Sunday, 18 July 2010

Raping and Pillaging in Mesopotamia.

"I believe freedom is the future of all humanity." - George W Bush

Despite massive opposition around the world, the US led the invasion of Iraq with the expressed intent of removing Saddam Hussein - a vile and brutal dictator - from power, to bring freedom and democracy to the Iraqi people. Everyone knows that Iraq is a major oil producing nation, second only to Saudi Arabia, and many members of the Bush administration had worked in the energy industry. Oil, the black gold that flows below Iraq's sand and dirt, is the reason most often cited by the public for the invasion today. We now know that 80% of Iraqi oil has gone to American and British energy corporations. But there is another side to the invasion that is often ignored. The Coalition Provisional Authority initiated a wave of radical economic reforms known as "shock therapy". These reforms included the mass-privatisation of state industries and public services, followed by deregulation of the markets and a 30% cut in corporation tax. These same corporations were also permitted to transfer their profits out of Iraq 100% tax free.

The aim of this "shock therapy" was to create the ideal market economy. On which a flimsy brand of democracy would be predicated, as the power of the state had been largely handed over to the private sector. The corporations that were soon dominating Iraq's economy, were fed a diet of no-bid reconstruction contracts by the US government. For example, Bechtel received a $35 million contract which also covered costs up to $680 million. But Halliburton is the most infamous case, a company once run by Dick Cheney, as it received $10 billion worth of contracts through executive agreements. Halliburton was suspected of overcharging, using the money of American tax-payers to cover it's costs, but only $10 million of the $250 million contested costs were not covered by the US government. In a sense, the private sector consists of tyrannical organisations, known as corporations and businesses, in which leaders are unelected and answer to no one, except their shareholders. They act to maximise profit and minimise cost, regardless of the needs and wants of the Iraqi people.

It is these corporate tyrannies that stand in the way of the Iraqi people in pursuing goals that are rooted in traditional politics like nationalism and socialism. The brand of democracy, perhaps more appropriately labelled polyarchy, introduced to Iraq will most likely stifle any attempt at radical or progressive change. As the real power lies in concentrated wealth in Iraq and these corporations will give support to the politicians most hospitable to their needs and wants. We have already seen this in the form of the Constitution of Iraq, which was written by men chosen by the provisional government. This is the reason that the only piece of legislation remaining from the years under Saddam is that which restricts workers from unionising. Initially, it appeared that the Bush administration were aiming to install an iron-fisted government to rule Iraq that was probably not much different to the regime led by Saddam Hussein. In reaction to this there were mass-demonstrations orchestrated by Ali al-Sistani and his followers. The US government was trying to avoid a truly democratic Iraq and ignored the demonstrations, as a result the insurgency began.

These are the real reasons that the invasion of Iraq was a war crime, the pathetic liberal cop-outs that deem the war a "military blunder" are insufficient to condemn the war in it's depravity. The Nuremberg tribunal held aggression, in the form of invasion, as the supreme international crime. Under this umbrella falls all subsequent crimes, like the use of white phosphorous and other chemical warfare in Fallujah which has left hundreds of thousands horribly deformed. Let alone the number of Iraqis killed since the invasion, which is now over 1 million, and those who have been driven from their homes, who number around 4 million. If we want to continue to hold up the war against fascism as the great moral battle of the 20th century, we should at least have the decency to ensure that the Nuremberg principles are not trampled. For that reason, Bush and Blair should both be tried at the Hague. But also reparations should be made, Iraq should be reconstructed in accordance with the needs of the Iraqi people in mind - not in accordance with some utopian capitalist vision.

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