I just finished reading an article written by Waiel Faleh, an Associated Press writer in Baghdad who stated, "The state-owned weekly Al-Iktisadi covered its front page Wednesday with a photograph of a burning World Trade Center tower and a two-word headline in red: 'God's Punishment.' The daily Al-Jumhuriya, in a front-page editorial, said the lesson the United States should have drawn from Sept. 11 was that its policies inspired hatred. Many Arabs have linked Sept. 11 to a sense in the region that Washington unfairly sides with Israel and that its Iraqi policy has hurt ordinary citizens here."
Faleh goes on to quote Ali Ahmed, a 47-year-old who owns a Baghdad stationary shop as saying, "Events like Sept. 11 are sad but it is an opportunity for the American people to feel what bombing could do to nations. America has proven it has no respect for nations by wanting to change the government in Iraq. How would an American feel toward someone who wants to change his government?" Faleh also quotes Sameera Kadhim, a 53-year-old housewife as saying, "If they enjoy seeing us suffer under sanctions for 12 years, we should enjoy seeing them suffer. My children never stop asking me at night, 'When is America going to bomb us?'" Al-Jumhuriya added, "America used the (Sept. 11) events to increase its hostile policy against nations under the pretext of anti-terrorism."
Perhaps these Iraqi citizens should look back on the events that led up to the bombing of Iraq and the present concerns over Iraqi policies. Perhaps then, the Iraqi citizens will realize that "Iraqi policy has hurt ordinary citizens" there. The United States attacked Iraq only after Iraq had invaded Kuwait and overthrown the Kuwaiti government. I am sure that the Kuwaiti people did not ask to be invaded. Nor did they ask to have their citizens raped and killed, their oil fields set on fire and their government overthrown. I'm sure that many Israeli children ask their mothers every night when the suicide bombings will stop. No one is quoting Kurdish children as asking their mothers, "When will Iraq spray us with poison gas again?" I don't think the Iranian people would welcome Saddam Hussein as their leader either.
Maybe the Iraqi people should review recent history and realize just who the aggressor has been. Maybe then they could understand the concerns that the United States has over Iraq's ability to create and possess chemical, biological and nuclear weapons. The United States has had these weapons for much longer than Iraq. We have only used nuclear weapons twice, as a means to end a war, but never to start one. Saddam Hussein, however, has, or soon will have, these weapons and has already shown an eagerness and willingness to use these weapons to assert his policies.
As to enjoying seeing Iraqi citizens suffer, I don't remember anyone dancing in the streets when Desert Storm began. The loss of life on all sides was regrettable and could have been avoided. Hussein was forewarned of military action and given the chance to withdraw from Kuwait. Only when these warnings were ignored was military action taken and when Kuwait was liberate, the war ended. No one warned the citizens of Kuwait that Iraqi troops would plunder their country and no one forewarned the citizens of many nations that they would be attacked on Sept. 11, 2001.
We must never forget that not only did U.S. citizens die in the Gulf War and on Sept. 11, 2001, but that people of many countries died as well. The attacks on Kuwait and the United States should serve as warnings to citizens of all nations that there are people in this world who will use all that is within their means to impart their beliefs and way of life on others. To respond to the Al-Jumuriya, perhaps Iraq "has used the (Gulf War) events to increase its hostile policy against nations under the pretext of 'God's Punishment.'"