The Iraq war was sold as vital to the national security interests of the United States and to liberate the Iraqi people from oppression. Everyone on the planet now knows that Iraq posed no threat to anyone in our country and lacked the means to protect itself from foreign invasion. Whether our intelligence gathering was worthless or our politicians were dishonest is beyond the point. We cannot resurrect all the Iraqis that have died because of our arrogance and aggression. But what of the lofty goal to free the Iraqi people? The last time I checked, occupation by foreign forces and inability to control your own territory does not qualify as freedom. The time has come for the people of Iraq to declare their independence from America and every other foreign entity operating with impunity within its borders.
Have you read our Declaration of Independence lately? You may recall it started with the following lofty paragraph:
When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
The time for the people of Iraq to dissolve its political bands to the United States. Our excuses for staying another minute within their borders are worthless. It is not our place to comment on the effectiveness or wisdom of their political structures. It is not our place to tell them which companies or countries to sell their oil. It is not our place to vet any part of their political, social, economic, religious, military, or diplomatic processes. Any suggestion to the contrary is pure, unadulterated arrogance on our part. The Iraqis should take a page from our history and demand the independence they were promised by the United States. After all, we called the invasion of their country ‘Operation Iraqi Freedom.’
Even the loyal viewers of the propaganda network owned by Rupert Murdoch know the beginning of the next paragraph of our Declaration of Independence. Even politicians professing fealty to the Republic know the words by heart.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men (and women) are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
I wonder how many of our so-called modern patriots can recite the rest of the paragraph? The gist is simple. When a form of government no longer protects the unalienable rights of its citizens, it is the right of the people to abolish that government and replace it with one better suited to meet the needs of the people.
That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.
No one in good conscience can honestly claim that the intrusive and patronizing “partnership” between the United States and Iraq serves the people of Iraq any better than the government of Great Britain served the citizens of the thirteen American colonies. Not one damn person reading my words would tolerate the privations of the people of Iraq. You would not stand for an army of occupation on your soil. You would not accept a few hours of electricity a day, a failed health care system, untreated sewage in your rivers and streets, food shortages, massive unemployment, and constant threats of violence. You would not sit quietly if a foreign power rewrote your laws to suit its political and economic interests. These evils are not sufferable and should not be tolerated by the people of Iraq. It is their right and duty to throw us out and create whatever government they feel best safeguards their own future security. Any talk of political expedience, strategic advantage, or economic benefit for the United States to continue the occupation of Iraq explicitly violates our own founding principles and the basis for our declaration of independence from the King of England. There is no justification for the government of Iraq, long established by British fiat, to have been “changed for light and transient causes.” The ever shifting justifications for the invasion of Iraq will go down in the annals of human history as the epitome of transient causes. There is even less than no justification for our continued occupation of Iraq.
Our declaration of independence goes on to list 27 grievances against the King of England. It is a long list and every American should read them to be reminded of why we created our democracy in the first place. However, I will mention a few of these grievances as they directly pertain to Iraq.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
I suppose you do not need to be reminded of “Shock and Awe,” Fallujah, Ramadi, Abu Ghraib, the thousands of documented and undocumented violent deaths on the streets of Iraq, failure to protect Iraqi national treasures and heritage, refugee crisis, skyrocketing infant mortality rate, and looming specter of rampant infectious disease. It should be the responsibility of every American to confront the consequences of our invasion by reading the recent reports of the International Committee of the Red Cross, World Health Organization, United Nations, and various human rights organizations (e.g., Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International).
For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
Most rational people would consider over 150,000 soldiers and tens of thousands of heavily armed private security contractors to more than satisfy this grievance, particularly more than four years after our president declared the mission of freeing the Iraqi people accomplished. Reponsible people the world over questioned our continued military occupation long ago; irresponsible and callous Americans still find excuses to claim that the occupation keeps them safe from terrorists, insurgents, criminals, and other evil agents.
For depriving us, in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
Name one trial by jury in Iraq. All trials have been conducted by judges using procedures and standards set up by our Department of Justice. That would be the very same Department of Justice that approved the use of torture, denied jurisdiction and habeas corpus to detainees, engaged in partisan pursuits, and failed to comply with Congressional oversight.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty and perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
More than 30 foreign private security companies, with tens of thousands of heavily armed mercenaries, roam the streets of Iraq. Apparently, the Iraqi government has no power to expell these mercenaries, or compel restitution for any acts committed on Iraqi soil.
