Response to Shock and Awe and Moloch by Nalin Swaris
By Professor (emeritus) Gamini Weerasekera
"Shock and Awe and Moloch" and some of the rhetoric one tears on the Iraq situation is blatantly anti-US (and UK, guilt by association). The impression created "Bad America and innocent Iraq". I was not in Sri Lanka during the Iraq invasion of Kuwait. Were people cheering Iraq then too? I was not even born when the person with the toothbrush mustache invaded Austria. I guess these same "Shock and Awe and Moloch persons supported that lunatic "artist" too?
In the article "Shock and Awe and Moloch" the author paints pre-Bush invaded Iraq a Garden of Eden. Suddenly their peace loving nation, where calm prosperity was the norm, is bombed to smithereens by the vicious Americans. I beg to differ. Iraq has been anything but calm and peaceful. Kuwait and the aftermath is what we remember best. However, Iraq has been chaotic, murderous and unstable. Snap shot of this bedlam: military revolution overthrows King Faisal II in 1958, Brigadier Abd al-Karim Kassem takes over, five years later he is assassinated in 1963, three years later power is wrenched by the bloody and violent Bathist Arab nationalist regime of Colonel Abd as-Salem Muhammed Aref, his successor brother, Abd ar-Rahman Muhammed Aref in 1966, two years later the seizure of power by the Arab Renaissance (Baath) Socialist Party in 1968, self-appointment of Major General Ahmad Hassan al-Baker as President and Prime Minister of Iraq, his deputy Saddam Hussain and in 1979 resignation of al-Baker giving the power to Saddam Hussain and his political henchmen.
Saddam decreed membership of any other political party punishable by death for all members or former members of the armed forces. Nice guy eh? What else did Saddam do? He created a cult.... portraits and statues of him at each street corner. While his people staved, he spent money on lavish palaces and more statues of himself. He was Iraq. And if anyone dared to oppose him, swift (and some times not so swift) death including his own son-in-law. The Iran/Iraq War of the 1980 brought untold miseries to this country. (Death toll: 400,000 Iraqi+Iranian and around 750,000 people injured). Not withstanding the claims that the west supported Saddam, it was all Saddams doing to bring misery to his country and neighbours. Lets not forget the systematic genocide of the Kurds including the use of various forms of chemical weapons. (Just a footnote is his pious son Uday, who murdered his friend. Just because the other guy had the gall to drive up in a Ferrari, upstaging Uday?)
America is being criticized for hypocrisy for attacking Iraq... because America has the largest stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction. No stretch of the imagination can equate the two countries when evaluating instability, wanton attacks of neibhbours, fascism and untold misery Iraq brings upon her own people and neighbours. And again, the time-worn argument is used against America for using the Atom bomb. Was the other option better... choose a long drawn out war, with untold amount of casualties, just to appease another megalomaniac leader?
Another criticism is about America is the Vietnam War. No doubt that war was one of the low points in US history. There is little to claim for that fiasco. Thank you France, for totally messing up of that region of the world and then letting America catch the flack. (I dare not say the French, whose claim to fame is cooking, just could not take the heat in the kitchen!)
There is much criticism in "Shock and Awe and Moloch" about the high tech approach the US is taking in this war. Yes, I am sure the author would have preferred the method used by the Iraqis (and some local "soldiers"). Is a machete the preferred method? You prefer hacking people to death?
When America is criticized for helping world be a safer place... remember these are the same people who criticized America for being isolationist and initially not taking out that lunatic who invaded Austria. America does not want to be in Iraq, no more than her keenness to be in Bosnia, Somalia, Afghanistan, or any other place that the people "just dont seem to be able to connect the dots" to make the picture for themselves. Yes, America which repudiated the metric measurement system is self contained and is isolationist.
War is ugly. It is cruel. It is horrible. And on and on and on. There is no sanitized version. Instead of fighting this war in Iraq, my friends in Lafayette, Louisiana would rather be with their families. They prefer sitting on the back porch, sipping a mint julep. Not withstanding all the "oil conspiracies" America does not want to be in salubrious desert of Iraq.
Please think of that next time one is urged to criticize America for helping the world be a safer place.
The writer, Professor Weerasekera, University Louisiana, lives in Lafayette, Louisiana, USA and Kandy, Sri Lanka.
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