Friday | June 20, 2003
The poor, dead Shia
I'm tired of the poor dead Shia being used as a post-facto justification for our war in Iraq.
In an especially shameless effort this week, William Shawcross sought to use the dead Shia as a way to attack Robin Cook and Clare Short.
No one asked the American or British people to liberate the Shia. We were told that Saddam Hussein posed an immediate, vital threat to US interests. That we had to protect ourselves from the prospect of a surprise attack on our allies in the Gulf.
No one said "Saddam has to go because he kills the Shia". If they had proposed such an expedition, they would have lost the vote in record numbers.
I believe that the record and subsequent investigations will show that the government and the intelligence agencies acted properly in the face of a deadly, if unquantifiable, threat from Saddam. The record will also show that Mr Cook and Ms Short have behaved in a manner which should shame even them.
Well, that's nice to believe that and it's a valid argument, but we don't wage war because of unquantifiable threats. I don't think the relatives of the dead would accept such an explaination.
"I'm sorry, but your son was killed because Saddam was scary."
Anyone saying that to the grieving should be beaten into within an inch of their lives. I can assure you Mr. Shawcross will not be making such speeches before veterans groups.
The reason the Shia died is because we seduced and abandoned them. We're 12 years too late to save them and they are in no mood for forgiveness. It is odious that the US and UK would hide behind the dead Shia as a justification to impose a new strategic order on Iraq.
Yes, we've found mass graves in Iraq. Oddly enough, most date back to the uprising after the Gulf War, the one where we encouraged the Shia and Kurds to rise up against Saddam and then let them be slaughtered. It's as if we unleashed a pit bull in a petting zoo and then express astonishment at the dead bunnies and chicks lying around. Then, a few weeks later, say that we need to take over the petting zoo because the owner lets pit bulls run around and kill things.
The fact is that the Shia are not stupid. They know who betrayed them, who turned their back as Saddam attacked and killed them and now uses those bodies to ward off criticism of the occupation. They don't want us there any more than the Sunni do, they just haven't unleashed their guerrilla war, yet.
For apologists of our occupation of Iraq, the dead Shia are convienent, like a handy talisman to ward off criticism. Despite years of Amnesty and Minority Rights Groups reports, despite the Southern no-fly zone, the only value the Shia had was as a way to indict Saddam's government. The fact that 15,000 Shia guerrillas sat in in Iran would usually get overlooked.
Now, this is why we went to war in Iraq. We had to save people who we condemned to death without a second thought.
It is hard to decide what is morally bankrupt, lies and distortions over WMD or justifying them by the dead we help lead to the slaughter.
Steve GilliardPosted June 20, 2003 06:45 PM | Comments (37)