Iraq War 3.0: When will we ever learn?

Richard Sudan
Richard Sudan is a London-based writer, political activist, and performance poet. His writing has been published in many prominent publications, including the Independent, the Guardian, Huffington Post and Washington Spectator. He has been a guest speaker at events for different organizations ranging from the University of East London to the People's Assembly covering various topics. His opinion is that the mainstream media has a duty to challenge power, rather than to serve power. Richard has taught writing poetry for performance at Brunel University.
Iraq War 3.0: When will we ever learn?
As the British parliament votes for yet another catastrophic war in the Middle East, it feels like all of the lessons that were apparently never learned after the disastrous occupations of Iraq, and Afghanistan, are set to be repeated.

Recalling parliament over the crisis in Iraq, Prime Minister David Cameron stated during Friday’s debate that the “mission” could be extended to include airstrikes in Syria, and described Islamic State as "psychopathic."

Interestingly, he said that such a decision could be made without the consent of parliament – a move which would echo the illegal Iraq invasion which took place in 2003, which far from averting a humanitarian crisis in Iraq actually created one.

In addition to the hundreds of thousands who were killed by Western bombs, many thousands more were made refugees. If IS are “psychopathic,” I'm not sure how the prime minister would describe the actions of Western extremists and military forces who destroyed large swathes of Iraq.

British Prime Minister David Cameron.(AFP Photo)

The language being used by leaders such as Cameron and US President Barack Obama is telling. They emphasize that this “mission” will not include “boots on the ground” and won’t be a “combat” mission. As if Sunni Muslims who the bombs will land on will view the bombing as anything other than an attack on them.

IS need to be “taken out,” they say. No doubt the group which interestingly has the media savvy of any mainstream news outlet, and seemingly unlimited funds, is a despicable group. But IS as a justification for an attack on Iraq on humanitarian grounds, with no legal consensus? This should cause raised eyebrows. If this is simply about protecting people in the region and not about money and imperial intrigue, why do the Western governments stay silent on so many human rights transgressions elsewhere? If it's really about bringing crazy head choppers under control, then why is there no talk of a no-fly zone bombing campaign over Saudi Arabia, which according to human rights groups has beheaded countless people for crimes such as “sorcery” and continues to do so?

In an age of never-ending, 24-hour news bulletins, it feels as though our memories are getting shorter. Iraqis are still suffering from the war waged in 2003, and would have for many decades, irrespective of the new intervention that UK politicians have now voted for.

Billions of dollars of Iraq's wealth has been siphoned out of the country, which was all the invasion was ever about. That and the fact that Saddam Hussein, like many leaders, wanted to trade and sell oil in a currency other than the US dollar, the value of which has essentially been rendered obsolete following the economic collapse of the US and UK financial centers, and the subsequent banker bailout which followed. This of course, could not be allowed to happen.

People could be forgiven for thinking cynically – that this time around the calls for a new attack on Iraq are as disingenuous as ever.

Now in September 2014, 11 years after the initial invasion of Iraq, dead-eyed politicians such as Obama and Cameron, like obedient corporate parrots, have been smoothing the wheels for the bombing of Syria, and the continued campaign against Iraq with renewed vigor.

Cameron has claimed that IS poses a grave danger to the United Kingdom and plan to attack Britain. Either that, or he desperately needs a war to add to his CV, especially after parliament resoundingly rejected Cameron's apparent appetite for war last year.

Presumably he sees IS as a bigger threat to the UK than the threat of unemployment, privatised healthcare and privatised education.

And of course, if there are any doubters as to the authenticity of Cameron and indeed Obama's sentiments, as to whether or not the bombing of IS in Iraq and Syria is really out of the goodness of their hearts, lets remind ourselves why.

Reuters / Alaa Al-Marjani

The sudden focus on IS is being used to whip up populist support for war, and if they cannot achieve a legal basis it is all the more needed to at least grease the wheels of the war machine and make the unjustifiable seem justified. Beheading people and other acts of barbarity remain in people's minds because of their grisly nature.

It very much feels as if last year, the war hawks and their puppet masters were begging for a new war in Syria. Now the dynamics have changed so that many politicians and the public are falling over themselves calling for military intervention, and they wouldn't be if Western media was not focusing on IS in the manner they are. We mustn't fall for it. All diplomatic efforts should surely be geared around supporting humanitarian groups in the region, and on starving groups which seek to destabilize the region further of funds and support. Bombing Iraq and Syria is only going to worsen the crisis. A Western “intervention” is exactly what IS and whoever it is who is backing them in all senses want.

You'll notice that the words oil and geopolitical strategy are never mentioned by leaders calling for war in Iraq, and now, according to David Cameron, today possibly Syria. Although Obama in a recent speech did admit after a long spiel about human rights and democracy when addressing the American people that US 'interests' may play a role too, as well as the moral crusade he is advocating.

As the British parliament discussed what the role of the UK should be, the media ramped up the reasons as to why the bombing of Iraq, and evidently Syria, which perhaps is the short-term endgame, is necessary and just.

More and more Obama seems indistinguishable from his cowboy predecessor, George W. Bush. More and more Cameron and Ed Miliband, like Tony Blair’s New Labour project and the Conservatives, have no real differences. They are indistinguishable. Like cowboys, it’s all guns blazing, which is of course what the war hawks and chicken hawks in Washington and London want. Let’s not forget that war is the most profitable industry in the world. The US defense budget grows each year, so it’s all a lucrative business.

And when all the UK’s main political parties vote for yet another illegal military campaign, instead of using UK taxpayers’ revenue for desperately-needed jobs and services at home, where is the real democracy that’s supposed to reside in the “mother of parliaments?”

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.