My latest article “The American wars” was published on December 3, 2009 at Online Opinion. It was also re-published on December 12, 2009 at the Window Dresser’s Arms. As the year comes to an end I thought it would be a good time to have a long hard look at what we have achieved over the past eight years of bloodshed. The piece deals with our contemporary history, Iraq, Afghanistan, American involvement and the abhorrent loss of life that has occurred because of it:
By Reuben Brand
The past eight years of our history have been marred with violent bloodshed, war, fear, terrorism, propaganda and countless loss of life. There are a myriad questions that need to be asked and answered to make any kind of logical sense of this mess, but one reoccurring theme is the role America plays surrounding our dark devolution into the new millennium.
Throughout my travels in the Middle East region, I frequently hear the same issue being raised, “America is a very big problem”. It doesn’t matter whether I am in Pakistan, Syria, Oman, Kuwait, or any where else, the sentiment remains the same: “America is a very big problem.”
Contemporary history as we know it began on September 11, 2001, when two iconic towers fell in New York and more than 2,700 lives were lost.
As tragic as any loss of life is, are we expected to believe that the deaths which occurred on 9-11 could possibly justify the invasion of Afghanistan, the systematic detainment, torture and abuse of countless civilians on no charge other than suspicion, the illegal invasion of Iraq on the premise of weapons of mass destruction and according to analysis of UNICEF data by Australian scientist, Dr Gideon Polya, the brutal deaths of 6.6 million Afghanis (both violent and avoidable) and 1.2 million Iraqis. It is a largely disputed figure, but one that has now been published and proven by ORB, an independent UK based Research Company.
Are we really expected to believe these wars that have shattered the lives and homes of millions of Afghanis and Iraqis leaving many as destitute refugees, that have completely destroyed two countries, and which now conveniently have US backed puppets installed as their “democratic” leaders, are being fought to ensure the safety and freedom of the West, primarily America, from some form of barbaric terrorism? Does anyone else not see the irony in this?
Keep the West safe from terrorists by terrorising everyone who looks, dresses and sounds different. Especially those who don’t agree with the doctrine or ideology of the world’s super power. “If it looks like the enemy, shoot it!” were the rules of engagement given to Sergeant Ken Davis on his first tour of Iraq. Yes, I tend to agree with the sentiment of the region: “America is a very big problem.”
Any honest person would have to ask the question “why didn’t America invade the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia?” It is now widely accepted that Iraq and Afghanistan had nothing to do with 9-11. We all know that al-Qaida is primarily a Saudi backed organisation; its leader, Osama bin Laden, is a Saudi; and it was 19 men, many of whom were Saudi nationals, who hijacked three planes, flew two into the World Trade Centre and one into the Pentagon. This is all common knowledge.
Al-Qaida attacks America, so America in all its wisdom and “intelligence” decimates Afghanistan and leads a pre-emptive strike and invasion of Iraq – go figure.
In an address to the nation on March 17, 2003, just two days before the horrific Shock and Awe bombing of Baghdad, former US President George W. Bush stated that “Intelligence gathered by this and other governments leaves no doubt that the Iraq regime continues to posses and conceal some of the most lethal weapons ever devised”.
The only weapons of sizable measure found in Iraq were the weapons US and coalition forces used to kill the Iraqis.
There were no weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) in Iraq, we all know that.
Perhaps Bush, in one of his many misspoken moments got the word WMD mixed up with MWD, a term used by geophysicists while surveying and drilling for oil. Measurement While Drilling to be exact. There are plenty of MWDs in Iraq – not exactly a threat to global security, more like an asset to financial security.
The US government misled its own people, lied to the world and created a war deemed illegal under international law. A war that continues to be in grave violation of the Geneva Conventions. A war for which we are all now paying the price.
Lord Bingham, one of Britain’s most authoritative judicial figures and retired senior law lord, delivered a speech in late 2008 regarding the invasion of Iraq. “If I am right that the invasion of Iraq by the US, the UK, and some other states was unauthorised by the Security Council there was, of course, a serious violation of international law and the rule of law,” he said.
