Wow. So the NST printed my response to Mukhriz Mahathir’s reponse to me the day after I sent it in.
(It’s now confirmed – 750,000 lives saved by Bush.)
And they edited it in such a way as to be quite a bit more belligerent, combative and self sure than my original (for example, referring to ‘Mukhriz’ by his first name and the 40% shooting deaths thing). And also less snarky, heh! They also shifted the nuance away from the fact that terrorism in Iraq is really all about Muslims killing Muslims, which is to be expected of course.
My original letter and the citation links are at bottom for comparison.
And as is quite frequent, the title they gave doesn’t accurately convey the actual content.
This is much more editing than my letters have usually undergone – sometimes they would be published word for word, or with only one paragraph removed.
I don’t know if Mukhriz Mahathir himself will have the time to respond again, seeing as now has been given a Deputy Minister post in the Ministry of International Trade and Industry and might be pretty busy.
I also got a call from the NST the morning this letter was publised. Apparently, ISIS (Institute of Strategic and International Studies) wants to get in touch with me for some reason. I’m wondering what for.
The NST guy said it wasn’t anything bad, and it least it isn’t Mukhriz Mahathir’s Perdana Global Peace Organisation, which would mean it’s probably looking for a good intellectual scrap. Or Chandra Muzaffar’s JUST (International Movement For A Just World), ‘cos he’s a renown America and Bush critic.
IRAQ WAR: Was it so rosy under Saddam?
By : SCOTT THONG YU YUEN, Ipoh
I REFER to the letter on the Iraq war from Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir of the Perdana Global Peace Foundation (“Invasion can’t be justified” — NST, April 9).
Mukhriz mentions “1,200,000 innocent men, women and children” killed during the invasion and occupation of Iraq by American troops, but not once does he mention that of these innocent civilians killed, the vast and overwhelming majority were the victims of terrorists, not troops under former US president George W. Bush’s orders.
Does Mukhriz not acknowledge that the vast majority of those that the American troops targeted and killed were not civilians, but illegal combatants who were trying to kill soldiers and civilians?
Or that these terrorists were bombing their own Iraqi brothers and sisters in marketplaces and mosques in order to bully them into acquiesence?
Or that the “illegal American occupiers” often went out of their way and put themselves at additional risk in order to avoid civilian casualties?
Does he not acknowledge that the same Opinion Research Business survey he quotes from also states that 21 per cent died of car bombs, four per cent of sectarian violence and one per cent of kidnappings?
That is more than a quarter of all deaths clearly not due to the direct acts of American soldiers. And this does not include the 40 per cent of casualties from shootings that the terrorist thugs were responsible for.
Does he not acknowledge that if these terrorists — many of them foreign interlopers, not Iraqis — had kept out of the conflict, the 28,000 additional American troops would not have been sent to Iraq by Bush?
What did the terrorists, these so-called “freedom fighters”, accomplish besides killing most of the “1,200,000 innocent men, women and children” that Mukhriz grieves for?
Does Mukhriz not acknowledge that during the Anbar Awakening, the Iraqis themselves rose against al-Qaeda’s atrocities, a stance that persists today? Or is it simply too inconvenient a fact that Iraqis would side with the American occupiers over their own brethren?
He boldly claims, too, that going to war — including on a false pretext — cannot create peace. Does he refuse to admit that Iraqis today have more peace and freedom than any time in the past 30 years of despotism and deprivation?
Does he refuse to admit that the violent death rate has undeniably dropped to peacetime levels, with 85 per cent of Iraqis polled by the British Broadcasting Corporation last month describing the current situation as being “very good” or “quite good”?
Or was life really all that rosy under the brutal reign of Saddam Hussein?
Sadly, this is all too often the state of things whenever the Iraq conflict is brought up. Bush is thoroughly demonised to the point that the entire context of the invasion and the subsequent al-Qaeda war on ordinary Iraqis are totally ignored.
This letter is the third in the series. Previously:
My original letter I sent in below the fold. Parts I wish to point out and contrast to the NST edited version are bolded.
Iraq conflict: Why no mention of the terrorists’ role or Iraqi opinion?
I am surprised that none other than the respected Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir himself has deemed my thoughts on the Iraq War worthy of a response. I humbly request to be given the chance to respond in turn to his letter, IRAQ WAR: Invasion can’t be justified.
Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir seems to speak of ’1,200,000 innocent men, women and children’ killed during the invasion and occupation of Iraq as if George W. Bush himself had strangled them with his own two hands.
Not once does he find it worthy to mention the fact that of the innocent civilians killed, the vast and overwhelming majority were the victims of terrorists, not troops under Bush’s orders.
Does Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir not acknowledge that the vast majority of those that the American troops targeted and killed were not civilians, but illegal combatants who were trying to kill soldiers and civilians?
Does he not acknowledge that these terrorists were the ones bombing their own Muslim brothers and sisters, in marketplaces and even in packed mosques during Friday prayers, in order to bully them into acquiesence? Or that the ‘illegal American occupiers’ often went out of their way and put themselves at additional risk in order to avoid civilian casualties – the very opposite of the terrorists’ tactics?
Does he not acknowledge that the same Opinion Research Business survey he quotes from also states that 21% died from car bombs, 4% from sectarian violence and 1% from kidnappings? That is more than 1/4 of all deaths clearly not due to the direct acts of American soldiers. And this does not even include how many of the 40% due to gunshots and 8% due to other blasts that trigger-happy terrorist thugs were responsible for, which easily pushes their share to over half of all deaths.
Does he not acknowledge that if these terrorists – many of them foreign interlopers, not Iraqis – had simply kept out of the conflict, the 28,000 additional American troops of the Surge would not have been brought in, most of the soldiers could have gone home years ago, and there would have been far fewer casualties with no one for them to shoot at?
What did the terrorists, these so-called ‘freedom fighters’ accomplish anyway, besides killing most of the ’1,200,000 innocent men, women and children’ that Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir so tearfully grieves? But I forget, not being under Bush’s direct command, they are seemingly absolved of all guilt and responsibility.
Does Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir not acknowledge the fact that during the Anbar Awakening the Iraqis themselves rose up against Al Qaeda’s neverending atrocities, a stance that persists today? Or is it simply too inconvenient a fact that Iraqis would side with the American occupiers over their own Muslim brethren – something that does not fit his narrative?
He boldly claims too that going to war – including on a false pretext – cannot created peace. Does thus refuse to acknowledge that Iraq today does indeed have peace? Does he refuse to admit that Iraqis today have more peace and freedom than any time in the past 30 years of despotism and deprivation?
Does he refuse to admit that the violent death rate has undeniably dropped to peacetime levels, with 85% of Iraqis polled by his ‘mainstream’ BBC in March 2009 describing the current situation as ‘very good or quite good’?
Does refuse to open his eyes and see for himself the Christmas day parades in Baghdad, complete with floats? Iraqi Muslims helping rebuild damaged churches? Busy marketplaces that once would have been ripe targets for suicide bombers? Gleeful Iraqi children running up to and hugging ‘heinous’ US soldiers to pose for photographs (as seen by my own eyes)?
Or was life really all that rosy under the brutal reign of Saddam Hussein? After all, Saddam surely was highly respectful of international law and the United Nations, unlike that warmonger Bush, correct?
Sadly, this is all too common the state of things whenever the Iraq conflict is brought up. Bush is thoroughly demonized to the point that the entire context of the invasion and the subsequent Al Qaeda war on ordinary Iraqis is totally ignored.
The uncomfortable fact is that the whatever Bush did wrong, the true suffering of the Iraqis was directly and intentionally brought on by non-American terrorists, who took pains to target unarmed civilians in accordance with their horribly misguided interpretation of religion.
I challenge any politician, journalist or blogger to visit Iraq for themselves and ask common Iraqis whom they love the least – Saddam, Bush or the terrorists. They might discover why the BBC poll I mentioned also found that 56% of Iraqis think Bush’s invasion was wrong, yet for some inexplicable reason a full 42% think it was right. Perhaps those 42% are just ignorant and haven’t been exposed to world opinion enough yet.
I wager that the average Iraqi dislikes Bush far less than those vocal pundits who have not actually lived through the three decades of turbulence themselves.
I was very tempted to use ‘Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir’s opinions’ instead of ‘world opinion’ there, heh!
Citation 1: Opinion Business Research statistics on casualty causes
Citation 2: BBC article on survey conducted on Iraqi attitudes
Citation 3: Photos of smiling Iraqi children: