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Let’s not forget atrocities against Iraqi people

Published:Friday | March 24, 2023 | 12:13 AM

THE EDITOR, Madam:

March 20 was Spring Equinox, or the first day of spring in the Northern Hemisphere, International Day of Happiness, and the 20th anniversary of the ground invasion of Iraq by then US President George W. Bush’s Coalition of the willing (COTW).

Initial air attacks on Baghdad occurred the previous night, labelled by the military as “shock and awe”. Making the anniversary more significant this year is Russia’s President Vladimir Putin being recently charged by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for allegedly deporting Ukrainian children to Russia. The charge from the ICC came exactly a year after President Joe Biden answered a reporter’s question with “Yes, I think President Putin is a war criminal”.

Nobody can dispute Russia’s belligerence in attacking Ukraine last year, or that President Putin is definitely not someone you would invite for Sunday tea with your local vicar, but surely we must take everything into perspective. Members of the ICC and NATO who are at present supplying huge numbers of weapons and monetary aid to prolong the war in Ukraine right now, were also members of George W. Bush’s COTW just 20 years ago when they invaded the sovereign nation of Iraq.

Despite the United Nations delegations led by Hans Blix in 2003 having more than 700 searches for weapons of mass destruction (WMDs), and finding none, the United States and its allies were convinced that the world was being threatened by President Saddam Hussein’s WMDs, and there had to be a regime change. Promising a war that would last a matter of weeks, it turned into a giant fiasco over a period of several years. The COTW attack on Iraq spawned a civil war and the formation of the Islamic State, with so much repercussion still felt around the world today. Illegal weapons, such as depleted uranium munitions and cluster bombs, were used in densely populated areas, with an estimated minimum of 500,000 Iraqi civilians killed, in addition to the military casualties on all sides.

Approximately a million Iraqi children lost one or both parents, and the country’s economy and infrastructure was ruined, with parts of Baghdad and cities like Fallujah, Ramadi, Tikrit, Basra, Mosul and others never rebuilt. The indelible images of torture of Iraqi prisoners by American soldiers in Abu Ghraib prison will never be erased from the minds of anyone who saw them, yet the world’s media seem to not make the connection that those countries guilty of atrocities and destruction in Iraq are now sitting in moral judgement of others just a few years later.

BERNIE SMITH

Parksville, BC

Canada