Sunday, 22 May 2016

Warming Up To War Crime: India and the Invasion of Iraq

I remember 2003.

I remember the build up to the war crime that was the Iraq invasion very, very well. Back then, I was just starting to use the internet on a regular basis, and was yet to purchase my first computer. It’s hard to believe, but I was virtually computer-illiterate till early 2001; even so, by 2002 it was already more than clear to me that Amerikastan would invade Iraq.

Before I go on, let me say something clearly: unlike the popular fiction these days, I do not imagine that Bush’s invasion of Iraq was the Ultimate Evil committed against that unhappy country. By 2003, after all, Iraq had been under constant and starvation-level sanctions since 1990, and the blood soaked war criminal William Jefferson Clinton had been bombing it virtually round the clock since 1995. Half a million or more Iraqi children had been starved to death by the sanctions by the late 1990s, and yet the Amerikastani war criminal and Secretary of State Madeleine Albright got away with saying that it was an acceptable price to pay to “keep Saddam in his box”.  

This same Albright now endorses the blood soaked war criminal Killary Klingon, which is absolutely no surprise to anyone with two brain cells to rub together.

So, no, the Iraq invasion wasn’t something that suddenly happened out of nowhere – the basis was laid very carefully by one blood soaked mass murdering Warmonger in Warshington, and another Warmonger in Warshington took it forward. That the two war criminals belonged to separate criminal gangs “political parties” made no difference; a two party system is always and inevitably one single party with two faces, something any politically aware person should know.

Despite all the mass antiwar protests around the planet, then, no sane person could have any doubt that the Imperialist States of Amerikastan would invade Iraq. By late 2002, the marketing campaign for the invasion was in full swing. This was far from unknown even in the boondocks of the planet like India, and this was something that got a lot of people concerned.

I myself had no illusions that the invasion was anything but coming, and on the two or three occasions per week I managed to get online from an internet cafe – as I said, I didn’t own a computer then – I did my best to oppose it on all the online fora that were open to me. Among the things that I did was write a series of skits lampooning Bush, whom I treated as stupid and evil beyond belief. Some of those pieces actually got published in a local magazine, the Eastern Panorama.

Today, I would apologise to Bush for those pieces. I didn’t then know how much less bad he would turn out to be than his blood soaked mass murdering successor, the child-droning Nazi-funding jihadi-supporting war criminal Barack Hussein Obama. I was naive then. I’m sorry.

But this isn’t about me; it’s about the Indian attitude towards the Amerikastani invasion of Iraq.

I believe I’ve spoken enough in the past about the utter hypocrisy of the Great Indian Muddle Class and its looking out only for its own interests. In 2001, the Great Indian Muddle Class had been mindlessly stupid enough to support Bush’ invasion of Afghanistan. The yellow rag India Today (an exemplar of ultra right wing gutter journalism, if there ever was one) had taken up Amerikastan’s cause as its own. When the 11/9 attacks happened, its cover story had been, I remember well, WAR AGAINST THE WORLD. That was the first time I heard that Amerikastan was the world; I’d yet to meet Amerikastanis online and discover that this was actually what the majority of them believe. When Bush’s Northern Alliance warlords took Kabul, India Today – and even the rival Outlook, a better magazine – had splashed the same photo across their covers, and declared that liberation was at hand. The caution showed by left wing media outlets like Frontline magazine was treated almost as traitorous. Bush was god.

This was over Afghanistan, which, actually, had some effect on India. Kashmiri and other insurgents – even Hindu ULFA militants from Assam in east India – found training and sanctuary in the badlands of Southern Afghanistan. The arms markets of the Afghan Pakistan border fuelled separatist movements across the Indian subcontinent. So one might excuse these morons for being deluded enough to imagine Bush’s Afghan adventure might have some positive effects on India.

Not one of these things applied to Iraq.

Saddam Hussein was, by most indicators, not a particularly nice man. But he was the best friend India has ever had in the Arab, and indeed in the Muslim, world. He had, over and over again, blocked anti-Indian resolutions in the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation. On one famous occasion, when India had faced a fuel supply crisis, he’d ordered all Iraqi-owned oil on ships in the Indian Ocean diverted to Indian ports. Indian citizens living and working in Iraq had never faced the slightest discrimination, unlike their treatment in other Arab nations of the region. He was resolutely anti-jihadi, totally opposed to the people who had (allegedly) committed the WAR AGAINST THE WORLD attack of 2001. And this was not something that even the media could ignore.

By end 2002, therefore, there was a lot of disquiet in the country over the coming invasion. Even the media which had been formerly blindly supportive of Amerikastan’s jihad against Afghanistan became somewhat wary, and one finally began reading articles expressing caution about Bush’s future plans. Then something interesting happened.

