Religious arguments for war is part of official U.S. propaganda. Therefore it is relevant to discuss such arguments on a site dealing with The Ideology of American Empire.
Can a merciful God justify NOT invading Iraq?
By Leif Erlingsson
Saturday November 8, 2003
How can anyone who believes in a merciful God justify arguing against the U.S. invasion of Iraq?
I received an email saying that the person found it surprising is that anyone who believes in a merciful God could justify Saddam Hussein, saying that arguing against the U.S. invasion was a justification of Saddam Husseins government as legitimate. And further arguing that fewer people are dying on a monthly basis in Iraq under U.S. occupation than under Hussein, and writing that no children are having their eyes gouged from their heads in front of their parents anymore. The person asked if the Iraqi's having it better off now didn't count for anything, if my whole argument was that Bush lied, the U.S. is corrupt and it doesn't matter if Iraq is better off now or not? And if the Iraqi freedom fighters I was mentioning in our correspondence wasn't the same people who chopped off limbs of fellow citizens and raped innocent women and children? The person who asked all these questions also wanted to see me argue my position to a family who have lost their sons to torture under Hussein.
My response is general enough that with the removal of the persons name, there is no reason why I should not publish it for all to see.
Dear Name Withheld, I am not aware that I have justified the actions of Saddam Hussein. He is a despicable dictator. (He, and many others that the U.S. is supporting or has been supporting. He is not even the worst dictator that the U.S. has been very supportive of with weapons and otherwise.)
However, Iraq is a sovereign country. The illegal occupation does not change that. If you justify that invasion based on the argument that the inhabitants have it better now -- fewer are killed and tortured by the Americans than before the U.S. invaded -- then it will follow that any aggression anywhere in the world will, according to your argument, be justified if the inhabitants are better off afterwards. I can see many things in your own country that needs fixing. Maybe the rest of the world ought to form a coalition of the willing in order to invade the U.S. so we could fix all these bad things so your inhabitants would have it better afterwards? And there is no reason to ask the U.S. citizens what _they_ want, because you have shown us that this wasn't necessary in the Iraq case. (Saddam even offered to hold democratic elections, but no-one was willing to take the offer. [ http://truthout.org/docs_03/110703A.shtml ])
I can understand that your personal loyalties are with the family you know who have lost their sons to torture under Hussein. I would probably feel the same if these people were my personal friends. A lot of Iraqis were very happy to see Saddam go, though most of them would have preferred the U.S. to leave again once that was accomplished.
But I find it extremely disturbing that members of the same church that I have a testimony is the true Church of Christ can freely accept just one side of the story without even questioning the motives and reasons behind.
You know, if not about 10 - 20 million people in the free world had protested the U.S. coalition plans in worldwide peace-demonstrations in February, the Arab people would have believed that this was definitely a religious and cultural conflict. That the Muslims are the "bad guys" and that it is a religious war. We who protested may have saved the world from a world war. They who did not protest brought the world to the brink of disaster, by their quiet acceptance of what was happening.
I talk with people from several countries in the region. The man who owns the restaurant where I occasionally eat my lunch is from Pakistan. I correspond with a social secretary who comes from Iran originally. I also correspond with people who regularly traveled and still travels to Iraq. I also study the reports from Human Rights organizations.
