The often interesting Open Democracy website is going back to those Iraqis whose opinions it canvassed before the war and asking them if they changed their mind.
The first response comes from Huda Jawad:
I was enraged at the sheer arrogance of the pro-war governments and certain European supporters of Saddam, such as France and Germany, who thought that Iraqis and those with an interest in middle-eastern history would so easily forget the technological, financial and political support they afforded Saddam and his Ba’ath party.
How dare they talk about human rights when they were the ones who supplied Saddam with sophisticated know-how regarding “interrogation” and torture techniques? Did they think we would easily forget the chemicals and weapons that they provided him with when the events of Halabja and the Anfal took place? What about the promises of freedom and democracy in 1991? Shi’a and Kurds risked their lives in response to your calls for uprising; where were the fires of freedom burning? Certainly not in Basra, Najaf or Karbala!
Many supporters of Saddam’s removal were under no illusion as to the motivation of the coalition forces for their adventure in Iraq. But, despite the hypocrisy, historical betrayal, and greedy track record of previous endeavours of “freedom” in my part of the world, I, like many others who despised Saddam and all he stood for, could not help but see the window of opportunity that those in power had conspired to open. Perhaps the thirty-year nightmare of Saddam’s regime could finally come to an end?
Imagine the joy and relief of waking up one day and not having to hide who you are, or the thought of calling up an aunt you haven’t spoken to for over twenty-six years: it was all too tantalising to miss.
Maybe it’s a hypocrisy and double standard I could live with, for a while anyway, until the Iraqis were ready to take over and govern themselves.
That was a point of view almost completely ignored in the west and almost as much by supporters of the war as well as opponents.
And on the current situaton Jawad says:
Regardless of whether the electoral process was legitimate or its outcome pre-determined, opponents of the election must heed the significance of the 8 million people who exercised their will and freedom of expression to vote in the face of extreme insecurity and instability. If anything, this is a reinforcement of the desire for a new style of government based on popular support. This cannot be ignored or dismissed as yet another conspiracy theory or an imperialist whitewash, particularly since the coalition forces were reluctant to set an election date only a few months after the toppling of Saddam’s regime.