thumping the tub
Tub-Thumper - 1. A speaker or preacher who for emphasis thumps the pulpit; a violent or declamatory preacher or orator; a ranter. (from This blog will be a combination of reasoned posting somedays and an occasional rant.
Tuesday, January 17, 2006
It is 15 years today that the first Gulf War (TM) began. Since then the UK and the US have been bombing Iraq. It is hardly ever mentioned that there were sorties almost every month in the periods between the two 'wars' and plenty of cruise missile attacks too.

Too often it is now suggested that the problems have all began since the end of the war, whether you believe them to be the fault of the US and UK or Saddam or the resistance, but this is simply not the case. That country was deliberately wrecked long before this war.

The sanctions regime imposed on Iraq after the first war reportedly left over half a million people dead. This was the United Nations estimate. Dennis Halliday, the former co-ordinator of the Oil for Food programme, as he left the job, predicted some of what we are seeing now...

"There is an awful incompatibility here, which I can't quite deal with myself. I just note that I feel extremely uncomfortable flying the UN flag, being part of the UN system here," he added.

Mr Halliday said it was correct to draw attention to the "4,000 to 5,000 children dying unnecessarily every month due to the impact of sanctions because of the breakdown of water and sanitation, inadequate diet and the bad internal health situation".

Mr Halliday argued that the
"alienation and isolation of the younger Iraqi generation of leadership" did not bode well for the future.

Likening their introverted development to that of Afghanistan's Taleban movement, Mr Halliday said younger Iraqis were intolerant of what they considered their leaders' excessive moderation.

Mr Halliday noted mosque attendance had soared during the sanctions era as people sought solace in religion - a change from Iraq's hitherto largely secular colouring.

"What should be of concern is the possibility at least of more fundamentalist Islamic thinking developing," he said.

"It is not well understood as a possible spin-off of the sanctions regime. We are pushing people to take extreme positions."

After leaving his position Halliday began campaigning for the sanctions to be lifted. His replacement Hans Von Sponeck also resigned. He stated

"As a UN official, I should not be expected to be silent to that which I recognise as a true human tragedy that needs to be long should the civilian population, which is totally innocent on all this, be exposed to such punishment for something that they have never done?"

In amongst all this there was 'Operation Desert Fox' in 1998 (16-19 December). This was another operation that was intended to destroy Iraq's weapon making capabilities. UN staff were evacuated from Baghdad and the USA and the UK began bombing. Around 100 targets were attacked. According to the BBC...

"more than 400 cruise missiles were fired from US ships in the Gulf and from B-52 bombers. The Iraqis say they shot down around a quarter of these. Nonetheless more cruise missiles were fired on Iraq in Desert Fox than during the entire Gulf War in 1991, although this time defence officials have been more circumspect in their assessments of their impact. Back then initial statements of success had to be severely scaled back as it became clear that many of the weapons had missed their targets or inflicted less than crippling damage.

Iraq's Ambassador to the UN, Nizar Hamdoon, said: 'I'm told that the casualties are in the thousands in terms of numbers of people who were killed or wounded'."

Since then of course we have had the second official war and the resistance and complete turmoil that exists in that country.

Of course Saddam was a major problem for the Iraqi people and to his neighbours. Of course the resistance are too. Robert Fisk has been reminding people not to be romantic about the Iraqi resistance and he knows better than most - he has been there. But 15 years of bombing and sanctions are not likely to predispose you to like anyone. For 25 years they were stuck with Saddam, add to that 15 years of bombing and sanctions imposed by the "international community" (sic) and now add the resistance bombs and the indiscriminate kidnappings. If the occupation had worked out the way it was supposed to we would have seen lots of expats heading back to Iraq but the opposite is happening. As many Iraqi's as can are fleeing the country. Stuck between Saddam, the USA and UK and the resistance, is it any wonder they want out?
posted by michael the tubthumper @ 11:54 am  
  • At 1:53 am, Blogger Neil Shakespeare said…

    Kind of a wonder there's anything left of that country.

  • At 12:07 pm, Blogger michael the tubthumper said…


    i don't know if it was mentioned in the US but a poll done by the UK ministry of defence (those well known saddamists!) said that..

    • Forty-five per cent of Iraqis believe attacks against British and American troops are justified - rising to 65 per cent in the British-controlled Maysan province;

    • 82 per cent are "strongly opposed" to the presence of coalition troops;

  • At 1:01 pm, Anonymous some_maineiac said…

    HA! you've picked up another reader courtesy of your comments on
    This fellow's blog

    I only recognize a single film in your profile, and anyone who likes "Dr. Strangelove" can't be all bad....

    I look forward to the reading of your blog...

  • At 1:06 pm, Blogger michael the tubthumper said…

    cheers mate

  • At 1:20 pm, Anonymous some_maineiac said…

    to the point of your post, i can only say that the current state of affairs seems to have been brought on by minority extremists on both sides...the right-wing christian members of the oligarchy in the US versus the corresponding extremism in the muslim neither case, do i believe the majority are represented...i think that the figures you state in your comments refer more to a "get out of my country" attitude among the muslim masses, just as the same opinion would be expresseed by the majority of christian masses in the US were the situation to be reversed...

    this makes me fear for the future of civilization as we know it, but not as greatly as the fear that the planet will wreak its own form of vengeance on us as we continue to foul our nest...

    when global warming concludes its incremental, inexorable march to sudden disaster and the gulf stream suddenly stops bringing warm water to the northern latitudes, it's gonna get mighty cold for a lot of people!!!

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Name: michael the tubthumper
Home: Glasgow, Scotland
About Me: Tub-Thumper - 1. A speaker or preacher who for emphasis thumps the pulpit; a violent or declamatory preacher or orator; a ranter. This blog will be a combination of reasoned posting somedays and an occasional rant. 28 years old, I write and research for a couple of websites and also do my own stuff.
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Thumping The Tub Video

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I have made a few short movies. Here are links to free downloads for them all in the order that I made them (as far as I can remember). Please feel free to use, distribute, disagree with, shout at etc etc

  • Praise The Lord and Pass The Ammunition
  • This was a REAL song from World War 2. I was so stunned by it I had to make a movie

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  • What is going on in Iraq? Some things you knew, some you didn't. A couple of bits of info are out of date now.

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