I found Toby Fuller’s article particularly agitating and such was its tone that I almost began to believe it was parodic in nature. Maybe it serves to settle the author’s conscience by justifying the illegal war in Iraq as a sacred mission to deliver peace, liberty and democracy, but it certainly does not serve the truth.
What right do we, ‘the west’, have to intervene in the affairs of others, particularly those located on the sites of former colonial domination, where Western imperialism was and still is a significant contributor to the morbid state of affairs that has one of the potentially richest areas of the world, broken, backward and torn apart by conflict. It is well known to anyone possessing the ability to locate and dissect the appropriate literature that ‘the west,’ in particular the U.S, has exhibited no real interest in spreading democracy. The ‘tyrannical despots of the Middle East’ to whom the author refers are largely the result of Western, in particular U.S, foreign policy, in which as Thomas Carothers a former member of the U.S state department’s ‘democracy enhancement’ program explains:
‘Washington sought only limited top down forms of democratic change, that did not risk upsetting the traditional structures of power with which the United States has long been aligned, it sought to maintain the basic order of quite undemocratic societies because of the deep fear of populist based change with all its implications for upsetting established economic and political orders, heading off in a leftist direction.’
Saddam should have been removed after his defeat in the Gulf War: the U.S led coalition had the power to do so. Yet Saddam remained in power, and the Iraqi people were subjected to over a decade of sanctions and protracted misery as punishment for the existence of Saddam’s government, which ‘the west’ had all but endorsed in failing to remove. The estimated death toll in relation to these economic sanctions ranges from 100,000 to 1,000,000. To make matters worse the civilian death toll in the Iraq war is over 100,000. As Rumsfeld suggested the Iraqi people were indeed induced into a state of ‘shock and awe’ in the face of U.S military might, yet they were also brutally murdered in the face of its incompetence. Operation Iraqi freedom indeed. Such linguistic obscenities only serve to masque the true nature of this illegal and brutal war and provide much needed justifications for supporters like yourself. Iraq is not stable nor is it democratic, and you will not find anyone with any knowledge of the situation telling you otherwise. What’s more if you want to talk about profits one only has to look at the 17.2 billion dollars that Halliburton generated in Iraq related revenue between 2003-2006 to see who the real benefactors are.
Of course, I am not an advocate of tyranny, torture or despotism, yet by defying international law and illegally invading Iraq, the U.S and Britain demolished any credibility the U.N appeared to posses. If you believe the bastard son of the corporation’s and the man who sold Labour’s soul, both of whom oversaw the constitutional and technological erosion of the liberty of their respective country’s citizens, are the harbingers of liberty and democracy then it is no surprise that these criminals enjoyed such sustained political success and ultimately, remain unprosecuted.
Colonial history has shown us that ideologies such as democracy cannot be successfully integrated into a society when delivered down the barrel of a gun. Bringing death and war to promote peace, disrespecting sovereignty to preach its importance, promoting agency yet supporting neighbouring regimes that deny it will not work, least of all in the eyes of the Iraqi’s, who throughout the 90’s were the victims of their would be liberators’ foreign policies and to this very day suffer the consequences.