The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

SMU professor Susanne Scholz in the West Bank in 2018.
SMU professor to return to campus after being trapped in Gaza for 12 years
Sara Hummadi, Video Editor • May 18, 2024
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Operation Puppet Regime

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Operation Puppet Regime

It was interesting and horrifying to watch the Bush administration attempt to sell the invasion of Iraq to the public over the past six months or so. Up until the final weeks, none of the arguments put forth for invasion were winning over the educated classes. The rest of the public is much more pliable – in fact some 40 to 45 percent of the public (if you believe the surveys) is so ignorant, they believe Saddam Hussein played a personal role in the 9/11 hijackings. The educated classes weren’t going along with the program, for good reason.

Trying to use violations of UN resolutions as a pretext for war didn’t work after it was pointed out that other nations have much worse records in that regard than Iraq (especially, fairly or not, Israel). Suggesting that Saddam Hussein was going to play a direct or indirect role in an assault on his neighbors, the United States or some other country didn’t make much sense either, even with “weapons of mass destruction.” There’s no reason that a secular dictator like Hussein would throw his life away. Similarly, that rules out any collaboration with Al-Qaeda, unless he felt desperate. The critical mass of support only swung behind the war with what seemed like a sudden change in the administration’s focus. Suddenly, this war was about “liberating the people of Iraq.” The subtext is that this would be an easy fight and that anyone who opposed it essentially desired for the Iraqis to continue to suffer under the thumb of Saddam Hussein. It was a masterstroke of disingenuousness, and it worked.

The Bush administration has no plans to install a truly democratic government, or, if they do, it represents a break with the foreign policy of the United States for the past century, as well as differing sharply from statements issued and actions taken by this and previous administrations. In 1991, following the first Gulf War, a popular revolt against Saddam Hussein’s rule occurred in the south of Iraq. These rebels had regime change as their goal, and they realized that there would never be a better time. Thinking that the US would be happy to assist, the rebels asked for the vehicles and equipment captured by the Coalition forces during the war. The United States refused, the rebels were crushed, and when asked about the chain of events, National Security Council member Richard Haas said that what the United States would have preferred was a coup by one of Hussein’s generals, since this would result in “Hussein’s regime without Hussein.” In other words, the ideal Iraqi situation, from the viewpoint of the US. government, is one in which the nation is ruled by a brutal dictator, but one who knows his place and follows orders. He can be a puppet from within, or, as we may soon see, installed from without. I hope we’ve all seen the photograph of Donald Rumsfeld shaking hands with Hussein in 1983.

In the first Gulf War, the Coalition forces ravaged Iraq’s military, and in the process showered the land and water of Iraq with depleted uranium, leading to years of birth defects, disease and other misfortune. This same material also has played havoc with the health of American veterans, though the government denied it for years, and in fact, the Bush administration is even cutting veterans’ benefits as it sends soldiers into a combat zone that was never cleared of poison in the first place. Naturally, this time there’s even more DU in use as coating for projectiles.

After the war, the United States slapped sanctions on Iraq that gradually made life for many Iraqis a constant struggle, if life even continued. Around one million Iraqis died from starvation and from easily preventable diseases during this time, and two UN Deputy Secretary-Generals resigned in frustration over the situation. Making matters worse, planes from the United States and UK periodically bombed such infrastructure as water treatment plants, electrical facilities, and other badly needed installations.

It makes no sense to spend over a decade using the quietest weapon of mass destruction against a helpless civilian population only to turn around and “liberate” them. Crippled by sanctions, the Iraqis were unable to follow the course of the South Africans, Filipinos, Argentines, Russians, East Germans, Poles, Indonesians and other peoples in overthrowing their dictators, several of whom were Hussein’s equal in terms of evil, and embracing democratic governments.

Zionists in Palestine were killing British troops only three years after those same British soldiers helped topple Hitler. What’s the reaction going to be in Iraq in the coming years, when the Iraqis remember who established the sanctions, shortchanged the rebels, blasted their nation from the air and installed a puppet regime? Haven’t we seen enough carnage?

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