End of Combat Mission in Iraq: Another Charade by K. Gajendra Singh SignUp
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End of Combat Mission in Iraq:
Another Charade
by K. Gajendra Singh Bookmark and Share
 

"History is but glorification of murderers, criminals and robbers." - Karl Popper 
 
On February 15, 2003, a month before the US invasion of Iraq, probably the largest protest in human history, between six and ten million protesters took to the streets of some 800 cities in nearly sixty countries across the globe” - William Blum. 
 
The war in Iraq is a historic strategic and moral calamity undertaken under false assumptions – undermining America's global legitimacy – collateral civilian casualties, – abuses, – tarnishing America's moral credentials. Driven by Manichean impulses and imperial hubris, it is intensifying regional instability.” - Zbigniew Brzezinski, National Security Adviser to US President Jimmy Carter.

The limits of American military power have been laid bare in the killing fields of Iraq; Iran has been transformed into the pre-eminent regional power; --- a resurgent Taliban is leading an increasingly effective guerrilla war in Afghanistan; and far from crushing terror networks, the US and its allies have spread them to Pakistan--- Pakistan is being ripped apart by the fallout from the Afghan occupation. If the US escalates, the impact will be devastating-- The country now shows every sign of slipping out of the control of its dysfunctional civilian government - and even the military that has held it together for 60 years”  - Seumas Milne in The Guardian

The west is leaving Iraq in a pool of blood, dust and dollars. It remains wedded to Iraq's twin sister in folly, Afghanistan,” - Simon Jenkins in the Guardian

"When there is a general change of conditions, it is as if the entire creation had been changed and the whole world been altered." - Ibn Khaldun

New American Century Project Ends in a Catastrophe  
 
President Barack Obama in his 18 minute address to the US people on 31 August, 2010 on the so called ‘End of Combat Mission’ in Iraq, said, "This milestone should serve as a reminder to all Americans that our future is ours to shape if we move forward with confidence and commitment. It should also serve as a message to the world that the United States of America intends to sustain and strengthen our leadership in this young century”.  
 
He also admitted “From this desk, seven and a half years ago, President Bush announced the beginning of military operations in Iraq. Much has changed since that night. A war to disarm a state became a fight against an insurgency. Terrorism and sectarian warfare threatened to tear Iraq apart. Thousands of Americans gave their lives; tens of thousands have been wounded. Our relations abroad were strained. Our unity at home was tested.”
 
Looking positively, some observers feel that his speech and the promised withdrawal , indicated Obama’s intention to start withdrawing troops next year from the unwinnable and an increasingly costly war in Afghanistan too. It is also a message to his supporters that he is not going to be prodded by the generals and at some point he will be in a position to say the Afghan war is over too. Defense Secretary Robert Gates, General David Petraeus and others continue to make noises that the withdrawal date for Afghanistan in not dead line .But Obama has clipped the general’s wings by demoting him to the present post thus putting a damper on his presidential ambitions. It is also a message to the American people as a whole, who are tired and fed up of the two long wars and more being planned against Iran and Yemen.
 
Apart from 50,000 US troops still in their bases inside Iraq, there are perhaps 50,000 mercenaries, and as some have suggested another 100,000 "advisors", with the Baghdad Embassy, being the largest anywhere. Last month, the Congressional Research Service reported that the Department of Defense workforce has 19 percent more contractors (207,600) than uniformed personnel ... in Iraq and Afghanistan, making these wars ... the most outsourced and privatized in US history. Worse, the oversight of contractors will rest with other contractors. Their lawless conduct has been well documented.
 
Equipment and BasesBy the end of August 2010, U.S. Forces were to reduce the total number of equipment in Iraq from 3.4 million pieces in January 2009 to a total of 1.2 million pieces .The drawdown is the largest operation, since the build-up for World War II. Most of the troops and equipment are being transported out of Iraq through Kuwait, although Jordan and Turkey are also permitting transit.
 
As part of the drawdown in Iraq, U.S. forces are also closing or transferring military bases in Iraq. In June 2009, U.S. Forces occupied 357 bases and were expected to reduce that number to 94 bases by the end of August.
 
