“The enjoyment of power inevitably corrupts the judgment of reason, and perverts its liberty”. — Immanuel Kant
They thought Iraq would be a cakewalk. After all, for years, its army was being depleted of fresh recruits in preparedness for an attack. Half a million Iraqi children were killed[i] during the 13 years of sanctions leading to the 2003 invasion – “Mission Accomplished”.
The sanctions imposed on Iraq following the First Gulf War, under the watchful eyes of the Pentagon, monitored the degradation of Iraq’s water supply. Reports itemized the likely outbreaks of “acute diarrhea” brought on by bacteria such as E. coli, shigella, and salmonella, or by protozoa such as giardia, which would affect “particularly children,” or by rotavirus, which would also affect “particularly children,” a phrase it put in parentheses. Also cited were possibilities of typhoid and cholera outbreaks.” “Gastroenteritis was killing children. . . . In the south, 80 percent of the deaths were children (with the exception of Al Amarah, where 60 percent of deaths were children).” [ii]
In the words of one of the few decent and courageous congressional members, Cynthia McKinney, Democrat of Georgia, referred to the document “Iraq Water Treatment Vulnerabilities” and said: “Attacking the Iraqi public drinking water supply flagrantly targets civilians and is a violation of the Geneva Convention and of the fundamental laws of civilized nations.”
We were ‘told’ that we, the civilized world, are fighting the ‘uncivilized’ terrorists’.
So it is that Dick Cheney whispers into Mr. Bush’s ear to attack Iraq, confident that with her children buried, the parents too weak from mourning and disease, she will surrender – quickly. He made sure America stayed on track; track of deception. Prior to the invasion, Cheney was confronted with a report from the IAEA which threw doubts on the administration’s allegations about Iraq’s WMD, and he responded: “We know he has been absolutely devoted to trying to acquire nuclear weapons. And we believe he has, in fact, reconstituted nuclear weapons. I think Mr. ElBaradei frankly is wrong” (Meet the Press, March 16, 2003).
The demon of greed never seems to get enough. Over 1 million dead Iraqis – with Dick Cheney’s old company KBR/Halliburton being the prime benefactor of theft, Mr. Cheney now has his eyes on Iran. More bodies, dead ones, are needed for the task. Once again, his old company, KBR/Halliburton, not only comes to the rescue, but benefits from the deal.
In November 2006, the Office of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction auditor reported that in 2004, KBR, a subsidiary of Dick Cheney’s old company, Halliburton, ‘had lost’ more than 14,000 weapons destined for the Iraqi government. Pentagon had lost track of them. However, the Pentagon immediately ‘found’ an old, obscure clause and shuts down the audit[iii]. On August 6, 2007, Washington Post reported that there were in fact 190,000 weapons missing – while they referred to the previously reported 14,000, they made no mention of Dick Cheney’s old KBR/Halliburton.[iv] According to Rachel Stohl, a senior analyst at the Center for Defense Information, “They really have no idea where they are,” ..”It likely means that the United States is unintentionally providing weapons to bad actors.” [v] And Dick Cheney’s [old] company gets paid in spite of the corruption, theft, and mismanagement [vi]. Americans and Iraqis get killed – and Iran is held accountable for arming the Shiite militias; A win-win situation for Dick Cheney who is itching to go to war, and his old company.
Dismissing claims from al-Maliki that Iran is a positive force in Iraq, listening to Dick Cheney’s whispers – much like the false allegations about Afghanistan that even though Dan McNeill, the NATO commander in Afghanistan, said: “What we’ve found so far hasn’t been militarily significant on the battlefield.” McNeill also said that more likely sources for the arms are drug traffickers, black market dealers, or al-Qaida groups” (Inter Press Service, June 20, 2007), is being blamed on Iran — Mr. Bush bows to Dick Cheney and repeats that Iran is arming the insurgents who are killing American soldiers. Dick Cheney is arguing for military action[vii]. I wonder of Dick Cheney is the God that Mr. Bush talks to, the higher authority that told him to go to war in Iraq?
But surely America does not have the soldiers for another illegal and immoral war?
The Army is already only meeting its goals by offering larger monetary incentives to enlistees, and by allowing those who “normally” would not qualify for military service to enlist: those without a high-school diploma, those with criminal records and those previously rejected for being physically unfit[viii]. Perhaps its time to look for a partner – a gay partner.
Army Lt. Gen. Douglas, Mr. Bush’s war adviser says “the draft is worth a look” [ix]. In fact, much like everything else, such as curbing our freedoms, the draft will be upon us and 18-year olds will be dying for Halliburton and other Crusades. This is not the first time the draft has been seriously considered; in December 2006, the Pentagon announced that it was planning on testing the military-draft machinery, but to alleviate fears of parents of 18-year olds, it announced it would not be doing this until 2009[x]. Dick Cheney will not wait until 2009. Today, with Dick Cheney’s [old] company Halliburton safely in Dubai dodging taxes and criminal charges, he is eager to push for a military strike on Iran. The profits would make Iraq look like child’s play – as would the death toll.
Several years ago, sipping a hot cup of coffee in my kitchen in Needham, Massachusetts, with my Polish neighbor, I was shocked to hear her guilt-ridden confession. She admitted that at times, when she looked at my husband, given his German heritage, she could not help but wonder with unease if his family had been involved in the killing of her (Jewish) relatives. Having overcome my shock at her bitter narrow-mindedness towards all people German, I told her that my husband was third generation American and his family could not have been involved in what went on during Hitler’s time.
Today, as I write this, I have become victim of the same intolerance and dread. I cannot help but wonder how many among us, citizens of the world, not just Americans, can exonerate themselves of the crimes of their governments knowing silence and inaction have been the most powerful weapons yet. it
Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich has lived and studied in Iran, the UK, France, Australia and the US. She obtained her Bachelors Degree in International Relations from the University of Southern California, Los Angeles, and she is currently pursuing a Masters Degree in Middle East Studies concentrating in Political Science. She has done extensive research on US foreign policy towards Iran and Iran’s nuclear program.