War is big business! [Archives:2004/703/Opinion]

January 15 2004

Hassan Al-Haifi
As the days proceed, it is clear that the poor Iraqi people turned over their authority from one form of autocratic (Saddam Style) rule to another type (Bremer alias Bush style). The fact of the matter is that the Iraqis are nowhere near the ability to determine their own faith than they were a few months ago. About the only difference it seems between the totalitarian rule of Saddam Hussein may be rounded down to a difference in language. Even if looking at it from the point of view of sharing in on the bounties of the land, with control over that, for all intents and purposes, in the occupier's hand, the Iraqis probably were enjoying a greater share under the Saddam Regime with all its corrupt and elusive methodology, whether in their capacity as elements of the Regime or simply as beneficiaries of the Oil – for Food Program, the latter of which the occupiers have simply turned into shambles. On another note, life expectancy in Iraq has considerably dropped from the rate it was under Saddam Hussein, not just because of the vast number of “mistakes”, preventive violence and other non combat related killings by the occupation forces, but also because of the fact that the American and mini-Anglo British occupation of Iraq has created the venue that brought to Iraq all these random elements that are throwing their ordinance against the Iraqis they purport to want to liberate and thus bringing more suffering to the Iraqis than they are to the occupiers. These elements were simply non-existent in the Saddam era.
So what has the occupation brought to the Iraqi people: a few newspapers more than they had. That has not necessarily meant a greater span of freedom. It simply took the occupiers out of the headache of being responsible for disseminating news and restricted access to news to media that are found only in the greater population centers. Without audio and video channels, this leaves a lot of Iraqis out in the cold, even those in the other major cities other than Baghdad.
This is not to imply that there were no better alternatives to Saddam Hussein. Far from it, the Iraqis were ripe for a change. But the change brought on by a nightmarish American invasion and its horrific aftermath is nowhere near the rosy change promised by the great “liberators”. In addition, it is that the invaders cared more about setting up a new field for American big business, which can only thrive on war about worrying bringing honey and butter to the Iraqi people. This is said, while not forgetting the obvious big Zionist influence at play in the whole scenario. Moreover, the occupiers totally ignored the need to assess the consequences of their treasure hunt, or even to have a grasp of the nature and demographic characteristics of the people that they wanted to place under their full mercy.
An important apparent conclusion that can be drawn from all the ugliness that this invasion has brought with it to the Iraqi people is that the real motives of the invasion are far more open to a wide range of questions, not to mention being suspect of any degree of credible intentions or even rationality.
So, now all this wonderful talk about sovereignty on the way is the next chord being played by the new-con establishment in the White House. The facts on the ground and in the Cheney liaison office with American big business will end up sooner or later as the only real “winners” in the whole misguided adventure. The elements of sovereignty are simply not there for the observers to state that the hope is anywhere near sight.
There is absolutely no replacement for turning the Iraqi situation to the trusteeship of the United Nations and for the Americans to simply leave. Any other plans or even talk of a long-term American engagement in Iraq will never be accorded a welcome by the Iraqis, no matter how it is colored by the propaganda machine of the Bush Administration (It really never entered one's mind that America will have an organized propaganda apparatus with an agenda for deception, lies and misleading innuendos, but now it is as real as the darkness of the night sky).
The reader is to be cautioned that none of the above should ever be taken as any defense of the Saddam Regime, or effort to raise Anti-American sentiment. Far from it, the effort here is more to make the American people, become aware that they are being given a cheap selling jibe that has nothing to do with the overall interests of the Iraqi people to heart. If that was the case, we would not be hearing all the criticisms of the vast majority of the Iraqis from the public, who are openly vocal against the American occupation and willing to give the Saddam Regime a better score than their present lot, out of contempt for their occupiers. The observer in the Arab World has no choice but to take the feelings of the Iraqi people to heart than all the wishy-washy occupiers' claims for the very simple reason that the Bush Administration is using the same approaches in relating their domestic stance as is used in their mishandling of the Iraqi situation. Everything for big businesses and the wealthy – not a thing for the overall public interest. The political contributions raised by the Bush re-election campaign underscores where the hearts of the neo-cons really lie, whether in Iraq, Afghanistan or at home. War is also big business in America!