to leave their cars unattended on the street as anyone can walk past and stick a timed bomb underneath them; advances in technology have unfortunately made it very easy to develop such devices. Checkpoints and market places are also typically targeted as they are heavily congested. More recently doctors, professionals and ex-generals have also been targeted. We were told that gunmen opened fire outside my cousin’s school a short while ago while all the children were outside waiting to get picked up. It was scary to know that I would pick my cousins up with my uncle every now and then.

People are fed up and just want safety and stability. A lot of people would say things like "At least Saddam kept the streets clean and didn’t kill millions of our people." Hundreds of thousands have been killed to date and over a million have left to start new lives outside of Iraq. As bad as Saddam’s dictatorship was, things back then were never as bad as they are now post the US invasion. Iraq will never be the same.

The experience was surreal. It completely changed me and my outlook on life. It was so great learning more about who I am and where I’m from. The hardest part was leaving, saying goodbye to everyone was almost impossible. It was not just tough emotionally to leave the country, it wasn’t physically easy either. On our way to the airport the driver warned us about abandoned cars along the way, advising us that they could be filled with explosives and could potentially go off at any time. Security at the airport was intense. This was, of course, to protect the American base beside the airport. Car checks, bag checks, personal checks, over and over again - I lost track how many times we were checked by the end of it. One thing I did not expect however was the attitude we got from an airport official when we arrived back in Auckland. Extensive questioning about our trip to Baghdad, what we did and why we went there as well as if we had helped our family leave Iraq to live in another place. As a New Zealand citizen, this seemed a little uncalled for.

I’ll never forget simple, everyday moments, like playing badminton in the front yard, having tea with my grandparents and waking up and simply being able to spend time with my family. These moments were so simple, yet unforgettable. I got to talk to my granddad about politics and the world, as well as try on his old robes for court. I saw photos of my grandma’s graduation attended by the late King Faisal II, back when Iraq was a monarchy. I got to drive around the streets with my uncle, who liked to crank up American hip-hop music while I was silently thankful that he didn’t understand what the words meant. I got to see the house where Saddam Hussein supposedly hid during the US invasion, as well as the house where his daughters hid. I got to walk the streets of my hometown, I got to pick oranges from the garden in the morning, I got to see my old house and my mum’s primary school and I got to see the Tigris river and listen to old Iraqi music. My grandma taught me how to sew and cook. I got to see a traditional Iraqi wedding zaffaa, where the groom’s family pick up the bride and dance and sing along the way, smiling and looking as happy as ever, as though this were not the same place where death and destruction continues the lurk the streets.

I hope that in the near future it will be safer to visit Iraq.Improvements in electricity and water supply are greatly anticipated. Maybe one day the people who were forced to flee, like my family and I, will be able to return and live there again. These words certainly do not do justice to my experience. What I experienced in Iraq could never be adequately conveyed through writing or by pictures. Iraq is where my heart is and I can’t wait to return.

Posted by Iraq Solidarity UK at 8:48 AM 0 comments Links to this post

A whitewash of war crimes

by Robert Stevens

The inquiry into the war in Iraq, headed by Chairman Sir John Chilcot, has halted its proceedings until after the expected May 6 British general election.

Its hearings, however, have confirmed that the fundamental purpose for which it was convened was to ensure that those responsible for waging an illegal war of aggression are not held to account. Instead, the inquiry has been utilised to legitimise the invasion of Iraq and affirm the basis on which it was carried out—the US doctrine of pre-emptive war.The Chilcot inquiry is wholly a creature of the government and has no real independence. It was announced last June by Labour Party Prime Minister Gordon Brown, with the limited remit of establishing the "lessons that can be learned" regarding British involvement in the US-led war.

It was stressed that there would be no assigning of responsibility to any politician, civil servant, diplomat or military figure for their role in the events leading to the war, the military slaughter itself, or its aftermath. Those testifying were also assured that no prosecutions or legal proceedings would arise from their appearances.Witnesses are not required to speak under oath and none are properly cross-examined. On more than one occasion, including when former Prime Minister Tony Blair appeared, Chilcot reminded everyone, "This is not a trial."

Along with Blair, all the major British figures involved in the planning and conduct of the war have already appeared, including then-Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, then-Defence Minister Geoff Hoon, Blair’s director of communications, Alastair Campbell, former UK Ambassador to the United Nations Jeremy Greenstock, and then-Chancellor Gordon Brown. Not a single probing or critical question has been asked of any of them.All of the inquiry’s personnel were chosen by Brown from members of the Privy Council, a body appointed by the Queen on the advice of the prime minister.

