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The Week in Iraq is a weekly assessment of significant incidents and trends in Iraqi civilian casualties by IBC's news collector and Recent Events editor Lily Hamourtziadou.

The analyses and opinions presented in these commentaries are personal to the author.

Recent weeks

Healing the wounds of the past
  18 Jan 2009

Happy New Year
  11 Jan 2009

The sad numbers
  31 Dec 2008

  21 Dec 2008

The farewell kiss
  14 Dec 2008

Regrets –he’s had a few…
  7 Dec 2008


The Week in Iraq

And the winner is...

by Lily Hamourtziadou

16 Mar 2008

No, let’s start with the losers.

The clear and biggest losers of this war are the Iraqis. The 2003 invasion and occupation of their country have brought them the following:

  • terror
  • poverty
  • anarchy
  • vulnerability
  • collapse

Those that should have been the clear winners of this war, the Iraqis, if anything we were told before the invasion was true, are actually by far the greatest losers. Last week they lost another 247 civilian lives, 14 of which were children’s.

The other clear losers are the young men and women, over 4,000 of them, our soldiers, mainly American and British, who have so far lost their lives. Those young men and women who joined their country’s armed forces intending to be brave, to protect, to save, to sacrifice their lives for the good of their nation and its civilians –their parents, children, friends, neighbours. Those men and women have instead died the death of the dishonourable, as they have been sacrificed for a dishonourable cause. They have been used and betrayed by those who would have never sacrificed anything of their own. They have been used and abused by the winners of this war.

Who are those winners?

George W. Bush and Tony Blair are the obvious winners. Not only do they seem to have escaped any punishment after their lies, deception, crimes against peace and possibly war crimes that continue to this day, but they also managed to get re-elected after invading and destroying another country, and after killing thousands of civilians. As soon as their deception regarding Iraq’s threat was exposed, they both very cleverly redefined the war as an expression of western values: freedom, democracy, equality. And their flattery worked: enough of us believed that we, noble, liberal, civilised and moral westerners were on a wonderful mission (with our leader being the courageous moral driving force) to save an oppressed population living in fear and crying out for help. Our help. We believed, because we wanted to believe, in our intrinsic goodness and in the good intentions of our leaders. Through us, their victory was won, and through us they continue to be victorious.

The other winners are the extremists. Those who kill civilians in Iraq on a daily basis. Those who torture and shoot women who wear no headscarves, the women who are vain enough to wear make-up, who want to send their daughters to school. Those who blow up people in markets, who shoot innocents outside bakeries, inside schools, as they drive their cars… Those who abduct, torture and murder even children, and leave their bodies scattered in streets, fields, dumps, as though they were rubbish. The fanatics, the murderers, the terrorists, they have established a foothold in Iraq, they have now become what Iraq is famous for. What no country ever wants to be famous for.

Anyone who has become rich, even richer, or more powerful as a result of this war is also a winner. American and British firms and companies, ‘the money men’, as Raymond Whitaker and Stephen Foley refer to them (The Independent, 16 March).

And we, the British and American public? What have we won? What have we lost? We have actually won nothing, not even our security. And we have lost something too: a little of our self-respect. A little of our conviction in our virtue, in our values and in our role as the defenders of all that is good and fair.