Pundit’s Paradise By William Bowles

11 April 2004

A pimpers paradise, that´s all she was now
A pimpers paradise, that´s all she was
A pimpers paradise, I´m sorry for the victim now
A pimpers paradise, soon their heads, soon their
Soon their very heads will bow
Bob Marley – Pimpers Paradise

Nearly 3 Million Iraqis, Sunni and Shiite, Approve of attacks on Americans
An opinion poll taken in late February showed that 10 % of Iraq’s Shiites say attacks on US troops are “acceptable.” But 30% of Sunni Arabs say such attacks are acceptable, and fully 70% of Anbar province approves of attacking Americans. (Anbar is where Ramadi, Fallujah, Hadithah and Habbaniyah are, with a population of 1.25 million or 5% of Iraq–those who approve of attacks are 875,000).

But simple statistics don’t tell the story. If there are 25 million Iraqis and Shiites comprise 65%, that is about 16 million persons. Ten percent of them is 1.6 million, which is a lot of people who hate Americans enough to approve of attacks on them. If Sunni Arabs comprise about 16% of the population, there are 4 million of them. If 30% approve of attacks, that is 1.2 million. That is, the poll actually shows that in absolute numbers, there are more Shiites who approve of attacks on Americans than there are Sunni Arabs. The numbers bring into question the official line that there are no problems in the South, only in the Sunni Arab heartland. [my emph. WB]” – Juan Cole, “Informed Comment”

Of course, Cole’s analysis although accurate as far as it goes, is based upon the assumption that the percentages for Sunni and Shia are a true reflection of the Iraqi population but as no census has ever been taken of religious affiliation in Iraq, the Shia ‘majority’, Sunni ‘minority’ is more myth than reality. In August of ’03 I made the same assumption about the Sunni ‘majority’ and reported on this question back in December of ’03. This is from the letter a reader sent me that corrected my earlier assumption:

“To date there is not and has not been any Iraqi official record documenting the actual head count of the Sunnis and/or Shias in Iraq. The reason is that in all the Iraqi government censuses previously carried out till the fall of the last regime, there was no requirement in the census forms to specify the Muslim sect [to which a person belonged]. In fact there is no official document issued by…Iraqi governments to date that mentions the Muslim sect in it. Hence, the referenced term about the Sunni’s being a minority and Shias a majority is unfounded and incorrect. Not that it matters anyway but it is worth mentioning there is a counter argument that considers the Sunnis are the majority. I recently received…research by an Iraqi scholar which proved this argument with fairly reliable figures. Needless to say, both arguments do not bear any significance whatsoever. This whole charade is also part of what you so rightly referred to in your article as [a] “massive disinformation campaign” waged by those who have ulterior political motives behind this campaign.”
(See “Between Iraq and a hard place” (20/08/03) and “The Sunni Versus Shia Myth” (03/12/03)

What is most important about this myth however, is the ideological construct that is erected around it, for what it does is contribute to the basis for the USUK propaganda campaign that would have us believe that Iraq is not a real country like we have in the West, but a bunch of tribes/’ethnic groups’ one of whom (the Shia) was exploited by Saddam. If one unpacks the Western argument however, it holds no water for if it’s true that both Sunni and Shia (in other words, along with the other sections of society) virtually all Iraqis wanted to see Saddam’s removal, then what the hell has one’s religious affiliation got to do with it?

And as if to prove this approach to the way the West deals with the US-created disaster that is Iraq, we need only look at the innumerable examples of the spin the West puts on events.

For example, BBC News (10/04/04) tells us:

“[In Fallujah] hundreds have died fighting American forces.”
BBC News headlines, Radio 4, 11am.

Oh really? What is this deliberate piece of propaganda based on? The BBC, along with everyone else, has no idea how the hundreds died (over 400 according to reports from doctors and others in Fallujah) but it can be assumed that if you lay siege to a city of some 300,000 people and attack it with bombs, tanks and missiles, a goodly percentage of the casualties are going to be civilians. These ‘throwaway’ lines when taken collectively, paint a picture for the listener/reader that is in reality, a complete invention. What it does do is create a vision of reality that conforms to the dominant culture’s propaganda line, a line that is reinforced at every step in the media’s coverage of events. So the Independent (10/04/04) continues the myth-making with its coverage of events in Iraq where every city is described as either “Sunni” or “Shia”. Belatedly, we finally read that

“the siege of Fallujah and the high loss of civilian life has ignited a nationalist reaction.”

The word nationalist occurs only once in the many pages of coverage. But never fear, a pundit’s stock phrase re-emerges on the following page (6) where we read the headline “Is coalition unravelling as rampant violence daunts allies”.

