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Political Comment: Our Man in Vigo

James Skinner on the post-war situation

Perhaps. Ever since the coalition forces completed their military task, (despite blowing up half of Baghdad’s infrastructure to accomplish it) much has been taking place, both inside and outside the country. To start with, and as I go to press Saddam is still at large. The US intelligence are still licking their wounds, and the military in general are still perplexed as to his whereabouts. (827 US Soldiers wounded so far, 112 deaths) (Source Guardian 04.08)

True to Bedouin form, our superhero, as still perceived by many continues to mastermind the intrigues of the world including the international press. Even Houdini would be impressed. Whether he is caught or slaughtered is now probably irrelevant. The death of his two sons has proven that. So what of the rest of the aftermath which is unfolding before everyone’s eyes. Listening in to George ...

‘Condy, do you think we screwed up? We sent our boys in to turn the place upside down in order to liberate the Iraqi people and all we get is shit thrown back at us.’ George was not looking at his senior advisor; he was just gazing out of the window of the Oval Office. He went on, ‘before the war, them damn United Nations wouldn’t budge an inch. Kept on sending fuzzy inspectors to chase lizards. Then we get hell from the French and the Germans. After we blasted Saddam’s army we now find out that the CIA, FBI and all the rest of them idiots playing spies have fouled up.’ He turned and faced Condoleeza, ‘I still think we did good.’
Condoleeza, deadpan,faced replied in earnest, ‘the game isn’t over yet, Sir. We still have a long way to go Mr. President. Time is not on our side but the world will soon open their eyes to the truth.

Well will they?
To start with, the US military is getting more and more anxious at the turkey shoot going on both in Baghdad and around the country. George’s ‘boys’ are paying a heavy toll and folks back home are beginning to question the whole affair. Even the inner circle of financial gurus, starting with the New York Stock Exchange that usually have their brains geared to incomprehensible numbers are worried about the economic effect. Meanwhile back at Tony’s villa in Downing St., his foes and colleagues are hammering away specially at the intelligence fiasco that caused the suicide of a prominent scientist. Dr. David Kelly probably had more idea of Saddam’s toys than the rest of the world put together. But what the hell, all this has been mulled over by journalists, politicians and society in general so why harp on about the subject? It’s not that simple. Like a bad cold, it just wont go away, and the international community better take a hard look at Iraq because like it or not, the eventual failure or success of this torn-to-pieces country holds the future of mankind.

Let’s start with the country itself, as it stands today. I’m not going to go into the differences of the ethnic groups, nor the newly formed round table of Arabian Knights trying to hammer out a democratic system that is gobbledygook to the average Moslem. The people, the real Iraqi people have been overwhelmed overnight by the massive change in their lives the moment Uncle Sam started dropping explosive pebbles. Despite the terrible repression by Saddam’s regime and the persecution of dissidents, the average family went about their business the way they had done for over 20 years. All that has now changed. ‘Sure, I don’t have to fear Saddam’s police anymore, but then all I did was sell tea, and he didn’t bother me anyway,’ said Abdul who ran a small teashop near the Baghdad bazaar. ‘Now, all I see is tanks and yanks who walk about pointing their guns at everyone.’
‘They now tell us that we are to vote for our rulers, but what do I know about that. Nothing,’ added his wife as she cuddled her numerous children. It’s the transition timeframe between the hell that is going on at the moment and getting the country back to some sort of normality as it was before the war that is vital, regardless of all the utopia babble of freedom and democracy. OK, it’s also stating the obvious. Nevertheless, the Iraqis just want to live in peace and to be left alone. The outside world is holding its breath whilst George and the Pentagon ponder the next moves!

What about the outside world anyway? Bearing in mind the need for Iraqis to return to ‘life as usual’, one point is becoming increasing clear. Unless the International powers which include the European Union and the Arab League of Nations reconcile their differences on Iraq and persuade the US to place the whole affair back at the heart of the United Nations and the Security Council, this country and the world is doomed. The USA has proven that as a supposed do-gooder they made a complete mess of Iraq. Not that their intention was not correct. One cannot blame them for pursuing terrorism and that is to be applauded. However, seeking out the bad guys and at the same time upsetting Abdul and his family in the aftermath is just not on. France and Germany on the other hand should stop playing the ‘I told you so’ game because that is old hat! When Britain overcomes its internal ‘whodunit’ game, will also be a key player at the UN forum.

There are a lot of other areas at stake. North Korea continues its never ending ‘naughty US’ chess game taking advantage of the upheaval in the Middle East. It’s about time it grew up. Africa has had a breather with Bush’s visit and his promise to combat Aids. This is good, but the Liberia’s of the continent continue to battle on regardless of Iraq. Pakistan and India have calmed down. Not surprising, they are not in the limelight. And then we have the internal Jews vs. Arabs contest in Jerusalem. Why these two factions have not yet come to some sort of conviviality is beyond me, yet there is a glimmer of hope and this is precisely the point in question. Has Iraq made the USA more aware of the real Middle Eastern explosive focal point, which has always been the Palestinian issue? Is it genuinely trying to put a stop to it? We’ll see.

In a nutshell, the USA has learned a hard lesson. It is perfectly correct in pursuing the likes of al Qaeda and all the other terrorist baddies still to come. The rest of the world should support them in every sense. However, their so-called pre-emptive striking to chase these guys is very dangerous if, as has happened in Iraq they end up with no plan to help the victims afterwards. On the other hand, the rest of the world has also learned a similar lesson. The USA means business and they are not going to stop their campaign against international terrorism. Lets hope that sooner than later the mass of democratic loving nations will stop their irrational anti-Americanism and lend a genuine helping hand to save the world.

© James Skinner, August 4th 2003.

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