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September 20, 2009

Standing for Nothing in Iraq

By Spear's

But if al-Zaidi’s torture allegations are true, it would mean the allies have substituted Hussein with their very own torturer: Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.

What was the point of the Iraq War?

The press conference held by Muntazer al-Zaidi, the Iraqi journalist who threw a shoe at Pres. George Bush last year, is the most damning and shameful indictment yet of the Iraq War.

The invasion of Iraq under the second Pres. Bush was originally justified as a pre-emptive strike against WMD. When those WMD proved elusive it was ex post facto justified as a democratizing and nation-building exercise: the Iraqis were liberated from an oppressive and dictatorial Saddam Hussein who routinely tortured his people.

But if al-Zaidi’s torture allegations are true, as they appear to be, it would mean the Americans and the Brits have substituted Hussein with their very own torturer: Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. 

Currying favour with his American master, al-Maliki oversaw al-Zaidi’s arrest and imprisonment, which lasted nine months and during which al-Zaidi was waterboarded, electrocuted, beaten, burned with cigarettes in his scalp (cleverly not on his face) and injected with toxic chemicals that have poisoned his body and left him with unrelenting headaches and who knows what else.

What happened to the democratic freedoms the Americans and the Brits claimed to be fighting for in Iraq? When it came down to defending free speech, the Americans and the Brits were conspicuously silent and claimed it was a matter for sovereign Iraqi law. But to call Iraq sovereign is ridiculous: it clearly remains an occupied country under a puppet regime, no matter how camouflaged those puppet strings may be. 

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For nearly eight years Iraq has been under an invasion and occupation that has cost nearly a million Iraqi lives: a staggering figure that is nearly never reported and makes the Brits and the Americans bemoaning their killed and injured soldiers looking like egocentric pussies, though the bravery of the soldiers themselves should never be questioned. Iraqis didn’t ask to be invaded, much less have their infrastructure destroyed, be ruled by foreign powers and have one million of their citizens murdered.

No wonder al-Zaidi threw his shoe at Bush and called him a ‘dog,’ the two worst insults in the Muslim world. I think him remarkably restrained! 

If the Brits and Americans stood for anything, they’d stand up for al-Zaidi, investigate the torture and pressure al-Maliki. 

But they won’t because they have to keep up the charade that the Iraqi government is autonomous; making al-Maliki look like the puppet he is would only destabilize his weak government and therefore harm Anglo-American interests.

This is otherwise known as a Catch-22 for the occupiers: they have to seem to respect Iraqi sovereignty, but doing so undermines the ostensible reason they are there in the first place: democratization and improvement of civil rights. 

Talk about your unintended consequences.

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