After a war that is expected to have cost $150billion by mid-2004, at the expense of tens of thousands of Iraqi lives, after the economic and social infrastructure has been devastated, and after the country’s land and water have been further polluted by burning oil wells and depleted uranium weapons fragments, I hear that the USA occupiers have finally taken Saddam Hussein prisoner.
Caught at last, but what does his capture signify?
Every media channel in the UK is playing and replaying triumphalistic speeches by Presidents, Prime Ministers, Generals, and their mouthpieces, about victory, justice, and honour. Vivid descriptions of the operation, of the heroism of the troops, and the cowardly nature of Saddam Hussein, are presently filling the airways, and there is no escape except to turn off the TV and radio. Certainly, that Saddam Hussein was captured and not killed says a great deal about the character of the man, and about his claims to represent the people of Iraq. But what does it say about the war and the occupation?
The whole world knows that the stated reasons for going to war were lies, concocted by fraudsters like Chalabi, and gleefully passed on as fact to the public to support a war for oil and regional hegemony. Hussein’s capture, in the light of the lack of evidence of either WMDs, or a WMD programme, doesn’t change the fact.
In their desire for control of the country, USA occupiers have recklessly broken all the moral and cultural rules of Iraqi society.
The brutal nature of the occupation, including the adoption of tactics learned from the thirty-six year Israeli occupation of Palestine - the use of counter-terror, the destruction of homes, the abduction of family members of guerrillas, the imprisonment of whole communities behind barbed wire, the heavy bombardment of civilian centres - has nothing to do with the hunt for the man Hussein, and it won’t change now that he has been captured.
The resistance from Iraqis stems from the unjust invasion and occupation of their country by a people hostile to their culture, religion, and society, from the brutality with which it has been carried out, and from the expropriation of Iraqi land and wealth by capitalists who care nothing for Iraq or Iraqis, and everything for profit.
The invasion has brought bombs and brutality to Iraq. How about a little democracy?
Most Iraqis - whether supporters or opponents of the old regime - have long since recognised that Saddam Hussein is gone for good, and his capture will not diminish the reasons for their resistance, or their motivation to continue to resist. If anything, the majority of Iraqis, who opposed Saddam anyway, will now find themselves more inclined to support the local resistance to occupation, since there is now no danger of a return of Saddam’s rule from such actions.
It would, of course, be nice to say otherwise; that the resistance to the USA war and occupation was the result of support for Saddam Hussein, and that his final overthrow and imprisonment (or execution) will result in a flowering of freedom and democracy in the country.
Such things, however, would not be true. The lies of George Bush and his supporters are set in stone. The injustice, and the resistance to the injustice, will continue so long as the USA has an armed presence inside the country, until the foreign capitalists are expelled from the country, and until Iraqis are given true self-determination.
Danny Dayus edits the World Crisis Web