Saturday, March 29, 2008

US Occupation of Iraq: It Wasn't Always About the Iraqi People?

On Friday President Bush spoke about the situation in Iraq.The President said that the US has made much progress over the past year and their 'surge' had been very successful. He went on to later state that:

"it was only five years ago that Iraq was one of the most brutal dictatorships on Earth - a totalitarian nightmare where any election was a sham, and dissenters often found themselves buried in mass graves"

He continues his praise of the 'free' Iraq when he describes the initiative of the Iraqi people by stating:

"They went on to choose an interim government, and to ratify the most democratic constitution in the Arab world"

This may all be true, but was the Iraq of 2003 lit up like a Christmas tree on the radar screen of the US? Personally the invasion has been a total flop, in its initial justifications, loss of life, loss of money, etc. etc. And what about the Iraqi people? Doesn't seem like we ever hear from the actual PEOPLE the US is supposed to be helping. We always hear from government officials, progress reports from the military, but never from the people whose lives this injection of democracy was supposed to help! The Western news reporters have shied away from depicting the point of view of the Iraqis.

His last comment was that:

"This dramatic shift in policy had two primary goals. The first was to improve security conditions. So I ordered 30,000 additional soldiers and Marines into Iraq, and gave them a new mission, to focus on protecting the Iraqi people, and to hold the gains that had been made"

He gave them a NEW mission? If the whole argument of being in Iraq was to create a 'democracy' and reshape the country FOR the Iraq people, shouldn't the protection of the Iraqi people been a top priority! Now, I am not condoning the US presence in Iraq, but when they had already invaded and taken control over Iraq, the top priority should have been civilian protection. Their "War on Terror" is not very effective if they aren't protecting the people that terrorism affects the most.

I think the US should just leave Iraq to the Iraqis. It is not like they are an incompetent people, they know how to run their own affairs. The US presence in Iraq reminds me of when the British occupied Egypt. The British told the Egyptians that they would only be occupied for a short while, and then the British would leave their country. Days turned into months, and months into days, but the British still kept a sizeable presence in Egypt. From 1883 until the end of World War II, Britian occupied Egypt, while the Egyptian people sought liberation. I feel that a similar situation is occurring in Iraq. It seems that Western cultures do not want to see that Middle Eastern societies, or Eastern cultures are capable of rationality, or looking after their own interests. The US does not have to hold Iraq's hand, and guide it as closely as toddler because Iraq is fully capable of walking, even running, on its own.