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Disaster in Iraq - Massive tragedy underlines the urgency of the problem.


Today's horrendous news from Iraq is that (so far) about 650-700 people on a Shi'a pilgrimage have died in a panic stampede. The stampede was triggered by a rumor that there was a suicide bomber in the huge crowd, causing people to dive off a bridge on the Tigris river. There was no suicide bomber. It was a classic case of someone hollering "Fire!" in a crowded movie theater. According to the latest reports, the rumor was spread on purpose by a terrorist. If so, this is mass murder by a cynical and evil foe - murder of innocent people practising their religion.

This sensational tragedy underlines the desperate urgency of the Iraq situation. Faced with a tragedy of this magnitude, Americans may attend once again to the bleeding sore of Iraq, even though it has stiff competition from the devastation of hurrican Katrina. In fact, it is the same situation that has been developing since the U.S. invasion, which started so well by toppling the hated dictatorship of Saddam Hussein, went sour because of US incompetence and indifference. This particular tragedy was in part due to failure to take the most elementary precautions to protect human life: a massive public event, a pilgrimage, was held without any assurance of security in a city where suicide bombings and mortar attacks are every day events.

At this point it doesn't matter whose fault it is. The problem is not the "fault" of the Americans, Bush, "Neocons" (a euphemism for Jews) or "Zionists" (another euphemism for Jews). Racists and Saddamites have been busy distorting the facts, but all they accomplished was to delegitimize criticism of the war, and immunize people to bad news from Iraq. Cindy Sheehan, whose son was killed in Iraq, has made herserlf into the symbolic critique of the Iraq war. She may be the wrong war mom. Sheehan has been accused of sending some vicious and silly letters claiming that "My son joined the Army to protect America, not Israel." She denies sending the letters, but Cindy Sheehan probably won't deny writing:

Casey was killed in the Global War Of Terrorism waged on the world and its own citizens by the biggest terrorist outfit in the world: George and his destructive Neo-con cabal.

Cindy Sheehan, I am sorry for your loss. We are all sorry for your loss. The Israeli people gained very little, or perhaps lost something, by the elimination of Saddam Hussein, who was a convenient arch-villain. Cindy Sheehan, not all Jews are Zionists, and not all Zionists are "neo-cons" or agents of the Israeli government. Terrorism is a real threat. It wasn't "George and his destructive Neo-con cabal" who destroyed the World Trade Center. It wasn't the "Neo-con cabal" but Al-Qaeda themselves, who explained even before the war in Iraq, who they intend to take over the world and rule it through an Islamic Caliphate. The US government and the Israeli government did not invent Saddam Hussein, or Zarqawi or any of the other bad guys in Iraq. The world is a complicated place.

The fiasco that led to World War II proved that when the great powers were indifferent to threats to democracy and freedom in other countries, those threats eventually landed on their own doorsteps. A world war was caused by moral bankruptcy. Saddam Hussein was a cruel dictator. He was responsible for over a million deaths in the Iran-Iraq war, and perhaps another 300,000 dead in his operation al-anfal which involved ethnic cleansing of Shi'a and Kurdish minorities. Sh'ia were not allowed to practise their religion in Saddam's Iraq. Saddam had invaded Kuwait and set himself up as a model bad guy to be imitated by others - the center of agitation against the US and democracy. Your son joined the army to fight for freedom and to defend the United States. Saddam was a vital threat to the United States, and as long as he remained in power the US could have little respect in the Middle East. Cindy Sheehan, your son Casey died in a good cause, implemented by incompetent leaders. Don't cheapen his awesome sacrifice with racist filth.

Can you be sure that the stories about WMD that were never found were a deliberate lie, and not the product of incompetence and defective intelligence? After all, the US demonstrated time and again that it is utterless clueless in Iraq. It bombed several places where Saddam Hussein wasn't. To this day, US intelligence often has no idea who is responsible for the bombs going off every other day in Iraqi cities. They might as well be a force of nature, like hurricane Katrina.

However, the criticism of the Iraq war is not propaganda at all. Generals and talking heads cheerfully report about the great progress being made, and insist that all the negative reports are due to "the media," but it just isn't so. Suicide bombings are a regular occurrence in Iraq, money for reconstruction vanishes in mysterious ways. The Iraqi government is clueless about providing basic safety to its citizens. The vaunted "Iraqi army" is turning into a bad joke, a shaggy dog story about an army that will be ready next week or next year or maybe never. The constitution that was approved by the Shi'a and Kurdi factions is probably going to be vetoed by the Sunnis in the upcoming referendum. Who can tell what anarchy will follow?

We know who some of the enemies are, and we should all appreciate the gravity of the threat. Mr Zarqawi and his friends tell us they are out to conquer the world, and we had better believe them. The Saddamites and others who joined the unholy "insurrection" coalition have evil plans for Iraq. However, it won't do either to ignore the facts, wave a big American flag and label all critics of the Iraq war traitors and defeatists.

President Bush and Secretary Rumsfeld insist that winning the Iraq war is as vital as winning World War II. That may well be true, and that is why the self-evident fact that the US is not winning, and has no plan for winning, should be alarming to anyone and everyone who wants democracy, peace, prosperity and stability for Iraq and the Middle East. The alternative is very unappetizing.

There is at least one vital difference between the Iraq war and World War II. The people who planned the Iraq war, including President Bush, didn't understand this difference, and apparently they still don't. World War II was over when the Axis powers surrendered. The Iraq war was only just beginning when the Iraqi government surrendered. The US was not prepared or equipped to fight a guerilla war against a coalition of Saddamites, Al-Qaeda operatives and Shi'a extremists. Who must surrender in Iraq? Will they ever surrender, or will they just melt away into another country? How can the US make sure that doesn't happen? We know when V-E and V-J days occurred, but how will we every know when V-I day arrives, if it ever does?

The US was not prepared for this war. It didn't have the intelligence apparatus. It didn't have the local knowledge. It didn't have firm allies of integrity in Iraq. What is much worse, is that the US government and military are intent on ignoring the problem, which means they can't learn from their mistakes. In Iraq, the US is on the brink of disaster, and President Bush keeps insisting that they march ever forward, chanting "Ours is not to reason why, ours is but to do or die."

If indeed the Iraq war is as important as Mr. Bush and Mr. Rumsfeld say it is, someone better wake up and figure out how to win it, and how to know when the US won it.

Ami Isseroff

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Original text copyright by the author and MidEastWeb for Coexistence, RA. Posted at MidEastWeb Middle East Web Log at http://www.mideastweb.org/log/archives/00000375.htm where your intelligent and constructive comments are welcome. Distributed by MEW Newslist. Subscribe by e-mail to mew-subscribe@yahoogroups.com. Please forward by email with this notice and link to and cite this article. Other uses by permission.

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