Trending Topics:

Let us forget Iraq

on 13 Comments
iraqi prisoner
Iraqi prisoners

The war in Iraq has ended so why do you continue in grieving an invasion that has officially been closed? There is no open case, we have stamped “mission accomplished” over the Iraq war file.

The American troops have left Iraq, is that not what you’ve asked for? Now let us alone. The Iraq war is over, why can’t we simply just forget it?

As cold as the aforementioned statements sound, they are real; now that the Obama Administration has seemingly ended the 8 year, 8 month and 25 day occupation of Iraq there are too many asking for us to bury the rotting corpse that is Iraq. Hide it away, mask its odor – do what we please, just so long as they can omit from their minds the name: Iraq.

I was 13 that March in 2003 when it was announced that the United States et al. were indeed invading Iraq. I remember my mother’s words, haunting me now as I look upon a world map dotted in bloody U.S. interventions and sponsored massacres; “They’ve ruined Iraq. That’s it, they’ve ruined Iraq.”

A year later, in 2004, I excitedly got my hands on a DVD copy of Fahrenheit 9/11, the documentary by filmmaker and political commentator Michael Moore covering the War on Terror. As I was the eldest and most politically astute of the sisters I was allowed to sit alongside my parents and watch. I recall one scene from the film, vaguely now; U.S. soldiers standing above a corpse, mocking a dead man and making perverse sexual remarks as he lay motionless. I walked out of the living room and into my bedroom and cried. I couldn’t stand watching this grotesque humiliation happen before my eyes. I did not want to see. To this very day I have not finished the film.

It angers me, listening to so many mourn the financial losses the United States Gov’t has forced upon the citizens of this empire. The cost of the war. That is seemingly all we hear of. The day the war “ended” I forced myself into watching, briefly, a few mainstream media outlets; the cost to Americans was all that mattered – their troops, their money – them. A selfish media for a selfish people.

But, we must put this into context, the Liberals say. How else will Americans care for Iraq if we do not put this into perspective.

This rationale is one I deplore. I find it disgusting.

That even suffering, even the loss of life of some 1 million people we must make marketable to an American audience, we must make it easier for them to swallow so as not to make them feel too guilty, so as to help them towards another path wherein they can feel something, anything, for Iraq.

They wish for us to forget that it was American troops and their lackeys who raped, tortured and pillaged Iraq; who raped, tortured and devoured its people.

In Abu Ghraib prison, notrorious for heart-wrenching torture and abuse of prisoners taken captive by US soldiers, there were photographs found, and among the photos are images of soldiers raping a female prisoner, a male detainee, and committing “sexual assaults on prisoners with objects including a truncheon, wire and phosphorescent tube.” Not only did US troops sodomize and rape adult detainees but there are accusations of child abuse, rape; women have been left pregnant, after being raped by US soldiers. In the 2010 edition of Newsweek it was written that the photos “include an American soldier having sex with a female Iraqi detainee and American soldiers watching Iraqis have sex with juveniles.”
In 2004, Professor Huda Shaker, a political scientist at Baghdad University, said an Iraqi girl was raped by a U.S. military serviceman and became pregnant.

The Obama administration refused to release said photos as “the most direct consequence of releasing them would be to inflame anti-American public opinion and to put our troops in greater danger,” according to US President Barack Obama.

And they want us to forget, because it is seemingly all over for Americans. Their war is finished. But for Iraqis, the suffering is endless and the consequences of the occupation have only just begun to surface; only now have they begun to mourn.

“The Americans did not leave modern schools or big factories behind them,” said Khazim, whose father was killed when a mortar shell struck his home in Sadr City. “Instead, they left thousands of widows and orphans. The Americans did not leave a free people and country behind them. In fact, they left a ruined country and a divided nation.”

(This is crossposted on Roqayah’s blog The Cynical Arab)

Roqayah Chamseddine

Roqayah Chamseddine is a Lebanese-American writer based in Sydney. She writes the Sharp Edges column at Shadowproof and politics at Paste Magazine. She tweets at @roqchams.

