March 19, 2013 marks the tenth anniversary of the Iraq War, the war was started by the Bush on March 19, 2003, March also marks the ninth anniversary of the shooting by an American soldier of my son Nazar in Baghdad on the 29th of March 2004. The bush administration started the war, they said, to save the world from the menacing stockpiles of Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction and to free the Iraqi people from the jaws of his murderous regime to be followed by some kind of a Marshal plan to help the Iraqis rebuild their country which was crumbling after the long years of Saddam’s cruel dictatorship. The Iraqi people have always been dreaming about a miracle like that, but were never in a position to realize their dream because of the paralyzing fear which was inculcated in them by the police state which Saddam has created, very sadly the dream turned into ordeal and the hopes became a cruel deception. But I am not talking about the anniversary of the nightmare, into which we were plunged as a result of that terrible incident now, because I have already written a book about it which is gone into my blog for some time now as a link, My Book: The Hanoudi Tragedy.
During the early hours of the 19th of March 2003 President George W. Bush was informing the American people and the world in a nationwide address that he has ordered the American Military to start executing operation Iraqi freedom which was to remove Saddam Hussein from power because of his possible links to the Sept. 11 perpetrators and to Osama bin laden and the huge threats his massive arsenal of weapons of mass destruction was posing to the United States and to the world and to free the Iraqi people from his tyranny which has lasted for 3 decades and to help the Iraqi people start on the greatly needed reconstruction of their country and the rejuvenation of its moribund infrastructure and institutions. This was a very tall order but a lot of Iraqis including myself believed in it. The major hostilities of the military operation lasted 19 days at the end of it Saddam was toppled, his regime in tatters and the Americans sitting in his presidential palace and within few more days in control of the whole country, but the war never ended and the Americans found themselves in a mess which was to last for eight years when they finally ended their involvement there on December 31, 2011.
The United States celebrated the departure of her troops from Iraq, but as the Iraqis prepare to mark the anniversary, also known as the "Day of Sovereignty," the celebratory tone has been replaced by a more somber one. One year after U.S. troops left, much about a post-war Iraq remains unclear, the Iraqis who are supposed to be recovering from the long war are still facing bombs and battles, the returning Americans soldiers who are trying to re-adjusting to life in the United States are wondering whether their involvement in that country was worthwhile.
During the more than a year when the bush administration were planning their move into Iraq they formed an organization which would have to deal with the anticipated problems of post Saddam Iraq and appointed retired army general Jay Montgomery Garner as its director. General garner has been working for the last ten years in the north of the country helping the Kurdish people to rebuild their area after the devastation which was inflicted upon it by Saddam’s brutal suppression of their uprising against his regime which followed his humiliating defeat in the Kuwait war. Garner has done a very good job in the north and was considered to be the best choice for the promised reconstruction which was to be started in Iraq, but garner did not last, two weeks after arriving in to begin the reconstruction he was dismissed and was replaced by Paul Bremer.
Lewis Paul "Jerry" Bremer III is an ex American diplomat, very few people knew him before Iraq, he is best known for his role as the Administrator of the Coalition Provisional Authority of Iraq which was established to run the occupied country after its invasion. He served in this capacity from May 11, 2003, until June 28, 2004. Ronald Reagan appointed Bremer as Ambassador to the Netherlands in 1983 and Ambassador-at-Large for Counterterrorism in 1986, he retired from the Foreign Service in 1989 and became managing director at Kissinger and Associates, a worldwide consulting firm founded by Henry Kissinger.
Bremer’s year in Iraq was a disaster, he was self-centered, arrogant and full of himself. He ruled by decree like some viceroy from the old British empire, some of his early decrees were hurried and hasty and helped ignite an insurgency that would in a very short time engulf the whole country in a deadly violence, a vicious brutal riot which would turn post Saddam into a real mess and inflict on the Iraqis and the Americans a terrible cost in blood and fortune. Paul Bremer and his masters are responsible for that terrible outcome.
The Bush administration’s invasion-occupation of Iraq was an adventure, with flawed planning for the invasion, it was launched recklessly and with a worse approach to the occupation. Thousands of US troops have died with a countless number of Iraqis ,hundreds of billions of dollars were spent many of them squandered and at the end of the day one of the major objectives of the bush administration which was to create a democratic state in Iraq which would serve as an example to the whole middle east there was no democracy there with an increasing chance of civil war in the country.
Two years ago I was visiting my friend Jacki Lyden in Washington, on the evening of my first day there we had dinner in an old nice Greek restaurant to which Jacki has invited few of her friends and one of those was one of my old friends a doctor who was during my son’s stay in the American hospital in Baghdad working there on a temporary basis from his Washington hospital, the Walter Reed military hospital his base where he was chief anesthesiologist. During my son’s hospitalization in that hospital we became very good friends and it was a nice surprise to meet him that evening during which he promised take me next day to visit his hospital.
The Walter Reed Army Medical Center was the U.S. Army's flagship medical center from 1909 to 2011. It is Located on 113 acres in Washington, D.C., it served more than 150,000 active and retired personnel from all branches of the military. The center was named after Major Walter Reed (1851–1902), an army physician who led the team that confirmed that yellow fever is transmitted by mosquitoes rather than direct contact. Since its origins the hospital grew from a bed capacity of 80 patients to approximately 5,500 rooms covering more than 28 acres of floor space.
Next day my friend took me there where I spent the whole day visiting a large number of the hospital’s facilities and around mid-day we came across a big hall where there many young patients in wheelchairs and on hospital beds who seemed to be very sick and in very bad state of health and when I asked my friend about them he said these young kids who are injured soldiers from the war in Iraq, they are all in a state very much like your son’s, a permanent vegetative state.
I would like to make it very clear that I have written this piece not to open the American people’s old wounds and their painful memories of the Iraq war which they are very justifiably trying to forget, but to remind them that their country’s long involvement in Iraq with all its tragedies and immense losses in blood and fortune is a very important part of their country’s recent history which they should not forget. History should be remembered not in a remorseful way and with feelings of guilt, but objectively and rationally with an open mind because understanding history and the past teaches very good lessons for the future.
Sunday March 3, 2013