June, 2003

NOTE: Information regarding the WMD lies and other matters directly related to the prior stage of the war is available at Iraq Antiwar Resources.

The Occupation

The colonial rulers of Iraq have decided to privatize its economy, no doubt to be sold to Us corporations. The opinions of the "liberated" Iraqis in this, as in most other matters, are irrelevant. And now for the really big guns: War is one thing, but can Iraq survive full-on assault by Wall Street?

Yet other invasions are planned for Iraq over the coming months - in the shape of oil concessions, health privatisation plans and even mobile phone licences.
'We have a responsibility, a stewardship,' [Richard] Perle told a forum of the American Enterprise Institute, 'not to turn [Iraq] over to institutions incapable of seeing this through to a successful conclusion ... the last thing the Iraqis need is French statism or German labour practices.'

The US seems to be dropping any pretense of supporting Iraqi "democracy": Occupation Forces Halt Elections Throughout Iraq [From: the Washington Post]

Ten weeks into the occupation, the cities and towns outside of Baghdad are largely administered by former Iraqi military and police officers and people who had close ties to the Baath Party. Iraqi generals and police colonels, for example, are now mayors of a dozen cities, including Samarra, Najaf, Tikrit, Balad and Baqubah....
"There will be no elections for the foreseeable future," said Sgt. Jeff Butler of the U.S. Army's 418th Civil Affairs Battalion from Kansas City, Mo., which is charged with running Samarra.

Patrick Cockburn describes the mood in Baghdad: Powerless Iraqis rail against ignorant, air-conditioned US occupation force

John W. Dower, historian of the American occupation of Japan after World War II, says that the correct analogy is with the Japanese occupation of Manchuria: The Other Japanese Occupation

An analysis, by Brian Dominick of the hypocrisy, and lack of humanity, of US (in this case New York Times) reporting of Iraq, concentrating on the experience of the GIs and ignoring that of their victims. Perhaps a bit unfair, but thought-provoking. Children Terrified

Where have we heard this before? Iraqis Voice Fear of Signing Away Their Identity: Civil employees must declare in writing to obey the orders of the U.S. administration.

(T)he latest affront to many Iraqis is one sentence in one document. All citizens who work for the government are required to sign a document that states, "I will obey the laws of Iraq and all proclamations, orders and instructions of the Coalition Provisional Authority"....
"They are quite capable intellectually," said Lt. Col. P.J. Dermer, who is working with the civil administration to develop grass-roots democratic practices in Baghdad. "The assets are there. The mentality doesn't exist. They need us. They know it's up to us to walk them through this."
Many Iraqis don't see it that way.

Ah, Freedom! How wonderful! How fleeting! In volatile Iraq, US curbs press

Eleanor Robson,a council member of the British School of Archaeology in Iraq, writes that the recent claims that Baghdad Museum staff had deliberately overstated losses to cover their theft are false. Not surprising, given the source is the US occupation army. Iraq's museums: what really happened: The truth behind the sacking of a cultural heritage is far less colourful than the allegations of corruption and cover-up

Naomi Klein in The Nation puts the destruction being wrought upon the Iraqi economy in the context of the economic "shock therapy" delivered with devastating results to countries around the world, in order to create free markets controlled by US multinationals: Downsizing in Disguise

As the Bush Administration becomes increasingly open about its plans to privatize Iraq's state industries and parts of the government, Bremer's de-Baathification takes on new meaning. Is he working only to get rid of Baath Party members, or is he also working to shrink the public sector as a whole so that hospitals, schools and even the army are primed for privatization by US firms?...
Paul Bremer is, according to Bush, a "can-do" type of person. Indeed he is. In less than a month he has readied large swaths of state activity for corporate takeover, primed the Iraqi market for foreign importers to make a killing by eliminating much of the local competition and made sure there won't be any unpleasant Iraqi government interference--in fact, he's made sure there will be no Iraqi government at all while key economic decisions are made. Bremer is Iraq's one-man IMF.

A detailed account, by Human Rights Watch of life under British occupation: BASRA: CRIME AND INSECURITY UNDER BRITISH OCCUPATION

Robert Fisk imagines George Bush on a true fact-finding mission to "liberated" devastated Iraq: ... And The Truth The Victors Refuse To See

Whatever remains of Iraq's economy is being systematically destroyed by the colonial masters pretending to be free-marketers who've taken over, as the New York Times reports Meanwhile, After Years of Stagnation, Iraqi Industries Are Falling to a Wave of Imports Having presided over the destruction of Iraq, the US now wants to pawn its future, to American Companies of course, to pay for the rebuilding. So much for all the promises to help rebuild Iraq made before the war. The Bush administration seems determined to prove wrong all those skeptics who claimed that the Iraq war wasn't classical colonialism: Future oil sales may be pawned to banks

The Resistance

The BBC reports of an American convoy running over an 11 year old boy, and not even stopping. This in the Shia south. Next, the soldiers will ask, "Why are they shooting at us?" Death on the road to Basra

Patrick Cockburn sums up the occupation so far: We promised them peace but the killings and chaos spread

This account, from the Guardian (UK) describes how easily occupation can turn sour. It details the events that led to the deaths of six British soldiers this week. [Note how little attention is given to the five dead Iraqis.] Why were six Britons left to die in an Iraqi marketplace?

