The Story of the 'Wood Pecker - Coalition, Pecking on the 'Wrong Tree' - Iraq

According to the latest news from the Abudhabi TV, Saddam has risen from the dead

The "liberators" of Iraq, pulled down and destroyed the statues, pictures and everything reminiscent of Saddam Hussein. They captured Baghdad and many cities in the South and North. Although they do not claim the victory as yet, they claim that Saddam's regime was over "hallas" in Arabic. They claimed to have killed Saddam and his sons many times over at several places. According to the latest news from the Abudhabi TV, Saddam has risen from the dead. It is quite ironical that the dictator should rise from the dead at a time when the Catholics around the world are about to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ. The liberator threw sweets at children and some adults joined to greet them with flowers as well. Some Iraqis even held signs saying "Thank you USA", Thankyou Mr. Bush Thank you Mr. Blair. There were smiles and some jubilation as well. This was only few days ago. Since then the "show" that was staged with the money, lavishly distributed around by the CIA has turned "sour". Some Iraqi people who did not grasp the true motives of the "liberation" in the beginning have now started to make their own minds. The Sunnis and Shi'its, who are supposed to be at each others throat in their struggle for power, are now united. On Friday they attended prayers together and staged a massive demonstration calling unanimously the withdrawal of all USA/UK troops. They say that they do not care whether it is Sunni or Shiite - they want to select their own Iraqi government. They do not call the coalition "liberators" anymore but "occupiers" "invaders". Ignoring all these signs of "disaster" the coalition tries to show a brave face. For the coalition, what matters now is not the "pride and prejudice" of the liberator but the mere day to day survival, security from the ever growing protest against them.

In the meantime, all the Muslim neighbouring countries of Iraq, all 8 of them, some of them are USA's best allies in the Middle East held a forum, calling unanimously, USA/UK forces to withdraw form Iraq. In unprecedented expression of unity, all the member countries of this forum agreed unanimously on the resolution, demanding withdrawal of occupied forces from Iraq. Despite the brave face, and selected rosy media propaganda, these are the clear signs of another "liberation mission" going gravely wrong.  Having grasped the true state of affairs in Iraq, Washington is trying to "divert international attention"  by trying to engage Syria and Iran on a "collision course" with the USA.

There is a very idiomatic (or some may call "idiotic") similarity between the present situation in Iraq and a Sri Lankan story about the wood pecker. According to this popular Sri Lankan saying - the day that the wood pecker get caught up in a real mess is the day when it pecks on the wrong tree - a Banana tree. The wisdom of this story is based on a fact of nature related to a type of bird found in Asia - called wood pecker. Wood peckers are famous for pecking on hard tree trunks to make holes in for their nests etc. Banana trees provide too soft and easier a pecking for the wood pecker, but despite the softness of the banana trunk, once it starts pecking on a banana tree, the wood pecker will not find any escape from it, as its beak get caught in relatively strong fibres of the banana tree and eventually it will face a horrible death, without being able to scream for help. Idiomatic or idiotic,  isn't there an alarming similarity in the mess that the coalition has got in to in Iraq? The ground level wisdom emanating from the remote and far corners of the earth seems to carry more value compared to top level multi-million dollars worth "expert advice".

Nevertheless, it seems the coalition prefers to learn the lessons in hard way.

US Secretary of State, Colin Powell was reported to have admitted recently the USA's covert involvement in the military coup in 1973, that toppled the democratically elected, government of Salvadore Allende  in Chile.  President Salavadore Allende, who won a landslide victory in the elections in Chile had overwhelming support of the Chilean people. The new popular president of democratic Chile, became USA's number one enemy when he decided to nationalise the USA owned copper mines in Chile. Referring to this incident Colin Pwell said "It is not a part of American history that we are proud of". The fact is, as I write these lines, the "same old USA" is heavily involved in a process of writing another "part of American history" that the present and future generations of Americans should be ashamed of.

It is very unfortunate, that despite overwhelming Anti-War protest by the majority of people in Australia and UK, their short-sighted subservient leaders decided to be "willing partners" in this international crime, thus making their people carry the “stigma of guilt” and "shame" for many years to come.

Mssrs. Bush, Blair and Howard (John Howard's contribution is getting forgotten sometimes by his own masters) and the respective administrations lead by them, were very busy in the days leading up to the invasion of Iraq, to elaborate on the subject of "Saddam's Brutality and Barabarism."  Making maximum use of their privileged access to media they provided evidence of Saddam’s crimes one after the other. Nobody knows better than the Iraqi people themselves about the horrible acts of terror and crime that Saddam's regime has committed. What the USA and their friends are not telling is, whose help and silent approval did the regime in Iraq, enjoy and who directly or indirectly facilitate the regime to continue its criminal activities for decades.

There are ample evidence to prove that it was the USA, who sold Saddam ,the biological cultures for making biological weapons. Saddam was among the USA's best of friends if not the best friend , next to Israel, in the Middle East, when they helped him to attack Iran. The USA intelligence sources, showed Saddam's forces with "pin point accuracy" the location of strategic targets in Iran. Why should the world now "absolve" the perpetrators of these international dangerous liaisons?

