Monday, December 19, 2005


Iraq: Road to Anti-Americanism

Can America be Seen as an Enemy of Iraq?

Many – too many – Americans cannot understand how other people in other countries have such a poor opinion of their country. Many cannot comprehend how their good, benevolent country can be seen as an evil enemy by anybody.

They cannot see how their country with its open democracy and free press, where people can voice their opinions freely, where anyone can move freely from place to place, select the job and the lifestyle of their choosing, have complete freedom in their beliefs, religious or otherwise, can raise their children the way they like, can rise to success on their own merit and capabilities, unhindered by social or racial stigmas, can self-correct any irregularities in society such as racial or sex discrimination through peaceful means… can be seen as evil by any sane human being.

The conclusion most frequently reached within America is that there must be something fundamentally wrong with those people - even if those people are the majority of the human race. Many begin to believe that those people hate them for what they are; they hate their freedom and what their country stands for. This is true to the extent that such foolish sentiments can be uttered by senior public figures, including the President… and yet they are met with very little ridicule.

Too many Americans seem to be happy with this explanation of why terrorists target America.


I would like to warn readers that this account is more perspective than analysis.

I will not address “internal” American system shortcomings and defects. I will not talk about the mainstream media or the various political, economic, military-industrial forces involved. They are part of the American fabric and their actions are manifested through the democratic process governing American public life. I will even try not to mention the neocons. I will only look at the bulk of America as a country, from the outside.

Furthermore, I will restrict my account to Iraq. I will not address the many grievances people have against America in Latin America, in Asia, in Africa, in the Middle East or in other parts of the globe. That would be a daunting task.

I will express the view from a relatively mild, secular, generally pro-western point of view in the hope that some Americans may see some of the reasons for the birth of a new wave of “Anti-Americanism” in the making.


I say America because this includes the three American components that I see responsible for the devastation of my country:

1. The successive American administrations, in charge of the American government.

2. The American army that has been the tool through which the American administrations have implemented their policies in Iraq.

3. The American public who, through ignorance, indifference, acquiescence or active support, was ultimately responsible for it all.

The American Administration

I will simply use the term “American Administration” to refer to the administration in control of American federal governance at the time of the item listed. They cover administrations from both sides of the bipolar divide of political America. The object is to demonstrate a consistent attitude of animosity or indifference leading to innocent people suffering. Consequently the term includes all official federal government agencies. The US administration of the time is supposed to be in control of those agencies.

It was an American administration that helped Saddam in his war effort against Iran and was totally indifferent to his oppressive system of government, to his record of atrocities against the Iraqi people and to his pursuit of acquisition or use of weapons of mass destruction. It is now publicly know that it was a policy of “dual containment” to let Iraq and Iran fight each other to grind those two countries to the ground. The American administration actually helped both sides at different times. Lives lost run into millions.

It was an American administration that gave Saddam what he thought was the green light to invade Kuwait. Saddam was no fool. He knew that he couldn’t take Kuwait without America’s consent. This is documented, but was later attributed to the individual action of the American ambassador to Iraq at the time.

It was an American administration that gave the orders that devastated our country during the military operations conducted to liberate Kuwait. They bombed schools, bridges, cement factories, powder-milk factories, an assortment of other factories, grain silos, civilian air-raid shelters, water treatment and pumping plants, power plants… and hundreds of other targets, unrelated to the war machine, that were hundreds of miles away from the “theatre of operations” for more than 40 days in order to expel Saddam from Kuwait.

At the end of that campaign, many Iraqis revolted against Saddam. The administration gave Saddam permission to fly helicopters and stood by while he mercilessly crushed that uprising, killing numerous people in the process. The American army was still in combat-ready status in close proximity.

The American administration then spearheaded the imposition of sanctions against Iraq and then spearheaded the enforcement of those sanctions. Those sanctions caused so much hardship, suffering and death among innocent Iraqis. They hurt the people far more than they hurt Saddam and his regime. It was not a far-right religious fundamentalist Secretary of State, but a Democrat, who was so dismissive about the murder of half a million children as a result. The lady now regrets that!

