Knock it down, then build it back up again

It's like undertakers burning down a house, then squabbling about who gets to make the coffins

Share
Related Topics

What have we learned from the images of the last few days then? Well, apparently Saddam was even more evil than we thought because his palace was full of expensive things, including gold coloured taps. Unlike our own Royal Family who live in a terraced house in Northampton. And Prince Philip collects his water from a swamp in a neighbouring village.

But most of all we're shown anything that can make it appear that the Iraqis are being "given back their country". You have to admire that phrase. The Americans bombed the country to rid it of a dictator they backed in the first place, then gleefully awarded vast contracts to their friends to rebuild it, then announce that they've given it back. Liverpool football fans should have tried this after knocking over the wall in Belgium that killed all those Italians. If only they'd had the business sense to announce, "The good news is we're giving the contract to rebuild the wall to our Terry from Sefton, so it's a marvellous feeling to be able to give you back your stadium."

In fact the Americans even awarded the rebuilding contracts before the bombing, so maybe they were taking orders. "George, it's Consolidated Concrete here. We're pretty good at cinemas, so if you can knock us over a couple, we can stick them back up by Christmas."

Now there are complaints from certain quarters that, as a fair bit of the country we're giving back was destroyed by Britain, it's only fair that some of the money from rebuilding goes to British firms. It's like a pair of undertakers burning down a house, then squabbling about who gets the job of making the coffins.

Just to show how keen we are to give them back their country, the place will be ruled by Jay Garner, who has managed to criticise the US government for being too critical of Ariel Sharon. One pro-Sharon newspaper has declared, "Israel's friend to rule Iraq". It would be as if someone invaded Britain and said, "We're giving you back your country. So here's your new rulers – Diego Maradona and that bloke from the mosque with one eye and a claw."

As well as giving their country back, we're also going to bring them democracy. Where has America done this in the past, then? True, they have sometimes re-shaped a country's democracy. For example in Chile, they tried out a new system of picking a leader, where you hold an election and whoever gets the most votes, you kill him. I think they called that method the single transferable coup. They were going to bring democracy to Kuwait after the war in 1991, but 12 years later it remains under the control of the al-Sabah family. Still, George Bush is sure to want to sort this out, because if there's one thing he can't stand, it's someone who uses his own family to undermine the democratic process to become ruler of their country.

And yet, throughout yesterday, both BBC and Sky News channels showed the same pictures, of an Iraqi beating a picture of Saddam with his shoe. And this was shown over and over on a loop, as if to prove the Iraqis have welcomed us. And the narration went on and on, citing "these remarkable pictures" as if they hadn't noticed it was the same bit of film. I'm sure that eventually they were saying, "And there's yet another man, almost identical to the last one, and he's attacking a picture with a shoe. Maybe this is an old Shia custom, the removal of the shoe representing your foot at last being allowed to breathe, just as you can breathe again now you've got your country back, or something. Oh and there's another one, with a similar beard and again the shoe."

There will be plenty of Iraqis delighted at Saddam's demise, but this is very different from assuming they'll welcome the Americans. Do Bush and Blair honestly believe their actions are popular around the Arab world? Or even in Britain? This week, unnoticed by the media, the biggest political meetings for a generation have been taking place. In dozens of towns, hundreds have crammed into community centres. Over a thousand turned up in Liverpool. And, as with the huge march, they've had little resemblance to anything connected with the old left, but have reached into every area of British society. Britain is currently awash with vast numbers of people in a constant state of rage, at how we've been dragged into this carnage that exists to ensure American dominance, and that few people can imagine is making the world a safer place.

It's not just that millions disagree with Blair, it's that they hold him in utter contempt. He won't see that of course. He'll march blindly on to support the next one as well, and as the derision that surrounds him closes in on him, he'll jump up and down like the Iraqi Information Minister, yelling, "There is no problem, my people still love me. The reports that millions of people despise me are all lies. Lies I tell you. Go see for yourself."

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Volunteer Trustee opportunities now available at The Society for Experimental Biology

Unpaid Voluntary Position : Reach Volunteering: Volunteer your expertise as Tr...

Early Years Educator

£68 - £73 per day + Competitive rates of pay based on experience: Randstad Edu...

Nursery Nurse

£69 - £73 per day + Competitive London rates of pay: Randstad Education Group:...

Primary KS1 NQTs required in Lambeth

£117 - £157 per day + Competitive London rates: Randstad Education Group: * Pr...

Day In a Page

Read Next
A supporter of the Kurdistan Workers' Association holds a placard during a demonstration against Islamic State (IS) in front The Hague  

Nothing will stop Isis except a Syrian truce

Patrick Cockburn
The victory of the NO campaign was confirmed at 6.08am on Friday morning  

Scottish referendum: Partisan fallout, Gordon Brown's comeback and Elizabeth, the Queen of unity

Jane Merrick
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam