IT is now becoming clearer by the day that the invasion of Iraq by the United States, the United Kingdom and an assorted group of countries was illegal, immoral, violative of the United Nations Charter, international law and national sovereignty. M/s. Bush and Blair, repeatedly and publicly declared that Saddam Hussein was an imminent and grave threat to the security of the U.S. and the U.K. How? The question did not bother them. Next these two worthies told us that Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction (WMD) that would be used against their countries. Not only this, it was claimed that nuclear weapons in Saddam's arsenal could be assembled in 45 minutes. Poor Hans Blix, the Chief U.N. Weapons Inspector, asked the U.S. and the U.K. to give him and his team three more months. He was dismissed out of court.
The invading, occupying powers have been desperately looking for WMD - in vain. So the main reason given for going to war has been proved to be a huge and gaping untruth. When leaders of great democracies indulge in "terminological inexactitudes" (Churchill's phrase for lies) what is the world coming to? The 21st century is certainly having a very bumpy start.
The great Mr. Bush and his outrageous team of Vulcanis (Rice, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, etc.) have lowered the level of international probity and uprightness.
American troops in Iraq have not been welcomed as liberators. They are being looked upon as invaders, oppressors and worse. Each day an American soldier is killed. Chaos and carnage prevail in Iraq. The American electronic media has not covered itself with glory. Embedded journalist. Shame on you.
THE other day a well-known media gentleman came to interview me. He asked me why the Congress party had been against sending Indian troops to Iraq. India would get so many material and monetary advantages etc. I told him that India was not for sale and we would never agree to serve under U.S., G.I.s or British tommies. Let the Americans go back to the letter and spirit of their Declaration of Independence, swallow their pride and return to the U.N. Security Council, get a fresh resolution passed, authorising the U.N. Secretary-General to put together a multinational peace-keeping force under U.N. command. Then and then only will the Congress consider sending Indian troops to Iraq. He, in his innocence, said that a great super power like America cannot lose face and will never go back to the Security Council. I gave Gandhiji's great moral example - he owned up to a Himalayan blunder. Surely a great power should act with restraint, wisdom and set an example to the world. He persisted and made a remark, which nearly made me throw up. "You are missing a great opportunity," said he. "We are not opportunists," said I. "What is wrong in being an opportunist," he persisted. "Everything," I responded. "It is immoral." We were talking at different levels. Time has proved him wrong. The Americans, it seems, are swallowing their pride and may now be thinking of going back to the Security Council.
If this happens then a new resolution should shun "ambiguity" and "grey areas" and clearly state that the U.N. Secretary-General should put together a U.N. peace-keeping force under the U.N. command. The troops will not be commanded by or answerable to the occupying powers.
India must not fall into the Afghan trap. At the moment there is a multinational U.N. peace-keeping force in Afghanistan but it is under U.S. command. Such an arrangement India must not accept.
The Interim Council of 25 has been subject to more jeering than cheering. Nevertheless, at least one of its members - Adnan Pachachi - is a respected Iraqi. His presentation before the Security Council was realistic and sensible. He knows the U.N. system well. For many years he was Iraq's Permanent Representative to the U.N. A formidable debater, he also served as Foreign Minister for a while. His father had been Prime Minister of Iraq.
MY generation admired Leela Chitnis, who died recently in America at the age of 93. Two of her sons, Benoy and Manvendra, were in school with me. She once came to Scindia School, Gwalior to see how they were doing. She was a very beautiful woman and we teenagers just gaped and gasped. She acted in several popular films with Ashok Kumar - Kangan and Bandhan - if I remember right. Later she played less glamorous roles, befitting her age. She broke social and caste barriers and was one of our early feminists.
AFTER many years most of North India has been blessed by a generous monsoon. Rajasthan is dancing with joy. In my home town - Bharatpur - it rained 11 inches in three days. The trees are green, the grass grows and the animal kingdom prospers. Many many thanks to the Cosmic Master.