Home  -  Back Issues  -  The Team  -  Contact Us
     Volume 6 Issue 21 | June 1, 2007 |

   Cover Story
   Food for Thought
   Special Feature
   Human Rights
   View from the    Bottom
   In Retrospect
   Dhaka Diary
   Book Review
   New Flicks

   SWM Home


And the Conflict Continues…

Nader Rahman

Iraqis transport the coffin of the victim of a mini-bus attack after claiming his boy from a morgue in the northern Baghdad. AFP Photo

What is left to be said of the unplanned, illegal war in Iraq? While America is divided over the war the truth of living in a war zone is still thousands of miles away. While America frets over college shootings by demented students, Iraqi's play hide and seek with snipers whose dementia is replaced with sectarian hate. While America awaits the results of American Idol, Iraqi's wait for the morning bomb's smoke to settle. While George W. Bush commemorates the 4th anniversary of the fall of Baghdad, for the average Iraqi it never stopped falling.

Violence in Iraq has reached saturation point, so much so that when international news channels receive breaking news from Iraq they simply ask how many dead and how many wounded. Bombings in public places are what make the news, the decapitated and brutalised bodies found every morning around the streets of Baghdad don't. They tell the story of a world outside the heavily fortified green zone, where violence and death are ironically a way of life. While some official civilian death tolls are in the region of 70,000, others double the figure without much hesitation. For the last one year scores of people have died every single day without fail, most commonly in deadly roadside bombings. Bombings which have been continuously blamed on the Al-Qaeda urban legend. While there has never been proof of an Iraq Al-Qaeda link it has not stopped America and their proxy controlled media from toting the government's line. While it would be wholly incorrect to say that all media coverage from Iraq has been tainted by the American government's official point of view, the mere mention of Al-Qaeda still fuels what little fire is raging back in the United States for the occupation to continue. What the average man will remember is the word Al-Qaeda, its accompanying words such as “suspected”, “rumoured” and “apparently” all go down the drain after the organisation has been named.

This is yet another tumultuous week in Bush's personal war on Iraq. The Washington Post ran a story on a report released by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. In the dossier analysts warned that war in Iraq also could aggravate Iran to assert its regional authority and "probably would result in a surge of political Islam and increased funding for terrorist groups." The newspaper went on to say “The intelligence assessments, which made in January 2003 and widely circulated within the Bush administration before the war, said that establishing democracy in Iraq would be "a long, difficult and probably turbulent challenge." The assessments noted that Iraqi political culture was "largely bereft of the social underpinnings" to support democratic development.”

While this would be a major blow to any other administration, this administration takes its punches like a drunken Texan. He may have been off the bottle for almost twenty years now, but he is in dire need of a drink as Vietnam II takes place before his very eyes, more importantly with his approval. The report from the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence was another blow to his great “war plan”. It was public knowledge that conflict in Iraq would probably lead to a rise in Islamic fundamentalism along with the fact that the war may be long and turbulent, it makes his insistence to wage war look even sillier than it did before. The report was clear and precise written in words that even he could understand and yet he still threw it out the window without so much as a second thought. The problems foretold months before the war are now the reality his administration must deal with. It is truly amazing how little one can think before going to war.

An Iranian woman walks past a mural of a revolver bearing the colours of the US national flag on the wall of the former US embassy in Tehran. AFP Photo

But it is not all bad news for him as he recently fought of stiff democratic opposition to a cut in funding and a specific timetable for withdrawal from Iraq. The Democrats backed down from a war funding bill which included a timetable for withdrawal from Iraq. It was a triumphant day for Bush as the dreaded timetable was put away a little longer in its place he received an extra $120 billion to fund his war. But nothing on Capitol Hill is entirely without strings attached, the money only funds the war till September, the same month when General David Petraeus the US ground Commander gives his crucial ground report to the Congress. One might be tempted to say the future of the war in Iraq hinges on his report, as more than a few moderate Republicans are willing to turn on him if after 4 years the reports still paint a gloomy picture.

Down on the streets of Baghdad what happens in Washington seems a galaxy away as the average man tries to make ends meat. That will usually involve dodging bombs and planning funerals. With not much to look forward to the re appearance of the anti-American Moqtada Al-Sadr is viewed with hope by many Iraqi's. After months out in the wilderness and with little known about his whereabouts his emergence is viewed rather sceptically by the US as he is seen to be an Iran sympathiser. That is also a tricky subject as the US and Iran met the first formal talks in 27 years between each other. About the talks US Ambassador in Baghdad Ryan Coker said “This is about actions not just principles, and I laid out to the Iranians direct, specific concerns about their behavior in Iraq and their support for militias that are fighting Iraqi and coalition forces.” While claims have been continuously made about an Iranian hand in Iraq the accusations remain accusations without much genuine proof. The Americans said Iran proposed setting up a "trilateral security mechanism" that would include the U.S., Iraq and Iran, but something of that scale would need to go through Washington first before it was put into practise. There may be a way forward but in the meantime the civilian casualties keep piling up as the price of a human life in Iraq plummets.

Funnily enough this week marked the 30th anniversary of Star Wars, a project so ambitious that it took just under three decades for it to finally succeed. While George Walker Bush is no George Lucas, one feels more wasted time and it may be three decades before his dream is finally realised. Yet there are still a few things to take into consideration, such as what the president really wants out of the Iraq war? When he finally answers that question he has just one last thing to ponder over, what the lives of the Iraqis would have been without his warmongering ways. The force is not strong in this Texan Jedi.

Copyright (R) thedailystar.net 2007