When you wage a war that is strongly opposed by the great majority of those on the planet who are aware of such things, when your own people are becoming increasingly militant against your unilateral waging of that war, when you know well that your war is palpably and embarrassingly illegal, immoral, illogical and unjust, when you can’t admit the real reasons for the war … then you have a consuming need to find a moral-sounding and credible selling point — “Regime change”, to remove the evil Saddam, the Iraqi people will welcome us with flowers and music!
Thus was it mortifying for the warmongers that for more than the first two weeks of the war the Iraqi images shown to the world were largely of the dead, the wounded, the grief-stricken, the immense piles of rubble, the bombing-produced homeless, those bitterly angry at the US. How could it be otherwise? What kind of people like their loved ones torn apart by missiles, their children without a limb, their homes, hospitals, schools and jobs destroyed? The US military told its cannon fodder and its embedded media that any negative reaction, or lack of a positive one, was all because the people were afraid of Saddam, as if one of his agents was standing behind each Iraqi citizen. Why did a million people fight and resist to the death instead of surrendering, defecting, anything to show their gratitude for their “liberation”?
Now, any teenager flashing a victory sign or anyone climbing upon a toppled statue of Saddam is an American media star. But what portion of the Iraqi people are happy about the invasion — happy about all its effects? What are they happy about other than the removal of Saddam? And many Iraqis supported him. Of those “celebrating”, how many have been touched by the death and destruction? How many even know about it? The US bombed Iraqi and Arabic TV off the air fairly early on for much of the country. Much of the telephone system was another early victim.
As an American, I might also celebrate if the cruel and ignorant tyrant occupying the White House were overthrown. But not if my house were demolished and my city were bombed. In any event, I’d keep most of my joy in reserve until I saw who and what replaced the tyrant. Like in Iraq, it would likely be a conservative Republican.
However, I’m being light here. No changes in Iraq justify the American onslaught. What kind of world would we have if any country could invade any other country because it didn’t like the leader of that country? And in this case, the United States was not motivated at all by Saddam Hussein, or his evilness, or his alleged weapons of mass destruction, or his alleged threat to the US.
WILLIAM BLUM is the author of Killing Hope: U.S. Military and CIA Interventions Since World War II, Rogue State: a guide to the World’s Only Super Power. and West-Bloc Dissident: a Cold War Political Memoir. He can be reached at: BBlum6@aol.com