April 12, 2008
The Wisdom Fund
Iraqis Pay? The Arrogance of the U.S.
by Enver Masud
[Enver Masud is the founder and CEO of The Wisdom Fund.]
The war ended with the toppling of Saddam’s statue, the Iraqis want them out, and now the occupiers, having destroyed much of Iraq, have the arrogance to ask Iraqis to pay for the occupation and reconstruction.
Robert Fisk, veteran Middle East correspondent for the Independent wrote on April 12, 2003: “a statue of Saddam Hussein was pulled down on Wednesday, in the most staged photo-opportunity since Iwo Jima.”
David Zucchino writing in the Los Angeles Times on July 3, 2003 adds: “As the Iraqi regime was collapsing on April 9, 2003, Marines converged on Firdos Square in central Baghdad, site of an enormous statue of Saddam Hussein. It was a Marine colonel – not joyous Iraqi civilians, as was widely assumed from the TV images – who decided to topple the statue, the Army report said. And it was a quick-thinking Army psychological operations team that made it appear to be a spontaneous Iraqi undertaking.”
The war ended in April 2003. What has followed since has been a brutal occupation fiercely resisted by Sunnis and Shias alike, and the Iraqis want the occupiers out of Iraq.
Polls by the State Department and independent researchers show that Iraqis favor an immediate U.S. pullout.
ABC News reported on September 27, 2006 that according to a poll released by the Program on International Policy Attitudes at the University of Maryland, “Six in 10 Iraqis approve of attacks on U.S.-led forces, . . . Nearly eight in 10 say the U.S. presence in Iraq is provoking more conflict than it’s preventing”.
Karen DeYoung, writing for the Washington Post on December 19, 2007 stated: “Iraqis of all sectarian and ethnic groups believe that the U.S. military invasion is the primary root of the violent differences among them, and see the departure of “occupying forces” as the key to national reconciliation, according to focus groups conducted for the U.S. military last month.”
But the U.S. refuses to leave or even provide a timeline for leaving, and it keeps changing the goal posts.
Following testimony by Army Gen. David H. Petraeus, and Ambassador Ryan C. Crocker, the Bush administration is convinced that “actions by Iran, and not al-Qaeda, are the primary threat inside Iraq” from which Iraq must be protected.
And while Americans are fed up with this war that has cost the lives of 4000 plus U.S military men and women, maimed and wounded many more, the final bill for which is estimated to be over $3 trillion, the presumptive Republican nominee for president, Senator John McCain, says we could be in Iraq for a 100 years.
And Senator Carl Levin, during the Senate Armed Services Committee Hearing on the Situation in Iraq with Ambassador Crocker and General Petraeus wants Iraqis to pay for the continuing U.S. occupation, and for repairing the damages resulting from the illegal U.S. invasion – the “supreme international crime”.
Anne Penketh, diplomatic editor for the Independent, wrote on October 27, 2006 that the Kuwaitis were still getting payouts for damages due to the 1990 Iraqi invasion. “The latest payments, totalling $417.8m (£220m), were made yesterday to governments and oil companies for losses and damages stemming from the Kuwaiti occupation, bringing the total paid out to more than $21bn (£11bn). The total claims that have been approved run to $52bn (£27.5bn) and will take many more years to complete.”
Aren’t Iraqis, like the Kuwaitis, owed reparations by the aggressor?
The U.S. should be paying compensation for the 1.2 million Iraqis killed, countless others wounded and maimed, for the 1.6 million who have fled or been made refugees within their own country, and for the destruction we have caused.
And these numbers do not include the “500,000 children and old people killed by the US-UN anti-civilian sanctions in the 10 previous years.”
Nor does it include the Iraqis killed during the first Gulf War in which the U.S. enticed Saddam Hussein to invade Kuwait, and lied to the American public and the UN to sanction the war.
Iraqis are owed reparations by the U.S. It is the height of arrogance to ask them to pay for the continuing U.S. occupation which most Iraqi’s understand is for the purpose of controlling Iraq’s energy resources, and forestalling a move away from dollars to Euros for oil payments.
The U.S. should just get out.
LINKS TO REFERENCES at http://www.twf.org/News/Y2008/0412-Pay.html
NEW, 4th ed, THE WAR ON ISLAM by Enver Masud
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