by Enver Masud
The war ended with the toppling of Saddam's statue, the Iraqis want them out,
and now the occupiers, having destroyed much of Iraq, have the arrogance to
ask Iraqis to pay for the occupation and reconstruction.
The Iraq war began with lies - weapons of mass destruction, mushroom cloud,
Al Qaeda, and it ended with more lies.
Robert Fisk, veteran Middle East correspondent for the Independent, wrote: "a statue of Saddam Hussein was
pulled down on Wednesday, in the most staged photo-opportunity since Iwo
David Zucchino, writing in the Los Angeles Times on July 3, 2003, added:
the Iraqi regime was collapsing on April 9, 2003, Marines converged on
Firdos Square in central Baghdad, site of an enormous statue of Saddam
Hussein. It was a Marine colonel - not joyous Iraqi civilians, as was widely
assumed from the TV images - who decided to topple the statue, the Army
report said. And it was a quick-thinking Army psychological operations team
that made it appear to be a spontaneous Iraqi undertaking."
The war ended on April 9, 2003. What followed is a brutal occupation
fiercely resisted by Sunnis and Shias alike - as they struggle amongst
themselves because of the power vacuum created by the disbanding of the
Iraqi army, and the decapitation of Iraq's government by elimination of
its Baath party members.
And Iraqis want the U.S. out of Iraq.
Ibrahim Khalil, who took part in the
toppling of Saddam's statue five years ago, told reporters this Wednesday:
"If history can take me back, I will kiss the statue of Saddam Hussein which
I helped pull down."
Polls by the State Department and
independent researchers show that Iraqis favor an immediate U.S. pullout.
ABC News reported on September 27, 2006 that according to a poll
released by the Program on International Policy Attitudes at the
University of Maryland, "Six in 10 Iraqis approve of attacks on U.S.-led
forces, . . . Nearly eight in 10 say the U.S. presence in Iraq is provoking
more conflict than it's preventing".
Karen DeYoung, writing for the Washington Post on December 19, 2007, stated:
"Iraqis of all sectarian and ethnic
groups believe that the U.S. military invasion is the primary root of the
violent differences among them, and see the departure of "occupying forces"
as the key to national reconciliation, according to focus groups conducted
for the U.S. military last month."
But the U.S. refuses to leave or even provide a timeline for leaving, and it
keeps changing the goal posts.
Following testimony by Army Gen. David H. Petraeus, and Ambassador Ryan C.
Crocker, the Bush administration is convinced that "actions by
Iran, and not al-Qaeda, are the primary threat inside Iraq" from which Iraq
must be protected.
Americans are fed up with this war that has cost the lives of 4000 plus U.S.
military men and women, maimed and wounded many more, the final bill for which is estimated to be
over $3 trillion (that's about $10,000 for each U.S. citizen), but the
presumptive Republican nominee for president, Senator John
McCain, says the U.S. could be in Iraq for a 100 years.
Now after the illegal U.S. invasion - the "supreme international crime," Senator
Carl Levin, during the Senate Armed Services Committee Hearing on the
Situation in Iraq with Ambassador Crocker and General Petraeus, said Iraqis
should pay for the U.S. occupation and reconstruction.
Anne Penketh, diplomatic editor for the Independent, wrote on October 27,
2006, that the Kuwaitis were still getting payouts
for the deaths and destruction caused by the 1990 Iraqi invasion.
payments, totalling $417.8m (£220m), were made yesterday to governments and
oil companies for losses and damages stemming from the Kuwaiti occupation,
bringing the total paid out to more than $21bn (£11bn). The total claims
that have been approved run to $52bn (£27.5bn) and will take many more years
Aren't Iraqis, like the Kuwaitis, owed reparations by the aggressor?
The U.S. should be paying compensation for the 1.2
million Iraqis killed, countless others wounded and maimed, for the 1.6
million who have fled or been made refugees within their own country, and
for the destruction it has caused.
And these numbers do not include the "500,000 children and old people killed by
the US-UN anti-civilian sanctions in the 10 previous years."
Nor does it include the Iraqis killed during the first Gulf War in which the U.S. enticed
Saddam Hussein to invade Kuwait, and lied to the American public and the UN
to sanction the war.
John R. MacArthur, then publisher of Harper's magazine, describes the role
played in the deception
by Representatives Tom Lantos and John Edward Porter.
Retired General William E. Odom, in testimony before the Senate Foreign
Relations Committee on April 2, 2008, said:
"The surge is prolonging instability, . . . nay sayers insist
that our withdrawal will create regional instability. This confuses cause
with effect. Our forces in Iraq and our threat to change Iran's regime are
making the region unstable. Those who link instability with a US withdrawal
have it exactly backwards."
Iraqis are owed reparations by the U.S. It is the height of arrogance to ask
them to pay for the continuing U.S. occupation which most Iraqi's understand
is for the purpose of controlling their energy resources, and forestalling
a move from dollars to Euros for oil payments.
The U.S. should just get out.
Enver Masud is the founder and CEO of The Wisdom Fund.
Seumas Milne, "Iraqis
have paid the blood price for a fraudulent war: The crudely colonial nature of
this enterprise can no longer be disguised," Guardian, April 10, 2003
trampling on human rights," People's Daily Online, May 21, 2004
Jim Hightower, "Where Bush's
Arrogance Has Taken Us," AlterNet, August 23, 2006
Bradford Plumer, "What We
Owe Iraq: An Interview with Noah Feldman," MotherJones.com, January 16, 2005
Enver Masud, "Iraq: Divide and Rule,
'Ethnic Cleansing Works'," The Wisdom Fund, October 10, 2006
Jason Linkins, "Hagel: 'Arrogance, Incompetence' Fuel Bush's Run To
War," Huffington Post, March 30, 2008
[The response of Abdul Basit, the head of Iraq's independent auditing
organization, was entirely appropriate. "America has hardly even begun to
repay its debt to Iraq," Basit said. "This is an immoral request because we
didn't ask them to come to Iraq, and before they came in 2003, we didn't
have all these needs."--Paul D'Amato, "Arrogance
of a superpower," socialistworker.org, May 15, 2008]
[Baghdad is required to place five percent of its oil revenues in a United
Nations fund for paying the war reparations.
According to the Iraqi government, Iraq's total debt, excluding interest, is
some 140 billion dollars--"Iraqi PM calls for debt waiver
at global conference," AFP, May 29, 2008]
[ . . . more than half the population of Iraq is either dead, crippled,
traumatized, confined in overflowing American and Iraqi prisons, internally
displaced, or in foreign exile.
Thus, the number of people available for being killers or victims is
markedly reduced.--William Blum, "The Surge and the
Stench of 'Victory' When is a Holocaust Not a Holocaust?,"
counterpunch.org, October 3, 2008]
[Kuwait is demanding $1.2bn (£833m) in compensation for 10 planes and
equipment taken by Iraq as plunder, in addition to $30bn in compensation
already paid out of Iraq's oil revenues--Patrick Cockburn, "National airline the latest victim of Iraq's poisoned relations with
Kuwait," Independent, May 27, 2010]
[Around $40 billion are "missing" from a post-Gulf War fund that Iraq
maintains to protect the money from foreign claims, its parliamentary
speaker said--Patrick Cockburn, "40 billion
USD 'missing' from Iraq accounts," Middle East Online, February 21,