Robert Fisk: How British troops became a soft target

17-yr old arrested

A US soldier leads arrested 17-year-old student Khaled Salim with his hands tied behind his back towards a waiting army truck in the southern Baghdad suburb of Dura. Salim was arrested on his way to school, as a warning to others after he insulted US troops. US soldiers carried out house-to-house searches in Dura, detaining two people and confiscating weapons.( AFP/Ramzi Haidar)

Pictures of US GIs searching and handcuffing Iraqi women in a few of their thousands of searches. Notice the young girl in pink, with her hands bound behind her back. Funny way to "liberate". I understand that the GIs later "apologized". How nice! So If This Was Your Daughter How Would You Feel ?

Lest there be any doubt, an article in Evening Standard (UK) details, in a way the US press won't, the mindset of US troops now fighting the guerrilla war in Iraq. Obviously, the number of civilian casualties will be increasing radically. 'I just pulled the trigger'

He held out his hand as if firing a gun and clucked his tongue twice. He said: "Once you'd reached the objective, and once you'd shot them and you're moving through, anything there, you shoot again. You didn't want any prisoners of war. You hate them so bad while you're fighting, and you're so terrified, you can't really convey the feeling, but you don't want them to live...."
Specialist Castillo said: "We're more angry at the generals who are making these decisions and who never hit the ground, and who don't get shot at or have to look at the bloody bodies and the burnt-out bodies, and the dead babies and all that kinda stuff."
Sgt. Borell comforted

Not all troops have become so heartless. Sgt. David J. Borell was approached by a family whose three young children had been severely burned by a bag of explosives. He tried to get US doctors to treat them, but was refused. [Here is an AP photo of Sgt. Borell being comforted afterwards.] Soldier: U.S. Army Turns Away Burned Children In Need Of Help

“Right before they left [the American doctors], I looked at the one doctor, asked him if he could at least give them comfort care,” said Borell. “He told me they were not here to be the treatment center for Iraq. He didn't show any compassion,” the sergeant added.
Borell said he felt betrayed by the Army, which he joined after high school. Besides the letter to his wife, he also wrote to his congresswoman and several media outlets describing the incident.... His superiors have not said a word, said Borell, “although I get the impression that they're probably not very happy” .... Borell's wife gave him a silver bracelet that says: “Duty, Honor, Country.” He wears it to remind him why he's in Iraq.... “After today,” Borell said, “I wonder if I'll still be able to carry the title ‘soldier' with any pride at all.”

The campaign to win the hearts and minds of the Iraqis continues, using the best American "can do": U.S. Hunt for Baath Members Humiliates, Angers Villagers: Deaths of Teenager and Two Others Spark Talk of Revenge

With grief over the death of Hashim and two others, the Sunni Muslim population here speaks of revenge.... "I think the future's going to be very dark," said Rahim Hamid Hammoud, 56, a soft-spoken judge, as he joined a long line in paying his respects to Hashim this week. "We're seeing each day become worse than the last."
When soldiers entered his house after midnight, they put him on the ground, a boot on his back, and tied his hands with plastic handcuffs, he recalled. Tape was placed over his mouth and he was blindfolded. When he could see again, 12 hours later, he was at Abu Hleij, the airport.
Many residents said they felt humiliated. Mohammed slept outside on a graded spot near a bombed aircraft hangar, smashing two scorpions near his head. U.S. soldiers tossed military meals and bottles of water to the crowd. "They treated us like monkeys -- who's the first one who can jump up and catch the food," said Mohammed, who was captured by Iran in the Iran-Iraq war and kept as a prisoner for 11 years.
Resentment is still coursing through the village over the use of the informer. The fabric of Thuluya is stitched by tribal lineages. The Jabbour is the largest tribe but others are represented: the Khazraji, Ubaidi, Bujweri and Bufarraj. The informer, dressed in desert camouflage with a bag over his head, fingered prisoners on the first day of the operation.... Nearly all seemed to know the man's identity. ... They feared vendettas would ensue, that chaos would follow as tribes sought their own justice.

