Yes, The Iraqis Are Celebrating: Bust a Move for the Occupation
- by M. Junaid Alam
Six months after the American liberation of Iraq, celebration among the natives is in full swing. But will the US survive the party?
The rapidly decreasing morale and increasingly high suicide rate among US soldiers in Iraq is probably attributable to the ululating musicals being sung by the locals in their honor - not exactly Metallica material. Helicopter crewmen, too, have been irked as villagers below happily hurl flowers in the air with such vigor that it's doing a number on the rotor blades. Even Deputy Secretary Wolfowitz of Arabia, official groom of the uppity Iraqi bride, ditched the wedding after uninvited guests pelted him with rice through the windows of the fabulous Rasheed hotel.
No doubt these slight cultural differences pose some problems, but nothing a little dialogue and communication can't remedy. Already, evidence of spontaneous adoption of superior American values by Iraqis is on display, as they squeak out new dance moves atop crashed Blackhawks and trashed Humvees. These days the American side of this cultural exchange program has been generous, replete with pyrotechnics supplied by 500lb. bombs and tank shells right outside (or inside) the homes of their hosts.
The American occupation of Iraq has developed into an outrageous catastrophe. The sight of an arrogant, swaggering administration mouthing rhetoric about 'democratizing' and 'liberating' a people whose country they have strangled and smashed without even a pretense of post-war planning is not only pathetic, but petrifying. Total disregard for Iraqi and American life by the war hawks has resulted in a number of tragic and deeply ironic conundrums.
Evidence of such disregard is not lacking. Even the most basic, oft-repeated justifications for waging war have been exposed as sheer nonsense. Top members of the intelligence community, including some in the CIA, have made perfectly clear that, "There was never a clear and present danger…Iraq - and we have very good intelligence on this - was never part of the picture on terrorism." Old, archived data was dug up and wildly distorted at the behest of Vice President Cheney, who concocted fantasies about fictitious 'mobile biolabs' and Nigerian uranium in order to deceive the public. (1)
Between bravely hiding out in secret bunkers (Saddam, anyone?) and fabricating intelligence, Cheney and his corporate cronies apparently forgot to plan for the logistics of taking over another country. A recently revealed official US Army review illustrates "a complete absence of high-level military and political planning" for the Iraqi aftermath. Army divisions had little idea of how to interface with Iraqi society, creating serious organizational and cultural problems. (2)
Not to worry, however: the US has simply borrowed a recipe from its favorite colonial settler-state, Israel - which, with its predilection for torturing, incarcerating, and dispossessing an entire people, is well-qualified to advice on methods of exporting 'freedom' and 'democracy'. Aside from purchasing some Israeli software on policing tactics, America's military has replied to resistance with IDF favorites such as bulldozing farmland, dropping half-ton bombs in residential areas, and raiding and firing indiscriminately. This has resulted in the deaths of countless civilians - or uncounted, actually, as US policy is to eschew body counts of those they kill.
The goal of such behavior, remarked US commander Steven Russel, is to show the Iraqis "we have teeth and claws and we will use them." (3) Which would make Iraqi children like the two-year old girl shot dead in September near Faljullah potential prey to not-so-native wildlife gone…wild.
Another consequence of the introduction of foreign predators into the Iraqi ecosystem is a scarcity of US soldiers for upcoming Veteran's Day parades. In many small towns parades have been cancelled or channeled into larger city parades, as most military personnel and equipment is stationed abroad. Therefore those who usually lead processions honoring the dead from past wars are too busy fighting, killing, and dying in this one. (4)
But have patience. Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld announced that an accelerated Pentagon plan to level out US troop deployment in Iraq is underway: the creation of Iraqi cannon fodder. Iraqi police are being 'trained' to quell the intensifying resistance. American confidence in Iraqi policing abilities must be quite flattering, for it turns out that the officers are often without weapons, vests, cars, and training. Actually, as of now, no new officers are being trained at all. Meanwhile, a reporter in Baghdad noted, "Most officers spend their days sitting outside the station, on a street still strewn with twisted cars and shattered glass." As vulnerable and important symbols of the American presence, Iraqi police are hammered by rebel attacks, often losing limbs and becoming amputees. (5)
This is only a small selection of the total set of miseries and atrocities caused by the continued imperialist venture in the Middle East. Both the Republican 'right' and Democratic 'left' wings of the vulture circling around Iraq continue flapping wildly in support of continued and increased troop presence. These soldiers sent abroad, unable to wow the domestic crowds by parading at home, must nonetheless appreciate the enthusiasm of their foreign audience: an Iraqi resistance fighter, commenting on the occupation's role in galvanizing mass hatred for America in the Arab world, commented wryly, "The American army is our best friend. We should give them medals." (6)
Will Bush bust a move for that?
M. Junaid Alam is co-editor and web-designer for Left Hook, a new journal for leftist American youth, and political science major at Northeastern University. He takes the heat and dishes it back out at firstname.lastname@example.org
1. "Case for war confected, say top US officials." The Independent, November 09, 2003.
2. "U.S. turns wrath on resistance fighters." The Observer, November 09, 2003.
3. "U.S. Retaliates After Black Hawk Crash." Fox News, November 07, 2003.
4. "Not Enough Troops for Veterans Day Parades." Associated Press, November 09,
5. "For Iraq Police, a Bigger Task but More Risk." The New York Times, November 09, 2003.
6. "Americans sow seeds of hatred." The Observer, November 09, 2003.