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    War and Terror: Heavy price for victory in Iraq
    Posted on Monday, March 31 @ 13:27:55 UTC
    Topic: Trinidad and Tobago
    Trinidad and TobagoExpress/TT Editorial

    THE HEAVY civilian casualties being experienced in the current US-led war in Iraq, as well as the growing instability in the region, have led to increasing calls for a cessation of hostilities and some attempt at a negotiated settlement.

    That does not seem on the cards, however, given the entrenched positions on all sides. It is clear that by its own admission, the US-led coalition has experienced much stiffer resistance than originally anticipated in its attempt to "liberate" Iraq. Not only have the invading forces not been welcomed with flowers or dancing in the streets, but the Iraqis are showing a willingness to go to drastic measures to defend their country, if not their leader.

    In making the case for war, the US and British leaders had premised their arguments of Iraq's alleged possession of chemical and biological weapons as well as weapons of mass destruction. The coalition had also expressed concern over the brutality of the Saddam Hussein regime in Iraq and the yearning by the Iraqis for freedom from a well-armed and oppressive dictator, who is said to have survived by using a vast arsenal of weapons on his people.

    Now in its second week, the coalition boasts of controlling large portions of Iraqi territory (admittedly mainly desert), but has so far not yet turned up any evidence of either weapons of mass destruction or chemical and biological weapons. To make matters worse, the Iraqi people have not taken as easily to the idea of being "liberated" by Western "infidels" as had been anticipated by the Anglo-American coalition.

    In fact, the evidence suggests that the Iraqis are deeply sceptical of the coalition forces and, despite their hatred of the Saddam Hussein regime, resent the invasion of their country.

    It has not helped that in the quintessential demonstration of hubris the Americans have already begun allocating contracts for the post-war development of the country and treating with Iraq's natural resources as if it will be the US to determine.

    The most disturbing factor, however, is that despite all the rhetoric of smart bombs the war is having a real cost in human lives and the destruction of much of the country's infrastructure. The pictures of thousands of people fighting for food and reports of millions being starved of food and water amount to a major humanitarian crisis which, for much of the world, make a prolonged war unsustainable.

    This is a war that is being prosecuted without the support of the United Nations and over the objections of millions of people all over the world. It is also one which its major proponents had earlier advertised would be relatively quick with little "collateral damage."

    In only the second week of the war, there is already evidence of heightened tensions in the Arab world and the resort to the most desperate of military strategies, suicide bombing.

    Despite the early setbacks, the British and Americans are insisting their plan is on course and that their victory is certain. It may or may not be. What is sure, however, is that even if they win the war, the price exacted may make it difficult to win the peace.

    Reproduced from: Trinidad Express

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