January 16, 2001

Remember the Holocaust

by Enver Masud
"I'm delighted that I've been invited out here today to salute you, who, in my view, are doing the Lord's work."--"Bush Salutes U.S. Air Strikes on Iraq as 'Lord's work'," AFP, January 19, 2000
January 16, 2001 marks the 10th anniversary of the beginning of the darkest forty-three days in recent American history.

On this day, 10 years ago, the United States and its allies, began the systematic destruction of a country whose defense spending was about one percent that of the U.S.

In the next forty-three days the guardians of the "civilized world" would kill a hundred thousand men, women, and children, wound a million more, and destroy $200 billion worth of property in the cradle of civilization.

Their cause was "just." They were after the new Hitler. Never mind that until August 1990, this Hitler was their ally in the war with Iran. Never mind that President Saddam Hussein, by no means admired by many of his own people, was not nearly the worst of his breed.

And, of course, oil and the intractable problems at home had nothing to do with it. President George Bush proclaimed a New World Order. Or was it merely old world imperialism? Divide, conquer, plunder, and keep the natives in their place.

The invasion of Kuwait was wrong. Iraq should have settled its dispute with Kuwait peacefully. But was the nature and scale of the U.S. response (sanctioned by a United Nations bullied and bribed into submission) proportionate to the atrocities committed by Iraq?

Having stalemated the United Nations for years, the United States in its newly found zeal, led the western crusade to rid the world of Saddam Hussein.

Never mind that it was silent when Israel bombed Iraq in 1981. Never mind the twenty-three-year occupation by Israel of the West Bank. Never mind all the other atrocities which Amnesty International has reported year after year. Saddam Hussein became the monster that had to be beheaded.

The vast majority in the western world applauded, as they viewed the real life Nintendo game on their television screens. Never mind that lost in the fog of "precision" laser bombing were thousands of innocent men, women and children.

Never mind that the United Nations resolution called only for removing Iraq from Kuwait. While babies in Iraq went without milk, the armchair Rambos, ensconced before their television screens, smelled blood. They howled for going all the way to Baghdad.

They were comforted by an American president who assured them that the United States had no gripe with the Iraqi people. They were only after that new Hitler. Tell that to those Iraqi people who will live with the wounds of war for generations to come.

But a brave minority kept alive the flame of freedom and justice. For upholding the right to free speech, and protesting President Bush's relentless rush to war, they were labeled unpatriotic. This minority did not forget the principles of the founding fathers, and the siren song of freedom that brought their forefathers past the Statue of Liberty.

This minority realized the horrors being committed, and may yet awaken America's conscience, so that freedom and justice for all are the principles which guide us in our dealings with nations and people everywhere.

So while some may recall the euphoria of an unprecedented victory, let us not forget the holocaust in Iraq, and the continuing sanctions which kill about 5000 every month.

[According to the award winning documentary Panama Deception, the U.S. invasion of Panama in 1989, to capture Gen. Noriega, took about ten times as many lives as were taken by Iraq's invasion of Kuwait.]

["The most difficult issue is UN control of Iraqi oil revenues. President Bush will certainly be lobbied by American oil companies, which want their share of the business of refitting the Iraqi oil industry."--Barnaby Mason, "Bush Faces Iraq Dilemma," BBC News Online, January 1, 2001]

[Iraqi deaths are now calculated at around one million. According to international organisations monitoring migrations, Iraq is going through one of the largest and most serious humanitarian crises in the world, with population displacement within and from Iraq. Last November, cholera figures were the worst for 40 years, says an Iraqi health minister. Childhood diseases are rampant. There are relentless bombardments across the country, for reasons not given, on people unseen and labelled al-Qa'ida.--Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, "Our crimes in Iraq must not be forgotten," Independent, February 12, 2008]

Copyright © 2001 The Wisdom Fund - Provided that it is not edited, and author name, organization, and web address ( are included, this article may be printed in newspapers and magazines, and displayed on the Internet.
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