When the bombs started falling in 2003, Salih al-Badrany wondered whether the second invasion of his native Iraq would be as fleeting as the first one.
Within a week, al-Badrany realized that the dynamic of this war would be much worse.
The Americans said they wanted to establish democracy in Iraq and rescue the Iraqi people, but then they destroyed all the infrastructure, al-Badrany said in an interview through an interpreter.
Al-Badrany, now a political refugee living in Augusta, rose to prominence in the Arab Nationalist Party, starting in 1972. Political activity was stifled under the regime of Saddam Hussein; al-Badrany said he was under constant surveillance by secret police. But when war broke out in 1980 with Iran, al-Badrany threw his support behind the dictator and his efforts to defend his country.
The Iraqis are a very proud and patriotic people who can’t stand the idea of an occupying force in their country, al-Badrany explained.
Those feelings surfaced again in 1990 with the Gulf War. Al-Badrany said he supported the invasion of Kuwait, which he feels is a rightful possession of Iraq. The resulting war decimated the Iraqi army and placed the Middle Eastern nation under close international scrutiny. Al-Badrany said United Nations inspectors were well aware that there were no weapons of mass destruction or chemical agents under production in the years that followed the first Gulf War. Al-Badrany added that Hussein had no relationship with al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden or any ties to terrorism.
The premise for the second war in Iraq was a situation that President George W. Bush made up, al-Badrany said.
That Iraq was devastated and its political balance disrupted for what he perceives are lies is egregious in al-Badrany’s eyes.