War on IraqFrom victory to a mess [Archives:2003/632/Opinion]

April 21 2003

Hassan Al-Haifi
Last week, General Tommy Franks, Commander-in-Chief of the Anglo-Saxon Alliance Forces (Have we forgotten that the good old USA is an offshoot of the British Empire, as well as the Aussie Land Down Under?) announced that for all intents and purposes the heavy engagements of the War in Iraq were over. Of course, this did not mean that “Operation Iraqi Freedom” could not be considered as a matter that can now be transferred to the history textbooks and the work papers of strategic think tanks to prepare for the next possible engagement. In fact, the “job seemed far easier than envisioned” and worthy of the applaud of all those who insisted that the war was necessary and proper to remind the world that the “White Man's Burden” is far from being over and done with. Many of the anti-colonial veterans of the 1950s and 1960s are perhaps rightfully asking, “why did we bother to go through all that trouble” (Iraqi anti colonialist activity was far earlier, as the British found themselves unwelcome almost from the start of their mandate over Iraq, i.e. in the 1920s). To underscore the “job well done” feeling, there was even talk of the Marines going home (with subtle talk of having them replaced by US Army troops, to take over the “police work”, which never really got off the ground anyway).
But what seemed to be “over and done with” in Iraq, in the eyes of the retired “embedded generals” with the American media channels, was really only the start of another phase of all the malady and the uncertainty that has characterized the Administration of President George W. Bush almost since it took office. To be sure, the generals kept telling the curious listeners to the American media channels, the “objectives of the military adventure were achieved with dramatic speed and cunning”. The feat is bound to make good text book material for West Point, thus replacing Schwarzkopf's Desert Storm military avalanche of Gulf War II (GW I: Iraq vs. Iran War; GWII Iraq vs. Everybody; GWIII: G. Bush vs. S. Hussein War). For three weeks, the American media was hammering the American populace and the rest of the world with military tactical jargon and various colors and dimensions of the map of Iraq, with almost casual by the way mention of the human trauma that was unfolding in most of the major cities of Iraq. When it became apparent that the military victory was beginning to appear as a mismanaged and poorly planned strategic adventure, the Bush Administration began raising the Terror alarm again and started to hint that from Iraq the Americans are launching their might towards Syria. Once again, Jack Straw and Tony Blair jumped on the bandwagon to echo the new Anglo Saxon's King Richard the Lionhearted's call for Syria's total and unconditional surrender to Anglo-Saxon demands for a world free of terrorism and weapons of mass destruction. It does not matter that the WMD, which the war on Iraq was based upon, has yet to be found, to justify all the destruction and suffering which the Iraqis have to go through. So, now Syria will become the new target for Bush's evasion of the issues at hand that really should keep the American Presidency busy. From one unfinished job to another: that is how Mr. Bush feels is the proper way of showing guiding leadership to an American public that seems to be easily swayed to close their eyes to much of the debacle that the domestic scene is undergoing (of course the Bush Misadministration already is banking on
the “9-11 standby” to take care of all criticism against the failure of the Administration to put some verve back into the economy and to overcome the stagnation in many of the domestic social fronts). So Syria comes next with Iran given the early warning signs. Many people seemed to have forgotten that the adventure in Afghanistan is far from being over, with the Kabul Government not even fully in control of Kabul yet, let alone the rest of that country. Now if Kabul can remain such a menacing headache, one can imagine what Iraq will turn out to be, with all the geopolitical complexity that characterizes the country. All we can say is that, whoever is producing this parade of Ride'm High Cowboy orientation is serving demonic interests, that do not really have the aspirations of the American people to heart, nor do they blend in with the desire of the people of this world to work towards greater rapprochement and peaceful integration. All these senseless ill conceived adventures are being undertaken at the expense of continued suffering of the world's poor and with the opportunity cost of squandering billions of dollars recklessly, which could be so much better utilized to eradicate so much of the social decay and deprivation that prevails throughout the world. Yes, we should not forget to mention two important outcomes: Saddam is gone – or is he still around, ready to come out with his set of tapes, like his predecessor Bin Laden? Yes the Iraqis are rid of tyranny, but now there is chaos and pandemonium, which to some analysts may be even worse than tyranny. Just to remind the Americans of the gratitude the Iraqis have shown: a Friday sermon in one of the Mosques in Baghdad simply put the prevailing feeling of gratitude to Mr. Bush echoed by so many Iraqis, “the Americans must get out of Iraq as soon as possible, or else we shall push them out”. Then, the hanging question – was it really worth it, Mr. Bush? The answer will not be found in Baghdad, Damascus or Teheran. The answer really lies in Tel Aviv.