SYED TAUSIEF AUSAF lashes out at the US policies which are based on injustice and deceit, and asks when justice would be meted out to the ever increasing number of victims of oppression.
The judge who has ruled that Iran must pay $2.65 billion to the families of the 241 US servicemen killed in the 1983 Beirut bombing owes a cogent reply to an important question. When and how much will the US pay to the tens of thousands of Iraqis and Afghans who have been wilfully maimed, in some cases raped, executed and blown up by the invading US army in the last six years?
The US court has convicted Iran for supporting Hizbullah, allegedly behind the attack, but who will try the US troops who go on the rampage in their mad pursuit of invisible terrorists? Survivors and families shed tears of joy over the news of compensation and the judge said: “These individuals, whose hearts and souls were forever broken, waited patiently for nearly a quarter century for justice to be done.” But are there any compensation plans for those killed in Iraq and Afghanistan by the trigger-happy US troops?
Hundreds of weeping Americans crowded into the courtroom stood and erupted in applause and hugs to see justice being delivered for Hizbullah’s alleged crime. And a year ago, they wholeheartedly supported the naked Israeli aggression against Lebanon carried out on the pretext of hitting Hizbullah. Hundreds of housing blocks were levelled by Israeli air raids resulting in the deaths of thousands of innocent men, women and children. George Bush, Condoleezza Rice and Dick Cheney gave the Zionists a free hand to wreak havoc. Who will sue these self-styled world policemen for their abetment of state terrorism and crime against humanity in the heart of Beirut?
The ruling allows nearly 1,000 family members and a handful of survivors to try to collect Iranian assets from various sources around the world. In other words, it will be an organised state-backed loot of the property in various cities belonging to a sovereign and independent nation.
Billions of dollars are to be paid (or extracted from Iran) because the dead were Americans. But what about the compensation for the Iraqis killed during US airstrikes? Why has no commander or pilot been charged yet for the recent pre-dawn blitz on a Baghdad neighbourhood in which 14 sleeping civilians were killed and several houses were destroyed?
Compensation claims from families whose loved ones were killed during American action in Iraq and Afghanistan are gathering dust. The Americans who never get tired of teaching the world lessons of equality and justice clearly have another yardstick for the people and their troops’ massacre in foreign lands. And it appears that fairplay and admission of mistakes is alien to the White House. Therefore, the resignation of Colin Powell, the removal of Paul Bremer and the ouster of Donald Rumsfeld could not make Bush realise that the advice to wage wars given to him by neo con friends Dick Cheney and Richard Perle was wrong.
Thousands of court martial proceedings and military investigations into the killings of civilians by US soldiers are either frozen or moving at snail’s pace. In most cases, the soldiers are acquitted. The reason is their shameful dependence on the term “collateral damage.” The US corporate media mutes any talk of civilian casualties first by framing any such news with “Taliban (or Al Qaeda) claims that….” and then happily putting the matter to rest with “Pentagon spokesman said…” This is the reason they shamelessly kill civilians with impunity.
When US warplanes strafed (with AC-130 gunships) the farming village of Chowkar-Karez, 25 miles from Kandahar in Afghanistan, killing at least 93 civilians, a Pentagon official had the audacity to say: “The people there are dead because we wanted them dead. The reason? They sympathised with the Taliban.”
Not long ago, an American helicopter fired on a wedding party in western Iraq, close to the Syrian border, killing more than 40 people, including many children. The file was closed after the raid was declared as a legitimate attack on terrorist suspects who had opened fire on the coalition troops.
And the cover is provided to such abominable acts by the biased and blind US media in the form of “the report cannot be independently verified”.
Despite all the military, diplomatic and media tactics, Washington is not winning in Iraq and Afghanistan. Iraq was much calmer under Saddam Hussein than it is now under the US coalition. No one heard of Al Qaeda in Iraq during the Saddam era, nor were there suicide bombings.
Taliban still have parts of Afghanistan under their control. They are emboldened by the success of the abduction of 23 South Koreans. It fetched them millions. They have vowed to continue kidnapping foreigner missionaries as the tactic has proved to be an effective tool against the government. Hamid Karzai – the mayor of Kabul – is a mute spectator. Nato forces are calling the shots and there seems to be no end to the bloody summer.
Osama bin Laden is alive and kicking. So are Ayman Al Zwahiri and Mullah Omar, the most wanted men.
The US military casualty figure in Iraq is about to hit the 4,000 mark. More than a million Iraqis have died in the post-war violence. The much-touted reconstruction work is yet to take off. Iraq watchers are yet to see people holding garlands for the US troops, as was predicted by Dick Cheney. Commentators are yet to see the evidence of a connection between the Saddam government and Al Qaeda and Saddam’s biological weapons or hidden nuclear arsenal. Suicide blasts have become the order of the day. Unemployment is at the highest level. The police force is plagued by sectarianism. Shia militias are on the prowl. War widows are turning to prostitution.
Next week will start off with testimony to Congress by Gen. David Petraeus, the top US commander in Iraq. Tuesday also marks the sixth anniversary of the worst terror attacks on US soil. The least the Americans can do to salvage the US credibility (if any) is not let Bush raise again the spectre of terrorism. Bush has been hoodwinking the gullible Americans into thinking that subjugating states around Israel is a must to ensure the security of the US.
The most unpopular President in the history of the US still has more than a year in office and he has been itching to bring Tehran to its knees before he leaves. After seeing the two debacles, the Americans would have hopefully realised that any misadventure in Iran could be catastrophic.
Could the IAEA, the European Union, Israel or for that matter the US pin down Iran where 3,000 centrifuges are running now to produce uranium? No, they couldn’t.