For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
A few US soldiers have been tried for killing unarmed Iraqis by small arms fire. None have been tried or convicted of killing civilians with bombs or high caliber weapons fired from US aircraft. None of the armed foreign mercenaries (aka: security contractors) have been held personally or financially accountable for the deaths of Iraqis.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us …
I would like to believe that the sectarian violence in Iraq was completely organic to the country, reflecting long-standing personal and tribal conflicts. However, our turning a blind eye to the infiltration of Iraqi security and police forces by members of Shiite militias and our arming of Sunni militias sounds too much like “excitement” for my tastes.
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
Do the Iraqi people have the freedom to sell their oil to whatever countries they choose, including Russia and China? In case anyone has forgotten, prior to our invasion, most of the Iraqi oil was sold to Russia and China. Do the Iraqi people have the ability to commission their own contracts, at whatever terms they deem appropriate, to any company they choose? Are they free to sell their products using any currency they choose? Here is some legal background on the Iraqi Hydrocarbon Law:
What’s really new about the law is that it would open the Iraqi oil industry’s doors wide open to foreign investment. Under Saddam Hussein, foreign investment was strictly limited, as it is in most major Middle Eastern oil-producing countries. Under the new law, the Iraq National Oil Company would have exclusive control of only about 17 of Iraq’s approximately 80 known oil fields.
The law would also allow the government to negotiate different kinds of exploration and production contracts with foreign oil companies, including Production Sharing Agreements, or PSAs. Energy lawyers favor these because they allow oil companies to secure long-term deals and book oil reserves as assets on their company balance sheets. A report on the future of Iraq’s oil industry from the International Tax and Investment Center, an industry organization whose board includes senior officials of the world’s largest publicly held oil and oil services companies, as well as partners from five Global 100 firms, confirms that’s exactly what the energy industry has been pressing for.
It is time for those of us with a conscience to stand with the people of Iraq and demand their freedom without excuses, conditions, benchmarks, or further delay. The people of Iraq have been subjected to conditions far worse than the residents of the American colonies. We need to value their freedoms as much as we value our own. Show your solidarity for Iraqi freedom by peaceful protests, such as those planned for October 27, letters to the editor, and unrelenting pressure on our elected officials. The mantra “we do not have the votes” means we lack the conviction to stand up for the principles upon which the United States was founded. Speaker Pelosi, put on your sharpest heels and drive them into the throat of Steny Hoyer, “Blue Dogs,” Republicans, and anyone else that gets in your way. (Madam Speaker, at least your recent statements give me reason to hope.) Senator Reid, put away your tired excuses about trying to protect a thin majority or risk losing it in a year from now. Excuses are the refuge of cowards. We owe the people of Iraq their freedom to run their country as they see fit, break it into as many pieces as they feel comfortable, and act in their own best interests, even if those actions are not in the best interest of the United States.
Let me show you what freedom is not and why I have absolutely no respect for anyone that wants to continue our occupation of Iraq. The following statements come from Iraqi children interviewed by MSNBC. The children were asked about their favorite and least favorite thing, along with their hopes for the future. It was their least favorite thing about life in Iraq that stood out. These are not the words of children who see themselves as liberated by our arrogant invasion and occupation of their country. These are the words of children growing up believing that we, a country supposedly dedicated to the principles of democracy and freedom, have “destroyed the lives of the people.” Look at each of their faces and imagine what they have seen. And just for laughs, go ask your own children what is their favorite and least favorite thing about their lives. You will not get answers like these:
Muhammed Sabba, age 8.
Least favorite thing: car bombs.
Rawan Muhammed Fawzi, age 5.
Least favorite thing: When they are shooting. The Americans came into our house and looked through our house. Then they interrogated my mum.
Hussein Abdeen Ali, age 12.
Least favorite thing: the situation! I hope that it will become calm. You want this horrible situation to stop.
Abdurahman Muhammed Hussein Arradhi, age 10.
Least favorite thing: I hate the day the Americans killed my dad. That was the worst.
Ahlam Muhammed Feleyah, age 9.
Least favorite thing: I don’t like the Americans because they attacked Iraq.
Ahmed Issam, age 11.
Least favorite thing: All the war and destruction.
Muhammed Talal Muhammed al-Harbi, age 11.
Least favorite thing. I don’t like the Americans because they murdered my brother a month ago. His name was Hisham, and he was 24 years old.
Ayah Ali Abderadha, age 11.
Least favorite thing: The awful situation because we are afraid of going out.