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Malcom Lagauche


Saddam at girls school in 1970s Iraq. Today's schools & students look much different.

Girls intermediate school destroyed in Desert Storm

April 16, 2006

I have been writing about Iraq since 1991. Magazines, newspapers, books and online publications have carried my work. I have spoken to universities, social organizations and political groups about Iraq. Two doctorate theses cite me and my writing. In addition, I have been on radio and TV talk shows discussing the destruction of Iraq in 1991 and the ensuing embargo.

One point that I have been making all along has left some naysayers, and even anti-war people, shaking their heads: Desert Storm’s main goal was not to remove Iraqi troops from Kuwait, but to stop at least one generation of Iraqis from becoming productive citizens.

"Lagauche has gone too far," I have heard many times. Words such as "delusional," "paranoid," and "anti-American" have been uttered when I venture into the territory of a country’s next generation being targeted.

By 1995, the U.N. assessed that only one Iraqi child in five had a chance of growing into adulthood with normal physical and mental capabilities. This fact alone legitimized my theory. Maybe I was in fact too conservative in my assessment. The deadly effects of the embargo are now working on a second generation of Iraqis.

One point that I used for my original theory was the bombing of almost 4,000 schools in Iraq. That’s right; every known Iraqi school was targeted by the U.S. in Desert Storm. The U.S. public did not know this, as it was kept secret. Only those who received and believed the information coming from Iraq knew of this travesty.

To corroborate my figures, on January 18, 2006, Riverbend of "Baghdad Burning" released the following statistics:

    According to reports and statistics made by the "Iraqi Reconstruction Bureau" and the ministries involved in reconstruction, prior to the 2003 war/occupation, the following damage was done through 42 days of continuous bombing, and various acts of vandalism:

Schools and scholastic facilities – 3960
Universities, labs, dormitories – 40
Health facilities (including hospitals, clinics, medical warehouses) – 421
Telephone operators, communication towers, etc. – 475
Bridges, buildings, housing complexes – 260
Warehouses, shopping centers, grain silos – 251
Churches and mosques – 159
Dams, water pumping stations, agricultural facilities – 200
Petroleum facilities (including refineries) – 145
General services (shelters, sewage treatment plants, municipalities) - 830

The destruction of the Iraqi education system was devastating and the number one reason why Iraq was kept in a "pre-industrial" mode for years after the U.S. assault in 1991. However, few people in the U.S. have a clue to the former crown jewel of the country. Today, there is a tremendous amount of revisionist history that is effective propaganda for the U.S. public. The new version could not be further from the truth.

In 1973, Iraq began an all-out assault on illiteracy. Thousands of Iraqis were sent overseas to obtain advanced degrees. They, in turn, came back to Iraq to educate the next generation of educators.

In the 1980s, the Iraqi education system was universally acknowledged by the U.N. and many international education organizations as the best in the world for developing countries. Officials from many nations visited Iraq and took notes at how the system worked. These facts have simply been ignored in the past few years in re-writing the history of Iraq.

An interesting part of the Ba’ath education system was its secular approach. Students received a first-class education regardless of their religious affiliation. Females attended school regularly and did not have to wear a veil if they did not choose. Today’s Iraqi education experience is far different. Few females attend class. In most areas, they are compelled to wear veils, ever if they’ve never worn one in their lives. And, they mostly have to be escorted to school by two male family members.

By 1990, the literacy rate in Iraq had grown from about 40% in 1973, to almost 90% This success rate was unheard of in the Arab world.

Because of the Iraqi education system, engineers, professors, scientists and doctors were being churned out regularly. In other words, by 1990, Iraq was the most by far advanced Arab country. This fact alone was enough to upset the U.S. The occupation of Kuwait was only a convenient excuse to destroy all educational facilities in Iraq.

On January 16, 1991, Iraq had the most-educated public in the history of the Arab world. Then the bombs fell.

The embargo years kept the Iraqi education system in a dysfunctional mode. There were few books. When the pencils ran out, there were no more. For 12 years, Iraq was unable to import pencils. The U.S. disallowed them from being sent to Iraq. When some human rights groups broke the U.S. law against the embargo and went to Iraq with humanitarian goods, the Iraqis main requests were for medicine and pencils. Imagine any school system in the developed countries not having an instrument for its students to write with. The amazing part of this story is that Iraq still attempted to educate its public during these years without imploding.

Before the illegal March 2003 invasion, I stated many time, "The U.S. will rewrite that country’s history. They’ll change all the textbooks." Again, cries of "Lagauche is crazy" came forth. "Oh no, we just want to make sure the madman doesn’t unleash his stock of WMD on us. We don’t want to change their history," was the mainstream thought of the day. Well, the "madman" had no WMD and Lagauche was not crazy. Today, there is a full-court press on rewriting the history of Iraq and the new history is as false as the Iraqi WMD.

