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Articles after 2013
Ten years later
Articles on Iraq before 2013

  • (march 2013) Ten years later.
    The 10th anniversary of the invasion of Iraq is also the 10th anniversary of the huge marches of Europacifists. Millions of people marched in the streets to protest against that invasion of Iraq. It is worth noting the hypocrisy of those millions of Europacifists who have not staged a single protest against France's invasion of Mali, France's bombing of Libya and France's arming of the rebels in Syria. (See If France does it... ) Either those Europacifists suddenly became staunch followers of George W Bush's doctrine of intervention or they are happy with France defending Europe's economy at a time of crisis by securing the routes of oil and uranium to their gas pumps and nuclear power plants.
    Nonetheless, the intellectual division remains. The Economist summed up the Europacifist view in an article titled "Anniversary of a mass delusion". That article begins with the statement that Europacifists use to claim victory: " There were no biological or nuclear weapons". Well, i'll believe it when someone tells me where those 6000 liters of anthrax (documented by United Nations inspectors) were disposed of. To this day nobody has provided an explanation. Bush sent 1000 inspectors to search Iraq for the WMDs. It would have been much much easier to send just one CIA agent with a little bit of anthrax and put it in one of Saddam's palaces and then declare "we found the WMDs!" If he sent 1000 inspectors it means he was 100% convinced that there were WMDs. So were many of us who did not like Bush. The very generals of Saddam Hussein had equipped the troops with gas masks knowing that Saddam Hussein had chemical weapons (and had gladly used them before both against Kurds and against Iranians). It was rational and responsible to believe that there were WMDs. It was irrational and irresponsible to believe otherwise. The fact that we did not find them does not change the logic. If a meteor is falling on your house and you run out and then the meteor at the last minute falls in the sea, it doesn't mean that it was irrational to run out of the house. The ones who behaved in an irrational and irresponsible manner are the ones who stayed inside.
    The article wonders: "Large numbers of otherwise intelligent people had ended up supporting the war. Why?" I am one of them, and what i perceive in that sentence is something else. This is a European who cannot just understand why anybody in heaven would dream of removing a mass murderer from power. It is like wondering why the British were so dumb to fight Hitler (who cares if he invades stupid Poland and stupid France) instead of making a deal with Hitler ("you take Europe and leave us the empire") or why so many partisans were so dumb to die for the freedom of their countries (Italy would probably be better off under German rule than under Berlusconi). And this is probably the same European who switched channel when they were showing the Rwandan genocide live on tv. He will never understand why "otherwise intelligent people" were willing to side with a president they disliked as long as the goal was to remove a mass murderer from power. Had the Europeans, the Chinese, the Russians, the Arab League offered an alternative way to remove said mass murderer maybe we would have enthusiastically accepted it, but, alas, only one man offered to actually take action. This same European is probably in favor of returning Afghanistan to the Taliban and to stop talking about the stupid rights of all those silly women who will get stoned to death by the Taliban: the "who cares.... give me my ecstasy pills and let's go dancing" ideology that is prevalent in Europe.
    The author of the article assumes, just like then, that invading Iraq was a "mistake". The definition of "mistake" is obviously important. We (the "otherwise intelligent people") think the mistake was 1) the way Rumsfeld-Cheney conducted the operation and 2) the fact that countries like France and Germany refused to cooperate and in fact encouraged Saddam to stay in power even after a very clear ultimatum, televised live, by George W Bush. Without 2, there is a chance that Saddam would have packed and history would have been different. Without 1 (for example, with a smarter leader like Obama, who is a cold long-distance drone-based sniper instead of the old-fashioned Texan cowboy raised on John Wayne westerns) today Iraq could be a disciplined colony of the USA. There were mistakes, but very few of us think that removing a mass murderer from power is a "mistake". The way you do it might be a mistake. Doing it is not a mistake. For some of us it's a moral duty, just like helping an old person cross the street (which this journalist would probably leave to be run over by cars) and risking our lives to save a girl who is about to be raped by an armed man (a girl whom this journalist would probably abandon to her own fate). The "mistake" is if, while trying to save the girl, i cause her to be shot dead; or if, by trying to help the old person cross the street, i pull her too quickly and she trips and breaks a leg. But this does not mean that helping elderly people and protecting girls is a "mistake". Not for us "otherwise intelligent people". Maybe for Europeans.
