One question that has gone under the media radar, and that the White House is avoiding like the plague, is, “Do the Iraqi people really want the United States’ help in removing Saddam Hussein?”
Of course, says President George W. Bush. Look at the Iraqi National Congress, an opposition group that once again denounced Hussein in a mid-December London conference.
Well, look at the Iraqi National Congress, a bunch of exiles who, in some cases, have been away from Iraq for decades. Further, they are the folks who feel it’s their given duty to rule the country (more democratically, of course) once Hussein is gone. Far be it from me to say their intentions are disingenuous, but let’s face it, if anyone will benefit from the removal of Hussein, it’s going to be these guys.
But what do the real people of Iraq think? We may not know ’til the tanks are rolling toward Baghdad. But there are precedents. Take the case of the aptly named “Mothers of the Disappeared” in Argentina, an opposition group to the leader of the military junta in that country, Jorge Videla. From 1976 until the junta collapsed in 1983, between 8,000-30,000 men were arrested on numerous charges and were never seen again.
What happened to them? Most were killed, the favorite method of execution being throwing their unconscious but alive bodies out of boats, or out of airplanes 13,000 feet in the air. One military captain confessed 2,000 people were killed at his military installation alone. Even today, family members fight to find their “disappeared relatives.”
But what happened in 1982 when Argentina invaded the Falkland Islands, setting off a two-month war with Britain? Did the “Mothers” protest the governments actions or, better yet, not support the war effort? Not at all. In fact, they were some of the most vehement supporters of the junta. Why? Because this was a matter of a foreign invader, Britain, occupying the Falklands, which are perceived to be part of Argentina.
Or look at Russia under the rule of Joseph Stalin, one of the most heinous rulers in the history of man. Under Stalin, approximately 20 million people were murdered in numerous purges, and the fear of becoming one of the condemned was ever-present.
But when it came time for Russia to fight Adolf Hitler in World War II, did they step aside and let the Germans take over, freeing them from the oppressive Stalin? Of course not, they fought harder and suffered more losses than any other country in the war. Because the war was not an issue of protecting “Soviet Russia.” Instead, the issue was protecting “Mother Russia,” from the foreign invaders.
This brings us back to the Iraqis. What makes us think they want the U.S. army to “liberate” them? They remember the “Highway of Death,” when U.S. warplanes bombed troops for hours leaving Kuwait on their way back to Baghdad. Tens of thousands of Iraqis were killed.
We may not want to believe it, but the Iraqis may not want our help. But, of course, the United States knows what’s best. For, what country’s citizens wouldn’t want to be free, even if it meant the destruction of their infrastructure, the killing of their relatives and the pleasure of an uncertain future once the man who is “worse than Hitler” is gone?
Joe Roma is a junior majoringin political email@example.com