Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Attack on Libya: West To Repeat Mistakes

The allied forces headed by France, the United Kingdom and the United States launched air attacks against the military base of the Libyan Government a few days ago. More than a hundred of missiles were fired over the course of several attacks. From early March until today, the US government has been hesitant over the matter whether or not it should launch military attacks against Libya.

Apparently, US President Barack Obama has taken into consideration how the Islamic world will view the United States if the country starts the third battleground now while the two wars the United States has involved in Iraq and Afghanistan have yet to come to an end. Will all the previous efforts Obama has taken since he assumed the presidency to restore the relations with the Islamic world go in vain?

Unwanted Troubles
The world may not remember. The day the allied forces fiercely fired missiles against Libya was also the 8th anniversary of the attacks of the US-UK allied forces against Iraq to overthrow Saddam Hussein's regime. Eight years have passed since the battle in Iraq subsided. But the pains and wounds that war has brought to the people of the United States and the United Kingdom have not gone away completely as time goes by.

If we look at the statistics, the United States and the United Kingdom had mobilized nearly 1 million troops and spent $420 billion on the war. Close to 4,000 troops of the allied forces killed in the war while the death toll of the Iraqi Government troops is 14,000. On top of that, more than 200,000 Iraqi civilians were killed or wounded in the war. From the perspective of the social cost, the two countries had not only gone to war in Middle East afar, a "civil war" was also in full swing back home. The upsurge in the anti-war campaign posed the most severe crisis to the United States and the United Kingdom since the Second World War. The opposition between the people and the government became increasingly intense.

Change of Security Order
From the perspective of the national strength, the vain involvement in a war in a foreign country that lasted for years has seriously jeopardized the national strength and international reputation of the two countries. The "Kingdom of Dollar" has turned into a "sick giant." From the perspective of international relations, the allegation that "Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction" was proven a lie. It has become a total test to the capability of the United States as the "defender of the world of freedom" and the "world police." The country's defense pledges to its allies became dubious. The change of the security order in Middle East has affected the strategic situation of the entire world.

At best, the decision of George W. Bush and Tony Blair to get involved in the Iraq War was a natural reaction to a "domino effect". The United States and the United Kingdom were worried that Saddam would control the strategic interest of the oil resources in Middle East once his power expanded. The decision-makers in White House proposed that Saddam was a strategic design of Russia and China in their plan to expand their Great Middle East Oil Strategy, the ultimate goal of which was to control Middle East. The United States and the United Kingdom strongly believed that they would definitely put down the internal strife in Iraq and win the war within a short period given the most modernized weapons and equipments of the allied forces. Ironically, the two countries had never devised a feasible Iraq War blueprint with a set of unambiguous goals.

Series of Mistakes
Militarily, their strategic arrangement was inappropriate, their tactics were bad, the efficacy of their high technology military equipments was limited and they landed in a passive position in so many aspects. The Iraq War was a non-traditional war - there was no frontier and their enemies were not readily visible. Politically, the United States and the United Kingdom had restricted themselves. First, they failed to end a war by waging another war; second, they did not want to overly offense other Middle Eastern countries. The two countries could not get out of the dilemma of peace or war; instead they became more and more entangled. They overthrew Saddam Hussein but failed to establish an Iraqi government that has the support of the Iraqi people. Both US- and UK-backed Iraqi President Jalal Talabani and Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki are not leaders with top qualities; instead they are fraught with corruption. They have no way to clean up the mess.

The Iraq strategy of the US and British Governments designed under the mentality of anti-terrorism was founded on ignorance, arrogance and a series of mistakes. They misjudged the intentions of Russia and China and the relations between the Shiite and Sunni sects; they underestimated the determination of the Shiite to commit in an armed confrontation and the combat capability of Al-Qaeda.

The United States and the United Kingdom knew nothing about the history, politics, society and culture of Middle East and did not have any expert on the issues of Iraq. They made a hasty "upholding justice" move in a completely strange country as the world police. Donald Rumsfeld, Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice, who had served in the Bush administration as high-level officials, have broken the silence one after another by openly admitting that the US involvement in the Iraq War was a "big mistake." Because of the mistake and muddled thinking of the decision-making system, the United States experienced a defeat after the Vietnam War. The Iraq War and the collective lie of the Bush administration have totally changed the political and spiritual conditions of the United States.

Man-Made Calamities
The US people should be able to learn their lessons from the bitter experience of the Iraq War. They should draw wisdom from the history and avoid making the same mistakes. Unexpectedly, while the flames of war in Iraq have yet to cease, the United States and the United Kingdom once again plunge into another vortex of unmeasurable depth. Apparently, the Americans and British have not gained better knowledge and understanding about themselves from the painful outcome of the Iraq War. They have not learned that the powers of their countries are actually limited and not invincible. In other words, the United States and the United Kingdom have not learned their lessons from their defeat in the Iraq War!

To be fair, in the tragedy of war, the defeated party of course gains no fame, but the winner has to pay a heavy moral price, too. The second decade of the new century has just begun, the new world order is not established yet. Genocide, terrorism, various forms of natural disasters and man-made calamities are found all over the world. Obviously the human race is still not able to get out of the plight of conflicts and disasters. As we enter into the 8th anniversary of the Iraq War, it is time for all human beings to reflect on how to get rid of war and save themselves out of disasters.

No comments: