Friday, 22 August 2003

Now We Are The Iraq Extremists

by John Pilger

The "liberation" of Iraq is a cruel joke on a stricken people. The Americans and British, partners in a great recognised crime, have brought down on the Middle East, and much of the rest of the world, the prospect of terrorism and suffering on a scale that al-Qaeda could only imagine.

That is what this week's bloody bombing of the United Nations headquarters in Baghdad tells us.

It is a "wake-up call", according to Mary Robinson, the former UN Humanitarian Commissioner.

She is right, of course, but it is a call that millions of people sounded on the streets of London and all over the world more than seven months ago - before the killing began.

And yet the Anglo-American spin machine, whose minor cogs are currently being exposed by the Hutton Inquiry, is still in production.

According to the Bush and Blair governments, those responsible for the UN outrage are "extremists from outside": Al-Qaeda terrorists or Iranian militants, or both.

Whether or not outsiders are involved, the aim of this propaganda is to distract from the truth that America and Britain are now immersed in a classic guerrilla war, a war of resistance and self-determination of the kind waged against foreign aggressors and colonial masters since history began.

For America, it is another Vietnam. For Britain it is another Kenya, or indeed another Iraq.

In 1921, Lieutenant-General Sir Stanley Maude said in Baghdad: "Our armies do not come as conquerors, but as liberators."

Within three years 10,000 had died in an uprising against the British, who gassed and bombed the "terrorists".

Nothing has changed, only the names and the fine print of the lies.

As for the "extremists from outside", simply turn the meaning around and you have a succinct description of the current occupiers who, unprovoked, attacked a defenceless sovereign country, defying the United Nations and the opposition of most of humanity.

Using weapons designed to cause the maximum human suffering - cluster bombs, uranium-tipped shells and firebombs (napalm) - these extremists from outside caused the deaths of at least 8,000 civilians and as many as 30,000 troops, most conscripted teenagers. Consider the waves of grief in any society from that carnage.

AT their moment of "victory", these extremists from outside - having already destroyed Iraq's infrastructure with a 12-year bombing campaign and embargo - murdered journalists, toppled statues and encouraged wholesale looting while refusing to make the most basic humanitarian repairs to the damage they had caused to the supply of power and clean water.

This means that today sick children are dying from thirst and gastro-enteritis, that hospitals frequently run out of oxygen and that those who might be saved can not be saved.

How many have died like this?

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