Writing recently in Al Hayat, close to US ally the Saudis, Mostafa Zein in a piece titled 'Mission Accomplished' referring to Obama’s decision points out that if one were to look at the map of fleets deployed in the oceans, and at land bases in the Gulf and in Turkey, one could say, without taking much risk, that such a withdrawal will be a mere redeployment, after the mission has been accomplished. It is rather to break up Iraq into reconciled microstates. Thus Washington has achieved in turning the Iraqi people into quarrelling sectarian communities that struggle for power - their political frames of reference are not Iraqi, but like Lebanese sectarian communities —

This is the way the world ends. Not with a bang but a whimper,” T.S. Eliot in “Hollow Men.”

And so too did end the US Operation Iraqi Freedom!, undertaken with false accusations and contrary to the view of the UNSC and the will of the international community begun by George W. Bush and Dick Cheney along with poodle British PM Tony Blair in March, 2003 with promises by CIA and MIV asset Ahmet Chalabi that US troops would be garlanded and greeted as liberators by exultant Iraqis.
 
US Senate was told that Iraq’s Scuds (really duds, which the author saw flying from Iraq towards Israel in 1991 with the Patriot Missiles mostly failing to destroy them. Still despite tens of billions spent on the missile defense, its efficacy is doubtful) could attack the US forces with biological or chemical weapons. All the accusations about WMDs and Iraq’s nuclear bomb project, links with Al Qaeda were false, abinitio. Twice Blair was told in media conferences in Moscow that these claims were unreliable. Chief UN weapons inspector Hans Blix said in March 2003 that progress had been made in inspections, and no evidence of WMDs had been found.
 
In October 2002 even former President Bill Clinton warned against pre-emptive military action against Iraq, however well-justified. It may come back with unwelcome consequences in the future. On January 20, 2003, French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin declared "we believe that military intervention would be the worst solution.” Germany, Russia, China and others too were opposed to the illegal invasion.
 
Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz told Congress that the US troop strength would be down to about a division, some 25,000 men, by fall of 2003. Even in September of 2010, after the mayhem, slaughter and nearly trillion dollars later, there will be twice that number plus mercenaries and advisers. The Congress was assured that the job would cots over hundred billion dollars and Iraqi oil would pay for it. This was the real reason for the occupation as admitted by Wolfowitz soon after the invasion and former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan recently. In February 2003, the U.S. Army's top general, Eric Shinseki told the Senate Armed Services Committee that it would take "several hundred thousand soldiers" to secure Iraq. He was laughed off by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz and soon after sent packing.
 
The Resistance in Iraq
 
Despite energetic efforts, under western occupation, production of oil – Iraq's major product – is still below its pre-invasion level. The resistance and non-cooperation of Iraqis have seen to that.
 
It was quite clear that keeping in view Iraqis resistance to the British occupation of Iraq begun under Sir Percy Cox after WWI, Iraqis will rise and resist occupation and not submit like Germans and the Japanese after WWII as most Western commentators said after the invasion. This erroneous view was challenged by January 2004 piece; Occupation case studies: Algeria and Turkey 
 
Commented a very popular syndicated US columnist Tom Engelhardt (of TomDespatch) “Of course, what analogies you choose are going to depend on where you happen to stand. If you are a former Indian ambassador to Turkey, as is K. Gajendra Singh, then quite different analogies may come to mind (Occupation case studies: Algeria and Turkey):
 
"After Vietnam and Afghanistan, the Middle East is the new American West. The US administration, scared of Islamic fundamentalism and religious fanatics, has yet to evolve a coherent policy to counter it. But it is turning occupied Iraq into an oligarchy of crony capitalism, after an ill-advised and illegal war on Iraq, set off and egged on by Christian fundamentalists at the core of the administration
 
"In an era of nation states based on patriotism and shared history, people just hate occupying powers. While Vietnam's example and its people's fight for freedom and making it a quagmire for US forces has been talked about, Iraq's comparison with post World War II Germany and Japan shows little historic understanding. The ground situation and the evolution of the war for independence in Muslim, Arab, and till now secular Iraq , is closer to the wars of independence in Algeria and Turkey. "

‘Surge’ and Reconciliation 
 
The "national reconciliation" that was achieved by General Petraeus' vaunted "surge" tactics in 2007 and 2008 has in fact not taken place, and both ethnic and sectarian tensions that brought the country to the brink of all-out civil war remain to be resolved. In the week before the end of the combat mission al-Qaeda in Mesopotamia pulled off more than a dozen coordinated attacks across the country, killing more than 50 people.
"Extensive research on inter-communal civil wars - wars like Iraq's - finds a dangerous propensity toward recidivism," warned Kenneth Pollack, an expert and former Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) analyst who supported the 2003 invasion. He said last week. 
 
