4/17/03 7:37:44 AM Pacific Daylight Time
This multi-topped circus going on over there would be laughable, if it
wasn't for the very serious consequences for Iraq and her peoples.
As it is, the hypocrisy, fraud, deceit and abuse being perpetrated
via the directives of both the covert and overt US governments has
become so utterly, so jaw-droppingly flagrant and conspicuous,
one has to wonder if this obviousness too, is somehow a part of
the larger plan?
Robert Fisk : Ministry of Oil and Ministry of Interior protected from looting
BAGHDAD - Iraq's scavengers have thieved and destroyed what they have been
allowed to loot and burn by the Americans - and a two-hour drive around Baghdad
shows clearly what the United States intends to protect, presumably for its own
After days of arson and pillage, here's a short but revealing scorecard.
US troops have sat back and allowed mobs to wreck and then burn the Ministry of
Planning, the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Irrigation, the Ministry of
Trade, the Ministry of Industry, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of
Culture and the Ministry of Information.
They did nothing to prevent looters from destroying priceless treasures of Iraq's
history in the Baghdad Archaeological Museum and in the Museum in the northern
city of Mosul, nor from looting three hospitals.
However, the Americans have put hundreds of troops inside two Iraqi ministries,
which remain untouched - and untouchable - because tanks and armoured personnel
carriers and Humvee jeeps have been placed inside and outside both institutions.
And which particular ministries proved to be so important for the Americans? Why,
the Ministry of Interior, of course - with its vast wealth of intelligence
information on Iraq - and the Ministry of Oil.
The archives and files of Iraq's most valuable asset - its oil fields and, even
more important, its massive reserves, perhaps the world's largest - are safe and
sound, sealed off the from the mobs and looters, and safe to be shared - as
Washington almost certainly intends -- with US oil companies.
It casts an interesting reflection on America's supposed war aims.
Anxious to "liberate" Iraq, it allows its people to destroy the infrastructure of
government as well as the private property of Saddam's henchmen.
Americans insist that the oil ministry is a vital part of Iraq's inheritance,
that the oil fields are to be held in trust "for the Iraqi people".
But is the Ministry of Trade - re-lit on Sunday by an enterprising arsonist - not
vital to the future of the Iraqi people? Is the Ministry of Education and the
Ministry of Irrigation - still burning fiercely yesterday -- not of critical
importance to the next Iraqi government?
The Americans, as we now know, could spare 2,000 soldiers to protect the Kirkuk
oil fields, containing probably the largest reserves in the world, but couldn't
even invest 200 soldiers to protect the Mosul museum from attack.
There was much talk of a "new posture" from the Americans yesterday. Armoured and
infantry patrols suddenly appeared on the middle-class streets of the capital,
ordering young men hauling fridges, furniture and television sets to deposit
their loot on the pavement if they could not prove ownership.
It was pitiful. After billions of dollars of government buildings, computers and
archives have been destroyed, the Americans are stopping teenagers driving
mule-driven carts loaded with worthless second-hand chairs.
There was a special anger yesterday to the crowd which now gathers every
afternoon opposite the Americans lines outside the Palestine Hotel.
On Saturday, they chanted "Peace-peace-peace - we want a new Iraqi government to
give us security."
Yesterday, some of them shouted "Bush-Saddam, they are the same."