I can’t prove this, but I am almost certain that money changed hands to “manage” public opinion, for reasons I’ll talk about in just a moment. The source of the money was obvious: the Amerikastani Embassy in Delhi, later to morph into the virtual control centre of Indian foreign policy for the next decade. And it was spent on getting favourable mentions in the media.

Thus it was that Anita Pratap, once an anti-war centre-left columnist, wrote (in Outlook in 2003, just before the invasion) that Bush had done all he could to avert the invasion and the ball was now in Saddam Hussein’s court. (I emailed her repeatedly about this but quite predictably never got a response.)  Writing in Week – another magazine, which I almost never read – one Manjula Padmanabhan, a particularly self-important woman whom I detest, said that the Amerikastani troops going to Kuwait to help invade Iraq were so handsome that they were “obviously on the side of good and morality” and she could only pray for their speedy and successful return. Yellow rags like India Today and The Telegraph of Calcutta (even more right wing than the British Telegraph) started reporting on the build up to the invasion as though it was a sports tournament, with breathless excitement.

The media offensive, of course, wasn’t necessary to sway much of the Great Indian Muddle Class. Some kind of cricket tournament, maybe a so-called World Cup, was about to start. I remember one unnamed Muddler being quoted as saying that he hoped Bush would hold off “starting the show” until the tournament was over, so he could enjoy them both. Some idiot I recall wrote a letter published in The Telegraph saying Saddam Hussein was a “raving bigot” and needed to be overthrown. I wrote a response, which was of course not published.

Then there was a Hindunazi hero, one Pravin Togadia, who was both a surgeon and the leader of a gang of Hindunazi goons. Togadia – who is so toxic that even the current Modi regime will have nothing to do with him – supported the invasion on the grounds that “Muslims would get killed”. When it was pointed out that Iraq had been a friend of India, he said that he would “look into that.” I suppose he is still looking into it, because I’ve not heard him say a word about it since then.

Back then, the government of India was under the Hindunazi Atal Behari Vajpayee. Unlike the current lot in power, though, Vajpayee was no dictator ruling by F├╝hrerprinzip; he led a coalition of disparate parties, and by nature was also a genial old codger more given to compromise than confrontation. This is important to remember, because otherwise things would have turned out rather differently.

Fast forward to the immediate aftermath of the invasion, when the Amerikastanis and their Coalition of the Billing had just occupied Iraq. If you recall, the then government of France, under Jacques Chirac, had taken the incredibly intelligent and courageous course of refusing to join the invasion, to the fury of the Amerikastanis. There was some airy talk of “punishing” France, kicking it out of the Security Council, and so on. And right after the invasion, Amerikastan started demanding other countries send troops to help in the occupation. “You’re either with us or you’re with the terrorists,” as the blood soaked war criminal Bush said.

Wouldn’t you believe it? India Today and The Telegraph at once took up the line, urging India to send troops. The Telegraph kindly suggested that if a “fig leaf’ was necessary, a UN resolution calling for restoring peace in Iraq would do the job, and also that any Indian troops that might be sent would go to Mosul. Mosul was peaceful, and there would be no fighting there at all.

Mosul? Does that word sound familiar? Yes, that’s the same Mosul which is the Iraqi capital of ISIS. The Mosul that even back then was a bone of contention between Arabs, Kurds, and Turkmen. That Mosul.

India Today went much further. It was India’s chance to “sit at the high table”, it declared. France would inevitably be thrown out of the Security Council, and India should seize the chance to replace it. Bush, it averred, was going to “make India a superpower”, and only leftist traitors would object. So, it said, “send the troops”.

Now this is what happened. Even as the government officially denied that there was any plan to send troops, as it turned out later, several divisions had actually been earmarked for the purpose and were merely waiting for the go-ahead. The Hindunazi Home Minister at the time, Lal Krishna Advani, actually promised the Amerikastanis that India would send troops, and told them that this did not require ratification by the Indian parliament. Where he got this idea I can’t tell you; maybe, like the Bush regime, he was “creating his own reality”.

I said that the then prime minister, Vajpayee, was someone who preferred consensus. Instead of merely signing off on Advani’s promise, he asked the other political parties for their opinions. The Congress party, then in opposition – as we shall see, it became fanatically pro-Amerikastani when in power – refused to go along. The Left, too, was opposed. And Vajpayee at once scotched the deal. The troops would not be sent.

As it turned out, there was another dimension to it. The idea was somehow that Amerikastan would pay for India to send and maintain the soldiers in Iraq, pay their salaries and so on. Of course this did not happen. And only the utterly deluded could have imagined this was even possible.

