July, 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

Occupation Resistance Analysis

Recent economic news indicates Bechtel 's returned to profitability. Here's why: U.S. OKs Bechtel's Blueprint for Iraq, Which Puts Electricity First. Those of us from Massachusetts understand all about Bechtel's administrative costs!

San Francisco-based Bechtel, the largest construction and engineering company in the U.S., will get $80 million from the budget to cover its administrative costs.

Imagine what you would do if members of your family or friends were being treated like this by foreign invaders who don't even speak your language: Arrests And Abuse By American Troops On The Rise In Iraq" "They're treating us like cattle"

If its not about oil, then how come Bush has signed away all rights for anyone to sue over what US companies do when they "steal" Iraq's oil? Operation Oily Immunity

In other words, if ExxonMobil or ChevronTexaco touch Iraqi oil, it will be immune from legal proceedings in the US.... The President, with a stroke of the pen, signed away the rights of Saddam's victims, creditors and of the next true Iraqi government to be compensated through legal action. Bush's order unilaterally declares Iraqi oil to be the unassailable province of U.S. corporations.

Yet another account, this time from the German Der Spiegel, of the mood among Iraqis subjected to America occupation brutality. The wrath of the conquered

"Just as the heat begins to let up, the first tank comes roaring along the street. The entire house vibrates. And this continues hourly until five in the morning." He says that Ahmed Husseini, the son of a neighbor, protested at the garden gate in early June. "The Americans simply shot him. These people don't know what they're doing." Abid is a graduate of the University of Baghdad, and holds a doctorate in economics. He has travelled throughout Europe and the United States, and his English is good. But he is puzzled as to how the Americans have even managed to alienate such Iraqis as himself. He says: "The problem with the Americans is that they have no respect for us."

Now the US takes women and children as hostages! This behavior is condemned as a war crime when committed by others! According to the Geneva Convention, Part III, Section I, Provisions Common to the Territories of the Parties to the Conflict and to Occupied Territories, Article 34: "The taking of hostages is prohibited." U.S. adopts aggressive tactics in Iraq

Col. David Hogg, commander of the 2nd Brigade of the 4th Infantry Division, said tougher methods are being used to gather the intelligence. On Wednesday night, he said, his troops picked up the wife and daughter of an Iraqi lieutenant general. They left a note: “If you want your family released, turn yourself in.”

Yet another chilling account of the brutality of US occupation troops. No wonder the Iraqis fight them. And no wonder the troops want to go home before yet more descend to this level and live with the consequences. Iraqi civilians caught in crossfire of US operations

Robert Fisk sums up the new Iraq: "We Keep Asking Ourselves Who’s Next"

And another Robert Fisk account: American Troops Step up Searches as Death Toll Rises

[H]undreds of Iraqi Shias from the super-heated slums of Sadr City - formerly Saddam City - were woken by a raiding party of US troops who seized guns and rifles from their makeshift homes amid the sinister ruins of Saddam's most frightful intelligence organisation. "They tied up all the men with plastic and steel cuffs around their wrists and took all our guns," one of the residents complained. "A soldier pointed his rifle at this child here and his Iraqi translator said in Arabic that they'd count to 10 to be told where our guns were. Yes, of course we have guns: we have to defend ourselves from thieves who come in the night. Everyone in Baghdad has a gun now because there is so much robbery and killing." The guns were taken but, according to a middle-aged woman in a black abaya, the men were left handcuffed w hen the soldiers departed. "We had to find knives to cut them free," she said.

More details on the Mansur massacre (see below): US tactics fuel Iraqi anger. Here is a chilling account from the Guardian: Victims of trigger-happy Task Force 20 and here is yet another account, this time by Robert Fisk: US troops turn botched Saddam raid into a massacre

When another car arrived US troops riddled it with more bullets and it burst into flames. It is believed that two people were inside and both w ere burnt to death. "The Americans didn't try to help the civilians they had shot, not once," a witness said. "They let the car burn and left the bodies where they lay, even the children. It was we who had to take them to the hospitals."

