While the U.S. troops were busy organizing public relations stunts and securing the oil fields of Iraq a much greater event was occurring. 5,000 years worth of history was being looted from museums and historical sites throughout Iraq.
The power of this is far more subtle than the toppling of any statue. This neglect for the culture that America is supposedly liberating is telling of the tragedy of the occupation of Iraq. In every aspect the United States did not prepare and is not ready to deal with the tremendous burden of occupation of a foreign land.
We as a country have taken on an air of arrogance in assuming that Iraq wants a U.S. presence in the country. What this country still does not understand is that neoliberal, free market capitalism and the Protestant ethic that pervades it is not appealing to the rest of the world. However, capitalism and all its trappings is the overarching plan for the new Iraqi state.
48 hours before air strikes President Bush said, “We will help you to build a new Iraq that is prosperous and free.” Looking at precedent shows a clear opposite from the intentions in the Bush plan. America has never shown to have any intention of bringing democracy to any country it interferes with.
Iran, the Congo, Chile, Afghanistan, El Salvador and a dozen other countries were all areas of political interest for the United States where democracy was never allowed to flourish. This pattern in U.S. history is not lost on the people of Iraq, which is evident by the massive outpouring of anti-American sentiment on the streets of Iraq.
Tens of thousands of Shiite and Sunni Muslims expressed their resentment of the impending occupation by marching on the streets of Baghdad after prayers on Friday. These people had no love for Saddam Hussein, but they see the U.S. military only as a replacement.
When asked about the U.S. presence in Iraq, caf owner Abdul al-Malaki replied, “This is an occupation. Nothing else. We will keep quiet for a year, and if they have not gone, we will kill them.” The word occupation does not sound anything like freedom.
American intentions are shrouded in alterior motives. U.S. intentions lie in a twofold plan. First – make big business bigger. Firms such as Halliburton are getting lucrative contracts to revitalize the Iraqi oil fields. To Halliburton, Iraq is nothing more than one massive resource. There is no consideration about what is good for the people of Iraq, only what will line the pockets of Bush’s campaign contributors.
The second group at work has just as little regard for the people of Iraq. Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle, Michael Ledeen and others, who are now inside the defense structure of the country, are exerting their own maniacal whims to make the 21st century a “New American Century.”
In their book “The War Over Iraq,” Lawrence Kaplan and William Kristol write, “It is so clearly about more than Iraq. It is about more even than the future of the Middle East and the war on terror. It is about what sort of role the United States intends to play in the twenty-first century.”
The neoconservatives have no pretension that Iraq is nothing more than a stepping stone to the higher goal of reshaping the world and securing America’s greatness in the coming century.
For all those who think that the war is over they have to open their eyes. Iraq is only the first step in what ex-CIA chief James Woolsey refers to as World War IV. Tragically, the people of Iraq are being trod upon for purposes that very few in the world can clearly understand.
Zeiser is a sophomore and can be reached at email@example.com.