Millennium Post

Licence to shell: exceptionalism?

What the United States sanctioned in Iraq on Friday has been rehearsed by various occupants of White House ad nauseam: a unilateral offensive disguised as humanitarian intervention. Iraq, reeling under brutalities committed by Sunni militants of the extremist group ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Levant/al-Sham), is perhaps experiencing a nauseating déjà vu, when 11 years back, in 2003, it was invaded in the name of finding weapons of mass destruction.

Once again, the US has ordered carpet bombing of the civil war-torn country without taking the United Nations, or any other of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, into confidence. Nor has the US prepared its fighter pilots to flawlessly identify the ISIS strongholds, or the militant hideouts, as it goes about like a bull in china shop destroying everything in its way.

American drone strikes have claimed more lives than many other operations in Af-Pak and West Asian hinterlands, even though they have been ostensibly conducted to facilitate regime change, to liberate people from so-called oriental despots, who, more often than not, were really former puppets gone rogue. Iraq witnessed the fall of Saddam Hussein with undisguised horror, even though the dictator himself was guilty of ethnocide, chemical warfare and other crimes against humanity. Yet the graveyard of foreign policy that has been Iraq since the 2003 US-led Nato invasion is evidently the lesson that a piggish Washington refuses to learn.

Even though ISIS is creating havoc in Iraq, targeting and executing Yazidis, Shias, beheading Iraqi soldiers, destroying millennial Judeo-Christian shrines, and giving the government of Nouri al Maliki a proper nightmare, how can US aerial bombing be a solution at all? Not only will this ensure tens of thousands of civilian deaths in the name of exterminating the ISIS demons, it will destroy whatever is left of infrastructure in Iraqi cities. It is hardly a secret how American companies have been staggering beneficiaries of reconstruction work carried out in the war-ravaged country after 2003, and US, European and Israeli defence behemoths have made a killing sustaining the ‘war against terror.’

On the one hand, US has armed rebels in Syria, Libya and other countries, whose rogue factions have merged with ISIS, while on the other, it is trying, once again, to engage in moral grandstanding as it bombs ISIS artillery that was targeting Kurdish forces defending Ebril. But American war planes bombing ISIS hotspots are hardly expected to bring the militants to their knees, while certainly guaranteeing a civilian death toll exceeding thousands. Given that the US itself is one of the chief architects of this ‘international emergency,’ how can we endure all over again its unilateral actions in a sovereign country?          

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