‘Regime change’: A euphemism for overthrowing a government.
The Soviet war in Afghanistan was initially fought between the forces of the Afghanistan government and foreign mercenaries, Russia was asked to assist. In 1979.. The Soviets decided to remove Hafizullah Amin the ruler of Afghanistan, whose pro China/Pakistan affiliation was considered to be an impediment to the Soviet Unions potential power base in Central Asia. A Pro-Soviet Afghan Revolutionary Central Committee was installed. The entry of the Soviet Union resulted in an immediate increase in the presence of foreign mercenaries, massive military campaigns and the extensive destruction of local infrastructure This resulted in division, a loss of support for the Soviet military presence, and nation-wide resistance. About one million Afghan civilians were killed before the Soviet troop withdrawal.
In 1991 Operation Desert Storm, the invasion of Iraq was initiated by President George H W Bush triggered by the annexing of Kuwait by Saddam Hussein.
In 2002 Brent Scowcroft his former National Security Advisor, warned George Bush Jnr in a Wall Street Journal editorial entitled ‘Don’t attack Saddam’ – “Possibly the most dire consequences would be the effect in the region … there would be an explosion of outrage against us … the results could well destabilise Arab regimes”, and, “could even swell the ranks of the terrorists.”
2003 Operation Iraqi Freedom: 36 million people across the globe took part in almost 3,000 protests against the proposed invasion of Iraq. Despite this the United States launched the invasion. According to U.S. President George W Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair, the coalition mission was “to disarm Iraq of weapons of mass destruction, to end Saddam Hussein’s support for terrorism, and to free the Iraqi people.” The public were informed that the elimination of this brutal dictator would result in popular support for the invaders who would be welcomed as liberators. The US congress authorised the use of military force against Iraq under anti terrorism legislation confirming that it should be the policy of the United States to remove the Saddam Hussein regime and promote a democratic replacement. Many believe Al Quaeda’s expansion was the predictable outcome
2015 – Thousands demonstrated in the UK to oppose the bombing of Syria a country already decimated by war with its infrastructure demolished. The UK parliament voted and bombing commenced within hours. By UN estimates 10.8 million of the 22 million population of Syria are in need of humanitarian assistance, this includes 6.5 million internally displaced, often multiple times – 50 per cent more than in 2013. At the close of 2015 the UK population remain divided as to whether bombing Syria will be effective in stopping ISIS with many believing terrorist attacks in the UK will increase as a result.
Echoes of the past return to haunt us as we listen again to an earnest Prime Minister and a sombre president; Previous non existant ‘Weapons of mass destruction’ have morphed into ‘70,000 moderate fighters’ who we are confidently told will support Allied forces on the ground once a UK bombing campaign begins.
We are again assured of minimal ‘Collateral damage’ a euphemism for people maimed and killed by the ‘smart bombs’ supposedly able to differentiate between targets. TV images of bombed wedding parties, hospitals, schools and homes with weeping fathers carrying their dead and injured children from the rubble do nothing to convince us. Bombs as we all know are impersonal, they have only one purpose – to kill. When we bomb oil fields to ensure ISIS do not benefit, ordinary people are left without fuel for cooking and come one step closer to displacement to join the thousands of asylum seekers in Europe.