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American and Muslim view on the Iraq war

By Gibril F Haddad

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"I've gone through enough wars to know that it's always dirty, that civilians are always the first victims. But the way it was happening here, it was insane."


What is the view on the Iraq war from a traditional, scholarly Islamic perspective?


The "traditional, scholarly Islamic perspective" on the 2003 Iraq war is the same as the American perspective of the rule of law and justice and accountability.

Namely, that the US-British invasion of Iraq - is "New World Order" interventionism and intimidation against Islam and Muslims, and
- that it was an illegal war;
- that it ignored the majority will of the United Nations;
- that its conduct violated the Geneva Conventions;
- that it was conducted at devastating cost to an innocent civilian population, to Iraq's cultural heritage, and to its administrative infrastructure;
- that it was about short-term oil and defence contracts and long-term financial and strategic empire with Arab complicity and making a few rich Americans richer; and
- that it was also a war on the truth because there was special targeting of journalists.

Even in the US Congress there is "irritation at what they view as a lack of accountability and responsiveness by the Bush administration to questions about Iraq, both before and after the war" according to the Washington Post - expired link (before 2023-02-04) .

Washington's only reaction at the recent "universal incompetence" suit recently (AFP wire, May 14) brought in Brussels against General Tommy Franks for his alleged crimes during the Iraq war (including firing on ambulances as "legitimate targets" and using cluster bombs on civilian areas) was furor.

So we have lack of accountability and responsiveness at home, lack of accountability and responsiveness abroad. Responsibility for this lies at the feet of the Congress and Senate. If you don't use the brakes you're going to hit the guy in front of you.

It seems this Mount Rushmore / Statue of Liberty mediatized President IS all but unaccountable in his own mind and those of his circle of supporters. As an icon of patriotism he is above the law. A reader's contribution in the May 11, 2003 Salt Lake Tribune states: - expired link (before 2023-02-04) sltrib.com/2003

As someone committed to the rule of law, domestically and internationally, as the best principle any society can follow, I object to the Iraq war as a serious violation of that principle by the Bush administration.

Attacking Iraq under U.N. Resolution 1441 without the consent of the U.N. Security Council, as the United States did, was a breach of international law. Using cluster bombs in civilian areas during the war, as the United States did, was a violation of several international agreements, and unexploded remnants from those bombs are still killing Iraqi children who see them as toys. Failure to stop a host of crimes committed by Iraqis as the war wound down, as the United States failed to do, violated several international treaties and agreements.

Of course, it's nice to have Saddam out of the way, but it's both morally and legally wrong to look the other way when considering how that was accomplished. The Bush administration broke laws in Iraq, and consequently committed crimes there, and those crimes should be investigated. Nothing less will do to provide justice to the thousands of innocent Iraqis victimized by coalition forces.

Laurent Van der Stockt, a photographer working for the Gamma agency and under contract for the New York Times Magazine, who followed the advance of the 3/4 Marines (3rd battalion, 4th regiment) for three weeks, up to the taking of Baghdad on April 9, said in an interview with Michel Guerrin in the French daily LE MONDE, April 12, 2003: "With my own eyes I saw about fifteen civilians killed in two days. I've gone through enough wars to know that it's always dirty, that civilians are always the first victims. But the way it was happening here, it was insane."
- expired link (before 2023-02-04) informationclearinghouse.info
- expired link (before 2023-02-04) counterpunch.org

Robert Fisk said in The Independent of 17 April 2003: "[T]he people of Baghdad are asking who is behind the destruction of their cultural heritage: the looting of the archaeological treasures from the national museum; the burning of the entire Ottoman, Royal and State archives; the Koranic library; and the vast infrastructure of the nation we claim we are going to create for them."
- expired link (before 2023-02-04) argument.independent.co.uk

"I was one of the first journalists to walk in to the National Archaeological Museum and the National Library of Archives with all the Ottoman and state archives and the Koranic Library of the Ministry of Religious Endowment and all were burned. Petrol was poured on these documentations and they were all burned in 3000 degrees of heat.

"Ironically, with all that irony, I managed to rescue 26 pages of the Ottoman documentation, the Ottoman library. Documents of Ottoman armies, camel thieves, letters from the sheriff Hussein of Mecca to Ali Pasha (Ottoman ruler of Baghdad) and when I got to the Jordanian border the Jordanian customs authorities stole these documents from me and refused to even give me a receipt for them, a shattering comment I'm afraid to say on the Arab world but particularly on the American occupation of Baghdad.

"After the Koranic Library was set on fire I raced to the headquarters of the Third Marine Force Division in Baghdad and I said there is this massive Koranic Library on fire and I said what can you do? And under the Geneva Conventions the US Occupation Forces have a moral, whatever occupations forces there are, and they happen to be American, have a legal duty to protect documents and various embassies. There was a young officer who got on the radio and said "there was some kind of Biblical library on fire," biblical for heavens sake, and I gave him a map of the exact locations, the collaterals on the locations to the marines and nobody went there, and all the Korans were burned, Korans going back to the 16th Century totally burned."

Robert Fisk, Interview with Amy Goodman, ZNet, April 2003

Hajj Gibril
GF Haddad

"In any case, what Westerners call civilization, the others would call barbarity, because it is precisely lacking in the essential, that is to say, a principle of a higher order."
René Guénon, East And West, 1924

صلّى الله على سيّدنا محمّد و على آله و صحبه و سلّم

The blessings and peace of Allah on the Prophet, his Family, and his Companions, ( sallAllahu `aleihi wa sallam ) .



Related texts


* Living Islam – Islamic Tradition *