Image: US Secretary of State John Kerry looks over Baghdad. Source: Associated Press.
A photo emerged of the United States of America’s Secretary of State, John Kerry, travelling over Baghdad, the capital city of Iraq, in a recent visit to the region.
As a Jordanian who have witnessed relatively nothing compared to Iraqis due to the aftermath of the American invasion on Iraq in 2003, I couldn’t help but wonder what might an American politician be thinking while he flies over a country, which was once an icon of civilisation.
Let’s put ourselves in his mind, his shoes, and his exact mental state at that moment his eyes hover around a country, now flooded with terrorism, destruction and extremism. He may be saying to himself: ‘Thank God we Americans exist to save Iraq from yet another dark future.’ That is the most obvious one. He might still think that Iraq needs that 2003 invasion again. You know, the 8-year invasion, which killed around half a million Iraqis. The 8-year invasion, which made hundreds of thousands of children homeless and orphans, and the 8-year invasion which not only turned off the beacon of light which lit the region, but also destroyed it. Kerry, as his speeches say, might be thankful that wise politicians like himself, and President Bush previously, exist to save the nation again.
He also may be saying to himself, that because around 5,000 service members from the U.S army died in that Iraqi war back in 2003, this time he will not be sending them on actual foot. This time, he will just manage the politics of Iraqis, airstrike their country, choose their leaders, finance their army, and take their oil. The most important thing is not to put more American lives at stake.
The least possible thought on his mind, but probably the most appropriate one on mine is: ‘Oh God what have we done! 11 years of war, and I still can only fly over the Green Zone (the area around the Republican Palace in Central Baghdad where security is very tight). The city looks so grey, so sad, so dark’. Yes, Mr. Kerry, you are right. The city, which you are now flying over, was a beacon of civilization. It was the city where everyone dreamed of visiting. Iraq was a country, which welcomed Arabs for free education. It had world ranking universities and stunning cities. I know Mr. Kerry, that you as a Western, believe in diversity and that Iraq needed you so you could bring in democracy. Well, did you know that Iraq’s first Minister of Finance was Sir Sassoon Eskell (in office: 1921-1925), a Jew? Yes, Muslims, Christians and Jews lived side-by-side, celebrated occasions, held authoritative positions equally and enjoyed coexistence.
You are right Mr. Kerry, Baghdad does look dark. The reason may be the constant bloodshed. Or the extremism that is costing Iraqis their army, their young men and women, their resources, their power, and most importantly their country.
‘What have we done’ is the most suitable expression Mr. Kerry, and whatever remorse you might (not) be feeling, is ineffective.
The future of Iraq is bleak, unclear and unhopeful. But I am hopeful that you and your colleagues will once do the right thing and punish those of you who initiated the original war on Iraq then help it prosper like it once used to, and just step away. That is what Iraq needs, a helping hand, and not a meddling one.