Saturday, 21 August 2010

Iraq - It's Not the End

The last US combat troops left Iraq on Thursday when the 4th Stryker Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division rolled over the border in Kuwait. The line of heavily armoured American military machines, their headlights twinkling in the pre-dawn desert, lumbered past the barbed wire and metal gates marking the border between Iraq and Kuwait and rolled into history.

Is it a cause for celebration? No. It is far from over. Scatterings of troops await departure and some 50,000 will stay another year in what is designated as a non-combat role. They will carry weapons to defend themselves and accompany Iraqi troops on missions - but only if asked. Special forces will continue to help Iraqis hunt for terrorists.

The death/injury toll in the Iraq war is into the millions. Nobody has recorded the exact number of civilians killed because it's nigh an impossible task. We assisted the US in this war and ought to be ashamed. We did nothing to ensure that the Iraqi people would be protected and rushed headlong into a war without even closing the doors behind us. That was the biggest mistake and it allowed so many insurgents to flood in and cause more mayhem.

Are the Iraqis better off now? Opinions vary but, where women are concerned, certainly not. Many are now in the control of Islamic fundamentalists who have little regard for women. When Hussein was in power women were as highly educated as men but now they struggle to gain a higher education. It's frowned upon in the areas where the fundamentalists rule - and they are many.

Is the world a safer place since the Iraq war? Who knows. I certainly don't feel the UK is a safer place; on the contrary, we will be paying for our involvement in this war for generations. The Iraqis will still have 50,000 armed US troops in their country and that is not a withdrawal. Let's not forget, the British armed forces entered Afghanistan as non-combat troops. John Reid, now infamously said, "It's to be hoped not a shot will be fired".

Celebration will be due when the last Western soldier leaves Iraq. Until then I consider Iraq is still a US occupied country, albeit with a diminished 'shoot first ask later' strategy than the previous seven and a half years.


strapworld said...

Subrosa, You know I normally support what you write. However you write 'The death toll in the Iraq War is millions' then continue 'Nobody has recorded the exact amount of civilians killed'

Now I am not denying that many many thousands of civilians have been killed, but do feel you are falling into the trap of the lefties who grab a figure out of the air-knowing it cannot be proved or disproved-and chant it for evermore!!

Obama has turned his back on Iraq- as he has Afghanistan. He want all troops out of both countries so he can say before the next presidential election 'I brought them home'

What it proves is that ALL politicians use the lives of soldiers and civilians. But never endanger themselves.

subrosa said...

Strapworld, I perhaps should amend it to 'in the millions' and also mention injuries. So I'll change it but there's no denying at least one million people, from all sides of the conflict, have died or been injured in that war. It's true true that there is no accurate figure as various organisations vary between 104,000 and 655,000 death with no record of injuries (Wiki). Injuries are usually more than deaths so therefore the figure reaches the millions.

We see the same scenario in Afghanistan although the military are much more cautious now and don't mention civilian casualties unless they are attached to military procedures. I couldn't say what the toll is in Afghanistan at all and could only give military casualties.

Jings strapworld,I haven't grabbed a figure out of mid air. I calculated it from various recognised websites although some of them seem to have plucked figures out of mid air.

JRB said...

Whatever the rights or wrongs of what has gone before, we must waken up to the fact that despite all ‘combat’ troops having been withdrawn - America will never withdraw all its troops and leave Iraq.

Their presence is of paramount strategic importance to American power and influence over the Arab states.
The American airbase at Balad north of Baghdad is the largest US airforce installation outside America. There are three other similarly substantial US airbases in Iraq.

Any or all of these bases plus the embedded troops could be used, without interference to or from Iraq, on a hostile strike on e.g. Iran, or any other non compliant Arab state.

Once again America is only there looking after its own selfish strategic interests and keeping a watching brief on the oil rich Arab states.

subrosa said...

Certainly John, the US will be there long after I'm dead. It's 60 years now since we have had a presence in Germany and still no sign of completely pulling out. A similar scenario can be foreseen for Iraq and Afghanistan.

Dioclese said...

I had to laugh at the BBC news the other night when that GI in the back of the lorry was yelling "We won! It's over! We're going home!"

Poor sod. They didn't win, it's not over and, far from going home, I suspect he's on his way to Afghanistan! I don't expect they'll show a clip of his face as he gets off the plane in Kabul...

Anonymous said...

Good post SR... The figures are, as you rightly say, not known, but your guess along these lines is as good as anyone’s based as it was on available intelligence and sensible extrapolation. I was a little concerned at Strapwood’s post and in particular the suggestion that the “grabbing of figures out of the air” was a tendency of the left. I’d suggest that whilst they may do it, they certainly don’t have a monopoly on such things.

I certainly don't think it is lefty to berate the number of innocent people who have been killed in this misadventure. Maybe it is assumed that it is right wing to downplay the effects of this war because it was a right-wing inspired war, with the right-wing American president, followed by three right-wing prime ministers including Silvio Berlusconi who is completely mad and Tony Blair who would have followed George Bush into the very jaws of hell... Despite being leftward, albeit with reservations and nationalist tendencies, I doubt that the left should be allowed to have a monopoly on decency or compassion.

subrosa said...

I caught a glimpse of that Dioclese and you're right, it's not over and won't be for generations to come.

Very possibly. I believe they're running short there.

subrosa said...

Hi Tris. Yes it is difficult to assess figures as each organisation has different criteria but I tried to be reasonably fair.

People do forget about those who have been injured when talking about this. Even a small injury can ruin a life forever.

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