Vietnam Redux: Tom Engelhardt makes many of the obvious parallels between the Iraq situation and the Vietnam debacle. Pretty soon, lets hope, we'll have the post-post-post-Vietnam syndrome to deter future aggressions by the US. The war that comes to mind

In order to get insight into the war raging in Iraq, it is necessary to read multiple acccounts and look for commonalities. For example, most accounts contain Iraqi civilian accounts of US atrocities and a denial that Baathists are at the center of the resistance. At a minimum, these accounts make it clear that a large number of Iraqis in areas under attack view the Americans as brutal occupiers, not "liberators". As this ttitude becomes widespread, it puts the lie to any shred of plausibility that the US are actually anything but colonial occupiers. One cannot be liberators of a people who detest you and wish only that you leave, or worse. The Islam Online account of American attrocities in Norhern Iraq: U.S. Forces "Slaughter" Iraqis At Dawn: Eyewitness Also Islam Online has the first account of meeting Iraqi resistance fighters: IOL Unveils Threads Of Iraqi Resistance And a New York Times account of the fighting, with many of the same points: As U.S. Fans Out in Iraq, Violence and Death on Rise . And a June 12 interview of Robert Fisk on Democracy Now, discussing Fisk's understanding of the fledgling Iraqi resistance Robert Fisk Reports from Occupied Territory

I think what we're actually seeing, you can get clues in Iraq, is a cross fertilization. Shiites who are disillusioned, who don't believe they have been liberated, who spent so long in Iran, they don't like the Americans anyway. Sunni Muslims who feel like they're threatened by the Shiites, former Sadaam acolytes who've lost their jobs and found that their money has stopped. Kurds who are disaffected and are beginning to have contacts, and that of course is the beginning of a real resistance movement and that's the great danger for the Americans now.

The New York Times reports on the latest counterinsurgency efforts, whereby the American troops treat the entire population as the enemy and thereby guarantee that that's what they'll become. Of course, all those fighting the US are Baathists, or Sadam loyalists (some may be, of course). No one else would resent their country being invaded, occupied, and stolen by a foreign power, would they? 4,000 G.I.'s Circle a Hussein Bastion to Foil Attacks

Conversations with soldiers in the area, where the Tigris creates an island of green in a bleak brown desert, suggested that the level of attacks north of Baghdad had been intense. Soldiers said convoys were routinely fired on in the area at night, with bullets striking the first and last vehicles and rocket propelled grenades whizzing over gunners' heads and between jeeps....
(R)esidents complained today that American soldiers broke windows during searches, handcuffed women and children and roughed-up detained men. Relatives of Jassem Rumyad, 52, accused American soldiers of preventing them from giving medication to him before he collapsed and died of a heart attack. Hella Khalif, Mr. Rumyad's 80-year-old mother, said American soldiers handcuffed and gagged her when she and Mr. Rumyad's wife and daughter shouted that he needed his heart medication. "They put tape over my mouth," she said. American officials said the account was false and that they allowed the women to give Mr. Rumyad his medication before he suddenly died.

Robert Fisk gives a detailed and sobering account of what happens when you send young American troops to invade a country they don't understand. As guerilla war heats up, its important to realize the inevitability of turning the populace against the Americans, as some of the scared kids, in fear of who or what is around the corner, treat them roughly. Bloodshed, Fear And a Deadly Ambush: Killings At Fallujah

Even the Pentagon admits that the post-war effortsen't going so well. They also admit that they fighting isn't over. trouble is due to ''organized and disorganized resistance, much of which is quite professional.'' Of course, the resistance is all due to "''die-hard'' Baathists, terrorists, common criminals, disgruntled former Republic Guard commandos and foreign fighters who entered Iraq during the war and are now acting like ''guest worker jihadists,'' or holy warriors." No problems from Iraqis who don't like their country invaded and dominated by foreigners, of course! Pentagon official says Iraq stabilization proves `tougher and more complex' than expected

The US sends in troops to crush the "Sadam loyalists", but the people of Falluja resist: Police station torn down in defiant Falluja: After the war US presence comes under fierce attack

Another in a week of protests against the "Coalition of the Occupiers": Iraqis Protest U.S. Presence, Women Body Searches

"We advise you to leave our country or you will make enemies out of us," said Shi'ite cleric Muaaed al-Khazraji in a speech through a loudhailer. "Please go home and we will be very grateful because you got rid of Saddam."

Analysis, Commentary, & Domestic Reaction

Ehsan Ahrari in Asia Times analyzes the dilemma faced by Bush's occupation regim,e, and the strategies to deal with it: Damage control and blame games

A new poll suggests people are finally starting to understand what's going on in Iraq: Optimism on Iraq Slips in New Poll

The number who said things are going well has dipped from 86 percent in early May to 56 percent, and the number that say badly has grown from 13 percent to 42 percent.
Almost four in 10 say they believe the Bush administration deliberately misled the public about whether Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, while six in 10 say they do not believe that. More than half, 53 percent, say it would matter a great deal to them if they became convinced the Bush administration deliberately misled the public on that subject.

Complied by Stephen Soldz

Boston Graduate School of Psychoanalysis
1581 Beacon St.
Brookline, MA 02446
ssoldz@bgsp.edu

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