You wrote that you'd like me to argue my case in front of a family you know who have lost their sons to torture under Hussein. I would not. I respect their feelings more that that. And I do not believe that you would like to argue your case to the Iraqi mother Anwar Jawad who first thought that the U.S. troops were good news, but now thinks they are scum. ( An Iraqi mother, Anwar Jawad, after telling us how the U.S. army massacred her family: "Only God knows why they opened fire on us like that," says Anwar. "I was happy when the troops came in April and ousted Saddam Hussein, but now I think they are scum." [ http://occupationwatch.org/article.php?id=1501 -- Case study: Iraqi civilian deaths by Martin Asser, BBC News October 22nd, 2003 ])
And I do not believe that you would like to argue your case to the Kassims, who saw three of their children machine-gunned in their car in Nasiriyah by a U.S. tank, and then after having been taken to a U.S. Army field hospital with their wounded five-year-old daughter Mawra, on the third night ``there were some Americans wounded that night, in the fighting. . . . So they told us we had to go outside. I heard the order - "put them out" -- and they carried us like dogs, out into the cold, without shelter, or a blanket. It was the days of the sandstorms and freezing at night. And I heard Zainab crying: "Papa, Papa, I am cold, I am cold." Then she went silent. Completely silent.'' Kassim breaks off in anguish. His wife continues the story of the night. ``What could we do? She kept saying she was cold. My arms were broken, I could not lift or hold her. If they had given us even a blanket, we might have put it over her. We had to sit there, and listen to her die.'' [ Ed Vuillamy, The Observer, July 6, 2003 http://observer.guardian.co.uk/Print/0,3858,4706830,00.html ]
There are scores of similar stories. You can read some at Iraq Body Count | Adding Indifference to Injury http://iraqbodycount.net/editorial_aug0703.htm
And I really recommend that you print out the recent Human Rights Watch report and read it. The Kassim case is included:
Post-war Civilian Deaths in Baghdad Caused by U.S. Forces http://hrw.org/reports/2003/iraq1003/iraq1003full.pdf
It is horrible as a parent to see ones children having their eyes gouged from their heads in front of their parents. It is also horrible as a parent to see ones children being shot to shreds or dying from cold because they are not worth a blanket to cover them from the desert cold after they have been shot by soliders and their parent arms having been broken. I agree that in all likelihood, Saddam has a larger number on his conscience than does Bush, but the indifference seems the same, to me.
There are many U.S. soliders that care. But there are also many that hate the Iraqis because they are there. Only, it's the Iraqis country, not the U.S. soliders. They should direct their anger in a different direction....
And it is clear that higher command has only contempt for U.S. and Iraqi life alike. The U.S. GI's is as much victims as are the Iraqi. (Use of radioactive munitions proves this.)
You asked if the Iraqi freedom fighters I mentioned in order to make you see things from a different perspective were the same people that chopped off limbs of fellow citizens and raped innocent women and children? Some might be. Some might not be.
But in either case, in their actions as guerilla fighters they have the law on their side. Your country and your coalition partners in crime doesn't. They are waging a guerilla war against a foreign invader. Your country is the unlawful invader. Note that I am not defending the crimes that the Saddam government committed. But I am defending the sovereignty of Iraq and the right of the people of Iraq to decide their destiny.
As for there being fewer people dying on a monthly basis under U.S. occupation than under Saddam, you simply don't know that.
The U.S. doesn't count Iraqi dead. If we ignore deaths from lack of drinking water and from lack of other essentials, and from crime that has really increased after the U.S. invasion, just the civilians killed by the U.S. since "the hostilities ceased" on May 1, 2003 had by Aug 7, 2003 reached 7798, as far as Iraq Body Count could determine. [ http://iraqbodycount.net/editorial_aug0703.htm ]
But these numbers are collected by volunteers, and it is quite possible that many innocent victims of U.S. force are overlooked outside the Bagdad area.
Saddam acted with impunity. So does U.S. troop. You can't defend the one against the other based on the number of casualties! It's like saying that murder A is innocent because he murdered less people than murderer B.
I am reading the Human Rights Watch report and it shows that the rules of combat in Iraq permits the killing of innocent civilians that does not pose any threat to the soliders. I've only gotten to page 33 (of 72), but already I have read a great number of cases where the U.S. Judge Advocates General's (JAG) office have determined that various instances where innocent civilians were murdered were "in accordance with the rules of engagement". It was also "in accordance with the rules of engagement" to kick civilians, to humiliate civilians and to deny civilians access to lifesaving medical care.