One can only guess at what would have happened if India had sent those soldiers. India’s experience of interventions in other people’s wars has been dismal. It occupied northern and eastern Sri Lanka in 1987-89 and lost a brutal guerrilla war there. The troops it sent as “peacekeepers” to various African countries were withdrawn after repeated accusations of sexual abuse and corruption. In Iraq, as the resistance grew increasingly more overt, with bases routinely hit by mortars and patrols by IEDs and snipers, the casualties would have correspondingly grown in number. Especially with the Indian Army’s fairly primitive equipment, which to this day doesn’t even extend to a reliable rifle or Kevlar helmets or body armour, the casualty count would have been fairly horrendous.

And who would have been blamed when these dead and wounded troops came back home? Muslims and leftists, that’s who. One, because their co-religionists were fighting these troops and inflicting those casualties, and never mind that they were only defending their country; the other, because leftists had opposed the sending of the soldiers in the first place, and therefore must be “celebrating” the bloodshed and be to blame.

Muslims and leftists are already hated enough in India without giving the Great Indian Muddle Class even more of an excuse to hate us all.

There was an interesting sidelight to the whole affair, which shows the mindset of the Muddle Class. The Telegraph ran an SMS poll just after the invasion asking whether it was justified. About 84% of the respondents said no. The very next day the same paper ran a poll asking whether India should send troops to help in the occupation.

Some 80% said yes.

In 2004, the Vajpayee regime lost the elections and the Congress took over. By that time, the Iraqi resistance had already grown so strong and increasingly effective, inflicting every more casualties on the occupiers, that nobody could talk any longer about sending soldiers. But the Congress, which overnight changed its policies once in power, at once allowed ex-soldiers to sign up with mercenary outfits and rush off to serve in Iraq. Former military officers even set up recruitment agencies for mercenaries in Delhi. I can only speculate how much money they made, and what happened to those mercs.

Nothing good, I sincerely hope.

The Vajpayee regime had also banned Indian nationals from going to Iraq; the Congress lifted this ban, and Indian lorry drivers and cooks, mechanics and labourers, at once rushed off to serve the Amerikastani occupiers. This finally and inevitably led to a group of them being taken captive by an insurgent outfit called the Order Of The Black Banner. I recall much palaver at the time, in such newspapers as the tabloid The Times Of India, about how “Entebbe-style” raids should be conducted to free them. As far as I recall the government washed its hands of the whole matter, and it was the lorry company owners who ransomed the captives – who then complained that they had spent their savings to get to Iraq and these jobs, and now had lost them both.

At this same time, there was another way by which Indians were going to Iraq. These were Indians who signed up with the official occupation forces for a stint as a war criminal in return for Amerikastani citizenship. I am glad to say that several of them were exterminated by the Iraqi resistance. An Amerikastani general attended the funeral of one of these worthies and made a speech about how he’d gone to “fight for freedom”. An Indian “activist’ called Subhash Chandra Agarwal, who seems to spend all his spare time writing letters to newspapers, at once wrote a letter to the editor calling this general the “army chief” and saying that Indians should start supporting the American occupation since then Americans would buy Indian goods. I responded saying that Agarwal was entitled to his freedom of speech, but not to his own fantasies; and that whether Americans bought Indian goods would depend on their cost and quality, and not on what India did or didn’t do in Iraq. That was a letter that the local paper here published, albeit in heavily edited form; I was effectively blacklisted soon after.

Then there was when Saddam Hussein was captured. The Telegraph ran a full front page article celebrating this; GOT HIM! or something similar was the headline. When he was hanged, the same rag celebrated it with another full front page with noose shaped headlines. By that time it was openly campaigning for English to be replaced by Americanish in India, and for India to dump neutrality for an alliance with Amerikastan. This was of course not on its own volition; it was also a fanatic supporter of the Congress regime, and especially of the rubber stamp “prime minister”, the spectacularly incompetent Manmohan Singh, who rewarded it with special access to him on his trips.

What was Singh like? I’ll just say this: this man, who has never, in his life, even won a municipal level election, hugged George W Bush and assured him that the “people of India love you”. These would be the people of India who had never voted for him in the first place. As a leftist politician snarked, everyone knew that Singh loved Bush, but why did he have to drag the people of India into it?

There was one more attempt to manufacture consent around this time, and this was for weapons sales. Amerikastan was trying to get India to buy its Patriot missiles. I recall reading a story planted in The Times Of India about how good the new Patriots were. In 1990, they had, the paper admitted, failed to intercept many Iraqi SCUDS (actually, they hadn’t successfully intercepted a single one); but in 2003, not a single Iraqi missile had got through successfully!

Well, of course no Iraqi missile had got through successfully; there were none in the first place. If Iraq had had any missiles then Bush’s WMD tales would have been true, wouldn’t they? I did point this out to the paper; they never published my response. What a surprise.

