When American soldiers along with a handful of Iraqis took down the statute of Saddam Hussain in the newly conquered American colony of Baghdad, Western public opinion seemed to become even more indecisive. CNN continued to broadcast images of Iraqis dancing in the streets and kissing the hands of American solders. On the other hand Al-Jazeera’s showed Iraqi causalities in the hundreds as children were being rushed to medical aid centers, young men laid dead in the streets covered with blood and women cried aloud for fallen family members. I remember a comment from my roommate who has always been in strong disagreement to the US attack on Iraq, “it’s nice to see the people of Iraq liberated and finally able to enjoy freedom.” Liberated I thought? Hardly.
Since the fall of Baghdad the international protests began to slowly disappear and opposition to the attack on Iraq was less and less noticeable. It seems that for some strange reason people just sort of accepted what had happened and what was going to happen. We knew many months ago that the US was going to do this and we knew it would be swift and without regard for the international communities approval or human life. It was the inevitable when back in November the US began to amass an army of incomparable might and strength unknown in all of human history. The US was not paying these solders to sit on aircraft carriers and sun themselves. These military personnel were there for one reasoné.to attack, kill and destroy Iraq.
What I find most interesting is that both our Canadian and American justice system demand proof beyond a reasonable doubt. This principle is upheld to the utmost stringent standards by our legal system. Proof beyond a reasonable doubt is required when somebody is convicted of a horrendous crime such as murder and even minor ones. So where was the evidence for Iraq. The entire attack was premised on one idea. That Saddam had weapons of mass destruction (WMD).
I was embarrassed for Colin Powell when he attempted to draw a link between WMD and Iraq through his pathetic and crude power point presentation at the UN. All these months neither the U.S nor Britain were able to offer us any other forms of proof. Hans Blix repeatedly voiced his opposition to the Bush Administrations misinterpretation and misapplication of his statements and reports.
Incidentally, if the Americans were so sure of Iraq possessing WMD and so insistent that they also knew where they were hiding them. Then why didn’t the Americans uncover them or at least even visit the suspected sites? Even now mobile units allegedly used for creating chemical weapons have been dismissed as false claims.
It seems that Blix continued to use the ‘smoking gun’ reference which I view similar to the proving beyond a reasonable doubt principle. For example, that if a smoking gun was found in Iraq that would justify using force or an alternative means to disarm Iraq or if weapons of mass destruction were found this would be proof beyond a reasonable doubt that Iraq was ‘evil’. However, Blix continued to state that no smoking gun was found. Furthermore, at the end of the day Blix graded Iraq with a B. Despite this the US was not convinced and continued on in its efforts to satisfy at least one other member of the security councilé which they were never able too.
After that there were some really rudimentary attempts by the media and the US administration in attempting to prove there case. There was the burnt out stash of missiles that were no good to anyone and also a crummy old robotic airplane drone. Still the world wasn’t convinced. It seems that many of us were too well aware of what the US was capable of when it comes to fabricating evidence. However, more interesting is the fact that the fabrication was almost a joke! This was the United States of America and this was the best they could do. If you know that your going to invent a war that the international community is opposed too couldn’t you at least invent some plausible evidence?
Still there was nothing and as the days edged closer the U.S administration notable for breaking promises did keep there word on one issue. That they would attack Iraq and they did.
The so called ‘war’ has become the most confusing conflict ever. At any given time of the day we were able to watch the news and find out exactly where American solders were stationed (or at least where the U.S wanted us to think they were). We watched as tanks barrelled across Southern Iraq and within days approached, entered and captured Baghdad. There was minimal opposition to this entry and there were no WMD. If there was wouldn’t this have been the one opportunity to deploy them? The U.S administration continued to cry on and on about how Saddam’s so called Republican Guard was going to unleash toxic chemicals on American solders. Forget about the toxic chemicals there weren’t even any Republic Guards to be found!
Still the U.S didn’t give up. CNN continued to show local Iraqi men in civilian clothing with guns and dubbed them to be and even more elite, loyal and just as fierce fighting force as the Republican Guard. American and British casualties were almost always described as friendly fire incidents. Furthermore, Pentagon officials continued to suggest that the precision guided bombs they had were so technologically advanced that civilians would be spared and if a few got in the way well hell that was there price to pay for freedom. When Rumsfield was questioned about his opinion addressing the issue of whether the bombing of Baghdad was resemblance to that of Britain during the Second World War he simply statedé.not that’s not true. Despite the video of Baghdad being bombed that seemed identical.
So what happens next? American solders are already returning home and are receiving medals of honor for there ‘heroic’ efforts. The Bush Administration is awarding oil contracts at will and also attempting to lift sanctions against Iraq that they fought so hard to install. Neither, Saddam or WMD have been found (how quickly we forget that neither Osama has been found and recent reports are also confirming that the Taliban is resurfacing in Afghanistan). Finally, a temporary leader has been selected by the Bush Administration whose motives are questionable. France is also suggesting that sanctions be lifted and Canada is considering sending members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police to the chaotic war torn country.
All this has happened within weeks and we have waited and watched as one country was unilaterally taken over by another country. We boast that in the 21st century we are more enlightened then our ancestors ever were that we are more civilized than any other group of humans before us and that humanity has progressed to the point where we all recognize each other as sisters and brothers. Then how can this have happened? It seems to be that we as humans haven’t achieved anything and we still aren’t that different from the barbarian hordes, the conquerors, gladiators and pirates of the past. We have learned nothing from history.
Rehan Khalil is a second year law student at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario. He contributed above article to Media Monitors Network (MMN) from Canada.