It was a Democrat administration that bombed Baghdad in 1998... to put Saddam in his place!

It was an American administration that misleadingly linked Iraq to the terrorist act of 9/11 and then intentionally fabricated lies about the threat of Iraq and the weapons of mass destruction to justify the invasion in total disregard to world opinion and to the UN.

It was an American administration that employed the services of known thugs and convicted embezzlers to act as advocates for a war that was meant to liberate the Iraqi people. Some of these thugs are now ‘senior politicians’.

It was the American administration that disregarded early warnings about the historic significance of the Iraqi Museum as a world treasure and the vulnerability of that museum from reputable American institutions and allowed it to be looted. A single tank could have protected that sacred place. But the administration had more important things to protect: the Oil Ministry. An advisor to President Bush later resigned in protest over what happened to that museum.

It was the American administration that approved the post-invasion plan which led to total chaos in the country, the dissolution of the army, police, border guards and civil service.

It was the American administration planning and policies that led directly or indirectly to the birth of the fierce insurgency, several months after the invasion.

It was another American administration that had created, helped and nurtured what later became known as al Qaeda. This is a fact and people who dispute it are advised to seek information, if they want to be honest with themselves.

It was the American administration that lured international terrorist groups into the country and now has no moral qualms - and even brags - about fighting them in Iraq so as not to have to fight them in American cities. Iraqis had no quarrel with those people until the invasion came. Since the invasion, and in their battle with America, these people kill hundreds of innocent Iraqis for every American they kill. For every terrorist Americans kill, they kill hundreds of innocent Iraqis. In that process, life for millions of others is turned into living hell.

It was the American administration that oversaw the design and the implementation of the new political system in Iraq. This political system will lead to the disintegration of the country and the encouragement of sectarian and ethnic strife.

For the past 80 years, Iraq had a variety of systems of government ranging from a democratic constitutional monarchy, to military juntas… to totalitarian one-party creed. But throughout that period, not once did religious fundamentalists have power over Iraqi society. It was only after the American invasion that, suddenly, all the major political and armed forces have become religious fundamentalists whether Shiite of Sunni. The Iraqi people’s traditional respect for the religious clergy was translated, under the pretext of democracy, into a theocracy. The story is long and intricate but this was the end result.

It is the American administration that intends to transfer power to the new US-trained Iraqi armed forces that are infiltrated by a variety of sectarian and criminal elements that are openly committing atrocities against the people. A Plan for Victory indeed!

The list is naturally much longer. These were the main points. Each and every point can be the subject of endless justification and spin, but the fact remains that The American Administration is seen as the force behind the acts of aggression against the Iraqi people that span at least two decades.

Iraqis are forced to view the administration’s proclaimed “War on Terror” and their chosen methods of conducting that war as a “War of Terror” directed at them and their country. So far, the number of innocent Iraqis killed through this war is more than 30 times the number of American lives lost to terror. It is only natural for Iraqis to view any party pursuing that war, namely the American Administration, as an enemy.

The American Army

The American army was and still is the tool that is used to implement the administrations’ murdering policies in Iraq.

The American army is a huge machine of people, installations and networks. Yet, in essence, it is one body. It is seen as one body by the people feeling the effect of their might and destructive fire power.

It was the American army that conducted those ‘sorties’ targeting all those civilian installations of Iraq during the war to liberate Kuwait.

It was the American army that shot and killed anything that was in sight; men, women, children, taxis, civilian cars miles away from any fight, even street-lighting poles... during its “Shock and Awe” campaign of “liberation”.

It was the American army that opened government establishment doors, government stores of huge stockpiles ranging from electric cables, wood to food... for the benefit of looters.

It was the American army that insulted, humiliated and imprisoned people at random, frisking women and putting boots on the necks of harmless old men in front of their children and grandchildren.

It was the American army that fired at other vehicles on the road at the slightest suspicion, sometimes totally unprovoked, many times killing entire families.