Chilcot himself sat on the 2004 Butler inquiry into the intelligence used to justify the Iraq war, which refused to hold Blair or anyone else accountable for the "dodgy dossier" culled from old Internet reports and false claims, such as the assertion that Iraq had weapons that it could deploy against Britain within 45 minutes. Inquiry member Sir Lawrence Freedman was a foreign policy adviser to Blair and a staunch advocate of the Iraq war. The historian Sir Martin Gilbert supported the war. Sir Roderic Lyne was British ambassador to the Russian Federation and is an adviser to JP Morgan Chase, which operates the Trade Bank of Iraq. He was also a special adviser to the oil conglomerate BP.

Under the inquiry’s terms, the government has the final say on which documents can be made public and even which documents can be handed over to it. The final decision on the publication of any disputed documents will be made by the cabinet secretary and head of the Home Civil Service, Sir Gus O’Donnell. O’Donnell’s close relationship to Brown goes back to 2002, when he was made permanent secretary at the Treasury. The terms further stipulate that if the Cabinet Office and the inquiry team fail to reach an agreement, "the Inquiry shall not release that information into the public domain".

An example of what is being concealed was provided when the Independent published a Foreign Office internal paper from 2000 that proved that the British government was discussing the invasion of Iraq more than two years earlier than previously stated. The Independent was able to obtain the document only after a Freedom of Information request was initially rejected, and the newspaper demanded an internal review. The released document was heavily redacted by the Foreign Office.Even the publication of Chilcot’s final report will be approved by the government beforehand. Brown stated in announcing the inquiry that it cannot disclose matters "essential to our national security."

Nor can it publish material deemed "likely" to "cause harm" to "defence interests or international relations." In October, Brown’s Cabinet Office issued a further nine protocols imposing restrictions on what is allowed to be disclosed, up to and including the final report, including the barring of material that would impact "commercial and economic interests." The restrictions also allow any government agency or department to veto and remove any sections from the final report that they wish.

These restrictions have enabled many of those called to testify to make a defence of the Iraq war and the policy of pre-emptive war elaborated by the Bush administration in the United States.Blair’s communications director, Alastair Campbell, for example, declared baldly, "I think that Britain as a country should feel incredibly proud" of its part in the Iraq war.

Brown stated that the invasion of Iraq was "the right decision for the right reasons," and that "everything that Mr. Blair did during this period, he did properly." Turning reality on its head, he went on to call Iraq a "serial violator" of international law and an "aggressor state" that had refused "to obey the laws of the international community."

Commenting on the questioning of Brown, Guardian columnist Simon Jenkins pointed out: "Nobody asked the obvious rejoinder, that the Iraq invasion was made in defiance of the international community. It ignored UN principles on regime-change and pre-empted the weapons inspecting regime. It was not sanctioned by the UN and was opposed by most of Europe. Small wonder Brown began smiling, a lot."

Blair’s own testimony was the most politically revealing. He alluded to his belief that regime-change was required in Iraq, whether or not Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction. If there was a "danger" or a "possibility" of Saddam Hussein "reconstituting" a weapons programme, then war was legitimate—a clear endorsement of the doctrine of pre-emptive war. "There is," he said, "a danger of making a binary distinction between regime-change and WMD."

More significant still, Blair repeatedly drew a comparison between Iraq and the danger supposedly posed by Iran, stating that there were "very similar issues." Because of the precedent set and the action taken against Iraq, Britain was in a "far better place" to deal with Iran now, he claimed.The utilisation of Chilcot to defend the Iraq war is a warning. For the British ruling elite, far more is involved than mere historical revision or even an attempt by those involved to cover for their crimes.

At the outset of the inquiry, Chilcot stated that it would "help ensure that, if we face similar situations in future, the government of the day is best equipped to respond to those situations in the most effective manner in the best interests of the country."Such "similar situations" are either underway or in an advanced state of preparation. Events since 2003 have made clear that Iraq was only a bloody episode in a period of escalating militarism that continues today in Afghanistan.

To accept in any way that the Iraq war was wrong, let alone illegal, would be to call into question the essential strategic interests of British imperialism and a foreign policy based upon riding Washington’s military coat-tails in Afghanistan, Iran and wherever else aggressive wars will be waged to secure domination of strategic resources such as oil and gas.

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الرجوع الى أعلى الصفحة اذهب الى الأسفل
Occupation falls into shadows : by Dahr Jamil
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