Pope John Paul II the pontiff at the time who was highly respected by people of all faiths, said war was not always inevitable. Rather it could be the very last resort to be undertaken under very strict conditions. Kofi Annan the then UN SG also opposed the Iraq war by asking what would happen the morning after the invasion.
Was there a morning-after pill? America and allies went ahead anyway and invaded Iraq, ostensibly in search of weapons of mass demonstration. They knew those of mass destruction (WMDs) did not exist since they could not be hidden from the prying eyes of Uncle Sam. Didn’t they say Saddam and his regime were loading nuclear missiles on old trucks and carting them around the deserts of Arabia like sacks of corn? Tall story.
Their satellites are so powerful they can take a photo of a man taking a pee on the road in Manzese Dares- Salaam. Americans had not identified WMDs on Iraq soil with certainty. After the invasion, no WMDs were ever found. The real agenda was regime change. In the weeks and months after the invasion it became clear neither America nor its powerful and powerless allies had a detailed plan for the post- Saddam period.
The allies killed Saddam even though they never pulled the hangman’s noose that decapitated the former dictator during his botched hanging. The kangaroo court trial of Saddam made a mockery of justice as understood by the rest of the peace-loving and democratic world. The blood of innocent and not-so innocent Iraqis will forever be with the children and grand children of those allies who invaded the land of the Euphrates River and the home of Babylon.
Whatever empires willing coalition of allies may be building in that biblical land or elsewhere will probably fail like the biblical tower of Babylon. Is Iraq peaceful today? A decade after the removal of Saddam Hussein the world is not a better place without him as was declared by Tony Blair or George Bush. So much Christian, Shia and Sunni blood has been shed since the invasion that the bad blood between Iraqis of differing political and religious affiliations will not go away for at least a generation.
Deploying half a million coalition soldiers in Iraq today will not stop the bloodshed. Allied interests around the world could still be seen as fair game by terrorists. The decade long war on terror has made a mockery of citizens’ rights to privacy. NATO and allied soldiers in Afghanistan continue to die for a war that has little to do with defending national borders back home. I will steer clear of the quagmire that is Afghanistan today. I lived there for some time between 2000 and 2003.
What I experienced gave me excess incentive to hightail it back to peaceful Tanzania long before Chadema and CCM became sworn enemies ready to slug it out regardless of any bloody consequences. Last year NATO and allies started another war in the north of Africa. Their mission i.e. regime change was very clear this time, not coached in diplomatic mumbo- jumbo that is palatable by UN member states.
They hid behind a UN resolution # 1973 authorising just enough force to protect civilians. Who was to judge how much force is necessary or excessive in the quest to protect Libyans with special interests? Ordinary Libyans had more protection under Muamar Ghadaffi than their cousins in most of sub-Saharan Africa where hunger, poor health services, lack of education and rudimentary access to safe drinking water are the realities of life.
Many nationals in the Sahel region and the Horn of Africa might opt for less of western-style democracy and human freedoms if their state authorities could ensure protection from natural hazards like drought and flooding, and regular access to basic social services such as water supply, health and education. Democracy does not put food on the table as I discovered some years back when I travelled to Washington for an international conference.
A homeless engineer was exercising his democratic freedom to beg for pennies or else starve in front of the white house. His former employers laid off workers to cut costs and show positive balance sheets for shareholders. For a year now there has been a push for regime change in Syria. In a kneejerk fashion the United Nations is being used again to pass resolutions against Syria. During the same period, Europe and America have introduced punitive economic sanctions against Syria.
Has the world not learned from Iraq, Korea, Libya, South Africa during apartheid period and a few other places that sanctions do not work and instead punish the ordinary citizen the most? Pervez Musharaff the Pakistan ex-president once said democracy has no fixed formula. Meaning democracy is an a la carte menu in which those who dine at the demonstration cafe get to choose which salad, main course or soup they will dish out selectively or otherwise to its citizens.
There are probably gaping holes in democratic practices in places like Bahrain and Saudi Arabia yet the west seems to look the other way. It is where western countries have special interests. Pakistan and India have just tested rockets capable of carrying nuclear warheads and hitting the Gulf and USA respectively. No one blinked.
But when North Korea tried unsuccessfully to launch what they called a communication satellite they were branded bad guys and labelled as a threat to security and peace in the region. So who is the next target after Syria? Iran is a tough cookie whose motives may prove peaceful as they consistently claim. Could Pyongyang be next?
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