Many people who opposed the Bush administration’s un-American war of aggression against Iraq didn’t know how difficult the actual fighting would be, but most agreed that "keeping the peace" would most likely be much tougher than defeating the prostrate Iraqi military. And they have been proven right.
Sixty-three U.S. troops were killed from May 1 — the day that a swashbuckling President Bush, sporting a flyboy outfit, landed on an aircraft carrier and told Americans the "major fighting" was over and victory complete — through the end of June, or more than one per day. And as time goes on it appears the Iraqis are becoming more effective at organizing and carrying out their resistance to U.S. occupation.
As in Afghanistan, it seems that the Iraqi military engaged in a "strategic retreat" in the face of overwhelmingly superior U.S. firepower, only to regroup and carry on the fight in guerrilla war fashion. The failure of Americans to provide basic services, combined with at times trigger-happy shooting of Iraqi civilians, unheeded attempts to disarm the populace, and heavy-handed censorship of fledgling newspapers and political parties, have all combined to make the U.S. presence in Iraq very unwelcome if indeed it was ever desired by more than a few anti-Saddam exile groups.
The state of anarchy and resistance in Iraq is being well chronicled by foreign journalists and maverick (i.e., not part of the corporate media) American reporters. Patrick Cockburn of Counterpunch.com writes of Iraq:
"It was only as the looting of Baghdad continued week after week and the U.S. visibly failed to get control of the situation that the bizarre truth emerged: Washington does not have any real plans for Iraq at all. It is making up its policy as it goes along.
"Everywhere there are signs of the breakdown. A few weeks ago I nervously drove from Baghdad to Amman in Jordan along the great highway through the western desert of Iraq. As we passed looters, their elderly pick-ups and taxis piled high with junk, I wondered if it would occur to any of them that they could make a lot more money by stealing our car at gun point than they could by stripping old Iraqi government offices of broken chairs and battered filing cabinets.
"But even then I thought that the phenomenon was probably temporary. At some point the Americans, whom we could see assiduously checking the papers of aid convoys from Jordan, would surely feel bound to secure the most important land route leading to Iraq. In fact it has got worse. Even tough Jordanian drivers, who drove to Baghdad at the height of the bombing, now often refuse to travel the road because of fear of armed bandits. . . The U.S. has largely wasted any political capital it gained with Iraqis for overthrowing Saddam.
"If the U.S. was so uninterested in what happens in Iraq after the war why on earth did it fight it in the first place? After all it paid an immense diplomatic price in terms of the disruption or destruction of its traditional alliances. . . The U.S. seems to have fought the war essentially because it wanted a war. It did so because the political fuel on which the present U.S. administration runs is to emphasize the external threat. Through this means it has won control of the Senate and may well win the next presidential election. . ."
Particularly prescient has been Robert Fisk, the well-respected British journalist known for his fair-handed treatment of the Israeli-Palestinian situation, who during an interview on April 22, before Bush had even declared an end to hostilities, had this to say:
"I think a war of liberation will begin quite soon, which of course will be first referred to as a war by terrorists, by al Qaeda, by remnants of Saddam’s regime, remnants (remember that word) but it will be waged particularly by Shiite Muslims against the Americans and the British to get us out of Iraq and that will happen. And our dreams that we can liberate these people will not be fulfilled in this scenario."
At home, the militarist Bush regime’s support appears finally to be slipping some, as none of Saddam’s alleged "weapons of mass destruction" can be found, despite the administration’s repeated description of them in minute detail for months on end.
Of course, Bush can continue to count on the backing of what appears to be a portion of the population that now consists of morons, if the "polls" can be believed. Large numbers of Americans continue to somehow believe that Iraq was involved in 9/11, that Iraq has WMDs — and even used them during the recent war — and a third even believe U.S. forces have uncovered WMDs. Just exactly who these people are and what drugs they are on is never divulged by the pollsters. However, the fact that the consumption of French wine by Americans continues to plummet, according to a report by WorldNetDaily, is solid indication that there are indeed quite a few mindless neo-con "dittoheads" out there.
Military analyst Thomas Chittum, author of the patriotic best-selling book "Civil War 2" and a guest speaker at several American Nationalist Union meetings, cynically writes of the developing quagmire:
"Now consider our enlisted men in Iraq. There have been essentially no reports of Vietnamitis (deliberate shooting of officers and other deliberate "friendly fire" incidents) in our Glorious Imperial Legions in Iraq. There have been no reports of refusals to fight or go on patrols. Not a single one has shot himself in the foot (deliberately), nor has a single one of them sampled any of the local dope or gotten drunk or raped or deserted or murdered civilians or offed an officer — excepting for one fragging incident at the beginning of the war. They are all apple-cheeked young lads who, when not gallantly fighting, hand out candy to the local children. Right! Like the rest of the Iraq War, this image is theater for tube zombies back home. Pure swill!
"The wheels are coming off the Glorious Imperial War Machine in Iraq. Our guys are being hunted down for sport by roving bands of Iraqi bushwackers. Heck, it’s fun and easy! All Abdullah and his buddies have to do is set up a half-way respectable ambush and wait for one of our obliging sitting duck patrols to waddle brainlessly into the old killing zone. Quack! Quack! Quack! Bang! Bang! Bang! It’s as easy as ordering out for pizza. . .
"The American Army in Iraq is evolving into the American Army of Vietnam. . . The longer it wears on the worse it will get. Economic rout will follow military humiliation, and I’ll be on the skids along with 90% of my fellow comrade peasants (here at home). . ."
Maybe the neoconservative Masters of the Universe will somehow tame the Iraqi resistance and turn that country into a model democracy. And maybe they will somehow turn the sickly global economy and the debt-riddled, sinking U.S. economy around and everyone will live happily and mindlessly ever after.
And maybe they won’t.
Reproduced from The Nationalist Times (www.anu.org)