Iraq a prescription for misery
NEW YORK- Christo-pher Buckley, author and humourist, did
a brilliant satire last week on a fictional Q and A on the impending
war on Iraq.
Asked how long
it would take for post-war American reconstruction and "nation
building" in a battle-scarred Iraq, Buckley said it could take
six to nine months, depending on how long it takes to rapidly deploy
McDonalds and Starbucks - not to mention Kentucky Fried Chicken
and Pizza Hut fast food restaurants in Baghdad. Well, how will US
soldiers be sure they have eliminated the real Saddam Hussein when
there are identical "doubles" of the Iraqi President floating
around Baghdad?. With tongue firmly in cheek, Buckley says that
the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has estimated some 8 million
Saddam Hussein look-alikes in Iraq.
After the American
invasion, he said, the doubles which are reportedly kept in the
basement of presidential palaces in Baghdad, will be individually
tagged and taken to the US military base in Guantanamo, Cuba, where
they will be sorted and undergo DNA analysis so that the actual
Saddam Hussein can be tried for "crimes against humanity."
Even US Secretary of State Colin Powell has not lost his sense of
humour despite trying political circumstances. At an after-dinner
speech in New York on Thursday, Powell said the US had been scrupulously
monitoring elections taking place in several countries in the world
last week- in Brazil, Pakistan and even in Iraq.
As Powell would
joke, one of Saddam Hussein's senior aides tells the president:
"Supreme leader, you have been re-elected president with 99.99
percent of the votes". But the Iraqi leader seems unhappy despite
the overwhelming votes in his favour. "What else do you want,
Supreme Leader," the aide asks. "I want all those who
didn't vote for me," says Saddam Hussein, probably hoping to
hang them all, as Powell's audience breaks into laughter. Even the
political inconsistencies of the US position on Iraq have lent themselves
to satirical barbs.
it was the US which provided Iraq with military equipment, satellite
photos and even material for chemical and biological weapons, when
the Iraqis were fighting an eight year long war against neigbouring
Iran during 1980-1988. While Iraq and the United States are the
butt of all jokes here, the UN Security Council struck a serious
note last week when the 114-member Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), the
largest single political grouping in the 191-member world body,
stood firm in its opposition to the impending war.
behalf of NAM, South African Ambassador Dumisani Shadrack Kumalo
said: "We would rather this be resolved in a peaceful manner."
the stand taken by the US, NAM wants the Security Council to allow
UN arms inspectors to return to Iraq without further delay.
Saddam Hussein has already invited inspectors into the country,
but the US is seeking a new Council resolution that would toughen
the inspectors' mandate before they could leave for Baghdad in search
of Iraq's nuclear, biological and chemical weapons. If Iraq fails
to cooperate, the US would automatically launch a military attack.
But an overwhelming majority of member states oppose any spontaneous
attacks and want the US to come back to the Security Council for
a second resolution authorising the attack.
an open meeting of the Security Council, Kumalo said that 11 years
of UN sanctions have brought "endless suffering to the ordinary
people" in Iraq. "We hope that the Security Council would
despatch the inspectors to Iraq as soon as possible, and allow the
people of Iraq to focus their attention on rebuilding their country."
meeting, which is customarily confined to its five permanent and
10 non-permanent members, was opened to all 191 member states, specifically
to debate Iraq. The proposal for an open meeting was initiated by
South Africa, on behalf of NAM. Even Sri Lanka, in one of those
rare decisions to address the Security Council, took the floor to
welcome the Iraqi government's offer to allow UN arms inspectors
into the country without any conditions. Ambassador C. Mahendran,
Sri Lanka's Permanent Representative to the UN, told the Council:
"We hope that Iraq's decision will pave the way for the weapons
inspectors to resume their work without further delay in that country
towards the elimination of weapons of mass destruction."
and economic stability of the Middle East in general, and Iraq in
particular, is also an important factor for Sri Lanka because of
prolific tea markets in the region.
The Middle East
is also home for millions of Sri Lankan migrant workers who are
one of the country's biggest foreign exchange earners.
every single country making a plea against a unilateral US attack
on Iraq, there was speculation by late Friday that Washington was
willing to compromise by initiating a second round of discussions
in the Security Council before launching an attack.