Washington must be held accountable for its Middle East indiscretions

If the death of Terry Schiavo inspired Bush to spread a ‘culture of life’ in the United States, then why does he send his troops to spread a culture of death, violence and occupation in the Middle East?

By Dr. Bouthaina Shaaban
Thursday, April 07, 2005
Syrian expatriates minister

The world has not really been waiting for the American Presidential Commission's report on American intelligence failures to know that the justification for war on Iraq was only a ploy, and that the information was not as accurate as the gurus of the American administration confirmed. Professor Hans Blix, who led the United Nations inspection commission, struggled with the Security Council and U.S. government for a six-month extension to accurately verify the existence or nonexistence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. He knew, however, like everybody else did, that the war decision had already been made, and that the U.S. was not willing to hear anything to the contrary.

The whole world tried to reason against the war, but was only met with media trumpets chiming exaggerations about an Iraqi threat to American, British and international security, and the utmost haste required to confront it before Iraq handed over its weapons to terrorists. The Presidential Commission's report confirms that the American intelligence community lacked evidence on weapons of mass destruction in Iraq; it, however, does not mention how the available information was used, or misused, to execute a preset plan.

The report talks about American senior officials' intensive visits to the CIA and the pressure those visits exerted. It does not, however, question the reasons behind the administration's insistence on launching the war. The report concludes that the war has damaged American credibility and prestige. The war has also obliterated Iraqi independence, left thousands of Iraqis and Americans killed and injured and incurred losses on both countries' economies estimated at billions of dollars.

The report, however, does not question who the real beneficiaries were, nor if they are the same people taking the United States down the same path in Palestine, Lebanon and Syria, with reasons similar in shape and content. The report refers to misgivings about U.S. intelligence on Iran, North Korea, China and Russia. We could probably easily add to the list Lebanon, Palestine and Syria.

Alarming questions for the future present themselves: Are the American intelligence resources informing American policies in the Middle East still the same? If the war has undermined American credibility, prestige and national interests shouldn't the war advocates be held accountable? Almost all the commentaries on the report count American losses. No one, however, reckons the price the American fatal "mistakes" exacted on the Middle East and its people.

The war on Iraq has killed more than 120,000 Iraqis and left more than 200,000 with critical physical disabilities. It has eliminated most of Iraq's prominent scientists, professors, thinkers and community leaders. It has robbed the Iraqi national museum of the treasures of Babel, Nynawa and Zi Qar, and ultimately of the identity of the countries between the Tigris and the Euphrates. It brought chaos and eliminated the basic services without which life is an unbearable hell. War has introduced the divisive concepts of conflicting religious, ethnic and sectarian affiliations, destroying the unity of Iraqis who have lived over centuries in national harmony. The war threatens further division of Iraq along sectarian, ethnic and religious lines.

If the campaign to save the life of Terry Schiavo has gripped the world's attention, which is very humane and civilized, then shouldn't the lives of Iraqis killed by the war and the sanctions before the war command a little more attention? Shouldn't the war culprits be held accountable for ravaging Iraqi lives, future and security?

Who in the United States should be prosecuted for wasting hundreds of billions of dollars on a war that only brought human, cultural and economic calamities on Arabs and Americans alike, and undermined American credibility, stature and security?

The most important question of all is: Will the world stand silently helpless until similar tragedies, driven by the whims of pro-Israeli influence on American politics, are repeated in the Middle East? Is it not high time to mobilize before the region becomes a prisoner to remorseful history books?

We want our children to inherit a safe and prosperous region, not a few investigative reports blaming the "collection methods" or the "intelligence resources." All we get, however, is more senior officials with more statements about spreading "freedom" and "democracy" in countries where they are only spreading terror and destruction.

If the death of Terry Schiavo inspired Bush to spread a "culture of life" in the United States, then why does he send his troops to spread a culture of death, violence and occupation in the Middle East?

© Lebanon Star

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