Other posts by .

Posted In:

13 Responses

  1. Exiled At Home on December 23, 2011, 9:53 am

    “…the cost to Americans was all that mattered – their troops, their money – them. A selfish media for a selfish people….’But, we must put this into context,’ the Liberals say. ‘How else will Americans care for Iraq if we do not put this into perspective.’

    This rationale is one I deplore. I find it disgusting.

    A very important point. It’s the same with I-P. Everything must be viewed through the prism of Israeli interests. Peace must be attained, because peace is good for Israel. Borders must be defined, because borders legitimize Israel. A two-state solution must be reached, because a two-state solution protects Israel’s Jewish identity. Never, ever are the needs and interests of Palestinians a priority. Never is Palestinian equality, freedom of movement, and self-determination even a cursory consideration…

  2. seafoid on December 23, 2011, 9:55 am

    Let us remember the Christian communities of Iraq who have been ethnically cleansed . There is no greater evil

    Let us remember the children of Iraq who are not being educated and the bereaved families. The Americans unleashed the evil of war and it will continue indefinitely.

    • annie on December 23, 2011, 2:44 pm

      seafoid, i am blocked by rego..could you blockquote some of the most important text for me??? i would really like to read the article.

      thank you

      • seafoid on December 23, 2011, 5:56 pm

        Six years after his brother was beheaded by Iraqi insurgents, Riyad is still haunted by the memory of identifying the disfigured body and watching the mutilation on a video distributed by the killers.

        Yet Riyad now has fresh worries to contend with: the threat of deportation from Sweden, which recently rejected his application for asylum. “They murdered my brother and would have done the same to me,” he told an immigration official in a secretly recorded meeting broadcast on Radio Sweden.

        “Yes, I know that,” replied the official. “But it doesn’t count that they might do the same thing to you; you have to prove there is an actual threat.”

        Riyad, who worked with his brother on a US army base, was drawn to Sweden by its reputation as the most welcoming European country for Iraqi asylum-seekers, having absorbed tens of thousands in the past decade. In the past two years, however, numbers have dropped sharply as Sweden shows signs of losing patience with its role as champion of refugee rights.

        In 2007, 18,559 Iraqis sought asylum in Sweden and nearly three-quarters were accepted. Last year the number arriving was 2,297 – and less than a quarter were granted asylum.

        Few places feel the tension more than Södertälje, an industrial town where 8,000 Iraqis live, many in high-rise ghettos. Anders Lago, the town’s Social Democratic mayor, says the strain on public services is unsustainable. “We need a new system. Södertälje cannot take care of everybody.”

        Before the ruling, Sweden received about 60 per cent of Iraqi asylum applications in the EU.

        If Stockholm is sending a message to other countries, critics say it has come at a heavy price for vulnerable refugees. It was among four European nations recently rebuked by the UNHCR for forcibly deporting asylum-seekers to Iraq despite the continuing violence.

        Mikael Ribbenvik, director of legal affairs for the Swedish migration board, said his agency had issued new recommendations to take account of persecution of minorities in Iraq – a sign, perhaps, Sweden is anxious not to let its humanitarian halo slip too far. But this may be too late for Riyad, who says he would be at risk in Iraq not only because of his past ties to the US military, but also his Christian faith. “I don’t have to remain here,” he told Radio Sweden. “Just send me anywhere in the world – except Iraq.”

      • annie on December 23, 2011, 7:02 pm

        worked with his brother on a US army base

        the US should be responsible for granting this person asylum

  3. Avi_G. on December 23, 2011, 10:09 am

    That’s a very good article, Roqayah.

    It is time for anyone who utters the name, “Iraq” to abandon the Orwellian language that which the US government uses in marketing this barbaric invasion and subsequent occupation.

    This framing of justifying the war as a benevolent act of spreading democracy is nauseating. It never was about democracy. It was about self-styled ‘defense’ contractors and their desire to rake in billions of dollars.

    One could also argue that the US invaded Iraq to gain a foothold in a region vital to an upcoming standoff with China.

