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Guest Commentary: U.S. invading Iraq: racist terrorism

Julian Kunnie
By Julian Kunnie
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Thursday April 3, 2003

Now that the U.S. invasion of Iraq, a nation of more than 7,000 years of civilization, has been cruelly unleashed, we can perhaps understand what millions of people around the world have been saying: That the United States is the leading terrorist agency in the world and the greatest threat to world peace and security.

George Bush never intended to support the United Nations' process of peaceful disarmament of Iraq nor accept Iraq's unconditional cooperation with the U.N. because he and his "oil-igarch" buddies had decided over two years ago that the Iraqi government had to be overthrown so that they could control Iraq's oil wealth. Bush's entire plan of aggression against Iraq was crafted by oil-hungry barons and pro-Israeli hawks, some from as early as 1992, predicated on a continuous and uninterrupted trajectory of lies: from the lie that Iraq had attempted to purchase uranium from the African country of Niger (which was certified to be a hoax by Mohamed El Baradei, secretary general of the International Atomic Energy Agency) to the lie that the Iraqi regime was connected to al- Qaeda and thus to Sept. 11 (another fabrication disproved by U.S. and French intelligence). To those who believe that the invasion of Iraq is about weapons of mass destruction or about Saddam Hussein or democracy: Free yourselves from the vitiation of the truth by the propaganda machine of the U.S. government through all forms of media.

The capitalist system, the military-industrial complex and the media are all one.

The invasion of Iraq is racist, first and foremost, because it is an armed attack by a predominantly white superpower on a smaller and impoverished Arab nation that has no real defenses as a result of 12 years of comprehensive economic and political sanctions. It is rooted in a rabid anti-Arabism and virulent anti-Islamicism. Using disproportionately poor black and brown people to fight this dirty war against other people of color is racist. In a recent interview on CNN, the Arab League's ambassador to the U.N., Yahia Nahmassani, angrily decried U.S. aggression against Iraq and its supposed liberation goals and asked, "Is this the white man's burden?"

The dastardly colonial war practice of raining down thousands of tons of bombs on Iraq, where half of the population is under 15 years old, is genocide. According to the U.N. Convention on Genocide, the willful erasure of the youth of any nation is genocide. How would most people in the U.S. react to seeing the mangled bodies, mutilated and decapitated body parts of thousands of white people, including children, every day on the front pages of their newspapers and on television? Would there be the same level of tolerance as we see now for this annihilation of the Iraqi people, cloaked in the Bush ideological garment of "the axis of evil?"

Where is the outrage at the loss of innocent Iraqi life comparable to that at the loss of U.S. life following Sept. 11, 2001? Is this pervasive silence due to the fact that Iraqi life is valued less than that of a person living in the United States? How many more scores of Sept. 11s does the Bush regime intend to inflict on innocent Iraqis, such as the 62 people killed and 49 injured by a rocket that hit the poor Shia suburb of Shuia in northeast Baghdad on March 20; the 26 people, including many children killed in one day in Najaf; the 115 people killed in Basra; and the uncounted dead in the bombing of a hospital in Rutbah in western Iraq? These daily killings of civilians are not "accidents" or errors in precision bombing by the U. S. and British militaries. They are intentionally dropped, designed to terrorize the Iraqi civilian population and squelch their resistance so that they will surrender their country to U.S. and British colonial occupation.

Finally, this invasion of Iraq is illegal since it is a flagrant violation of the U.N. Charter, ruled so by the International Court of Jurists. The U.N. Security Council needs to meet urgently both to condemn this aggression and demand the immediate withdrawal of U.S. and British troops from Iraq. As we would denounce as a crime the entry of armed men breaking into our home to rob us of our possessions and threatening us with death if we didn't leave our residence, so too the U.S. bombing and occupation of Iraq is criminal.

Supporters of the invasion of Iraq need to understand that they are contributing to both racism and criminality. They need to be liberated from the lies of the state and not be afraid of the truth. All people need to condemn this savage invasion of Iraq through their ongoing actions of dissent. Demand that no genocide be committed in our name.

Julian Kunnie is Professor and Director of Africana Studies at the University of Arizona and author of the forthcoming book, "Indigenous Peoples' Wisdom and Power" (Ashgate Publishing).

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