This is a blog dedicated to a personal interpretation of political news of the day. I attempt to be as knowledgeable as possible before commenting and committing my thoughts to a day's communication.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Reaping Intervention Rewards

Six years the "Coalition of the Willing" have been stationed in Iraq, a country far removed in geographic distance, politics, religion, traditions and customs from those of most countries who had agreed to help the United States remove Saddam Hussein from his totalitarian aeryie. Well over one hundred thousand foreign troops helping to invade and occupy a country riven with sectarian hatred, controlled by the iron grip of its murderous dictator.

Well, the world is full of vicious dictators whose impact on their populations is despotic and soul-destroying. Benevolence is not a virtue that most totalitarian governments extend to their long-suffering populations. And these countries, whose values and human rights are trampled into the dust of history by a succession of ruthless self-empowering tyrants somehow muddle along from one social disaster to another, the world looking on, pityingly, while the UN issues its useless appeals and sanctions.

For reasons known best to himself, and perhaps involving his father's unfinished business with an irredentist Baghdad, in a demonstration that he's a more unflinching champion of the underdog and America's oil investments than his father in rescuing Kuwait from Saddam's clutches, George W. Bush would not be dissuaded from his intention to turn his vast armed resources on that country. And to cajoling others to join his adventure, giving it the legitimacy that the UN's denial revoked.

Now, a new Iraq, still beset with violence, still faced with simmering sectarian resentments, is ushering out on a note of self-confidence, its former occupiers. Suicide missions continue in the country, relatively abated in occurrence. But Prime Minister Gordon Brown has announced a departure date of May 31, when 4,100 British troops will leave for home. Relief, and smiling faces all around. It only cost the British the lives of 178 of its military.

No word as to the wounded, those adjusting to life bereft of some critical limbs. Those whose mental state will never again be quite what it formerly was. Those whose marriages and families have been shattered, reflecting the state of their own now-fragile personalities. Pity also, those lives lost to the peculiar phenomenon of "friendly fire". They're soon to be on the move though, those troops, going home.

Their sojourn in Iraq was the cause of much internal anguish in the country; so many in the population rejected the theory that there was a need to deploy there, in Iraq. And that military operation from the British perspective, cost its treasury almost $13-billion, funds that might have gone a very long way in other areas, invested in Britain itself. International obligations, don't you see...

However, there's much satisfaction in a job well done. And Mr. Brown said as much, stating that British forces, in leaving that embattled country would be leaving Iraq "a better place". Tell that to the families of the hundreds of thousands of Iraqis who perished throughout those occupation years, whose lives were rent asunder through the impact of lawlessness, societal breakdown, indiscriminate and gruesome murder.

"It is important to remember we have been engaged in the most difficult and challenging of work: the task of overthrowing a dictatorship, the work of building a democracy for the future and defending it against terrorism. And of course the work of giving people an economic stake in the future of Iraq. We leave Iraq a better place as a result of it."

So much is perspective, isn't it? How one interprets events and outcomes? That overthrown dictatorship, bloody as it was, was a construct of the people for the people. Any population that has been as deeply impacted through the loss of human rights as that of Iraq, has the option of gathering internal strength from one another in a collective repudiation of the status quo.

This is, after all, a geography where two neighbours felt justified in going to war against one another, sending their young men, and then finally their youth, to certain death on a battlefield sodden with the useless spilling of their blood. Both Iraq and Iran lost countless of their populations - always expendable during times of traditional Middle East tribal wars of attrition - settling disagreements in their pathologically customary manner.

It is a silly conceit for any Western influences to believe that they have succeeded in altering the conscious beliefs and values of a civilization, a religious and political order so far removed from their own, that it reflects their own values, entirely deserting those of the occupied country. Yet Mr. Brown is complacent in his belief that British presence achieved mission objectives they had set for themselves.

Their presence had the primary purpose of unseating a dictator whose dental fixtures left him incapable of biting as large a portion of the geography as he threatened. In an ongoing demonstration of typical Arab bravado, posing no real threat at all, in the final, embarrassing analysis. The secondary purpose; training Iraqi security forces, political progress in economic re-building and a return to normal civil aviation at Basra, simply represented an issue of patching up what they had rent asunder.

Now, the new parliament of Iraq, a democratic, Sunni-Shia alliance of fragile co-operation, has the satisfaction of bargaining with an upper hand in dismissing the presence of foreign troops representing countries as disparate as Australia, Romania, Estonia, Singapore and El Salvador.

The world is an exceedingly strange place.

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