"[T]he fear, anger, greed and desire for revenge that helped propel Iraq into civil war in the first place remain just beneath the surface."{Soon after entering Baghdad special US forces gave addresses of Saddam Hussein’s senior Baath Party office holders to Shias looking for revenge.US and British special forces carried out attacks in Iraq to create hatred for revenge between Sunnis and Shias.)  
 
They're Leaving as Heroes!
 
The US units left Iraq, fleeing in the night, over the border to Kuwait somewhat like the British in September 2007. The British troops had entered Iraq flying the St George's flag on their vehicles (the Crusaders' flag) had slithered out of Basra city, under cover of darkness, to the fortified airport and flight home.
 
"They're leaving as heroes. I want them to walk home with pride in their hearts," declared Col. John Norris, the head of a US Army brigade in Iraq.
 
Commented historian William Blum in ICH.info
 
“It's enough to bring tears to the eyes of an American, enough to make him choke up.
“Enough to make him forget.
“But no American should be allowed to forget that the nation of Iraq, the society of Iraq, have been destroyed, ruined, a failed state. The Americans, beginning 1991, bombed for 12 years, with one excuse or another; then invaded, then occupied, overthrew the government, killed wantonly, tortured ... the people of that unhappy land have lost everything — their homes, their schools, their electricity, their clean water, their environment, their neighborhoods, their mosques, their archaeology, their jobs, their careers, their professionals, their state-run enterprises, their physical health, their mental health, their health care, their welfare state, their women's rights, their religious tolerance, their safety, their security, their children, their parents, their past, their present, their future, their lives ... More than half the population either dead, wounded, traumatized, in prison, internally displaced, or in foreign exile ... The air, soil, water, blood and genes drenched with depleted uranium ... the most awful birth defects ... unexploded cluster bombs lie in wait for children to pick them up ... an army of young Islamic men went to Iraq to fight the American invaders; they left the country more militant, hardened by war, to spread across the Middle East, Europe and Central Asia ... a river of blood runs alongside the Euphrates and Tigris ... through a country that may never be put back together again.
 
"It is a common refrain among war-weary Iraqis that things were better before the U.S.-led invasion in 2003," reported the Washington Post on May 5, 2007.[ It is now 2010 and much worse]
 
“No matter ... drum roll, please ... Stand tall American GI hero! And don't even think of ever apologizing. Iraq is forced by the United States to continue paying reparations for its own invasion of Kuwait in 1990. How much will the American heroes pay the people of Iraq?”
 
This so called withdrawal of US combat troops end August is no different than earlier charades like “Mission Accomplished” and an end to combat operations in Iraq in May, 2003! President Bush landed aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln on 1 May 2003 in the co-pilot's seat of a Navy S-3B Viking wearing a green flight suit and holding a white helmet. Above him, the tower was adorned with a big sign that read, "Mission Accomplished."
 
He said later "Your courage -- your willingness to face danger for your country and for each other -- made this day possible," according to excerpts of the Bush speech released in advance. "The transition from dictatorship to democracy will take time but it is worth every effort. Our coalition will stay until our work is done."
 
Five years later in Washington on 1May , 2008 Dem Senator Jim Web said;  “This is the fifth anniversary of the day that President Bush arrived on an aircraft carrier in a flight suit and declared 'mission accomplished.' And in an ironic way, I think it can be said, when you look at the historic way that we use our military, that the Iraq war was over five years ago, in classical terms. And what began was a very contentious occupation that placed our military in what classically we would call a holding position, totally dependent on the ability of the political process to reach the type of solution that would allow this occupation to end”

Or the transfer of sovereignty to Iraq in June, 2004  Dropping the sovereignty baton  
  
Caught in a quagmire of its own making, the administration of US President George W Bush is now looking for ways and means to quit Iraq, and wants someone reliable to whom Iraq's "sovereignty" can be handed on June 30, because polls indicate that 64 percent of Americans believe that Bush has no clear plans for Iraq. The sovereignty timetable remains driven by the US electoral calendar and growing Iraqi impatience with a deeply unpopular occupation. Thus the June 30 date was fixed last November, so that the US electorate could be told that the mission in Iraq - whatever it was - had been accomplished. 