    Ultimately, whatever the rationale was, it was NEVER about some benevolent ideal of giving Arabs the pearl that is Western Democracy. Never.

    And just like in Vietnam, the US leaves behind a legacy of barbaric destruction and misery.

  4. Mndwss on December 23, 2011, 1:14 pm


    Let us forget Iraq.

    Let us remember our killers who died.

    Let us build a new wall.

    A Iraq Veterans Memorial.

    A new wall for people that died while killing, in a new war based on a pack of lies.

    Let us remember the thousands of our killers that died, and not the million they killed.

    Let us love our killers.

    They are heroes.

    Let us put our flag on the coffins of our cannon fodder.

    • on December 23, 2011, 11:18 pm

      Good poem.
      Without help of thousands/millions “useful idiots” Evil would not be able to spread its poisonous tentacles.
      It’s not enough that we are doing something ,( or not) ,
      we supposed to know why we are doing it, what is the purpose of our activities/work, who is really benefiting from it.

  5. annie on December 23, 2011, 2:52 pm

    “They’ve ruined Iraq. That’s it, they’ve ruined Iraq.”

    these thoughts have been running thru my mind over and over for years now. it drives me crazy, i’m so angry i don’t know where to put it.

    I walked out of the living room and into my bedroom and cried. I couldn’t stand watching this grotesque humiliation happen before my eyes. I did not want to see.

    it is this kind raw excruciating expression that makes journalism alive for me.

    i’m not forgetting iraq, ever. thanks for writing this Roqayah. and where ever you found that photo of iraqi prisoners..speaks volumes..that hideous blinding head covering..coupled with the nurturing of the child.

    • Walid on December 23, 2011, 7:58 pm

      Annie, it’s not just Iraq; Afghanistan is not in any better shape now or will be when the US will be leaving in a couple of years or so. What about Egypt and where it’s headed? What about the tens of thousands killed in Libya and how the country has been permanently fractured? It’s happening in Syria now.

      • annie on December 23, 2011, 8:46 pm

        with all due respect walid, afghanistan was not iraq. yes, everyone’s lives have equal value, so every death is relevant. but afghanistan was not the cradle of civilization.

        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).[20][21]

        With the help of increasing oil revenues, Saddam diversified the largely oil-based Iraqi economy. Saddam implemented a national infrastructure campaign that made great progress in building roads, promoting mining, and developing other industries. The campaign helped Iraq’s energy industries. Electricity was brought to nearly every city in Iraq, and many outlying areas.

        Before the 1970s, most of Iraq’s people lived in the countryside and roughly two-thirds were peasants. This number would decrease quickly during the 1970s as global oil prices helped revenues to rise from less than a half billion dollars to tens of billions of dollars and the country invested into industrial expansion.

        i am not saying this as a supporter of saddam, i am saying it as as a reflection of where iraq was at before our sanctions and war decimated the culture, infrastructure and society as a whole. iraq was the most educated secular developed country in the ME, not anymore. i’m sure i am not the only one in imagining there is nothing more certain people would love better than for all ME countries to be bastions of strict sectarian religious theocracies…back to the stone ages!

      • Walid on December 24, 2011, 1:53 am

        Annie, I wasn’t comparing Afghanistan’s destroyed infrastructures with those of Iraq and like you, I was never a fan of Mubarak, Gaddafi or Assad but I was never a fan of killing civilians to get rid of them either like the US has been doing. I listed Afghanistan with Iraq, Egypt, Libya and Syria because the US has a hand in what happened there. I could have listed Iran, El Salvador, Guatamala, Georgia, Ukraine and many others. Among the biggest evils committed in Iraq,was the emptying of the 1.5 million Iraqi Christians that were made to flee the country touched on by seafoid above. It was unsuccessfully tried on Lebanon’s Shia in 2006 with the Israel’s carpet bombings of Shia villages.

      • on December 23, 2011, 11:14 pm

        You are correct.
        The Libya right now is a complete disaster.
        They came, they destroyed, they left.
        The damage is done.
        Good article about current, very sad situation in Libya

Leave a Reply