Iraq: postwar notes (8 june 2003)

The invasion has been completed and the occupation of Iraq by the US and UK has begun.

Looking back, it is quite interesting to see that most of what I, and many others, predicted has indeed come to pass. Perhaps the biggest surprise is that there have been no real surprises.

For example, in my Jan 19 notes, I wrote:

Currently, it is suddenly an "issue" that there are no "weapons of mass destruction" to be found in Iraq, and the Blair government is even having to face a certain amount of pressure about its manipulation of "intelligence". But there was overwhelming evidence before the war that Iraq had destroyed all forbidden weapons. It was simply that our press and politicians refused to examine and present this evidence, and refused to draw the necessary conclusion, which was that Iraq was no longer in conflict with UN resolutions and that there was no case, either for sanctions, or for invasion. Since the invasion is now complete, and Iraq's resources are secure in the hands of the old and new imperialist powers, it becomes suddenly permissible to raise this issue. This is how our democracy functions, it seems. In an extreme case, it is permissible to raise facts which are uncomfortable for the ruling elite, but only when they are no longer of any practical consequence.

I also wrote:
The only meaningful argument for the war against Iraq, in my view, is that replacement of the Hussein regime by almost anything else will have immediate positive effects for the majority of the people of Iraq (but see notes). I also feel that the Western war planners are probably right and that the war will be won relatively quickly, although there will presumably be a civilian deathtoll of many thousands during the fight for Baghdad, and perhaps tens of thousands caused by the expected crisis for food and water during the months afterwards.
This seems also to have been a reasonably good prediction. The verified civilian deathtoll (rarely reported) is about 6000. Fortunately, the tens of thousands of deaths caused by a food and water crisis seem not have not materialized, so far. One factor is that Saddam gave the entire population a 6 month supply of rations before the war. Hopefully the prediction of tens of thousands of deaths through disease and starvation will continue to be false.

I wrote:

In Iraq, enforced "regime change" will be followed pretty surely by:
Of these predictions, one may now say:
Not too bad for an amateur, at least compared to the professional journalists and analysts in our wonderful newspapers, many of whom now profess to be surprised by the lack of forbidden weapons, and almost all of whom refuse to draw the conclusion that not only was this war deeply illegal, but so were the sanctions before it, and that our government has participated in a major war and humanitarian crime.

to the Iraq notes.

I welcome debate! I will try to respond to emails as soon as I can.