It was the American army that fired at protestors in Fallujah marching against the seizure by the American army of their children’s school. They fired at a crowd killing 13 to 17 people. The claim was that they were fired at. Not a single soldier was even injured. The same army, following the horrible ‘hanging on the bridge’ of four mercenaries by a bunch of thugs… bombed the town of Fallujah for three week, killing hundreds of innocents, including many women and children.

It was the American army that sent 2000 pound bombs that had a destructive distance of 400 meters into inhabited areas to destroy a single house where “suspected” terrorists resided.

The same army, to free Fallujah of terrorists, devastated the whole town again, killing hundreds and using white phosphorous on civilians… and then arguing that it was not a chemical weapon.

It was the American army that tortured and abused detainees at Abu Ghraib and elsewhere many of whom were held without charges. Men, women and even little children were raped, beaten humiliated and tortured, the proceedings meticulously photographed. The humiliation felt by many Iraqis at the degenerate methods used by that army will take long to forget.

It was the US army that shot and killed innocent Iraqis at the whim of trigger-happy cowboys or by frightened kids seeing shadows in the midday sun, spraying people standing by or going about their own business… and got away with it. Yet, the same army sentenced to death soldiers who shot and killed their comrades or superiors.

It was the American army that shelled the most sacred shrines in the city of Najaf to combat the Mahdi army in order to bring their leader, Moqtada, to justice. There was a warrant for his arrest for a suspected murder. Following political machinations, Moqtada’s people held 21 seats in the National Assembly.

It was the American army that bombed and shelled entire towns to clean out the insurgents and the so-called terrorists… killing even more innocent people than the terrorists did. They are still vigorously doing it now.

It was the American army and it still is the American army that is terrorizing people in their own country in the name of liberating them.

God knows if there was a single Iraqi taking part in 9/11 what the American media, administration and public would have made out of it. I very much doubt that the bad-apple argument would have met with much favor with the American public. Yet thousands of American boys have been doing criminally insane acts… and many Americans want to believe, and they want Iraqis to believe, that they were only a few bad apples. Well, I’m sorry; all those several thousand bad apples wear the same uniform… the US army uniform. Iraqis are supposed to see them as good guys and ‘understand’ that they were either acting under stress, out of caution, or were simply a few bad apples acting on their own.

There are numerous American people who want to wipe out the entire Arab nation and the entire Muslim nation because of international terrorists; it is Islam (or simply being an Arab) that gives rise to this violent culture. But at the same time it cannot be the American culture that gives rise to these inhuman monsters.

The American army, I am afraid, can justifiably be seen as an enemy by impartial Iraqis.

The American Public

Hundreds of millions of people cannot be all bad! This is the most difficult component of America to label as an enemy of Iraq… but please bear with me a little. I am fully aware of the existence of many millions of decent people in America.

The American public’s mind-set covers a wide range of political, economic and social views and inclinations. It is extremely hard to categorize all that diversity. But in the final analysis, and from a purely Iraqi perspective, under constant threat of death, and in the constant presence of death, most people cannot afford the luxury of much contemplation that others elsewhere might have.

As far as Iraq is concerned, some of the people can identify two groups; one that opposes the war and the criminal policies of the administration pursued so far and one that acquiesces. Those sitting on the fence watching the massacres and the devastation unmoved can only be put into the second category. The second group is definitely the larger of the two. This is basically using the administration’s own metric: “You are either with us or against us”. This primitive Binary attitude seems to have found favor with large segments of America. However, America does not have a monopoly on such an outlook!

Many Americans feel that being under a vague threat justifies such a drastic view. It is a matter of survival, they think. By the same token, it should be even more justifiable for an Iraqi facing a more immediate and an eminent threat everyday to resort to a similar attitude.

Therefore, it can be understandable for the average Iraqi ignorant of internal American politics, forces and political machinations to view America as one bulk. [This can be reconciled with a more detailed, nevertheless crude, categorization of the American public I attempted some time ago. This “bulk” can be seen to refer to American groups 2, 3, 4 and 5.]

So, let us see what the ‘bulk of America’ is:

America is a democracy. The administration is elected by the people. The American people are directly responsible for the above-mentioned lists of acts of aggression committed against the Iraqi people. They are the highest and the ultimate authority in America. Ignorance and indifference are not acceptable excuses. All the information is there. I have restricted those lists to only publicly known events. If the people accept to be ‘fed’ or ‘misled’ by the mainstream media or by their administration, that is their responsibility and their problem.

My final view of the ‘bulk’ of America stems from their reaction to major events affecting my country:

January 1991. It was after 3 am Baghdad local time when the fireworks began. Wave after wave of cruse missiles and stealth bombers came and poured and ‘surgically’ guided their bombs and brought death and destruction to thousands. It was likened to a huge Christmas tree. The whole world watched it on their TV screens - the whole world except the Iraqis; they had a better view and better sound effects. They watched it from the inside. How many Americans gave a thought to the idea that there were people inside that Christmas tree being mutilated, burned and blown into oblivion? How many Americans were outraged? How many Americans thought and said out loud that all that death and suffering may not be related to the liberation of Kuwait? [Or was it that all those people were responsible for the actions of their tyrannical government, while the good Americans now are not responsible for the actions of their democratically elected one?]

All those atrocities of Fallujah, Najaf, Abu Ghraib, white phosphorus… are now widely known. What was the reaction of the ‘bulk’ of America? A few points on the approval charts, a few words of indignation here and there… but no mass demonstrations, no floods of letters to Congress and no widespread expression of disgust and sustained anger.

Some people wondered: “Where was the outage?” I personally saw a lot of outrage at the time, but now I wonder: where is the outrage?

Each and every one of those gross activities, when publicized, caused a small stir of interest, some indignation, some hypocritical mumblings… and then people went back to their normal lives, trusting their government to deal with it. The administration continues to do so.

What does the bulk of America think about the fact that in their reaction to 9/11, to fight terrorism, they harmed so many innocent people? For every innocent American killed more than 30 equally innocent Iraqis perished directly or indirectly as a result of American actions in Iraq? Not a single one of those people had anything to do with anything that did harm to America. Where is the indignation?

Where is the uproar and indignation at President Bush’s endless reiteration that America is fighting terrorists “over there” so as not to have to fight them in American cities? Leaving aside the fact that the gentleman is wrong and that America will be in graver danger… how many Americans felt a sting of conscience about making another country (my country) a battlefield where innocent people are killed.

Are Americans so simple as to think that Iraqis are so retarded that they will willingly give up their lives and the lives of their loved ones and the livelihood and their country in gratitude to America to fight its own enemies because America rid them of a brutal dictator?

How many thought that that battlefield was not a piece of desolate desert but a country rich in people and rich in history? How many raised that question?

They re-elected Bush after Abu Ghraib, Fallujah I and Najaf were public knowledge.

I would like to imagine the reaction of the bulk of America if the administration decided to raise taxes by 20%.

Much of the disapproval in America over this adventure in Iraq has to do with indignation over the killing of their boys and girls or the squandering of their financial resources.

How much of the indignation is on moral grounds?

Corporate Media? Powerful lobbies? Neocons? Oil and arms industry? No choice? Bush or Kerry? Republican or Democrat? These are no excuses really. It is their political system. It is up to them to change it. Since they, as a bulk, have indicated no such desire, they cannot complain. It is their calling and it is their country. I wouldn’t have bothered had they not decided to make my country the playground for their firepower, an arena for their battles and my people the fodder.

An impartial person cannot be blamed for concluding that the American public is an enemy to Iraq. They cannot complain. Well, decent individuals can; but only as individuals… or as small groups at most.


So, in effect, the American Administrations, the American Army and the Bulk of the American Public are enemies of Iraq and Iraqis as long as they persist in their present course.

This is why we can safely say that America is, and has been for a while, an enemy of Iraq and Iraqis. There is no longer much doubt about that.

Again, I hope that some Americans may see reasons for the birth of a new wave of “Anti-Americanism”… in Iraq… and across the world.

Americans are invited to reflect honestly on the idea that if a mild outlook can lead to such a dim view of America, then what conclusions would a fierce nationalist, a deeply religious Muslim or a person with violent inclinations may reach?

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