Evidently, the Iraqi people haven't suffered enough at the hands of Saddam. Now they are being butchered by those searching for him: US troops raid Baghdad house, no sign of Saddam

An American soldier at a nearby hospital said five bodies and at least eight wounded had been brought in from the scene of the raid. An Iraqi policeman said all the dead had been in cars fired on by troops as they drove through the area.

Dr Adnan Pachachi, the acting head of the US-backed Iraqi Governing Council, has become critical of the US occupation. Evidently, the prospect of future elections, has even the US hand-picked favorites running to provide cover for their collaboration. Future Iraqi leader spurns US

Occupation is hard. The US is considering another shakeup: Bush Considers New Overhaul of Postwar Iraq Administration: White House Aims to Address Concerns as Cost, Casualties Mount

Here, in Tom Engelhardt's latest Tomgram is a credible estimate that as many as 60,000 Iraqi civilians will die as a result of this "war of liberation". By Jack Miles, a MacArthur Fellow (2003-2007), senior advisor to the president of the J. Paul Getty Trust and a member of the Pacific Council on International Policy. Jack Miles on Iraqi casualties and a question of honor

Evidently, Saddam Hussein's sons have been killed. This is, of course, good news, as they were incredibly evil. If only Saddam Hussein would also be killed Iraqis would not have to fear their return to power. The US, of course, hopes that the deaths of these three will end the resistance to the US occupation. I wonder, in contrast, if their deaths may not increase resistance as Iraqis fighting the American occupation will no longer have to fear that their efforts could aid Saddam's return. Only time will tell which perspective is more correct.

In this horrifying account, Robert Fisk describes one of the American concentration camps in Iraq and shows how easy it is to get in. Of course, being the only superpower, the US routinely violates innumerable international laws... Fisk: The ugly truth of America's Camp Cropper, a story to shame us all

Isam al-Khafaji, professor of political economy at the University of Amsterdam and a member of the Democratic Principles Working Group? convened by the U.S. State Department to discuss the future of Iraqi governance has resigned with an Open Letter to U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz.

I did this with great sadness but, in doing so, I was able to leave Iraq with a clear conscience. If I stayed any longer, I might not be able to say that. I feared my role with the reconstruction council was sliding from what I had originally envisioned -- working with allies in a democratic fashion -- to collaborating with occupying forces....
I accepted the fact that we were a defeated country, and I had no problem working with the United States to pull my country out of a quagmire. But there seemed to be no interest on the part of the coalition in involving Iraqis as advisers on the future of their country.

So far, the new Iraq Governing Council isn't functioning so well: Iraq Council Fails to Choose President

Another GI dead, mass arrests of Iraqis, clerics condemning the occupation, soldiers play around with statues, and neocon Wolfowitz struts around the country. Must be another day in Iraq. Another U.S. soldier killed in Iraq: Over 1,200 people arrested in and around Baghdad. [From MSNBC]

Another excellent account of the cynicism and lack of cultural understanding of US troops that can lead to tragic consequences: On patrol with the US Army in Bagdad's deadly alleys

“I think the Iraqis aren’t the brightest,” one mutters, cradling his M16. “Their work ethic is for shit. They work from ten to one, and their moral values . . . man. They are supposed to be orthodox Muslims, but we arrested eight dudes the other day who were drunk all day long.”

The Times (London) is reporting that Bush decides the time has come to ask for UN help

David J. Andrus, Director of the Peace and Conflict Studies Program at the University of Southern California School of International Relations, describes his analysis based on a return to Iraq in mid June: Aftermath of War: The next West Bank?

Like Israeli troops occupying the West Bank, U.S. troops reflect a dangerous mix of fear and ignorance. They can't understand why fear-filled and starving Iraqis, who now find themselves in a Wild West type of anarchy, with bandits and all, are not grateful for being liberated. So, when Iraqis express rage, the troops react according to their training. They shoot first and ask questions later.

