"It was supposed to be a blitzkrieg. Shortly before I quitted my post, a colleague in the Cabinet told me that I shouldn’t worry about by-effects that the war might have to our political career. He said, the war would end long before elections scheduled for May."
Britain's Former Foreign Secretary Robin Cook says he hopes people expecting quick victory in the Iraqi war will be right. For Cook's part, he says he has had enough bloody and needless war. "I want our troops back home before they kill each other."
"Bush, wonderfully guarded in Camp David may say that the war will last as long as it should be. It’s easy to demonstrate you are so much resolute if you are not one of the unlucky guys caught by sandstorms in the desert and waiting for a sniper shot any moment.
This week British troops were brave in assaults and firm under incredibly severe weather conditions. They are too disciplined to speak openly about it, but I think they ask themselves why British troops must pay for mistakes committed by American politicians. We were said the Iraqi army would be very happy to be attacked and wouldn't even fight. A colleague of Donald Rumsfeld's predicted the strike on Baghdad would be a "walk". We were said Saddam's troops would surrender. Several days before the war Vice-president Dick Cheney predicted the Iraqi Republican Guards would lay arms. Also, they said local population of Iraq would greet the coalition troops as liberators. US Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz promised our tanks would be welcomed with "outbursts of joy and relief."
I would like to send Rumsfeld, Cheney and Wolfowitz to Iraq to follow the events together with the journalists on the front line. It would be a chance for them to hear what soldiers forcing every bridge across Euphrates actually think about their promises. US's high-ranking General William Wallace betrayed the secret: "The enemy we are fighting with turned out to be not as we represented it to be from computer action games." A war isn't a safe game in a computer class. One cannot wage a war expecting that army of the enemy would be on one's side. But this is exactly how George W. Bush acted. And now when the US Marines have reached Baghdad, he seems to be hardly understanding what should be done next.
Everything was supposed to be in a different way. Saddam was to have been overpowered by the time when the coalition troops were close to Baghdad. Several days before my resignation I was assured Saddam would be overthrown by his people in order to save their skin. I was even said the exact time when it was supposed to have happened. But the moment has come and passed by, but Saddam still rules the country. To compensate our failures we blew up the Saddam statue in Basra. It's not the statue that scares the local population but the man himself, but the people know he is still in Baghdad. Having driven us in the deadlock, Rumsfeld invented new tactics. Now, instead of seizing Baghdad, we will stand near the city until Saddam surrenders. A siege is the cruelest form of waging a war. The people are starving, they have no water, children are dying.
The instance of Basra may show you what will happen in besieged Baghdad. Citizens have been sitting without water under the hot son for several days there. Driven to despair, they drink water from the river where sewage falls. There is every condition for cholera outbreak.
Last week President Bush promised that "Iraq would see America's compassion." Now Iraqis don't see it at all, they don't see it in Baghdad. Instead, they see dead bodies of children and women killed by missiles in the marketplace. They don't see compassion in Basra either. Instead, they see families suffering without water, without food and being unable to cook meals. If the sufferings continue, the war we have started in Iraq will instill only hatred for the West in the Iraqi population for a long time.
Washington was mistaken saying victory would be easy. It may be also mistaken saying post-war restoration of Iraq will be easy. At present, the USA and Great Britain have seriously different opinions on the problem. This can be seen from the dispute concerning control over the port of Umm Qasr. British officers offered a reasonable solution that would be welcomed by Iraqis themselves: they suggested to entrust control over the city to competent residents of Umm Qasr. Instead, the USA found an American company to control the port. You know, a company which chairman is known as a benefactor of the Republican Party got the contract.
The dispute between Blair and Bush concerning UN's participation in the post-war restoration of Iraq is more than the dispute concerning the legitimacy of our actions in Iraq with respect to the international law. This is the dispute on whether Iraqis can be sure the country is ruled in their own interests, not in the interests of the USA. We all were witnesses of the sad and touching farewell ceremony to our brave soldiers perished in Iraq. The Defense Department said the soldiers would be buried in Great Britain to show sympathy to their families. We must take efforts to relieve the sorrow of the families who lost their husbands and sons in the prime of life. I cannot but ask myself if there is a better method to sympathize with these families. It would be better to wage a war, a needless war which proves to be poorly prepared." Islam.Ru
Translated by Maria Gousseva
Picture by Islam.Ru: Robin Cook
Read the original in Russian: http://accidents.pravda.ru/accidents/2003/10/35/285/9288_Kuk.html
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