On the facing page in yet another piece of propaganda punditry, Rupert Cornwall tells us, with a straight face:

“this is not how it was supposed to be.

“A year ago, the assumption was that in April 2004, a liberated Iraq would be well on the way to acquiring democracy, peace and prosperity, and all those other wonderful attributes of civilisation Western armies can bestow…. A year on, an ungrateful Iraq is on the verge of civil war, its factions united only by resentment of the American and allied occupiers… [my emph. WB]”

Once more, the entirely false notion is promulgated of a civil war, a civil war moreover, that is only being averted by the presence of an occupying army! Where does this nonsense come from and on what is it based? And who made the assumption? On what basis does the writer tell us that Iraq is on the “verge of civil war”, a ‘civil war’ moreover that is only staved off by a bunch of ungrateful peasants “resentment” at having their country trashed by an army of arrogant occupiers.

Cornwall goes on with the same insidious propaganda line of the West by telling us that:

“As one city after another erupts in violence”

Violence? Why not resistance? But Cornwall has not had his way with us just yet, for in another piece of self-serving propaganda we read:

“Suspicions grow that Iraq has undermined the war on terror.”

But whose suspicions have been undermined and why is it only a suspicion?

And yet another ‘pundit’, Andrew Grice continues the reinforcement with an identical propaganda line on the following page (8) when once more we read the mantra:

“The slide into chaos…. The anniversary of the toppling of Saddam Hussein’s statue should have been an occasion for the Prime Minister to look back with pride.”

And this from a newspaper opposed to the invasion? So in spite of being a newspaper that has prided itself on opposition to the war, one has to ask the question what kind of opposition is it that describes resistance to an illegal invasion and occupation as a “slide into chaos”? Chaos for whom? And so too, why do we read that Blair should have been looking back with pride? Pride in leading the country into an illegal invasion?

Elsewhere in the same article Grice tells us:

“Interestingly, most anti-war MPs do not want British troops pulled out; they want us to finish the job [my emph. WB]”

Finish what job exactly? Destroying the country entirely? This has got to take the prize as the most assinine self-delusion and failure to face the awful reality of what British imperialism has done to Iraq. Do these pundits never stop think upon their words? Obviously not.

The ability for the pundits to prattle on is truly staggering, for we get page after page of same, stupefying crap about “chaos”, “civil war”, and “factions united only by resentment”.

One could argue that all of this is merely a case of collective self-delusion but beneath it all, there lies a fundamental assumption about the way world works (or is meant to work, or these mouthpieces for the Western way of life would like us to believe is the way it’s meant to work), that the choice of words reinforces at every step of the way.

“IRAQ IN CHAOS”

And on yet another page of punditry by yet another ‘expert’, Anne Penketh, the so-called diplomatic editor under the overall heading of “What happens next?” we get a page of more delusionary ‘analysis’:

“Occupation | Impact on Iraq…. Worst Case Iraqi radicals [sic] of the Shia majority hijack the political leadership as popular opinion swings against the foreign occupiers.”

What planet does Ms Penketh live on I wonder? But Ms Penketh exposes her own prejudices when she tells us under the heading of “Cut and Run”, sub-head “Impact on Iraq”:

“Best Case Iraqis would feel responsible for their own future, but with no trained security forces and no experience of democracy, the country would split along ethnic lines [my emph. WB]”

Her “worst case” here is “Armageddon”! It goes on and on and on…”worst case”, “best case” but worse for whom? Ultimately, Ms Penketh’s best and worst are based upon her own pre-conceptions about “us” and “them”, with the “us” possessed of some ‘superior’ knowledge about the way the world works and the “them” doomed at “best” to “split along ethnic lines’ or at “worse” condemned to “Armageddon”. Wonderful stuff isn’t it and packed full of her own prejudices about the Iraqi people’s inability to understand what democracy is all about. And this is from a citizen of a country whose leaders arrogantly ignored the democratic wishes of the majority of its own population in February 2003!

The idea that the Iraqi people should be left to sort out the mess we’ve created for them, or her ability to comprehend the hell we’ve condemned them to, is obviously forever beyond her ken.

Press Pundits who pimp for imperialism
Readers may well think I’m nitpicking but the opposite holds true, for what these pages reveal is the Western mindset at its own wits end when confronted with the unpalatable truth that in spite of writing endless pages of so-called analysis, it has no answer except the one it refuses to acknowledge: That the apologists for the imperium are bereft of answers simply because they refuse to face the reality that the population of Iraq want the invaders out of their land.

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