By the time Bush was replaced by Barack Hussein Obama, a certain wariness had entered into Indian attitudes towards Amerikastan. The fantasies about France being kicked out of the Security Council, of Bush making India a superpower, and so on had of course been long since abandoned. The former cheerleaders for sending soldiers to Iraq were trying hard to pretend that had never happened. When Obama attacked Libya in 2011, there was not a single whimper of support, just frantic attempts to get Indian citizens away. And today, as far as possible, Indian news doesn’t mention Iraq at all. Even Indian workers captured by ISIS are now never talked about; it’s as though they vanished into thin air.


It’s almost as though, you know, the country doesn’t exist anymore.

[Image Source]

4 comments:

  1. Outstanding.

    The American right believes that US soldiers found the WMD, but it was classified Top Secret, since Bush, jr didn't want Americans to be terrified, which they would have been had they learned that, when the US soldiers arrived (without any armour), the fuses were lit and the soldiers extinguished them just in the nick of time. They admit Bush, jr's necessary actions resulted in a total of about 4,000 deaths. Obama was responsible for only a total of a few hundred deaths, but one of them was a US Ambassador, so that was much worse.

    The US left says Bush, jr was responsible for 7,000 deaths, since he was told about the 9/11 attacks and his response was criminally incompetent. Obama has had to lead the US in the War on Terror, and has had almost no casualties, only a total of a few hundred dead.

    What about Iraqis and Libyans and Syrians? Both the US left and right only count PEOPLE, not criminal savages. If Bush, sr or Clinton or Bush, jr or Obama found it necessary to kill a 2 year old, that 2 year old was a hardened terrorist who had it coming. If Obama found it necessary to bomb a hospital, that hospital had been taken over and was no longer a hospital but a hiding place for the Taliban.

    The New York Times Magazine has asked questions about Obama, and was met with a furious response from readers. The rest of the New York Times was 100% behind Bush, jr until he left office. Now they found he made some horrible mistakes, which Obama is doing the best job of fixing possible. After Obama is gone, the New York Times probably won't find that he made any mistakes, since that would be racist. Nor will Hillary make any mistakes when she's president, and might be spared any criticism after she leaves office, since that would be sexist.

    Hersh produced massive evidence that Obama lied about the murder of Osama and about the death of the Libyan ambassador and about the Syrian government deploying poison gas. The entire US/UK press says Hersh is a racist, sexist conspiracy theorist nutjob. Only Ted Rall seems to accept the Hersh analysis at all.

    It's depressing.

    I tried reading the Indian press, but they often write so no one who isn't Indian can understand. At least I can follow the British. The old Guardian was excellent, until the UK government shut it down and replaced it with a neo-liberal version.

    Neo-liberal is the Left. That means, the rich and powerful get everything from everywhere in the world, and the rest of us get what is LEFT.

    As opposed to the neo-cons who are on the Right. That means the rich and powerful have the RIGHT to everything everywhere in the world.

    And I can't see any way to address the problem. I can't post on gocomics, and you can't get your letters into the Indian newspapers. Those who don't accept either the neo-liberal or neo-con lines are kept as invisible as TPTB can make them.

    MichaelWme

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  2. I had only just got a computer myself around that time and was still learning how to use it. The twin tower thing happened during the southern hemisphere night, and not listening to the radio, I had no idea it had happened. I dropped my boys at school, then went home to work on an assignment. It was only when I picked up the boys that I heard about it from the other parents. One said, bugger, now America will start another war. I went home and turned on the TV, one channel was showing American coverage, another BBC. I saw planes fly into the twin towers over and over. Then on the American coverage the two presenters said, well we gotta talk about it, how will this affect Wall St? Later Bush is on the telly trying to look presidential with that line, if you aren't for us, you are against us. I was totally sickened by the whole thing. This was the day that it suddenly hit me how irresponsible I had been, to bring 5 children into this crappy warmongering world. This was the day that my rose coloured glasses fell from my eyes.

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  3. Being born in the US of A and having been a Marine with service in the imperial war in Vietnam, I am ashamed of the crap the country of my birth has done and continues to do to other nations and peoples. The US, as it is and has been for longer than my own life time IS a criminal enterprise.
    One thing that I saw recently is a sign being displayed at some US political event, not sure what candidate it was for, but the sign was honest. The sing reads; the system is not broken. It was designed this way.
    'Merikkka, what a country.

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  4. In my long comment, I complained that most Americans believe the lies their government tells them. Lies reiterated by almost all of the UK press as well as the US press.

    I did not thank you for your history of the Indian media, which I find too difficult to read. India seldom makes the Western news. I was taught all about India, how it is a Hindu country, and the Hindu is a strict pacifist, so they all live in peace and the West should emulate them. Good story. Like Obama's press releases, written by a gifted novelist.

    Your history of India's official response to the War on Terror was VERY interesting.

    MichaelWme

    ReplyDelete

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