Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Five years on and things are no better.

Five years ago today the war started against Iraq. We are no further on in this war that George Bush claimed would last only 5 months. It is a very long running news story that has drawn me in from the start. I read about the problems in Iraq a lot and follow the developments like a sports fan will follow his chosen sport. This is not a spectator sport to enjoy but history in the making where many lives are lost on a daily basis. Click the link above to read in full the article Robert Fisk wrote that made the front page of The Independent newspaper today. He puts into perspective the reality of the war in Iraq and how politicians are not learning from history. I agree with what he has written and his conclusions which I will quote below. I understand his frustrations as a journalist witnessing this senseless bloodshed on a daily basis. There was never any need for this war the West had started and I cannot see it ending this year or the next. I will continue reading about the problems within Iraq that have been caused by the West not minding it's own business like a sports fan follows the same team from season to season.

In the words of Robert Fisk...

It is a grotesque truism that today – after all the posturing of our political midgets five years ago – we might at last be permitted a valid seance with the ghosts of the Second World War. Statistics are the medium, and the room would have to be dark. But it is a fact that the total of US dead in Iraq (3,978) is well over the number of American casualties suffered in the initial D-Day landings at Normandy (3,384 killed and missing) on 6 June, 1944, or more than three times the total British casualties at Arnhem the same year (1,200).

They count for just over a third of the total fatalities (11,014) of the entire British Expeditionary Force from the German invasion of Belgium to the final evacuation at Dunkirk in June 1940. The number of British dead in Iraq – 176 – is almost equal to the total of UK forces lost at the Battle of the Bulge in 1944-45 (just over 200). The number of US wounded in Iraq – 29,395 – is more than nine times the number of Americans injured on 6 June (3,184) and more than a quarter of the tally for US wounded in the entire 1950-53 Korean war (103,284).

Iraqi casualties allow an even closer comparison to the Second World War. Even if we accept the lowest of fatality statistics for civilian dead – they range from 350,000 up to a million – these long ago dwarfed the number of British civilian dead in the flying-bomb blitz on London in 1944-45 (6,000) and now far outnumber the total figure for civilians killed in bombing raids across the United Kingdom – 60,595 dead, 86,182 seriously wounded – from 1940 to 1945.

Indeed, the Iraqi civilian death toll since our invasion is now greater than the total number of British military fatalities in the Second World War, which came to an astounding 265,000 dead (some histories give this figure as 300,000) and 277,000 wounded. Minimum estimates for Iraqi dead mean that the civilians of Mesopotamia have suffered six or seven Dresdens or – more terrible still – two Hiroshimas.

Yet in a sense, all this is a distraction from the awful truth in Buchanan's warning. We have dispatched our armies into the land of Islam. We have done so with the sole encouragement of Israel, whose own false intelligence over Iraq has been discreetly forgotten by our masters, while weeping crocodile tears for the hundreds of thousands of Iraqis who have died.

America's massive military prestige has been irreparably diminished. And if there are, as I now calculate, 22 times as many Western troops in the Muslim world as there were at the time of the 11th and 12th century Crusades, we must ask what we are doing. Are we there for oil? For democracy? For Israel? For fear of weapons of mass destruction? Or for fear of Islam?

And until we learn to leave these Muslim peoples alone, our catastrophe in the Middle East will only become graver. There is no connection between Islam and "terror". But there is a connection between our occupation of Muslim lands and "terror".
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