Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Iraq and us

Canada going into the fray? The West supporting the guerrilla Peshmerga? The Peshmerga have been fighting a generations-long battle for an independent Kurdistan. The US was killing them a short decade ago. How could Western Intelligence get it so wrong? How could they failed to predict the rise of ISIS? The joke we’ve had for years is reality: “Military intelligence is an oxymoron.” (an internal contradiction.)    

Canada should not be adding violence to violence. What should we be doing? We should be recruiting hearts and minds by prominently supplying humanitarian aid to victims; we should be supplying well-trained peace-keeping troups to provide security. We should be searching for ways to decrease the levels of violence, to give the next generation less fertile ground for extremism. We should supply teachers and community development workers, mental health counselors and “lady health workers”. Diverting the cost of those CF-18’s to decreasing violence would be far more courageous than dropping a bomb from an airplane.

Women are still having babies under those drones and fighter jets – and they and their babies are dying for lack of care. For eight years, the Society of Rural Physicians of Canada (SRPC) sponsored a project in Northern Iraq. We were teaching emergency obstetrical skills. Now would be the time to launch another project, one of "working with" doctors, nurses, midwives and others struggling under difficult circumstances to care for the women and newborns. The previous project was cut by the Harper version of CIDA. Maybe it could be revitalized in the light of Harper’s verbal commitment to the health of women and babies.

In 2003, we met a convoy of trucks, Iraqi building contractors who were returning from a fruitless attempt to repatriate the contracts for rebuilding infrastructure. The spokesperson said, “Around the construction site are hundreds of young men with nothing to do. If they aren’t given jobs they will make trouble.”  

Well, they didn’t get jobs. Billions of dollars went to US contractors to do shoddy work on bridges, sanitation systems, etc.  ISIS was predictable.  The weapons manufacturers are rubbing their hands in glee – how marvelous that both sides are using the same weapons! Addicted to a never-ending escalation of new bullets.