In the past couple of years, I have read column-after-column about the Iraqi educational system and how it has to be improved. One "liberal" writer stated that Saddam Hussein ruined the system when he came to power. He added that teachers were not allowed to leave Iraq and they were under threat of death if they did. I wrote to him and asked where he received his information and I gave him a few paragraphs about the great system that was built by educators leaving Iraq to gain advanced degrees. I never received a response.

Various Christian groups have spoken of the diabolical Saddam Hussein and that he would not allow students to have pencils. Then, they ask for a $50 donation to send pencils to Iraq, along with the obligatory Bible that is included in the student’s backpack.

Today, the mainstream U.S. citizen actually believes Saddam kept pencils from students. Where were these concerned citizens and religious groups from 1991 to 2003 when the embargo, not Saddam, kept pencils out of Iraq?

If you want to read some more fantasy, go to www.defendamerica.mil. The site statement says, "U.S. Department of Defense News About the War on Terrorism." There are many photos showing U.S. soldiers giving pencils to Iraqi students, who look perplexed by the scripted-for-camera gesture. Possibly, some of the students have lost a family member because of the heavy-handed tactics of the U.S. military and now they are being given gifts. The subheadline on the defendamerica website, in a perverted way, is correct. However, the terrorists are those pictured in U.S. Army uniforms.

There is much gibberish about the U.S. military caring for the Iraqi public and the site gives a lot of credit for churches sending pencils. However, it does not mention the Bibles accompanying the pencils. If a church sent pencils to Iraqi kids, without a Bible, I would commend the act. However, I have yet to find one such institution.

Now, let’s get current. The Washington Post of April 16, 2006 carried the article, "For Iraqi Students, Hussein’s Arrival Is End of History." Lagauche was right on the money.

Iraqi textbooks have been rewritten and the country’s history literally ends in 1968. No mention of Saddam Hussein. No mention of the Ba’ath Party. No mention of the Iran-Iraq War. No mention of the 1991 attack on Iraq by the U.S. No mention of the embargo. No mention of the illegal 2003 invasion of Iraq. Just a blank space from 1968 until today. There is nothing in the books to explain the presence of U.S. military personnel all over Iraq. Are they Iraqis? No, they don’t speak Arabic. Maybe they are foreigners who just fell out of the sky and dress funny.

There is speculation that in a decade’s time, the books will reflect these times, only describing Saddam Hussein as Hitler. There will be no talk about the incredible steps forward Iraq took under the Ba’ath government. It would be confusing if there were because even in 10 years time, Iraq will be in shambles and it would be hard to explain to a student how his/her country was so advanced a few decades prior. The U.S. and the Iraqi stooges have made it impossible for future Iraqis to know their real history. Only word-of-mouth tales will be available for the inquisitive, similar to the Native American tales told today to the young people of their tribes.

Despite the forced silence of Iraqi history, some kids do ask questions and get varying answers depending on the area. According to the article:

Mohammed Abdul Rahman, a provincial education official in Anbar Province, said the different teachings were "the start of separation among the people, especially the youth.

"You have the Sunni teacher telling his students that the war with Iran was honest and that Iran is the enemy. On the other hand, the Shiite teacher tells his students that the war was caused by the Saddam regime against a friendly country and that Iraq lost."

When George Bush first used the term "regime change," most U.S. citizens thought that would mean getting rid of Saddam and a handful of his assistants; appointing a few people to replace them; and then go on with business as usual: the same government; the same education system; and the same economy. Then, after being showered with flowers and candy, the U.S. soldiers would say "mission accomplished" and disappear, knowing they helped the world become a better place. The thankful Iraqis now would be able to live like ordinary human beings.

The reality is far different. It is very close to the one I predicted: killing or kidnapping many Ba’ath officials: making the Ba’ath Party illegal, therefore, forcing millions of Iraqis to become people without a country; re-writing the constitution; changing the education system to an unrecognizable entity; and taking the raw materials of the people of Iraq, transferring them to private foreign ownership without one cent of compensation for the Iraqis. And, this was all accomplished without the input of one Iraqi.

In the future, I hope when the term "regime change" is again uttered, such as with Syria or Iran, the U.S. public is smart enough to understand the term. They already have been given a first-hand demonstration of the reality of regime change, and it’s not pretty. One other point: the Iraqi regime change has cost the U.S. taxpayers $600 billion and the amount is rising daily. Such a bargain.

:: Article nr. 22612 sent on 16-apr-2006 20:11 ECT


Link: www.malcomlagauche.com/id1.html

:: The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website.

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