Cost of Invasion in Lives and Money 
 
According to the reputed informationclearinghouse.info website number Of Iraqis Slaughtered In US War And Occupation Of Iraq "1,366,350". Number of U.S. Military Personnel Sacrificed (Officially acknowledged) In U.S. War And Occupation Of Iraq 4,735 (over sixty thousand US troops injured and maimed for life). Cost of War in Iraq & Afghanistan $1,074,283,401,976 (for Iraq over 700 billion)

Conditions in Iraq – A Veritable Hell
 
The country has been looted and devastated as described above. Normal civic services have collapsed. There are only a few hours of electric power. None of the municipal facilities like water supply, sewage system work. So diseases are rampant, with an epidemic of mental illness, after seven years of innocent people being killed as part of daily life. There is between 40 to 50 percent unemployment, with sprawling slums. Before the invasion, the percentage of the urban population in slums was below 20 percent. Today, it has risen to 53 percent: 11 million of the 19 million total urban dwellers. In most countries the number of slum dwellers has come down.
 
The United States has “betrayed its duty to bring peace and security” to Iraq, according to Chaldean Auxiliary Bishop Shlemon Warduni of Baghdad, in an interview recently with the Italian daily La Stampa. The Americans leave behind “an Iraq worse off than the one they found seven years ago,” said Warduni, The ethnic, religious and sectional divisions were encouraged by the occupiers as the imperialists have done in history.
 
The United States has “betrayed its duty to bring peace and security” to Iraq, said  Warduni, in an interview on Friday with the Italian daily La Stampa. The Americans leave behind “an Iraq worse off than the one they found seven years ago,” said Warduni. In fact majority of Christians , some of the earliest in Christian history have fled the country. I used to see lots of them running small businesses in Bucharest (Romania)
 
A joker called Thomas Friedman wrote in his New York Times column in November , 2003 that US had undertaken a noble mission to promote democracy in Iraq. In fact George Bush had even recommended Iraq’s democracy as a model for Russia to President Vladimir Putin, who was not amused by this absurd suggestion.
 
Then there is a dysfunctional parliament in Iraq elected nearly six months ago according to a Constitution imposed by the Occupiers .It has yet to form a government since Washington wants Iyad Allawi , a former CIA asset to be the prime minister. Incidentally, many members of the cabinet have non-Iraqi passports and mostly reside outside Iraq or at best in the besieged fortress called the Green Zone in Baghdad.
 
The shock and awe of the invasion was eclipsed by insurgents using IEDs.
In an article titled ‘The reckoning. Iraq’s uncertain future ‘pro-US English weekly The Economist admitted that “Iraq is still under siege. The insurgency is weakened but not defeated. Violence is down by 90% from 2007, but al-Qaeda-affiliated groups have staged a comeback in recent months. Officials and policemen are assassinated almost daily. The number of dead is increasing again, to nearly 500 in July. On August 25th a series of bombs throughout the country killed over 50 people and injured hundreds more. “Al-Qaeda can probably keep this up for a while,” says an American general.
“Instability afflicts the whole country. In the south new extremist groups are springing up and old ones like Mr Sadr’s militia, the Mahdi Army, are reforming. In the scarred northern city of Mosul much of the battle damage is recent. Along the dividing line between Arabs and Kurds, tension is as high as ever. Iraq’s territorial integrity is not certain. Borders are routinely violated by aggressive neighbours.
 
“(Iraqi) forces are much better than they were a few years ago; buckling under pressure is no longer a certainty. Yet even their own generals say they are not really ready. The Iraqi army chief of staff (he is from Kurdistan, a US protectorate since 1991. The caretaker PM Al Maliki shot down any such suggestion ) wants American help until 2020. Privately, American officers agree their job is not done. Iraqi intelligence work is poor, extremist infiltrators are common, the air force is in its infancy, some commanders follow nakedly political agendas and initiative in the lower ranks is lacking, as is equipment. Prisoners are widely abused. 
 
“It is clear that Iraqis will for many years be plagued by corruption, insurgents, meddling neighbours, and their own stubborn politicians.
 
