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|06-05-2003, 06:56 PM||#1|
Join Date: Feb 25, 2003
The 'Real" Iraq Story
Peter Mansbridge on the Record
In the wake of the war's end, it's now rewritten and re-fought with rumors.
So what really happened in Iraq? Those weapons of mass destruction have gone, in Washington's words, from a "certainty" to "they'll turn up soon" to "why do you keep asking that question?" So much- at least so far- for the much-heralded reason for the war. And what about the plan for post-war Iraq? At least you can say that the United States didn't wait long to send in a new civil administrator when it became clear that the looting was working better than the electricity. Don't worry, says Washington, a new plan will be obvious soon. Tell that to those Iraqis left beating back rats from months of garbage left piled up on their streets. Ah, details, details.
Then there are the war stories. I remember the night the news came across the wires about Jessica Lynch, the U.S. army private "rescued" from her Iraqi "captors". We all agreed a real "American Idol" had just been created- the war's firdt hero, even though we're talking about a maintenance worker whose convoy misread maps, took a wrong turn, and then were either killed or captured after a quick firefight. In Canada, we would have had a year-long, multi-million-dollar royal commission studying the blunder; in the U.S., the players become national icons, and the myths become legend. Although, as investigative work conducted first by the Toronto Star and later by the BBC suggests, the "rescue" of Pte. Lynch (who holds her silence) was actually a pickup from an Iraqi hospital from where officials had been trying unsuccessfully to turn her over to the Americans for days. But what kind of movie would that make? Even Madonna would turn down the part.
Which brings me back to the question of what really happened in Iraq? Two months after Baghdad's fall, it's interesting to see some of the questions raised and stories circulating on the other side of the world about how Saddam Hussein's regime crumbled so quickly. Questions- especially in the Arab press- focus on how resistance seemed so strong in the south, but then eroded so swiftly. When U.S. forces arrived outside Baghdad, Iraq's most elite troops couldn't strip out of their uniforms fast enough. Most wars prompt wild rumors and conspiracy theories, and this one has been no exception. The most intriguing comes from Iran- a country, it should be noted, that loves to sow intrigue at others' expense. This story, which started with the Iranian news agency, Baztab, has been circulating for weeks. It involves a secret three-way deal between Baghdad, Moscow and -wait fot it- Washington.
The plot goes like this: when Saddam and sons Uday and Qusay realized that nothing could stop the Americans, they called on their old ally Russia to work out a deal. In exchange for a plane ride out for the three of them plus 100 of their closest family members, there would be a quick surrender of arms when U.S. tanks arrived at the city limits. According to Baztab, Moscow not only made it happen: the Russians then received US$5 billion for their negotiating skills.
Far fetched? Probably. It seems awfully hard to imagine the U.S. cutting any deal that benefited Saddam- even though Donald Rumsfeld and others were openly bragging at the beginning of the war about how they were dealing with some of the Iraqi leader's henchmen. And there are reports in other Arab and European news agencies to the effect that the Americans did, in the final days, negotiate secretly with high-level Iraqi leaders to bring a fast end to the conflict. Who knows? A quick end to the war, saving possibly thousands of lives, and Saddam joining other thugs and ex-dictators on exile row: until we hear the real story, it's as good as any to believe. And this one would make a good movie. Maybe there could even be a cameo for Jessica Lynch.
-MacLean's Magazine, June 9, 2003, p. 18
There is no such thing as revenge
You will not give as good as you got
There is no such thing as an eye for an eye
If you think you're the giver, you're not
There is no such thing as regret
There is no point in placing the blame
Hate destroys the one who hates
And everyone suffers the same
There is only love and respect
To thine own self be true
When you point the finger
There are three fingers pointing back at you
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