Letter: Lessons of occupation

By Rizwan-Uddin

The number of Iraqis thankful to the United States for freeing them from Saddam Hussein is going down fast. Some are wondering if the price was right; others simply cannot wonder at all.

As a result of the war and occupation, 100,000 Iraqis have died. A whole new U.S. generation seems to believe the notion, “we need to kill them to save them.”

The question, “What would we do if the Iraqis invaded us,” is an excellent one. However, a divine message or a complete U-turn on the part of the White House seems to be the only acts that would convince the jingoistic fringe of the futility of the Iraq occupation. Once God is on your side, or you think you are inherently superior to others, statements like “do unto others as … ” are simply not part of the discourse.

To put elections and other shenanigans that occupying forces must go through into perspective, here is a quote: “His Majesty’s Government and I are in the same boat and must sink or swim together … if you wish me and your policy to succeed, it is folly to damn me permanently in the public eye by making me an obvious puppet.” King Faisal I to the British high commissioner, Mesopotamia, Aug. 17, 1921.

Obviously, the occupiers have learned a few lessons since then. If we, the citizens, like to continue to be fooled, who can stop us? But given the way the occupation has gone, and the associated cost to U.S. taxpayers and the economy, I think a U-turn on the part of the White House is a slim possibility.

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In this scenario, if elections are held, the United States will extract as much from the elected leaders as possible to satisfy the oil lobby and the neo-conservatives before agreeing to a plan to pull out forces.

While there would be losses, this might be the best scenario, as it would allow the United States to claim the moral high ground.

The neo-cons, who want to keep a future Iraq in the same basket they have for Kuwait, may have to wait another day. If not handled right, Iraq might end up going the way of Yugoslavia.