If the JAG is right, then The Universal Declaration of Human Rights says that the U.S. rules of engagement are in violation of said charter, that the U.S. has signed. Take a moment and study it at: http://www.un.org/Overview/rights.html
I do NOT believe this to be so, but: By your own argument, terrorists have all the right in the world to "correct" errors in your own society. Because you say that the U.S. is justified by the crimes formerly committed by the Iraqi government. [ http://propaganda.lege.net/tactics/ ]
Dear Name Withheld, don't open that Pandoras Box! If we start to enumerate the crimes committed by your own or by any government in the world -- including my own -- we will never be finished. The CIA has committed lots of terrorist acts. So has U.S. Special Forces. I have lot's of references. The U.S. trains terrorists. It's no big secret. [ http://ideology.lege.net/ ]
It is also no big secret that the U.S. has aided and supported genocide. And torture. And numerous other crimes against humanity. [ E.g. http://zmag.org/chomsky/sam/sam-2-06.html -- killing over 2 000 000 South Vietnamese in defense of a puppet regime, and in total 3 000 000 people in Viet Nam. There are numerous other examples. Start here, at my anti-propaganda site: http://propaganda.lege.net/resources/ . Just think "The Indian Wars", for starters... That's a genocide for you.]
There is a huge discrepancy between how you Americans feel about your own motives and the way you act. Or with these words:
``[ http://ideology.lege.net/american_empire/#noted ] Leaders like Wilson viewed America as abjuring selfish motives and as being, therefore, above all other nations. Babbitt commented:
We are willing to admit that all other nations are self-seeking, but as for ourselves, we hold that we act only on the most disinterested motives. We have not as yet set up, like revolutionary France, as the Christ of Nations, but during the late war we liked to look on ourselves as at least the Sir Galahad of Nations. If the American thus regards himself as an idealist at the same time that the foreigner looks on him as a dollar-chaser, the explanation may be due partly to the fact that the American judges himself by the way he feels, whereas the foreigner judges him by what he does.'' [ Claes G. Ryn, http://ideology.lege.net/hilights/#noted or http://ideology.lege.net/american_empire/#noted ]
It's apparent that many Americans feel that America is above moral suspicion. [ http://ideology.lege.net/hilights/#above or http://ideology.lege.net/american_empire/#above ]
But the simple fact is that the rest of the world does not see it that way, and by putting the lid on on open and free discussion about the motives, one only fuels the suspicion that what we really have is a war between civilizations and for oil.
It's often said that Americans have no memory. But most of the rest of the world has a pretty long memory, and you can't simply ignore the crimes of your own country of the (not always so distant) past when judging other countries. Or your country's support of other murderous dictators. Your country's motives are certainly not above suspicion, and _must_ be discussed.
There must be an open and free discussion. If it is a democracy. If.
[ See "Reporters Without Borders ..." etc at this link: http://propaganda.lege.net/misperceptions/examples/ where it is shown that U.S. press freedom is far down on the list, compared to the rest of the world. ]
_ _ _
PS: Important links in this email and otherwise:
School of the Americas Watch: http://soaw.org/new/
From a Transnational Foundation for Peace and Future Research (TFF) newsletter:
Michel Chossudovsky, TFF Associate, October 28, 2003
Regime rotation in America. Wesley Clark, Osama bin Laden and the 2004 Presidential Elections
Thoroughly documented analysis of the links between the Clinton administration, Al-Queda, the Kosovo-Albanian Liberation Army (KLA), the UN mission there, mercenary companies and intelligence services - of which the Bush regime's war agenda is but a continuation. How fast have media and most experts forgotten? US administrations promote terrorism, then and now.
[ http://globalresearch.ca/articles/CHO310B.html ]
Transnational Foundation for Peace and Future Research, TFF
[ http://www.transnational.org/sitemap.html ]
A version of the present article suitable for email can be downloaded here: http://ideology.lege.net/merciful/merciful.txt
If we are to throw Human Law overboard
Human Law vs. War "for Dummies"
Copyleft © 2003 Leif Erlingsson or author.
Updated 9 November 2003