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    War and Terror: Cheering crowds don't make an unjust war right
    Posted on Monday, April 14 @ 14:09:46 UTC
    Topic: New Iraq
    New IraqRead: Cheering "throngs" in Baghdad was Staged

    In 1970 I was in the streets with hundreds of thousands screaming for joy the day Idi Amin came to power

    Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, Independent UK

    It is not just the vulgar, premature bawdiness of pro-war triumphalists which I find revolting. It is that they accuse anti-war people of being uncaring about the people of Iraq, and the lack of concern that these proponents of war show for the bodies of the killed and those maimed and injured by their invasion.

    No, I still don't believe we should surrender our independence and foreign policy to become an abject satellite led by the US-ruling cabal into killing thousands of Iraqis (we will never be told the true extent of the humanitarian disaster) to find no weapons of mass destruction and to replace a megalomaniac ruling elite with a megalomaniac, vainglorious Hyperpower. Yes, Saddam Hussein is gone and, for Iraqis (except the innocent families of his supporters), that is deliverance. But at what cost present and future? And with what consequences foreseen and unplanned?

    Overexcited warniks (a great word launched by the incandescent, still anti-war novelist Julian Barnes) will not get the awe, shock and surrender they seek from me or the millions who still believe this invasion is a travesty. Most black, Asian and Muslim Britons I have spoken to feel this too. I said the war was "not going well" two weeks ago. Military victory was always assured the sheer inequality of weaponry made that inevitable. But campaigners against this action did not believe we couldn't beat Iraq, rather we shouldn't.

    I wrote that the Americans were receiving no "overwhelming welcome" and that is still true. That statue in Baghdad was pulled down by US troops with around 200 Iraqis as extras. Warniks feel vindicated and are foolishly cheering with all of Rupert Murdoch's outlets. But that is no reason to subscribe to such delusions.

    In 1970, I was on the streets of Kampala with hundreds of thousands of others screaming and dancing for joy the day Idi Amin came into power, placed there by the US, the UK and Israel. Mobs are not dependable nor good at foresight when momentous changes take place. Go re-read Shakespeare's Julius Caesar. And another lesson: Uganda was liberated by Ugandans and Tanzanians, with our encouragement, not by a foreign force supported by exiles living safe lives. Amin was as devilish a dictator as Saddam.

    Today the crowds are already furious that US troops readily protect the Ministry of Oil, but are coy about saving hospitals, museums or ordinary citizens as the cities drift quickly into anarchy. A fearful hatred between Shia and Sunni Muslims is now stalking the streets of Iraq. The scenes of bedlam are going to be very useful to the occupation because they will enable the US to "reluctantly" impose rule over barbaric natives (who by that time will be begging for it in ever greater numbers) ever the reason for imperialism. We are back to the days of the scramble for Africa when colonial white powers took over countries to "protect and civilise" them.

    The US regime says it wants a "democratic" Iraq but with leaders it approves of; that it wants a free-market economy and that it wants the oil to pay for all the devastation. The oil will belong to Western companies with Iraqi intermediaries ready to sell out. This is liberation? What if the Iraqis don't want the exile puppets imposed democratically? What if they decide that to rebuild they would rather have a social-democratic model with a partly managed economy, especially when it comes to the management of oil? Are they free to do this? Of course not.

    What lessons does the world take from this victory? That it is OK to kick away any international institution, law, convention if you have the might. That countries should get moving with a nuclear weapons programme, because that brings the big boys to the negotiating table. That you can pre-emptively attack anyone without any real evidence, just because you can. That unless the UN and the EU agree to do what the US wants it to do, both institutions will be marginalised too.

    Finally, those people with newly found concern for the Iraqi people, where were they for the past 13 years? When groups like Voices in the Wilderness were raging against the effects of the sanctions which were killing hundreds of thousands of vulnerable people, I never saw The Sun weeping on its pages. What do pro-war people say about the effects of depleted uranium? Or Geoff Hoon's disgusting statement that mothers would thank us for killing their babies with cluster bombs? Theirs is a cynical pity, reserved and evoked for political purposes.

    It will get worse, this manipulation. The BBC's excellent Andrew Gilligan is under fire from Blair and Co. for some of the most honest reporting we have seen so far. All they now want is applause from us. They shouldn't get it, not now, not ever. All they have done is damage the fragile world and its political ecology.

    Reprinted from the Independent UK
    http://argument.independent.co.uk/regular_
    columnists/yasmin_alibhai_brown/story.jsp?story=396942

     
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