By Tikum Mbah Azonga
This article is an adaptation of an earlier one I broadcast on the Cameroon Radio Television (CRTV) National Radio Station on the 2nd of April 2003. The paper analyzes the war waged on Iraq by America under President George Walker Bush. The article is one of many I broadcast on the same channel between 2002 and 200, on the early morning prime time national and world news broadcast.
To all purposes and intents, it would not be irrelevant to liken what is going on in Iraq to what happens in Charles Dickens` famous novel, ‘A tale of two cities”. So it is the best of times, it is the worst of times; it is the age of wisdom, it is the age of foolishness; it is the epoch of belief, it is the epoch of incredulity; it is the season of light, it is the winter of despair”.
The point is that America and Britain wanted their war at all cost, and they got it. Whatever is the case, this war is first of all America’s war before being an Americo-British war. Britain is so directly linked to it only because of the tacitly unconditional support British Prime Minister Tony Blair has given American President George Walker Bush. On the surface, this collaboration is hardly surprising, considering the historic ties that have linked America and Britain to each other over the decades, and even centuries. Surely, modern day America started as a British overseas colony that took up arms and rebelled against the motherland. But since then America has come a long way, a lot of water has passed under the bridge and today Washington is the world’s Number One power.
America stood firmly by Britain in the latter’s 1980s war with Argentina over ownership of the Falkland Islands off the coast of Argentina. It was a bloody war which was in the end, not surprisingly won by the British, at the time, under the premiership of Margaret Thatcher. But then, it was an open secret then that in addition to the historical links binding the US with Britain, Margaret Thatcher and the then American President Ronald Reagan had a “personal relation” of their own. Pundits have argued that this intimacy stemmed from the fact that Thatcher and Reagan were both compatible Air signs, astrologically speaking. Thatcher is Libra and Bush, Aquarius. But perhaps more important is the fact that both leaders also belonged to parties with similar ideologies: the Conservative (or Tory) party in Britain and the Republican Party in the USA.
Paradoxically, that is where the surprise element comes in because the massive support British Prime Minister Tony Blair gave George Walker Bush was not based on a foundation similar to the one that characterized the Thatcher-Reagan era. Blair and Bush belonged to opposing sides of the political spectrum, George Bush being a stick-in-the-mud Republican while Blair was a die-hard Labour democrat. Questions have been asked and will always be asked as to why Blair gave in so much to Bush, considering that they are birds of different feathers and therefore unlikely political bedfellows. In fact their “unholy alliance” was so profound that the British Conservative party which had all along been the traditional ally of the American Republican party, found itself helpless and dumfounded.
The war in Iraq was declared by Bush after he and Blair affirmed that Iraq was hiding weapons of mass destruction. We remember that Bush preached and literarily resorted to saber rattling and indicated that he was prepared to sideline the UN and countries opposed to the invasion if they did not toe the line. In the end, he did just that, tailed by Blair, of course, and backed by the comparatively small scale participation of other so-called friendly countries.
When the war began, political analysts predicted the invaders would be the winners, since Iraq could not in any way carry the day in the face of such an onslaught with all the modern weapons one can think of. No one doubted that claim.However, what was not so sure was how soon victory would come. In other words, for how long would the war last? Another cause for concern was the cost of keeping the army in Iraq, not to mention the psychological disadvantage associated with fallen soldiers being brought back home in body bags and shocking the American nation. Observers who remembered the American-Vietnamese war wondered loudly whether this would not be another long and drawn out Vietnamese type war.
Another headache that reared its ugly head was that at the end of the war, a beleaguered Iraqi nation would have to be rebuilt. The cost of rebuilding the country, or better still, raising it from the ashes, would be monumental, perhaps, forbidding. Yet, the question of who will foot the bill had not been answered. If Iraq, then it would be like asking a dying man to pay for his own coffin. What was paradoxically more certain was that the booty, the spoils of war, were already being shared and not unexpectedly, the lions share was going to America.
I am afraid that by the time the war comes to an end the whole thing may be nothing more than a pyrrhic victory.