A Crusader and a Conqueror

by Sabella Ogbobode Abidde

Within the next couple of hours or days, Iraq will come under America’s military salvo. Iraq would be bombarded as no nation has ever been in the last half-century. And in preemptively striking Iraq, America would be rewriting international norms and acceptable ways of behavior; and by so doing, America’s roguish behavior would, in a matter of time, establish a precedent for other nations to follow. What stops Nigeria from attacking and then colonizing Cameroon, Ghana, or Liberia if the Nigerian government deems the government of these countries irritants, oppressive, undemocratic and just plain unfriendly?

There are those within the Nigerian military and Nigeria’s political class that pray Abuja forcefully take over Bakassi and Yaoundé – in total disregard for international law. But as far as I can tell, Abuja is not likely to apply the “Washington Rule.” According to this rule, you can disparage, disobey and belittle international law when it does not suit and serve your interest. Moreover, you could tell the United Nation and your long-term friends and Allies to go to hell if they find it in their heart to question your motives. All these the United States – especially under President George Bush – has done again and again and again.

To think that not one single human being – the Pope, Nelson Mandela, Queen Elizabeth, or for that matter the committee of former US presidents – can’t dissuade the White House in its evil design against another sovereign state. It’s so sad! Moreover, not a single country can impress it upon America not to go on this injurious adventure. An adventure it is! What is the world turning into? No one could have predicted what would come after the Cold War and the Bi-polar regime would be a single dominant country running loose and forcing its beliefs and mantra down the world’s throat. Who knew? My qualm and angst in this regard is for another day; for what’s vexing me at this moment is America’s imminent preemptive attack against Iraq and her people. The consequences of these attacks would make God weep.

In no time, bombs would be rained on Iraq. Toddlers would die. Infants sucking milk from their mother’s breast would take their last breath when cruise missiles start falling. Innocent women and men would perish. Hopes and dreams would evaporate. Homes, national monuments, mosques and other holy sites and public infrastructures would be destroyed. And husbands and wives under the throes of passion would be united in death. The earth would open up and swallow men, women and children who did not offend America. Damn! The innocents have no dog in this fight and to think their fate would be death by “awe-inspiring” bombs is horrifying. Women, children and grandparents would choke to death; while others would be consumed by raging fires and be cremated. In essence, America would be doing to the Iraqis what those hijackers did to America. Is this a case of terrorism begetting terrorism?

In the precise moment that the Iraqis are being slaughtered, hundred of thousands of children in America, Britain and Spain would be safe in their daycare centers (or at their nannies). These children would be safe in their schools and churches. They would visit public parks; stroll around the lakes and waterfronts; visit museums and amusement parks. These children would have no reason to fear for their lives and safety for no one is going to rain bombs on them. Men, women and the elderly would be able to go see baseball, soccer, basketball and hockey games. They would be able to go camping at places like the Yosemite national park and other parks and monuments that abound America. They would have a wonderful time. As for the Iraqis, oh well, they are not entitled to a wonderful time – just miles and miles of mines, misfortune, destruction and ruins. They are not humans! Or, are they?

The moment America’s agent of death begin to pour on Iraq, Iraqi children would be taking cover under the beds, in the arms of their parents or in the trenches and gutters. But not so for the American children; for they would be able to go to Burger King and McDonald, and KFC; they would be able to go to downtown to sip coffee and tea and milk and chocolate drinks; they would be able to lick ice-cream, gulp down soda and devour hotdogs. Not so for the innocents in Iraq, whose lot would be hunger, disease, malnutrition, want, deprivation, abandonment, loneliness, nightmares and death. These children would forever miss their childhood. Hundred of thousands of children would become orphans; countless women would become widowed; once able-bodied men would become widowers and destitute. Iraqi men and women and children would have no homes, no refuge, and no future. For the Iraqis there would be no skydiving; no bungee-jumping; just bombs falling from the sky. How senseless and deprived, this imminent preemptive strike!

When this is “all over,” life in America would go on. Life would go on. The waste, the whining, the excesses, the urge to conquer and dominate and lord others; the need to impose her way of life, and the need to pollute other cultures will go on and multiply.

What in the name of humanity is America about to do? Ha! America is about to kill. America is about to maim. America is about to destroy lives and dreams and hopes. America is about to destroy an entire country. America is about to destroy the Iraqi mosques and monuments and history and experiences. America is about to destroy schools and a civilization; and with just a stroke of the pen, a civilization that has been around long before America was conceived would be destroyed…and no one can stop this madness? America is about to destroy a country and its people all because it can? What kind of madness and injustice and wickedness is this?

George Bush is about to order the destruction of Iraq because of personal vendetta for his father that was bested by Hussein; he is about to order an evil act because of oil; and because of the desire to establish and maintain a strong-hold in the Arab world and also because Israel would benefit from this idiotic acts. Revenge; crusade; vendetta; and destruction seem to be the president’s watchword. He does all these without regards and without scruples. He is about to play God. And what manner of God does he serve anyway? What manner of God do this man, this Texan, and this president offer supplications to?

This attack is not about Saddam Hussein and his alleged biological and nuclear arms. This attack is not about Saddam being repressive; it is not about democracy. In that part of the world, there are no saints. There are no nice fellows. None of their leaders believes in human rights, and democratic institutions and the rule of law. The Jordanian authorities are as bad as the Kuwaitis. From Egypt to Qatar to Morocco and Saudi Arabia all you have are one malicious president after another maleficent king. America might as well bomb all of them – including Ariel Sharon and his henchmen who have been bombing, killing, raping, and brutalizing the Palestinians. I guess the Palestinians and the Iraqis are of the same stock: people who do not deserve to live a full and dignified life.

The United States has a million times whatever the Iraqi’s are accused of hiding. Perhaps we should send in the UN weapon inspectors. Not too long ago, Moscow gassed some hostages and hostage-takers; this in addition to brutalizing the Chechens. What did the US, Britain, Spain, Australia, Bulgaria, and other poodles say about it? North Korea has admitted to possessing nuclear and biological weapon; and they have warehouses full of life-ending weapons. To which I ask: what are President Bush and Prime Minister Blair going to do about it? We all know the answer: Nothing! There is no oil in that part of the region; and Israel is thousands of miles away. Pyongyang is more dangerous than Baghdad…far more dangerous!

The river of blood will not flow and end in Baghdad. It will flow to other parts of the world. Iraqi orphans and homeless children will not grow to love America; they will not hug and salute America. Do we expect men and women who lost children and other loved ones to embrace America’s ideals? In fact, I do not see how destroying their country would bring about democracy and human rights in a region without democratic culture and institutions. And I do not see how America’s ignominious acts would bring about peace, security, political stability, economic growth and development. The attendant consequences of America’s hubris would be the birth of hate, contempt, rage, and extreme dislike for America and for all that is America.

The war against terrorism was/is a just and noble war; but the war against Saddam is unjust and uncalled for. None of the hijackers are from Iraq so what’s Saddam’s connection to terrorism? The White House should listen to the voices of reason emanating from “Old Europe.” By the way: would Baghdad be justified to preemptively strike America’s interest (knowing the Americans have sent in Sheriffs to get him “dead or alive” and destroy his country)? As an aside: Koffi Annan should resign (in protest) in the event the US attacks Iraq — without a UN authorization. Of what use is the organization if it can’t reign in one of its members?

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