View from Dubai: Open letter to President Bush


By Zaka Aijaz Syed

Dear Mr President,

IT’S been four years since the Coalition of the Willing led by you invaded Iraq to bring down the Baathist regime of Saddam Hussein. This war had been necessary, of course.

As you had rightly enlightened us in the Middle East and the Muslim world on the eve of the Invasion, the late Iraqi dictator possessed a fearsome arsenal of Weapons of Mass Destruction. And the dictator’s deadly weapons that he cleverly kept hidden from the rest of the world including the UN weapon inspectors, threatened America, its Western allies and rest of the world. Your wise friend and trusted ally, Mr Tony Blair, even calculated the time — 45 minutes — it would take the rogue regime in Iraq to strike at peace-loving people of Britain. Moreover, as you had so kindly pointed out to us, the evil regime in Baghdad had close ties with Osama Bin Laden’s Al Qaeda and a legion of terror groups around the world — from Palestinian militants to Afghan enemy combatants.  More importantly, it was the former Iraqi regime that had planned and executed the September 11 terror attacks against America. This fact about Saddam’s links to 9/11 terror strikes has of course been conclusively established and proved by your numerous highly skilled and qualified investigation agencies. Which is why it was absolutely critical to invade Iraq and eliminate the clear and present danger facing the West and the civilised world. Four years on, we cannot thank you enough for the priceless gifts of freedom and dignity you have bestowed on the Middle East and Arab and Muslim world. It is thanks to your vision and noble action, Mr President, that Iraq and its people have been liberated from the clutches of the late Baathist regime. It is thanks to the timely intervention by the Coalition of the Willing that Iraqi people today are free and enjoying their freedom and dignity like free people everywhere. Why, they even have a democratically elected government of their own — thanks to you and the free and fair elections your friends and allies have managed to conduct in Iraq. In fact, as you had rightly promised before the Invasion, with its new-found freedom and dignity Iraq has emerged as the inspiring example of hope and promise to the rest of the Arab and Muslim world. No wonder many in the neighbourhood are now pining for and looking forward to similar liberation and freedom at the hands of America the Almighty. Dear Mr President, the people of Iraq and the Middle East will forever remain indebted to you for this yeoman service. Your short-sighted detractors and critics who question this great war of liberation and great humanitarian mission and all that they have achieved do not realise that all lofty missions and accomplishments do demand a little price. So what if some Iraqi people have died as a consequence. The killing of over 655,000 Iraqis is too small a price for the great gifts of democracy and freedom that they have received. So what if a hundred people get killed on a daily basis, caught as they are in the crossfire between the Coalition of the Willing and the insurgents and militias.  So what if some American soldiers and coalition troops have been killed in the war. Four thousand lives of coalition soldiers is an insignificant cost for the noble cause of freedom and democracy.So what if Iraq has been turned into a large battlefield with the Sunnis, Shias and Kurds shedding each other’s blood like a pack of hungry wolves. So what if millions of Iraqis have fled the country, to take refuge in neighbouring states and nearly 100,000 flee their homes daily. So what if some Iraqi girls have been raped and killed before their loved ones. So what if women and children daily get killed as terrorists at checkpoints across Iraq. This is collateral damage. And this happens all the time in all wars. Okay, this may be a bit on higher side in this war. But stuff happens, you see. Happens all the time.   So what if a couple of hundreds of thousands of innocent people have ended up behind bars. So what if hundreds of prisoners at Abu Ghraib have been tortured, electrocuted and physically and mentally abused. After all, all this was necessary to ‘shock and awe’ the terrorists in Iraq and around the world. Who can now ever forget those iconic images of hungry dogs being unleashed on a pile of naked prisoners?  Who can now dare to question and challenge America and its right to rule the world? So what if the whole of Iraq and its once formidable infrastructure and institutions have been destroyed. So what if the people of Iraq, once one of the richest and largest oil producing nations, are craving for the basics such as water, electricity, fuel and security, of course. So what if the Sunni-Shia fratricide in Iraq threatens to replicate itself across the Muslim world, from the heart of the Middle East to the edge of Asia. I understand, Mr President, this collateral cost is nothing considering what the people of Iraq have got in return. The Iraqi people now find themselves free of the Baathist regime of Saddam Hussein. And now they have so much freedom and dignity that they do not know what to do with. Dear Mr President, we cannot thank you and your neocon and Zionist friends enough for turning Iraq around to make it an enduring and shining example for the rest of the world.  More importantly, what you have done in Iraq and for its oppressed people has won hearts and minds around the world. It has especially impressed ordinary Arabs and Muslims like me who grew up admiring America and all that it stands for. It’s hardly surprising then that now oppressed and enslaved people everywhere are dying to be similarly liberated and empowered by America. And tyrants everywhere are afraid, very afraid of what you would do next. They think long and hard before daring to question your worldview. A big thank you to you, Mr President! Long live freedom! Long live democracy! And long live America!

Yours truly,

An ardent admirer of America. 

Aijaz Zaka Syed writes a weekly column on the Middle East and Muslim world affairs in Khaleej Times published from Dubai. He can be reached at aijazsyed@khaleejtimes.com

Copyright Khaleej Times

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