I am debating with too many people on Twitter. I give up. Most people seem to believe that EU and USA went to war in the Arab countries, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and now Libya because somehow we are making money doing so. They don’t get it that Europe and USA lost trillions in these wars. That their people, their economies… lost trillions and a horrible sacrifice of human lives on all sides. That yes there are some minor beneficiaries of this disasters like some people in the military industry and military contracting but that for the economies of USA, UK and some EU countries have been wasting $3 trillion only in Iraq as you can see here. And this is madness. Most on my twitter stream believe that somehow we will get paid back. How? Stealing their oil? Well that will never happen and should not happen. Did Saddam or Gaddafi not want to sell oil? Because now we get somebody else to sell us oil at $107 per barrel is that enough reason to invade Iraq? If all we wanted was to buy oil we would not go to war. We went to war because of some idiotic reasoning in the case of Iraq and some smarter reasoning in the case of Libya (where we invested much much less, worked with Libyans and got what seems to be like a good outcome). We went to war because we believed that toppling people who kill their people and sometimes foreigners with oil money don’t deserve to be in power. But the Iraqi money and human lives spent in the Iraq War are gone for good. We should have done nothing in Iraq, Saddam had nothing to do with Al Qaeda and he would have fallen like Gaddafi did, at a much smaller cost if we had waited a decade.
At our conference on global terrorism -attended by Kofi Annan and 34 heads of state- there were two schools of thought on the future of Al Qaida: the optimists, who thought that Al Qaida had been dealt a lethal blow and that it was unlikely that it would strike again in Europe or America; and the pessimists, who thought that more attacks were only around the corner. Now we know: the pessimists won. Today, we have a carnage, dozens dead, hundreds wounded, families and hearts broken. I write this article only after a few hours after the attack, with a lot of the evidence not out yet, but I assume that this was another “friends of Al Qaida” attack “a la Madrid” and that probably terrorists will soon demand that the UK leave Iraq. The question is then, should the UK follow Spain and leave Iraq or not?
I oppose America bombing people into democracy. Saddam was a genocidal dictator reputed to have killed over 200,000 of his own citizens. But with casualties of the Iraqi war exceeding 100,000 we can hardly make a case that we, in the “West”, don’t have blood on our hands. I have no doubt that continuing to contain Saddam would have been a better policy than bombing the Iraqi people to the polls. Iraq is still in chaos and the almighty US Army is now one more armed band operating in the Middle East, unable to achieve concrete results.
But while I oppose the tactics of George W. Bush and Tony Blair, I do share with them their stated objective, namely the establishment of democracy in the Middle East and elsewhere.