Iraq Today

The Situation on 22 April 2004

By J.H. Crawford


I read today: "Dead children, burned beyond recognition, were taken to hospital morgues." Three car bombs had exploded in Basra, a previously quiet part of Iraq. Al-Qaida is a suspect, but it could be almost any group. Why would anyone do this? Why are these terrible things happening? What's wrong?

Nothing matters as much as the simple fact that 18 (or 23, according to other reports) children are now dead. If America ("the US-led coalition") had stayed home, there is no reason to imagine that these children would be dead today. They were born into the vicious but stable regime of Saddam Hussein, once allied with the USA.

Yesterday's "Alliances of Convenience"

The Taliban and Osama bin Laden were also once US allies. Look what happened to both of these unfortunate nations. First they suffered under American puppet regime. When the USA decided to dislodge its puppets and invaded, chaos followed. Now children are being slaughtered. It matters not that US forces did not kill them.

How did this war ever start? The world did not want it. If asked, the UN was going to veto it. Huge numbers of people rallied against it. Why, then, was there war?

Bush & Co. expended vast amounts of political capital to secure Congressional approval for war, which the Congress looks increasingly like regretting. Events have shown nearly all the pre-war claims of Bush & Co. to be groundless. In the face of a war waged on the basis of half-truths and outright lies, the bitter partisan divisions of the Clinton years intensify even as cracks open in the Republican bedrock. It now appears that this war (and the shenanigans between Bush and Sharon) was driven mainly by Bush's brand of Christian extremism (plus a large helping of oil).

Today. . . and Tomorrow

Why are bombs killing children in Basra? More important, what can be done to stop it? How many more Iraqi children must die "burned beyond recognition"?

The Iraqis view this invasion as the ninth crusade, and are not liking it or its banner of "freedom" any better than the promises of the first eight. The response to crusade is jihad, as night follows day. How many thousand years will it take to learn this? When will we stop allowing religious fanatics, Christian, Islamic, and Jewish alike, to fan the flames of war?

The end of crusade is signalled when Christians take ship for Europe. I propose that the USA sue for peace on terms of prompt non-violent disengagement. The US does not have political or economic control of Iraq, so there are no "reins to turn over." The conflict that is sure to arise after the US pull-out was made inevitable by the US invasion. The quickest way to end the killing of children is simply for the USA to withdraw. Years may go by and thousands more may die before we arrive at this seemingly inevitable result. Whenever the American occupation ends, the hope of stable democracy in Iraq will be as distant as it is today.

Saddam held together a country that is not rightly a country, and he used strong and unpardonable tactics to do it. We won't miss him. But order is going to have to emerge from the power vortex in Iraq, and this will not happen until the US stops cranking the fan.

Let us douse the flames of religious warfare.

See also Paul Krugman's column of 23 April 2004 and
"9-11: The big question remains unasked" in Asia Times.


Text ©2004 J.Crawford. This text may be freely reproduced provided that the entire text is reproduced without change and that is cited as the source.

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