Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Watch & Weep

This sums up in a series of photographs the reality and brutality of the Bush invasion of Iraq.

With thanks to R.J. Adams at Sparrowchat


  1. I felt all sorts of emotions while watching this. A feeling of repulsion and great indignation remains, and oh, so very much anger and frustration. Where is the way out of this swamp of inhumanity?

    There is so much I will not say about this, because so much is obvious and does not need to be said out loud. The photographs speak for themselves. Every human being on this earth should be made to watch them and become indignant too.

  2. I have nothing against people who disapprove of the intervention in Iraq. However, it is difficult to accept criticism of the war when it does not come with what I would view as the necessary inclusion of another potential course of action. Over the course of the past five years I have not heard one single realistic alternative. What I have heard has been dismal.

    One suggestion is that we should have endeavoured for UN involvement in the conflict, though this was never on given that authoritarian states like China and Russia criminally have the right to veto intervention through their place on the SC. Some say that we should have continued with sanctions. Nonsense. Sanctions and the fraudulent oil-for-food programme only served to cripple the general Iraqi population and make the consolidation of Saddam's rule even easier. Continuation of sanctions then was clearly out. Then there are those who feel that the US and UK should be pursuing isolationist foreign policies; that what countries like Baathist Iraq, theocratic Iran or Stalinist North Korea choose to do within their own borders is their own business. Of course, had we followed that line of reasoning the 1930s we would not have interfered in the business of Adolf Hitler or even the affairs of Saddam Hussein in annexing Kuwait in the early nineties. So, isolationism is also out. Pacifism isn't worth wasting my time on. Non-intervention is stomach-churning enough for me but non-resistance to evil is infinitely worse and downright immoral. Even worse than pacifism is the pro-insurgency element of the so-called 'anti-war' movement, a group happy to facilitate the death of Iraq's fledging democracy and its replacement with an Islamofascist regime in Mesopotamia. If you have any other alternatives please enlighten me.

    Wisewebwoman, apologies for taking up a lot of space here but as someone on the pro-liberation left I thought it was worth throwing my tuppenceworth in if only to break up the consensus of the comments here! I don't claim to be right or to have all the answers but I do like to think I have a more considered approach to the question of Iraq than the intellectually bankrupt protest movement which rails against the intervention armed only with its cocktail of Michael Moore-style I-told-you-so smugness and sickening self-righteousness. My own alternative in case you're in any doubt: a refusal by the democratic world to accept peaceful coexistence with totalitarianism.

  3. Welcome Johnny!
    And thank you for your long and thoughtful post.
    First of all I don't agree with the term 'war' whatsoever. It was an unwarranted invasion of a sovereign country based on lies with the goal always being the illegal theft of oil.
    Iraq are far worse off than they ever were.
    The U.S. is not a shining beacon of democracy and is teetering very close to totalitarianism/fascism and rattling its sabres at Iran in its efforts to finalize the plans for the New American Century.
    This is one of the benefits of us citizen journalists vs MSM. We tell it like it is. We hope enough will listen. We hope more will join in the protests.
    My opinion, for what its worth is that the USA should step aside, make full retribution for the colossal damage and criminal thefts and have some peace-keeping forces and tribunals, appointed by a new consortium of peaceful countries with a proven track record in human rights, assume responsibility. Financed completely by the U.S.
    Will it happen?
    Not with the long term military installments built by the U.S. in countries such as Iraq.
    Do I have hope?
    I never give up.
    Ireland won its freedom in spite of incredible odds and the might of the British Empire.

  4. “First of all I don't agree with the term 'war' whatsoever. It was an unwarranted invasion of a sovereign country based on lies with the goal always being the illegal theft of oil.”

    'War' does tend to roll off the tongue a tad easier. And isn’t a war deemed a war, regardless of its legitimacy? But away from the word games, whats this about an “illegal theft of oil”? This oil wasn’t publicly owned; like everything else of value in the state it was the private property of the Hussein family. Do you really think the Iraqi people owned that oil and benefited from it prior to 2003?! I personally shed no tears for them losing their oil. They stole it from the people of Iraq and built themselves lavish palaces with the profits - a palace in each of the 18 provinces to be precise.

    “The U.S. is not a shining beacon of democracy and is teetering very close to totalitarianism/fascism and rattling its sabres at Iran in its efforts to finalize the plans for the New American Century.”

    Wow. I thought I was reading part of the script to Woody Allen’s Sleeper there! America creeping toward “fascism” and “totalitarianism”? Now, I’m no Bush supporter but cast your mind back to Hitler, Franco, Stalin, Mussolini and their fellow thugs in the bad old days. Do you genuinely believe that the United States is turning into one of these types of societies? Please say no.

    “Ireland won its freedom in spite of incredible odds and the might of the British Empire.”

