Wednesday, March 21, 2018

The Iraq War (15 Years Later)

Today, it has been 15 years since the Iraq War. I was in college when it started. I was 19 years old when it commenced. I remembered it just like it was yesterday. During the early stages of the war back in 2003, I opposed it 100 percent. History has vindicated my views completely. Iraq was not a direct, imminent threat to America directly. There were no massive weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and it was a war that caused widespread death and hurt to millions of Iraqis and Americans. First, Iraq was a product of WWI. After WWI (it involved the Allied Powers defeating the Central Powers), the Turkish Ottoman Empire was defeated. It once ruled Iraq. The combination of Arabic forces and people like T.E. Lawrence (or the Lawrence of Arabia, who was a real life British person) defeated the Ottoman Empire. Lawrence was angered at how the British and French elites deceived the Arabic people in that region since they promised them their own independent nations. Yet, the French and the British used the League of Nations, the Sykes–Picot Agreement (of 1916), and other slick policies to divide up the Middle East. These nefarious deeds either caused the Western leaders to rule those lands themselves or promote puppet leaders (i.e. monarchs) in those territories. Iraq was ruled by puppet leaders for a time. After WWII, Iraq was part of the United Nations. The 1958 revolt caused a more republican government to exist in Iraq after the Hashimite monarchy was overthrown.

Later, by the 1960's, there was the Ba'ath Party coup against Abd al-Karim Qasim during 1963 (called the Ramadan Revolution. Qasim wanted land reform, women's rights, and a strong education in Iraq). When Abd al-Karim Qasim was the Iraqi prime minister, he appointed Naziha al-Dulaimi to become the first woman minister in Iraq’s modern history. Also, she was the first woman cabinet minister of the Arabic world back during the 1950's. Qasim also nationalized Iraq's oil supplies. Later, Saddam ruled Iraq as an authoritarian leader. Saddam Hussein (who shouldn't be glamorized as he was a brutal autocrat) was once an U.S. ally (the U.S. gave Saddam economic aid during the 1980's. There is a picture of Donald Rumsfeld shaking hands with Saddam Hussein during the 1980's too) until the Persian Gulf War when Iraq conquered Kuwait. America thought that Saddam might would have invaded Saudi Arabia (which in their minds would threaten oil markets and other resources), so the West attacked Iraq. After 1991 (which was the end of the Persian Gulf War), Iraq experienced a no-fly zone, many airstrikes like Operation Desert Fox in December of 1998, and sanctions. Iraq was sent materials to develop weapons of mass destruction by the West as early as the 1980's.

I never forgotten that Madeline Albright said in an interview that the sanctions involving Iraqis was worth it. That's disgraceful. George W. Bush supported the invasion and he organized "the coalition of the willing" (plus presenting his fraudulent case to the United Nations) to execute the Iraqi 2003 war. The neo-conservatives not only promoted the Iraq War, but wrote documents favoring a regime change in Iraq before the Iraq War. The shock and awe bombings certainly etched in the minds of many that this war was a different, unique war. At first, American forces quickly defeated Iraqi forces. They came into Baghdad. The problem with that the West utilized de-Baathification (without a progressive alternative). Many in the West refused to give the Sunnis political rights or social rights. Many didn't try to reconcile the tensions among Shias and Sunnis in Iraq as Shias run the government of Iraq. Sunnis and Shias are Muslims who disagree on the successor of Muhammad. Most Muslims of the world are Sunnis. Iran is a nation with a heavy Shia population. Then, the chaos existed in Iraq after the initial defeat of Hussein's forces in Baghdad. The rise of ISIS came about. It is only recently when ISIS's strength has decreased and Iraq is more stable than 10 years ago. In that time, we saw the violence in Fullajah, Abu Ghraib, and other horrendous situations. We saw the rise of the anti-war movement which courageously opposed the Iraq War (just like anti-war heroes opposed the Vietnam War decades earlier). What we learn about the Iraq War is that any unjust war must be opposed period. We won't stop, because we can't stop. We want freedom to exist for all of the inhabitants of the world.

A legend, a hard worker, a beautiful black woman, and a lover of the art of acting represent accurately Sister Vanessa Bell Calloway. It was her Birthday yesterday and she is 61 years old. She was born in Cleveland, Ohio. She graduated from Ohio University with a Bachelors Degree in Fine Arts. Calloway also studied dance with Alvin Ailey, George Faison, and Otis Sallid. Alvin Ailey is a legend in African American dance. If a person wants to understand American dance, that person must know of the contributions of Alvin Ailey. Vanessa Bell Calloway starred in many movies and TV shows. The episode from Unsung about her shows her overcoming many obstacles and she finds great peace in her family and friends. We certainly honor her contributions not only in acting, but in philanthropy too. She was a dancer in the original Broadway play of Dreamgirls (which celebrates the musical contributions of black people). During the 1980's, she was in the All My Children soap opera. She has a husband and 2 daughters. She is also a breast cancer survivor. Always on the move, she continues to act and speak truth to power in a determined fashion. We honor her strength and her profound grace. I wish Sister Vanessa Bell Calloway more Blessings.

Today, we see more strikes by teachers nationwide. First, there was the movement in West Virginia. Now, it has spread into Kentucky. It is no secret that many teachers experience low wages, long hours, and other situations where they aren't invested enough to teach children. At the end of the day, it is all about the educating of human beings wherefore people can be as productive in society as possible. The existence of a strong education is the profound, great necessary goal of any teacher. That is why teachers desire to march in Kentucky's capital, which is in Frankfort, in order for them to fight that Governor's plan to cut pension benefits. The protesters also want affordable, strong health care as health care is a human right. On Monday, teachers have protested in Louisville, KY. Teachers and activists in Kentucky have watched the events in West Virginia too. Therefore, we do express solidarity with workers, teachers, and social activists who desire real change not only in West Virginia and Kentucky. We desire real progressive change all across the United States of America plus worldwide.

By Timothy

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