Thursday, October 28, 2010

Few cared as much about Iraqi deaths before 2003

Hayder Al-Khoei wrote an excellent response to Yasmin Alibhai-Brown's article "A record worse than Saddam's":

"Her fundamental mistake is that she somehow looks at Iraq in an epochal vacuum void of any historical context. She ignores the fact that the sanctions were manipulated by Saddam to score political points (a past-time Ms Alibhai-Brown appreciates). During the last year of Saddam’s disastrous rule, he allocated just US$16m for the Ministry of Health to spend for the year, amounting to around 60 cents per Iraqi, meanwhile, in the last decade of his rule (a decade in which Iraq was heavily sanctioned), Saddam spent an estimated US$2.2b on constructing palaces for himself and the coterie of despots he surrounded himself with. Saddam lived a life of luxury while his people starved through the economic sanctions and he, more than anybody else, should be held responsible for the suffering of millions upon millions of people under his regime. What followed cannot be “a worse record than Saddam’s” because the butcher of Baghdad was a big part of it.

Many in the west are obsessed with WMDs and the lies that were told to secure support for the Iraq war, but to many Iraqis, the matter is inconsequential. Saddam was the weapon of mass destruction.

...To Iraqis like me, who have lost immediate family-members both pre and post 2003, the sudden burst of conscience from a public that was silent during three decades of the harshest, most despotic regime the Middle East has seen in the last few centuries is abhorrent in itself, and leads me to question the motivation behind the sudden faux-concern for the plight of the millions of suffering Iraqis. Here in London, Iraqis campaigned for years against Saddam, and tried desperately to convince people like Ms Alibhai-Brown to support their worthy cause. Very few heeded the calls; apparently stories of Iraqis dying are not all too interesting. Unless of course the West is somehow culpable in the killing.*

It is such a shame that commentary on Iraq has been reduced by many to an industry focused at selling news with little regard for history and context. Much of the suffering in Iraq today is a direct result of Saddam’s legacy. It is the failure to understand and appreciate historical context that has led to the crass, shallow, superficiality that has become a feature of much of the news coverage in Iraq.

It is cruel to count victims as statistics who perished in the recent war, but if we want to be soulless and academic, then the civilian victims that are identified in the latest documents make up only one-third of those who vanished during the Anfal campaign under Saddam. More to the point, Ms Alibhai-Brown seems to paper over the fact that tens of thousands of the post 2003 war victims were in fact targeted by a ruthless insurgency in Iraq, and insurgency that relies on remnants of Saddam’s regime for funding, logistics and indeed recruits. Saddam may have been arrested, tried, and executed, but his men are still in Iraq committing the same crimes they have always been committing. The legacy of Saddam is still claiming lives and it is still destroying the country."

--Hayder Al-Khoei

*Bolded for emphasis. Read the whole article here.


Bruno said...

"Saddam" cannot be blamed for the sanctions, which were kept in place by Britain and the US long after everybody else had decided that they served no useful purpose. Likewise, I don't see how he can be blamed for poor living conditions, since the root cause of Iraqi woes was, de facto, the sanctions. I furthermore note that Iraq went through one of its best eras at the late 70's and early 80's with Saddam at the helm.

Now, it there were NO sanctions and Iraqis had suffered miserably, THEN I would agree that "Saddam" was to blame.

Finally, I note that you have very little to say about the occupation of "Saddam's" palaces and buildings by the US, which are in fact the property of the Iraqi people.

Dolly said...

There is an industry for "house muzlims" like Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Haydar Kablooey, Wafa Sultan,
and they are expected to write articles about how 'teh awesomeness' the Cross-worshippers are.

Because after the filthy Nazarenes kill people in their quest for yellowcake from Niger → they deserve a break, where they can be entertained by their lowly suckups.
So IraqiMojo here is a poor man's Nonie Darwish also.

Iraqi Mojo said...

Saddam was not at the helm in the 1970s. Iraq's economic decline began after Saddam put himself in charge: Iraqi Real GDP 1969 - 2007

Iraqi Mojo said...

Maybe Saddam cannot be blamed for the sanctions, but he can certainly be blamed for withholding medicine from Iraqi kids.

Ordinary Iraqis starved while Saddam built 81 palaces, yet Bruno, Dolly, and the 3arab jarab defend the dictator. Amazing.

Iraqi Mojo said...

Don't conflate condemnation of Saddam with praise for Americans. America made a huge mistake by not overthrowing the dictator in 1991.

Bruno said...


"Saddam actively fostered the modernization of the Iraqi economy along with the creation of a strong security apparatus to prevent coups within the power structure and insurrections apart from it. Ever concerned with broadening his base of support among the diverse elements of Iraqi society and mobilizing mass support, he closely followed the administration of state welfare and development programs.

At the center of this strategy was Iraq's oil. On 1 June 1972, Saddam oversaw the seizure of international oil interests, which, at the time, dominated the country's oil sector. A year later, world oil prices rose dramatically as a result of the 1973 energy crisis, and skyrocketing revenues enabled Saddam to expand his agenda.

Within just a few years, Iraq was providing social services that were unprecedented among Middle Eastern countries. Saddam established and controlled the "National Campaign for the Eradication of Illiteracy" and the campaign for "Compulsory Free Education in Iraq," and largely under his auspices, the government established universal free schooling up to the highest education levels; hundreds of thousands learned to read in the years following the initiation of the program. The government also supported families of soldiers, granted free hospitalization to everyone, and gave subsidies to farmers. Iraq created one of the most modernized public-health systems in the Middle East, earning Saddam an award from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).[27][28]"

Bruno said...

Evil fucker!