“As a sign of America’s changing role in the country, the State Department will now assume some of the responsibilities that were previously undertaken by the Pentagon. Chief among them is the training of Iraqi policemen, a key to keeping the peace. Consular offices will be opened across the country to replace military bases. Since the State Department does not have its own forces, it is hiring private gunmen. They will fly armed helicopters and drive armoured personnel carriers on the orders of the secretary of state long after the last American soldier has gone home.“
 
The Iraq Study Group and the ‘Surge’ 
 
Did the Congress do a due diligence study before authorizing the Iraq war in October 2002 ! In the post Fall of the Berlin Wall triumphalism, US leaders and media were behaved like Mongol war lords and hordes.
 
But faced with a full fledged civil war with Iraq slipping towards breakup and opposition to the war in US , the Congress established on March 15, 2006, a bipartisan Commission, the Iraq Study Group (ISG), to salvage something from the bloody Iraqi quagmire. Some parts of the Report alluding to a change of course were leaked before the November elections to soften the edge off Bush's unwavering mantra of  'staying the course', with the President's approval ratings on the war tumbling to low 30s in US polls and a majority demanding withdrawal of US troops. The swing against President's Republican party was decisive, giving the Democrats majority both in the House and the Senate.
 
ISG made its 142 page Report with 79 non-binding recommendations public on 6 December, 2006. The opening sentences - "the situation in Iraq is grave and deteriorating ... there is no path that can guarantee success" – sum up the historic and tragic dilemma.
 
The Report turned out to be a red herring. President Bush sent even more troops, with more of the same. Up came the ‘Surge‘ and despatch of 30,000 more troops .The monster of military-industry complex  in league with energy corporate interests must be fed ,at the cost of the taxpayer. No wonder US economy is declining rapidly.
 
Flouting of International Law,
Geneva and human Rights Conventions

 
Bush tore up more international treaties and disregarded more UN conventions than the rest of the world in past 20 years. The list is familiar, including but not limited to the withdrawal from the Kyoto Protocol on global warming, failure to ratify the Rio Pact on biodiversity, withdrawal from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty and the pursuit of National Missile Defense (with its hegemony declining fast agreement was signed between Obama and Russian President Medvedev but not on Missile Defense). US has violated the spirit and obligations of the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty. It opposes the ban on land mines and sought to immobilize the UN convention against torture to keep foreign observers out of its prison camp in Guantanamo Bay and hide its treatment of al-Qaeda prisoners and other Gulags like Abu Ghraib and Bagram. It has sabotaged the small-arms treaty and is opposed to new provisions of the biological-warfare convention. It experiments with biological weapons of its own and has refused chemical-weapons inspectors full access to its laboratories. It is opposed to the International Criminal Court and coerced other countries to sign separate agreements not to charge US citizens. It has permitted CIA hit squads to recommence covert operations of the kind that included, in the past, the assassination of foreign heads of state. Its invasion of Iraq without a mandate from the UN Security Council was a defiance of international law. 
 

The Bush administration undermined the fragile structure of international law and conventions built up during the past three centuries, to which the United States made important contributions. Former President Billy Carter, a respected elder statesman said that "formerly admired almost universally as the pre-eminent champion of human rights, our country has become the foremost target of respected international organizations concerned about these basic principles of democratic life".

“Would have worked through the whole lot, Iraq, Syria, Iran, dealing with all their surrogates.... thought the world had to be made anew ... by force and with urgency.”  Tony Blair in his recently released memoir. The war mongers do not change
But, he adds, "on the basis of what we do know now, I still believe that leaving Saddam in power was a bigger risk to our security than removing him."
 

"I can't regret the decision to go to war," he says, although he admits that "never did I guess the nightmare that unfolded" once Saddam was gone.
 
Abu Ghraib and other Crimes 
 
Seymour Hersh, the well known US investigative journalist who has methodically chipped away at United State administration's blatant lies and spins, unveiled the torture and abuse of Iraqis at US 'Gulag' at Abu Ghraib in Iraq (others are at Guantamano, Bagram and also outsourced to friendly countries) published in January 2007 issue of New Yorker, an interview with Major General Antonio Taguba who led the first military investigation in 2004 into human rights abuses at Abu Ghraib prison. Gen Taguba bluntly questioned the integrity of former Secretary of Defence, Rumsfeld, suggesting he misled the US Congress by downplaying his own prior knowledge of what had happened. Gen Taguba also claimed in the interview that President Bush also "had to be aware" of the atrocities despite saying at the time of the scandal that he had been out of the loop until he saw images in the US media.
 