USA as they wish, change their "bedfellows" overnight, and turn them from "best of friends" to "fierce enemies". Why should the world follow this trend un-challenged. One day they (USA) shower the "friends" with arms and help to build WMDs, and the next day they say that they are invading the "enemy"  (who was their friend a while ago) to get rid of the weapons that they provided themselves. Despite the availability of effective peaceful means, the USA break any international law at their whim, to invade weaker countries, inflicting death and maiming injuries on thousands of innocent civilians, destroying infrastructures rendering people miserable and humiliating huge masses and then, they shed crocodile tears asking the world to share the cost of "reconstruction" , to "repair" the very destruction that they themselves imposed. In the name of saving lives from death they inflict more deaths, in the name of "liberation" they impose their "dominance" on the people and "control" over their rich resources. Why should the rest of the world put up any longer with this blatant policy of hegemony of the USA?

In October 1990, at the initiative of a lobbying firm called Hill and Knowlton , the USA started a sitting in the USA senate on the subject of  "Barbarism in Iraq". Some eye witnesses" were brought in to tell the USA congressmen, chilling accounts of barbarism by Saddam's regime. One "eye witness"  described how Iraqi soldiers killed  over 300 new-born babies in one hospital alone. The sitting had the desired effect and the congressmen started to call Saddam , the "Hitler of Baghdad". However it was discovered later, that most of the stories were fabrications and the main "eye witness" brought by Hill and Knowlton, who described the killing of the babies, was none other than the daughter of the Kuwait ambassador in USA. We saw the same pattern in the days leading up to the war in Iraq. The leaders of UK, Australia and USA spent better part of their press conferences to describe chilling stories of Saddam's brutality. There was always a story related to baby, child or women, allegedly kill in one way or the other. There was always the reference to intelligent sources. John Howard of Australia of course stands out from the other two in relation to telling "stories" about babies and children. His famous "story" about the "children thrown overboard"  is a classic example. This is only one of the many stories that the Howard government fabricated to "prove" that the asylum seekers who take the risk of trying to enter Australian shores on un-seaworthy sea crafts, do not deserve to be even considered for asylum in Australia, because they are so brutal as to throw their children overboard to pressure Australia to grant permission to enter. In this regard both Tony Blair and George Bush have quite a lot to learn from Australia's John Howard.

In the same way, having created and associated with Taliban in Afghanistan for decades, USA started to shed crocodile tears about the horrible fate of the women under Taliban. Even the spouses of the leaders of USA, UK and Australia got up to the podiums to say what a horrible thing for Afghan women to be forced to  wear the "bourka", the restricting hair dress.  It seemed as they have just woken up from a deep  "siesta". Apparently when these western countries "were in bed" with Taliban they had no knowledge of how they treat their own women. It took September 11 for the West to open their eyes and to realise what a venomous creature that  they have produced and so gladly nurtured.

The Coalition has failed to give a "new spin" to the old colonial and neo colonial policy of "divide and rule". The invasion of Iraq by USA , its aftermath and "sledge hammer" diplomacy have made the various religious and ethnic fractions of Iraqi people, who were fighting each other for decades, to unite against the "invaders".  The aged long differences and fractions in Iraq, which USA was so keen to exploit in their favour, have united and turned fiercely against the USA. Any of the traditional labels that Washington is so accustomed to use in similar cases, such as  "Anti-Americanism , Muslim fundamentalism, Marxist Terrorists, Hatred against Western civilisation"  does not seem to go down very well even among their own friends, in describing the present strong and united opposition in Iraq.

It will be a "great loss of face" for coalition to pull out from the mess, which they have "created" themselves. Perhaps, the Arab nations and the rest of the nations in the world can help USA to pull out "gracefully" from this "mess" before it is too late.

Through out the recent history, there are ample examples of USA's "cowboy" approach to world affairs. During Harry Truman's presidency, following  his orders , in the morning of August 6, 1945 at 8.15 , a Boeing -B29 called Enola Gay , paved way to the nuclear arms race by  dropping the first atomic bomb named "Little Boy" on  Hiroshima. In the New York Times on the next day, the 7th August 1945, Harry Truman was quoted as saying "We have spent 2 billion dollars on the greatest scientific gamble in history - and won." This showed clearly that Truman did not understand at all what was really involved in this world catastrophe. The same "petty" and "immature" attitude is clearly evident in the same old White House even today.

Ignorance, lack of knowledge, lack of respect to the sensitivities in the region, lack of cultural and historical background of sovereign nations, lack of depth in international policy and vision, have put the USA into deep trouble once again. I wonder the "wood peckers" in the White house, Downing Street and Canberra have realised this.

This time they have "pecked"  not one but two "banana trees" - , one in Afghanistan and the other in Iraq. The USA will probably cut the ‘"rees" into pieces to save themselves, but it will not save the “strong fibres” from strangling them for many more years to come.

Dr. Mithra Fernando

[email protected]

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Author`s name Mithra Fernando