Saddam at girls school in 1970s Iraq. Today's schools & students look much different.
Girls intermediate school destroyed in Desert Storm
April 16, 2006
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.
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.
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.
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:
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 –
Health facilities (including hospitals, clinics, medical warehouses) – 421
operators, communication towers, etc. – 475
Bridges, buildings, housing complexes – 260
Warehouses, shopping centers, grain silos – 251
Churches and mosques – 159
water pumping stations, agricultural facilities – 200
Petroleum facilities (including refineries)
General services (shelters, sewage treatment plants, municipalities) - 830
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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."
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.
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.
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.