As usual the White House had denied it and –"the President said over three years ago that he first saw the pictures of the abuse on the television," added Scott Stanzel, a spokesman.
 
There was little reaction in US main line media ie corporate controlled 'be the first' purveyors of spins and lies. Or among honourable members of the US Congress who had sanctioned the illegal invasion of Iraq opening up the gates of hell on hapless Iraqis. It was as if the well documented US crimes were done by someone else.  But the culprits should have been be impeached and tried for misleading the world and the American people. Cheney’s man Friday Libby's conviction was set aside by Bush and illegal opinions by Attorney General Alberto Gonzales were not investigated. Verily USA has created a lawless jungle abroad and at home too.
 
The New Yorker interview confirmed the details of the abuse partially known or not known and gave it official authority . It also confirmed that the torture was sanctioned from the top.
 
Another General Janis Karpinski testified that she saw a memorandum on "Interrogation techniques" pinned to the wall by military intelligence at Abu Ghraib, signed by Defence Secretary Rumsfeld himself. Karpinski was at the top of the line of command of the guards - the military police - but not the interrogators. More of the details of the war crimes at Abu Ghraib, and of extraordinary rendition and Guantanamo, have continued to emerge.
 
Sexual aggression is not really about sex or gender, but about power: the powerful humiliating the powerless.
 
The General's 53-page 2004 report had found Iraqi detainees in a cellblock of the notorious Abu Ghraib prison outside Baghdad subjected to "sadistic, blatant, and wanton criminal abuses" at the hands of their U.S. jailers. The abuses included sodomizing of prisoners, pouring cold water and chemicals on naked bodies, threatening detainees with rape and dog attacks, hitting them with chairs and broomsticks and locking them in isolation without food, water or a toilet for three days. The report also found a virtual collapse of the command structure in Abu Ghraib with Army reservists being urged by military intelligence and CIA employees to "set physical and mental conditions for favorable interrogation of witnesses."
 
Chairman of the Joint Cheifs of Staff Gen Richard Myers first denied the contents to the media and gave conflicting answers . When pressed, he claimed that he had not even read the report.
 
Gen Taguba noted that Rumsfeld not only denied advance knowledge, but even denied afterwards having seen his report or knowing what had happened. Rumsfeld testified before Congress that he had no idea of the extent of the abuse.
 
"He's trying to acquit himself and a lot of people who are lying to protect themselves," New Yorker  quoted Taguba as saying, referring to Rumsfeld's May 7, 2004 testimony in the Congress.
 
Taguba affirmed, "There was no doubt in my mind that this stuff" — the explicit images — "was gravitating upward. It was standard operating procedure to assume that this had to go higher. The President had to be aware of this." He said that Rumsfeld, his senior aides, misrepresented in the Congress what he ( Rumsfeld) knew about Abu Ghraib and had failed the nation.
 
The photographs that became public at the time of enquiry and created worldwide reprehension, revulsion and condemnation - showed US jailers humiliating inmates who were naked, hooded, on leashes or piled into a human pyramid.
 
Gen Taguba said that other material not yet public or mentioned in trials included a video showing "a male American soldier in uniform sodomising a female detainee". The first wave of images also included images of sexual humiliation between a father and his son.
 
Gen Taguba also added he was ordered to limit his inquiry as he became convinced they had a green light from higher up. "Somebody was giving them guidance but I was legally prevented from further investigation into higher authority. I was limited to a box." He declares , "even today ... those civilian and military leaders responsible should be held accountable."
 
Gen Taguba was victimized for doing his duty and was subsequently forced to retire early. His conclusion was that he was being punished for honest investigation. "They always shoot the messenger." Gen Taguba was ostracised for doing what he was asked to do which he did as an honest and upright officer and as a decent human being.
 
Fallujah
 
The list of US crimes will be incomplete without its destruction of the town of Fallujah and lasting destruction and damage on it, reminding one of Nazi war crimes. A film Fallujah ,The Hidden Massacre brings out the war crimes during US  attacks on Fallujah, in particular use of chemical weapons including white phosphorous (both illegal) and depleted Uranium munitions.
 
