There was, I thought, one slogan which was missing. There were quite a number which called for “Freedom for Palestine”; I looked in vain for one which called for “Freedom for Iraq”. I did not hear all of the speeches, though I watched Jesse Jackson on television. From what I did hear, none of the speakers expressed any wish to free Iraq, let alone proposing any policy which might help to achieve that.The article goes on and says other interesting, thoughtful things, but i was struck by the similarity to something many anti-war people say:
In the case of Iraq, the issue of tyranny was passed by in silence. We all know that the apartheid government killed in hundreds, perhaps thousands, but Saddam Hussein has killed in hundreds of thousands. Indeed, the million people on the London march were a shocking image of the million who have died because of him. Nelson Mandela was unjustly imprisoned for decades; if he had been an Iraqi, and acted as he did, Mandela would be dead long since. Not a hero, or a President, but an unmarked grave in the sand. This great demonstration — and it was a great demonstration — was not assembled to support the liberation of Iraq, but to oppose it.
It will be said that this is unfair, that the demonstrators were opposed only to US action without the approval of the United Nations. But that is not really true. The main thrust of the demonstration, and most of the slogans, went against any war in Iraq, with or without UN approval.
The demonstrators were not people who had opposed Saddam’s refusal to disarm under the terms of the UN ceasefire in 1991. They were not people who had marched against Iraq’s treatment of the missing hostages seized in Kuwait, or of the Iranian prisoners of war, or of Iraqi dissidents, or of the Kurds and Marsh Arabs. All of these things had passed them by. When the United States decided to act to enforce the UN resolution on disarmament, or to remove the regime, then, and only then, they decided to protest. Subjectively the march was for peace; objectively it helped Saddam Hussein. He knows that; the march was shown for seven hours on Iraqi television.
Suppose that the peace demonstrators have their way. Vetoes will be passed in the United Nations. Under the pressure of public opinion, the Bush and Blair Administrations will postpone and possibly eventually abandon their attempt to enforce the UN resolutions, including Resolution 1441. Obviously that would be a victory for Saddam Hussein, giving him the glory of having seen off the power of the United States, not once, but twice. His influence would be at its height throughout the Arab, and the whole Islamic, world. Israel would be threatened, as well as Kuwait, but so would the governments of the other Arab countries.
-from "In all honesty, they were still Saddam's useful idiots" by William Rees-Mogg in The Times Online
It just gets me angry that it takes other issues, (i.e. oil and protecting Israel) for America to really "wise up" and actually recognize the injustice of Saddam, and "want to stop it." I don't really think that people's motives are that pure, and it makes me sad that they're not. America seems only to want to help and intervene when it benefits America. Otherwise, we look over others' suffering and pain, sweep it under the rug...It’s sad that it takes interests other than those of the Iraqi people for non-Iraqis on either side to care.
One should really read all of this letter to Tony Blair from an Iraqi exile, but here’s a main excerpt:
Why is it now that you deem it appropriate to voice your disillusions with America's policy in Iraq, when it is actually right now that the Iraqi people are being given real hope, however slight and precarious, that they can live in an Iraq that is free of the horrors partly described in this email?
Whatever America's real intentions behind an attack, the reality on the ground is that many Iraqis, inside and outside Iraq support invasive action, because they are the ones who have to live with the realities of continuing as things are while people in the West wring their hands over the rights and wrongs of dropping bombs on Iraq, when in fact the US & the UK have been continuously dropping bombs on Iraq for the past 12 years.
Of course it would be ideal if an invasion could be undertaken, not by the Americans, but by, say, the Nelson Mandela International Peace Force. That's not on offer. The Iraqi people cannot wait until such a force materialises; they have been forced to take what they're given. That such a force does not exist - cannot exist - in today's world is a failing of the very people who do not want America to invade Iraq, yet are willing to let thousands of Iraqis to die in order to gain the higher moral ground. Do not continue to punish the Iraqi people because you are "unhappy" with the amount of power the world is at fault for allowing America to wield. Do not use the Iraqi people as a pawn in your game for moral superiority - one loses that right when one allows a monster like Saddam to rule for 30 years without so much as protesting against his rule.