In the interest of enlightened discourse, we offer two views of the war in Iraq. First, a letter of gratitude from Iraqi president Jalal Talibani to prime minister Tony Blair:
Let nobody mislead you, the Iraq that we inherited in April 2003, following the British and American-led liberation, was a tragedy.
The Ba’athist criminals had starved the country of an infrastructure and the people of their freedom.
Apart from the Kurdish safe haven, Iraq was a playground for thugs and a prison for the innocent.
Saddam’s war against the Iraqi people was on-going; we have evidence which demonstrates that the regime was executing its challengers until the last days of its rule.
It was that war, lasting almost forty years, which was the true war of Iraq.
We have all heard of the genocide, gassing, ethnic cleansing, mass murder and the environmental vandalism of the territory of Iraq’s historic Marsh Arabs.
We understand that there is no turning the clock back. Instead, we press ahead with democratisation and justice.
And counter-point, an article by Brown University student Liz Sperber supporting the resistance:
Rather, if we support the Iraqis right to self-determination, it must be because we identify a common, equal humanity between us; because we recognize that US occupation of Iraqi land and the US-sanctioned torture, rape, murder, and theft are unjust. That, in addition to the plight of our soldiers, which many of them argue is worsening every day, is why we must demand troops out now. For no other reason. Accordingly, since the Iraqi resistance is the force working to regain Iraqi sovereignty, we support them-unconditionally.
We must bring American troops home simply because it is not their place to stop the insurgents. Granted, even the most inspiring national liberation movements had their crimes and their tragedies. Many liberation struggles, fought under the watchful eyes of the Cold War superpowers, even failed, in the end, to achieve their objectives (Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Algeria, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Chile, the list goes on). Yet, suffice it to say here that the limits or failures of a movement do not nullify its purpose, although they may hamper it. Past failures cannot justify the abandonment of our commitment to the right of people everywhere to self-determination.
Just to make things a little easier, we’ll note that Talibani fought and struggled against Saddam for forty years, and Ms. Sperber criticizes the US from within its circle of protection. Why isn’t she putting her life where her mouth is instead of opining from an enclave of progressive thought in Rhode Island?