Following the November 2004 attacks over 6000 civilians were killed, "more than half of Fallujah's 39,000 homes were damaged, and about 10,000 of those were destroyed." According to Mike Marqusee of Iraq Occupation Focus along with the homes destroyed were 60 schools and 65 mosques and shrines. Reconstruction only progressed slowly and mainly consisted of clearing rubble from heavily-damaged areas and reestablishing basic utility services.
 
In July 2010, BBC reported a study by Dr. Chris Busby, detailing increases in infant mortality, such as a 12 fold increase in childhood cancer reported in Fallujah since the attack. In 2004, Iraq had the world's highest rate of leukaemia, in which significant increased were also reported. The report also noted that the sex ratio also declined from normal to 86 boys to 100 girls, together with a spread of diseases indicative of genetic damage similar to but far greater than HIROSHIMA.
 
Leaders of USA, UK and other invading nations should be tried along the lines of Nuremberg trial , since the crimes against humanity , war crimes and flouting human rights and other conventions are similar. Private Tribunals in Brussels, Spain, Kuala Lumpur are trying Bush, Blair and others.
 
Author’s Memories of a Prosperous and Happy Iraq in 1977
 
I recall the booming economic development, educational and technical expansion and a general sense of optimism and well being in Baghdad and other cities during my first ever visit to Iraq in July 1977 with the Indo-Iraq Economic Commission. Heading the Committee on educational, technical and cultural cooperation I was taken up by the Iraqis enthusiasm and hurry to catch up on industrial and educational empowerment.
 
A secular state, there appeared no tensions between Shias, a majority and ruling Sunni minority, who formed the bulk of the ruling Baath party. The dominance of Sunnis was a legacy of the Sunni Ottoman empire of which Iraq was a part till WWI. In the Iraq-Iran war to come in 1980s, Iraq’s nationalist Shia Arab soldiers fought against Shia Iran forces. The all powerful Vice President Saddam Hussein had yet to take over the presidency officially, an event which was accompanied by usual purges in a authoritarian regime change. 
 
There was an air of prosperity in Iraq following 4 fold increase in oil prices in 1973. People in Baghdad were well fed, well dressed and were quite modern in outlook. For example, we went to a few clubs in Baghdad similar to Delhi’s Gymkhana Club. The number of young ladies wearing hot pants, then coming into fashion in many countries, was higher than Delhi’s. But in the countryside, during our travels to Najaf, Kerbala and Babylon, conservative village women wore black chadors, but were mostly unveiled. Both men and women in general worked together in all walks of life i.e. hospitals, universities, ministries and other places. 
 
Yes, there were still restrictions on Iraqis meeting freely with foreigners and I was unable to meet with Brigadier Tikriti, my 1976 course mate at New Delhi’s National Defense College, although Counselor Mani Shankar Aiyar had assured me otherwise earlier. Yes, Mani was unhappy that apples had still not reached the Baghdad market and while taking me home for dinner, he suddenly braked his car, viola, he shouted ‘apples’, picked some and began munching immediately.
 
I went again to Baghdad (also to Iran and Kuwait) late 1977 to discuss manpower requirements of Iraq and look at the Indian companies executing projects in Iraq and the region.
 
Then in 1989, I was posted to neighbouring Amman (Jordan) but before I could go over to Baghdad again, misled by US ambassador April Glaspie and State Department statement that the raging dispute between Iraq and Kuwait, with Iraqi forces ranged along its border with Kuwait was a bilateral affair, a few days later on 2 August 1990, Saddam sent his troops to Kuwait, a subdivision of the Basra province during Ottoman empire, over which Iraq had maintained its claims until 1961. I was caught up in receiving, housing, feeding  and repatriating nearly 140,000 Indians who came over to Amman, mostly from Kuwait but some thousands from Iraq too. The government of India and the External Affairs Ministry was as disorganized as preparations for Commonwealth Games in New Delhi now.  

5-Sep-2010
More by :  K. Gajendra Singh
 
Views: 1433
Article Comment Thank you for your efforts & time. This is very detailed & informative. I enjoyed reading it.
Manju
09/10/2010
Article Comment Thank you for this comprehensive update.
Most info available elsewhere is in bits and pieces only.
seadog4227
09/06/2010
 
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