Bingham continued with explicit reference to the mistreatment of Iraqi detainees in Abu Ghraib: “Particularly disturbing to proponents of the rule of law is the cynical lack of concern for international legality among some top officials in the Bush administration,” he added.
OK, so we have a fair idea of why Iraq was invaded, but what about Afghanistan? The US says it is looking for bin Laden – with all the technology in the world and they still can’t find him? It makes you wonder that perhaps Afghanistan has something more valuable on offer.
It does: Afghanistan holds the keys to the rich natural gas and oil of the Caspian Basin, which will be transported through the yet to be developed Trans Afghan Pipeline – a blueprint the US has had on the backburner for some years now. Once implemented, this lucrative pipeline will hungrily carry all the natural resources it possibly can across Afghanistan, down into the seaport of Gwadar in south-western Pakistan.
Afghanistan’s border with Pakistan also allows the US to keep pressure on the only Islamic country to possess nuclear weapons. Pakistan poses a serious threat to US control in the region: “destabilise and disarm” is the general theme, how it will be played out is yet to be seen.
Just as Bush propagated his lies about Iraq concealing some of the “most lethal weapons ever devised,” President Obama, six years on, remarked on March 27 this year that “we are in Afghanistan to confront a common enemy that threatens the United States, our friends and allies – So I want the American people to understand that we have a clear and focused goal: to disrupt, dismantle, and defeat al-Qaida in Pakistan and Afghanistan.”
Slightly more eloquent than his predecessor, but it is more or less the same old rhetoric.
In a White Paper from the Interagency Policy Group’s Report on US. Policy toward Afghanistan and Pakistan it was stated that “in Pakistan, al-Qaida and other groups of jihadist terrorists are planning new terror attacks. Their targets remain the US homeland, Pakistan, Afghanistan, India, Europe, Australia, our allies in the Middle East, and other targets of opportunity.” Well that just about covers the globe, so according to this report al-Qaida is planning to destroy the entire world. Quite ambitious for a group whose leader lives in a cave.
Obama delivered another speech earlier in the year about “responsibly ending the war in Iraq”. Desperate to try to turn the humanitarian disaster that America created into some kind of humanitarian aid mission, Obama made it clear that “America’s men and women in uniform have fought block by block, province by province, year after year, to give the Iraqis this chance to choose a better future. Now, we must ask the Iraqi people to seize it,” he said.
To seize what? A country that you destroyed? It’s a farcical remark. The whole idea of an irresponsible country preaching about “responsibly ending the war in Iraq”, is ludicrous. The responsible thing to do would have been not to invade in the first place.
Obama then went on to portray US military violence and aggression as acts of friendship and kindness:
“Our nations have known difficult times together. But ours is a bond forged by shared bloodshed, and countless friendships among our people. We Americans have offered our most precious resource – our young men and women – to work with you to rebuild what was destroyed by despotism – So to the Iraqi people, let me be clear about America’s intentions. The United States pursues no claim on your territory or your resources. We respect your sovereignty and the tremendous sacrifices you have made for your country.”
The pre-emptive strike doctrine, the shock and awe campaign, the routine torture and humiliation of innocent civilians at Abu Ghraib and the countless other war crimes perpetrated by the US tells us another story about respecting sovereignty.
So what have we achieved over the past eight years of blood thirsty war? Is the world a safer place now? No. Of course it isn’t. We have achieved more mistrust, more hatred, a new arms race, more support for the Taliban and other insurgency groups and, most devastatingly, we have achieved on average, the violent deaths of many Afghanis and Iraqis everyday for the past eight years.
Congratulations, what an achievement.
There are no quick fixes, but it’s about time Team America backed off and stopped trying to police the world – their vigilante actions create a pile of bodies wherever they go. Honestly ask yourself if the past eight years of bloodshed has been worth it.