Is Our Greatest Enemy
By Linda S. Heard
19 September, 2007
does it take us to shock us into action these days? An Opinion Business
Research (ORB) survey of Iraqi families indicates as many as 1.2 million
Iraqi civilians may have died as a result of the war. That's five times
more than the death toll wrought by Fat Man and Little Boy in Hiroshima
It's also the equivalent
of killing every Arab-American as per the 2000 census or every man,
woman and child in, say, Amsterdam. And just why were those people's
lives sacrificed again?
Former US Federal Reserve
Chairman Alan Greenspan, a committed Republican who served four American
presidents, has pronounced. He says it was all about oil, which most
of us who were against the war from day one knew all along. Yet when
we mentioned the "O" word, we were invariably targeted as
crazed conspiracy theorists.
Unfortunately for Bush, Greenspan
- the man who held the US economy in his hands for 20 years - cannot
be written off as easily. Even Fox News can't accuse him of being a
pea-brained, tree-hugging liberal.
If the bottom line is oil
then all the talk about fighting terrorism and sprinkling democracy
dust is nothing more than peripheral chatter strewn around in the hope
the distracted, the terminally apathetic, the intellectually-challenged
and the misguided "patriots" among us will buy into the game.
It's certainly true that
many Americans have wizened up since the early rah-rah days. Very few
are genuflecting at the altar of US Commander in Iraq General David
Petraeus referred to in a Move On.Org advertisement in the New York
Times as "General Betray us".
That may have been unfairly
harsh but let's face it. He's a military man with a chain of command
and a Commander-in-Chief called George W. Bush. It's not surprising
that presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton thought his pearls of wisdom
as to current state of Iraq required the "willing suspension of
If Greenspan is right - and
he probably is - then why aren't we outraged? Why aren't we spilling
out onto the streets in protest? Are we prepared to accept the death
of 1.2 million innocent individuals just so we can fill our tanks with
What if 1.2 million Americans
or 1.2 million Britons had been sacrificed for the same goal? Would
they have been acceptable collateral damage?
Let's put this into context
folks. A photogenic four-year-old British girl goes missing in Portugal
and she's 24/7 news for months. Her parents get to meet the pope and
their mission is endorsed by David Beckham, Richard Branson and dozens
of other celebrities.
By contrast, how many of
you have ever heard of a five-year-old Iraqi boy called Yousuf, who
masked men doused with petrol before setting fire to him? His once beautiful
face is now disfigured beyond recognition.
Yet he is luckier than most
because CNN fleetingly took up his story - in comparison to the coverage
of Madeleine McCann - and he is now in Los Angeles receiving treatment
thanks to the Children's Burn Foundation.
Many children who fell victim
to unexploded cluster bombs or who were born with abnormalities caused
by depleted uranium are left to the vagaries of a poorly manned and
rudimentally equipped Iraqi health system.
Last year, Unicef reported
that one in every four Iraqi children under five-years-old is chronically
malnourished and one in eight doesn't survive long enough to enjoy their
Thousands of children have
not been immunised and 30 per cent do not attend school. The United
Nations has estimated that over 40,000 Iraqi children now live in orphanages;
some have been discovered starving and abused.
If Greenspan spoke the truth
concerning the motives of those ruthless people he once considered friends,
then the war is surely a shameful obscenity. It is tantamount to larceny
on a grand scale.
Even as I write the Iraqi
government is coming under severe pressure to sign-up to an oil law
that will concede a large proportion of the country's prime resource
to foreign oil companies for decades to come.
Democratic presidential candidate
Dennis Kucinich says "the administration has been relentless in
trying to force the Iraqi government to enact a so-called hydrocarbon
law that will, in fact, enable multi-national oil and energy corporations
to gain control of 200 billion to 300 billion barrels of Iraq's oil
with a market value of around $20 trillion".
"And to facilitate and
protect that scheme," he says, "he [George Bush] is willing
to continue the occupation, keep our brave men and women in the line
of fire, and risk an escalation of violence and regional stability".
That's right. The US occupation
of Iraq is due to continue in some form for decades. Why else would
the US be building the largest embassy complex in the world along with
But those who thirst for
governance of the world's precious resources aren't content with the
black gold of Iraq. There may be another war for oil in the pipeline
when more millions will die or be left maimed.
Unless we wake up long enough
to put our pretty toys aside, stare at the ugly face of reality and
scream "not in our name" the burden of our apathy will be
our legacy for generations to come.
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