By Ameen Izzadeen
In the smoke rising from NATO airstrikes on Libya, Iraq, the biggest crime of the coalition forces, remains covered. The ninth anniversary of the invasion of Iraq came and went with little media attention. The mainstream media were counting how many Tomahawk missiles a trigger-happy US President was unleashing on Libya.
As though the blood being shed and civilians killed in Iraq and Afghanistan are not enough, the coalition forces have opened a third front. Once again the objective appears to be oil and a military base — this time to control the Mediterranean Sea. The manner in which Libya is being destroyed reminds one of how Iraq was destroyed and how the war capitalists made billions from its reconstruction. But before we come to that, here are some statistics of the eight-year US occupation of Iraq.
According to informationclearinghouse.info, a website which maintains the Iraq war statistics, the number of Iraqis slaughtered in the US war and the occupation of Iraq is a shocking one million four hundred and twenty one thousand and nine hundred and thirty three (1,421,933) as of yesterday. The number of US military personnel killed in the Iraq war — and the occupation — is 4,763. In Afghanistan, the figure is 2,394.
Hawks in the George W. Bush administration said the Iraq war would cost only US$ 40 billion. But as of yesterday, the two wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have cost the US economy a staggering one trillion, one hundred and seventy six billion, two hundred and seventy eight million, nine hundred and thirty thousand and seventy two dollars ($1,176,278,930,072). Well this is 17 times the strength of Iraq’s economy and 40 times that of Afghanistan. The question arises as to how this money was raised and who benefited from the illegal war which was launched without UN approval.
Donald Rumsfeld, the US secretary of defence, with whom Bush discussed the Iraq war long before the 9/11 attacks, said the bulk of the funds for Iraq’s reconstruction would come from Iraqis — from oil revenues, recovered assets, international trade and direct foreign investment.
Isn’t this something like the gangster house builder next door demolishing your house and then telling you to sell whatever belongings you are left with and pay him the money for him to rebuild your house?
The gangster not only destroyed your house and asked you to pay for the reconstruction, but he also took the money that his own wife and children had and shared it with his fellow gangsters.
The Iraq war is largely a capitalist war, though it suited the agenda of the neocons, Israel and Islam-hating white evangelists. The goings on show that very little has changed since the European mercantilism era, during which the merchant class funded wars aimed at colonizing Asia, Africa and Latin America and plundered the resources of the colonized countries. The only difference appears to be that the war capitalists now dip into the house kitty. In the case of the Iraq war, it is the US taxpayers’ money. Their money and the money Iraq was asked to pay from its oil sales go to US arms and construction companies.
Chief among these companies that made billions of dollars in war profits are Halliburton where Dick Cheney, Bush’s Vice President and chief architect of the Iraq war, was once the CEO. Others include Parsons Corp, DynCorp International, Bechtel, General Electric and Blackwater. Joining the gang are the Western oil giants Exxon Mobil, Shell, Total, BP and Chevron. They are benefiting from lucrative oil contracts which the puppet Iraqi regime has handed over to them outside the tender procedures.
That the plunder continues unabated underscores the moral nakedness of the West. As the US occupation of Iraq enters its ninth year, the casus belli for the war — that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction and that Iraq was sponsoring terrorism— has been proved to be a big lie.
It appears that people in the West won’t mind if their leaders tell lies as long as they also get a few crumbs by way of a trickle-down channel or as long as the target is a stupid, rich Arab.
A few inquiries were held but they were largely eyewash — probably a second deception to cover the first deception. Take for instance, the Lord Chilcot inquiry in Britain. It gave hope to the anti-war activists that the liars would be exposed. But as the inquiry proceeded, it became clear that this would also end up as another damp squib. Our doubts are largely because of Chilcot’s conflict of interest which he failed to declare. He is said to have successfully lobbied the British Ministry of Defence (MoD) to drop its opposition to a lucrative £150m wind farm project, of which he is a director, while the inquiry was going on.
Besides this, a leaked US embassy cable posted on WikiLeaks indicated that the British MoD had given an assurance to the US that measures had been put in place to protect US interests at the Chilcot inquiry. Accordingly, the British government has held back vital documents on grounds of national security.
So the robbery and the plunder by way of deception continue. With Iraq being well taken care of (thousands of US troops will remain in Iraq even after the final troop pullout on December 31 this year), the thieves of Arabian Night fame have set their eyes on Libya. But aren’t they like Cassim, Ali Baba’s brother, whose was killed by his greed?