While the US crows, Iraq resists By William Bowles

14 June 2003

The USUK would have us believe that those Iraqis who are now fighting back against occupation are the ‘remnants’ of Saddam’s regime. Yet what evidence is there for this assertion? The bottom line is none, aside from leaflets, one of which is apparently a message from Saddam. But aside from the leaflets, there’s not a single shred of evidence to support the idea. The media of course, takes it as a given that the increasing resistance conforms to the US assumption. And what’s it based on? Yet another assumption, that because there’s no proof of Saddam being alive or dead, it’s assumed he’s alive and that it’s his leadership that is the source of the resistance. But wait up, weren’t we told that the Iraqi population just couldn’t wait to get rid of him and his ‘evil dictatorship’? So why are increasing numbers of Iraqis taking up arms? Enter argument two; it’s the ‘remnants’ of the Baath Party who are, we have to assume, forcing Iraqis to take up arms and fight. But what is this view based on? How are they able to force people to fight against an obviously superior enemy? What kind of threats are these Baathists using I wonder?

As with all the other US military adventures across the world over the past decades, the US operates on the premise that people fight US invasions because they’re forced to. Yet time and again, this view has proved to be self-delusionary and follows from the imperialist elite confusing their own largely domestically targeted propaganda with the reality of the situation on the ground.

As ever, the idea that Iraqis, whatever their feelings about Saddam might be, might have even greater feelings about the systematic destruction of their country through the combined effect of 12 years of sanctions followed by a devastating invasion and occupation, simply doesn’t enter the imperialist mindset. If anything, the increasing level of resistance in the face of the fact that their military leaders deserted in droves or were bought off by the invaders, would lead one to suspect that no Iraqi in his right mind would contemplate picking up his army surplus AK and fight an overwhelmingly superior enemy. Yet they are. Whether there’s a ‘method to their madness’ remains to be seen, but already, more US soldiers have died following their ‘victory’ than during the invasion.

Racist Reporting The Independent today (13/06/03) in a story by Patrick Cockburnin predictably racist language, tells us that:

”A man in Iraq does not think he is really a man unless he has a gun, the bigger the better,’ said one Iraqi observer.”

I wonder who this unnamed Iraqi ‘observer’ is? Note the description of the gun having to be ‘the bigger the better.’ As ever, the stereotype of the Arab as being obsessed with guns and the obvious derogotary sexual connotation maintains the fiction of ‘them’ as somehow being different from ‘us’. Laughable if it wasn’t so tragic, when you consider how many guns and murders take place in the US on a daily basis, and when its president lands on the deck of a nuclear armed aircraft carrier in a warplane to crow to the world about his ‘victory’. Cockburn sums up his report by inferring that the reason for the resistance is:

‘[That since] the dissolution of the 350,000-strong Iraqi army by the US last month, the country is awash with weapons and men, now without jobs but trained to fight.’

Are we assume that the attacks on US occupation forces is because they have nothing else to do and also to burn off a lot of excess testosterone? How outrageous!

Gauleiter Bremer’s ‘Structural adjustment’
As Gauleiter Bremer’s policy of ‘opening up’ the Iraqi economy to US imports bites ever deeper and more and more Iraqi businesses are forced into bankruptcy, resentment and resistance will only grow. Predictably, the BBC through its ‘news’ is now telling us that prior to deposing Saddam, the Iraqi economy was a ‘rigid, Stalinist, command economy’ (BBC News Night, 13/06/03) and that dumping $500 million dollars into it will have only ‘short term inflationary effects.’ This is a blatant lie, based on nothing other than propaganda and as a rationale for justifying USUK colonial occupation and the privatisation of the economy. ‘Structural adjustment’, wherever it has been implemented has had nothing other than disastrous effects on local economies and, it can be argued, is probably the single most important contributor to the rise of ‘terrorism’. And the last thing the US wants to see is Iraq regain its position as the strongest and most developed economy in the Middle East, the only one powerful enough to resist US-backed Israeli expansionism. Keeping Iraq dependent and undeveloped (except for the oil industry of course) is intrinsic to USUK strategy.

Increasingly, USUK occupation, as predicted, takes on the form and actions of the Israeli occupation of what remains of Palestine. Everything points to a spiraling level of destabilisation across the entire Middle East and given the increasing signs of US intentions toward Iran following the same course as that of Iraq, the omens are ominous. Again the media’s echo that all those who predicted a Vietnam scenario as being wrong, is itself proving to be incorrect. Is the US prepared for what looks like permanent occupation? And where does such a policy end? Is it realistic for the USUK to assume that past policies of installing puppet regimes like those in Vietnam, Iran, et al will be possible in this new environment?

It looks increasingly likely that the ‘planners’ in the White House have yet again, not thought through their policies. Assumptions about overwhelming military power being the answer to growing opposition to the ‘new’ imperialism are based not only on false premises but on a false reading of history. We need only look back once more to the Vietnam war, where in spite of 500,000 troops, overwhelming military superiority (where have I heard that before?), and a divided country, within the space of 10 years, it was all over and the US were sent packing and by an army that ran on rubber tires recycled as sandals and a handful of rice a day.

The US military/political planners assert that unlike previous military scenarios, they have the means to fight wars ‘on several fronts simultaneously’, all of it based on the idea that it will be technology rather than people that does the fighting. But how realistic is this view? Assuming a military victory in several countries, perhaps thousands of miles apart, they are faced with the problem of not only installing compliant regimes but of maintaining them, possibly indefinitely. And this assumes a docile population and if the Intifada is anything to go by, in spite of an overwhelming occupying force, the civilian populations are unlikely to take kindly to the idea.

Furthermore, it’s unlikely that the UK will be quite so gung ho about being part of a ‘coalition of the willing’ in further US adventures, not because they have any moral qualms about it but simply because they don’t have the means. Increasingly, the US will find itself isolated politically and doing the fighting alone (aside maybe from a few Bulgarian army nurses and Polish truck drivers). And as the US domestic economic situation deteriorates, we can expect increasing domestic opposition in spite of the vast propaganda offensive. It’s also important to remember that using high technology to do the fighting is an expensive business and one that distorts the civilian economy, siphoning off not only skills into the military-industrial complex but increasingly (as it did during the Cold War period), making US domestic production less competitive as it becomes ever more specialised at the business of making war.


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