    Well, part of Ireland won its freedom. However, the resistance movement in Ireland in the 1919-1923 period cannot be compared to the mercenaries, gangsters and theocratic terrorists in Iraq at the moment. Irish republicans fought with a mandate from the people gained through their victory in the 1918 election here. The Iraqi insurgents on the other hand tried to destroy the electoral system and murdered people on their way to vote in the 2005 legislative elections. The difference could not be more striking. Though I’m sure you weren’t comparing the Irish Republican Army of the early 20th century to current band of ex-Baathists and al-Qaeda elements in Mesopotamia.

  5. Patriot Act?
    Bailout of private corporation with billions of public money?
    No tender contracts worth billions
    to Halliburton?
    Private para-military forces with unlimited power?
    Incarceration without charge and due process of law for
    years and years?
    No-fly list?
    Racial profiling?
    Need I go on?


  6. Johnny Guitar wants us to offer an alternative to the conflict in Iraq. Well, one alternative would have been not to invade on a pretext in the first place. And, yes, it was a pretext. If he thinks that Bush and his neo-con cronies invaded with the purest of heart intentions to liberate the Iraqis from a despicable dictator, then he indeed lives in a dream world. He also has the mistaken idea that life in Iraq was hell under Saddam Hussein. For a few, it was. Mainly those who tried to cross him. For the vast majority life was fine. They had a flourishing economy until a US/UK-pressured United Nations imposed the most draconian sanctions in 1990, revenge for Saddam invading Kuwait. This, despite eight years of war with Iran from 1980-88. The Iraqi health system was one of the finest in the world, again until sanctions prevented the procurement of medical drugs, parts for hospital equipment, etc. The literacy rate in Iraq had been 78% in 1977, and 87% for adult women (unheard of in a Muslim country) by 1985, but it dropped rapidly with the imposition of sanctions. Iraq was not the hellhole that biased western media represented. There are umpteen books written by historical experts verifying this fact. In one comment, Johnny Guitar asks, "Do you really think the Iraqi people owned that oil and benefited from it prior to 2003?!" Well, they may not have "owned" it, anymore than Americans own ExxonMobil or Shell, but they definitely benefited from it, as any cursory glance through historical sources will tell you. Saddam certainly built plenty of lavish palaces, but national leaders throughout history have done exactly the same. It's what leaders tend to do. The idea he lived in opulence while his subjects begged on the streets is ludicrous. There was a bustling economy until the West decimated it, 70% of it based around oil revenues.

    The US invaded Iraq on the pretext of Saddam's 'weapons of mass destruction'. They assumed he would have some. It was not a far out assumption, after all they'd sold them to him in the 1980's. Mustard gas, nerve agents, all the illegal weapons that kill civilians en masse, were sent in vast quantities so Saddam could use them against the Iranians during the Iran-Iraq war. The notorious photograph of Rumsfeld and Saddam shaking hands, that has floated around the internet since 2003, signified their agreement on just such a deal.

    Idealism is a wonderful thing, but in this world it's not at all practicable. I'm not sure what the "pro-liberation left" truly stands for, but being politically left of center means erring towards socialist views: power to the people. How one can be anti-Bush, yet in favor of his militant policies is beyond my comprehension. I'm all in favor of power to the people, but the idea of America liberating Iraq, freeing its people from oppression, is so far removed from reality as to be verging on the absurd. America never has, and never will be, a force for freedom in the world. Liberating Iraq has been a long-held vision of neo-con America, (way before 9/11) to control the Middle East, its oil and its markets. It has, to its cost, found out what liberating Iraq really means in terms of releasing factional violence. Something of which its previous ruler was all too well aware.

    Saddam Hussein was a petty tyrant who had dreams of ruling the Middle East. Unfortunately for him, Iran had a similar vision. Thanks to the crazed actions of certain world leaders in 2003, Iran's vision is now much closer to reality.

    As for comparing America to Hitler's Germany, Franco's Spain, Stalin's Russia or Mussolini's Italy, no - America is not at that point as yet, but if the present regime in power have their way it may well become a possibility. The slippery slope begins with curtailing personal freedoms, use of torture, repeal of habeas corpus, funneling authority into the hands of a small, select power group, private armies.....these are all telltales signs of a society on the slippery slope to fascism, as any political historian will willingly testify.

    Finally, an alternative to the present conflict in Iraq. After all, sadly we cannot turn back the clock. The present occupation will foment continuous violence. No nation will tolerate permanent occupation of their lands by another without hitting back. Withdrawal is vital. It will, undoubtedly, cause further bloodshed. That is inevitable. Eventually a new political powerbase will emerge and the situation will calm. What that powerbase will eventually become only Iraqis can decide. No-one but they have a right to that decision. The damage was done in 2003. It cannot now be undone.

  7. I whole heartedly support the ideas in the last comment and couldn't have said it better myself. I am glad you had the words and the gumption to speak up. It is so necessary to keep repeating what really happened and not the invented truth of it and to face up to what is happening there now, which is a true human tragedy which responsibility lies on the shoulders of Bush and his team, not to forget Tony Blair and other European leaders who supported the invasion which was done under false pretenses.

  8. Hear hear, RJA, I second Irene on this. Very well said.


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