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No heroes in the Iraq tragedy

No heroes in the tragedy of Iraq
By Ray Hanania
Feb. 26, 2001

We are now in the second decade marking the American-led invasion
of Iraq. 

And while the invasion was justified, the subsequent embargo is

Iraq invaded a fellow Arab country more than 10 years ago. The
invasion was justified by Saddam Hussein because, he said, Kuwait
belongs to Iraq.

Maybe. Maybe not. The point is that Saddam Hussein was no hero to
the Arab cause, and was a puppet built by the American CIA which
funded his rise to power and his war with Iran, a fellow Muslim

Things have changed quite a bit. 

The invasion that freed Kuwait from Saddam Hussein's tyranny, has
converted into longterm punishment for the people of Iraq.

And Saddam Hussein, who was once a product of American CIA
assassinations and international hooliganism, is now one of the
only Arab leaders who openly speaks in defense of the Palestinian

A complex problem

The tragedy involving the people of Iraq and Saddam Hussein's
growing popularity is not a simple matter. It is very complex. 

The fact is that the embargo imposed upon Iraq has failed to
achieve its goal of undermining Saddam Hussein. 

In fact, the American enforced embargo has achieved only one real
goal: that is to impoverish the people of Iraq who have no
control of their tyrant leader. The embargo has resulted in the
slow death of millions of Iraqis, more than half children and babies. 

The suffering heaped upon Iraq in the name of isolating Saddam
Hussein is one of the most inhumane tragedies in the last 100
years. It rivals the Holocaust -- the Nazi murder of millions of
Jews during World War II.

Secondly, Saddam Hussein has risen as a folk hero among many Arabs
and especially Palestinians. 

And why not?

Saddam Hussein is the ONLY Arab leader who has unequivocally
denounced the brutality and the criminal policies of the
Government of Israel.

And, while the Arab monarchs and dictators in their own right
(including in Kuwait) sit around in their long dresses spending
their oil rich revenues, Saddam Hussein is the only one who has
set aside money to pay to the victims of Israel's latest act of
aggression and brutality. 

Ten years ago, the United States backed by many in the Arab World,
attacked Iraq and forced Saddam Hussein to withdraw his pathetic
"Republican Guard" out of Kuwait, which was ravaged by Iraq as
badly as the Nazis ravaged Poland in 1939.

But that was 10 years ago. And today is today.

Today, millions of Iraqis have died, not because of Saddam's
cruelty and ruthlessness, which is unparalleled in the Arab World,
but by American arrogance. 

You see, the Americans can not figure out how to topple Saddam
Hussein. The embargo, which denies basic human needs to the
people of Iraq but allows Saddam Hussein to enjoy his rich palaces
and continue his wealthy lifestyle. 

In fact, it was the Americans who encouraged the Kurds to rebel
against Saddam Hussein falsely promising they would receive

Most countries have abandoned the embargo. And only the cruel
leaders of the United States and Great Britain, the source of all
of today's turbulence in the Middle East, stand alone with Israel
as tyrants. 

The embargo is an inhumane act of cruelty.

And only the equally ruthless policies of the United States could
force a just people to look at a tyrant like Saddam Hussein and
see him as a hero.

Sometimes I believe the United States wanted to do this all along.
As long as Arabs look toward Saddam Hussein as a hero, in the
context of the current situation, the United States can continue
to justify its anti-Arab policies in the Middle East. 

It can keep its public hostage to ignorance and one-sided

Meanwhile, innocent people continue to die in Iraq.

Sure, Saddam Hussein is partly responsible. I guess he could take
some of the wealth he has and give it to his people. But he never
did it before so why should he do it now? 

But the real crime is that the United States, a country that
claims the moral standard of international righteousness, is in
fact behind one of the most brutal, ruthless policies of genocide
in the world today. 

I expect that kind of action from Saddam, an honor role student of
the American school of international terrorism. 

I don't expect it from a nation that claims to be at the vanguard
of defending the rights of humanity. 

(Ray Hanania's columns are archived on the web at 


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