By Latheef Farook
Today, March 19, marks the twentieth anniversary of United States led invasion of Iraq and the destruction of this almost developed oil rich country known for its ancient history and its capital Baghdad once the seat of knowledge.
Former US President George Bush junior and former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair, falsely accused ousted Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein of developing weapons of mass destruction and unleashed their military machine, using all sophisticated weapons and aircrafts, only to turn this country into a slaughter house.
Almost all United Nati0ns weapons inspectors employed to search for weapons of mass destruction concluded there was no such weapon.
Highlighting the unjust nature of the war, the former UN Chief Weapons Inspector Scott Ritter said, “all weapons of mass destruction were destroyed in Iraq by 1989”, and even the head of the UN inspection squad Hans Blix said his team needed more time to complete its work before thinking of war, as weapons inspectors who went all over Iraq for more than three months failed to find any trace of any weapons of mass destruction, neither chemical nor biological weapons necessary for a nuclear program.
However blackmailing the world saying” you are with us or terrorists” Bush and Blair went ahead with their bombing plan on 19 March 2003 and destroyed Iraq and ensure Israel is safer in the region.
Since 1991, following the crisis triggered by Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait, Iraq was subjected to US sponsored UN sanctions which caused untold misery and hardships to the Iraqi people. UN sanctions, also devastated the newly built infrastructure, crippled health, education, water and other services and killed a million and a half people, while exposing more than one-third of the population to malnutrition, epidemics, miscarriages and declining life expectancy.
Most countries in the world were against this war, but they couldn’t speak out their minds due to political, economic and other reasons.
There were passionate pleas from political and religious leaders, including the Pope, against the war. Political activists, intellectuals and men and women from all walks of life, from Sydney, Melbourne and Jakarta to London, Paris. Berlin, Rome and cities all over the US, came out in their thousands in the shivering cold to demonstrate their opposition to the war. In fact, anti-war demonstrations became daily occurrences in many European capitals except, of course, in the capitals of the Middle East, where the people cannot express their feelings as the Arab dictators do not tolerate any political demonstrations.
Dismissing all voices of reason, Bush dispatched his war planes to bomb the Iraqi people with unprecedented intensity. Within days people were deprived of water, electricity, medicine, food and even shelter.
Imagine the terrifying prospect for the ordinary Iraqi citizens who suffered incessant bombardment as Bush unleashed his superpower’s most destructive firepower to kill them indiscriminately. Day in and day out the skies over Iraq rained bombs – and the most pernicious ones to boot – which shook the earth and relegated once thriving cities into bloody human abattoirs. Child survivors, many of them maimed for life, remain haunted by the nightmare of the gruesome catastrophe throughout their natural lives. Screaming in fear and panic they simply could not comprehend why they were being subjected to such horror and heartlessness.
The US and UK deliberately committed genocide on innocent civilians. There was carnage everywhere. And the whole world, including human rights champions in Europe, watched the slaughter as helpless spectators.
Besides massacring innocent civilians, the US troops mercilessly slaughtered Iraqi soldiers who had surrendered .No one knows exactly how many Iraqis perished in this carnage as it happened during the 1991 Kuwaiti crisis and in the Bush war against Afghanistan.
Hundreds of thousands of Iraqis were imprisoned and pictures of torture shocked the entire world.
Iraq, a land where many great ancient civilisations, including Mesopotamia, Sumer, Akkad, Babylonian and Assyria flourished between the Tigris and the Euphrates rivers for more than 7,000 years, was also raped of its precious heritage when its national museums and archives were robbed of their priceless relics and documents.
The destruction of Iraq had been so meticulously planned that one of their main aims was to physically eliminate academics, professionals and other intellectuals to wipe out the society for generations to come.
Under this program, hundreds of top Iraqi professionals, academics and other intellectuals were systematically killed. In the early stage of the invasion, around May 2003, there were reports that Israel’s secret service Mossad arrived with a list of names and addresses of more than 400 top intellectuals and killed them in their houses, offices, cars along the streets and other places.
According to the UN’s International Leadership Institute, “84% of Iraq’s higher learning institutions have been burnt, looted or destroyed.” The thefts from the Iraqi Museum of April 2003, the untrammelled looting of hundreds of archaeological sites and the burning of libraries placed Iraqi’s access to culture, history and science in grave danger.
They didn’t stop there! Even the dead and buried were not spared!
In Northern Baghdad, US troops attacked Ahdamiya Mosque with missiles while a shoulder fired rocket was used to blast open the door to the catafalque containing the body of an eighth-century Muslim saint Abu Haniffa. Not leaving the dead and buried in peace, they bombed a number of graveyards and destroyed the Ahdamiya cemetery behind the mosque.
Arab tyrants were bribed to keep silent. For example Bush signed a US$ 79 billion package to pay for the war and provided about US$8 billion to Hosni Mubarak of Egypt, King Abdullah of Jordan, Ahmed Karzai of Afghanistan, Pervez Musharraf of Pakistan and of course, Ariel Sharon of Israel for siding with the US in its campaign to turn Iraq into a lawless anarchy.
Throughout the carnage in Iraq, the United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan was silent. Criticised for allowing the US to undermine the world body, the then Malaysian Prime Minister Dr. Mahathir Mohamed demanded that Kofi Annan resign from his job.
The often raised question is: why has the international community not brought charges against George W. Bush, Tony Blair, Donald Rumsfeld and others for their crimes against humanity in Iraq? Instead Tony Blair was given the highest award by late Queen Elizabeth while Bush still enjoys his life in peace.