    There is also an underlying European concept that "no decision" is always a good decision: if you don't do something, you can always decline any responsibility for the consequences of not doing it; but if you do it, then you are fully responsible. Therefore no-action is always much easier than action. This is very visible in the high-tech industry (and probably in every industry) where European companies (even small ones) have trouble investing in any project of any kind: if the management decides not to invest, it will never be blamed for it; if the management decides to invest, then there is a chance that the project will fail and the management will be hold responsible for it. Therefore European managers are strongly inclined to never invest in experimental technologies. It's a (personal) survival strategy that pays off for as long as the company stays in business. Obviously, most companies eventually die if they don't invest in new technologies, but that's a slow death which hopefully comes well after the management responsible for their demise has already retired with a handsome monthly pension. The same concept applies to politics. If you don't do anything, you can always blame the poor conditions of your country on your predecessors, on the USA, on the evil bankers, on someone or something else. But if you do something, then the voters will hold you personally and solely responsible. No wonder that the same attitude applies to the war in Iraq and to any other war.
    Blair keeps defending himself in a similar fashion. He keeps saying "what if nobody had done anything?" Precisely. The other side is quick to accuse us of having done something, but what if nobody had done anything? What if Saddam Hussein had remained in power and would perhaps still be in power today? It is too easy to simply say "no" and offer no solution to a problem. Sure, i can never accuse you of having tried a solution that failed. But that doesn't make you "right" and me "wrong". And, more importantly, it is debatable who is more dangerous for the future of the human race and, in particular, for the future of freedom.
    Ten years later i can see some major consequences of those marches against Bush's and Blair's invasion of Iraq:
    1. They de facto revived European imperialism, because the USA now takes a back seat to events in the European sphere of influence and, instead, Turkey and France have become influential players (i am sure that Europacifists will claim that was not their intention, but one wonders if what shocked them was the fact that a power had decided to invade Iraq or the fact that such power was not European).
    2. It has perpetuated (both in the West and outside the West) the myth that all the violence in the Islamic world has nothing to do with Islam but only with bungled foreign interference (when in fact Shiites and Sunnis have been killing each other for 1400 years and mass murder dates back to the founder of Islam in person).
    3. It has perpetuated the myth that the Arab world would do just fine without Western intervention (when in fact until that fateful invasion of Iraq the Arab world was pretty much the only region in the world ruled by dictatorships and ten years later it is witnessing rapid change towards democracy).
    4. It has convinced all regional powers that it is much better to strike without starting a discussion or asking for United Nations approval (the USA did so for many years against Saddam Hussein's actions and the result was that, when the USA lost its patience, people saw it as an unjustified action whereas France's immediate action in Mali or Libya, without waiting for a decade-long bureaucratic process and without a lengthy public debate, looks more justified by the events that just preceded it)
    If we could go back, knowing the carnage that would follow, would i still be in favor? It's a tough question. I suspect that without George W Bush and Tony Blair that country would still be ruled by Saddam Hussein and i suspect that Tunisia, Libya, Yemen and Egypt would still be ruled by the old autocrats (to me the fall of Saddam Hussein and the democratic elections in Iraq caused a domino effect that, mixed with other factors, led to the Arab Spring). Each of these countries paid a heavy price for getting rid of its dictator, but, if i am right, the question can be rephrased as "Do you want the Arab world to remain under archaic static dictatorships while the rest of the world is rapidly moving towards democracy and high tech?" Even the most fanatic Europacifist must be pausing in the face of this question. And every Arab should think twice before siding with the Europacifists that, ultimately, were happy with the Arab world being condemned to eternal underdevelopment, poverty and tyranny.

    (Of course, this doesn't change the fact that the USA is hypocritical itself in fighting some dictators and allying with some other dictators, just like the European powers always did, and in opposing nuclear weapons in some countries while accepting that others have them).

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  • Articles on Iraq before 2013

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