Jonathan Steele in the Guardian analyzes the dilemma of the new "Governing Council": The classic dilemma of collaboration: Iraqi leaders have to weigh up the risks of working with the occupiers

When Ahmed Chalabi, head of the CIA-funded Iraqi National Congress, took it on himself to "express the gratitude of the Iraqi people" to George Bush and Tony Blair for "liberating Iraq", none of the other 24 members at their joint press conference clapped.... Unlike Chalabi, a true puppet of America, the other council members realise they have a credibility problem....
The US administrator, Paul Bremer, has pre-empted several key economic decisions, such as announcing the budget and awarding contracts to Bush administration cronies. Will the council be able to stop any more of this, or block his plans for privatisation?
But the test is yet to come. The council's collective status contains grave risks of puppetry and some members are manifestly more inclined to be puppets than others. The first showdown will come when the council confronts Paul Bremer and he tries to veto their will, or when any members decide to resign. Then we will see whether this traumatised country can master its destiny at last.

There's trouble and resentment in British control Basra too. Note the theme of humiliation: Resentment bubbles as British troops try to restore order in Basra: Relief at Saddam's overthrow has been replaced by defiance

It's too early to tell, are we talking of puppet regime, or the first step on the process of US withdrawal? Iraqi Council Convenes in First Step Towards Self-Government. Here is a list of Council members.

US plans to sell future rights to Iraqi oil to fund the "reconstruction", thus relieving the US of the burden of fixing what it destroyed, are coming under criticism: Outrage at US plan to mortgage Iraqi oil

L. Paul Bremer, Iraqi ruler's official version of what's happening [From The New York Times]: he Road Ahead in Iraq — and How to Navigate It

Below the spot where the infamous Saddam Hussein statue was pulled down by US troops, there is now a hand-scrawled sign: "All donne, go home." Power cuts and lost jobs stir anti-US anger

When attacks on Americans occur, people in the crowds which quickly gather rarely tell reporters they feel sorry for the dead young soldiers. More often they join in a postmortem celebration of the resistance fighters' deeds.

Meanwhile, as reported in the Boston Globe, Halliburton is using its contract to repair Iraq's oil fields to take over the industry: Halliburton unit expands war-repair role

They travel like foreign dignitaries, their SUVs escorted by two US Army Humvees and a security detail led by a master sergeant. No Iraqi official is too busy to meet them and when it comes to Iraq's most precious resource, oil, they are granted total and instant access. Officials from Kellogg, Brown & Root Services, a subsidiary of oil-services giant Halliburton Co., are using a broadly worded contract to evaluate and repair Iraq's petroleum infrastructure, "as directed" by the US government, to gain a huge head start over potential competitors in redeveloping the country's vast, outdated oil industry.

Evidently there is discussion about having NATO take over control in Iraq. This would be a major blow to unilateralists in the administration. U.S. might ask NATO to take over control of Iraq occupation: Administration seeking to cut American presence

The US scores a victory. Several Iraqi political groups have agreed to join the American-sponsored "governing council": Iraqi Political Groups Move to Help Quell Hussein Loyalists

If you want to understand why the Americans are not viewed as liberators, the following account by Ed Vuillamy in the Guardian Observer ( UK) is essential. It describes a few of the thousands of civilians who were killed in that liberation. Among the victims families are those in wards in the hospital where Jessica Lynch was "rescued", wards never visited by the US press. If you are not in tears as you read it, you are not human. Iraq: The Human Toll

Imagine if a foreign army came into your house and treated you this way? Why should Iraqis feel differently? U.S. Raids Offend Iraqi Sensibilities

Not surprisingly, the US soldiers ordered to occupy a country where the people don't want them, come to detest and despise the people they're "liberating", as is illustrated in this Washington Post piece: Mistrust Mixes With Misery In Heat of Baghdad Police Post: Frustrated Reservists See a Mission Impossible

Jalil, the veteran Iraqi policeman, watched with disgust. "It's embarrassing. It's embarrassing for us and for the lieutenant," he said. "We are police and they don't respect us. How is it possible for them to respect the Iraqi people?"

Evidently, at the Baghdad Airport, the looting and vandalism was done by the "liberating" US troops, as Time reports: Grounding Planes the Wrong Way: Coalition troops looted and vandalized the Iraqi airport that now must be rebuilt. If this is what they did to the airport when it was under total American control, I wonder what they did to the rest of the country.

The US is engaging in the same abusive treatment of prisoners that it has become infamous for in Afghanistan, according to Amnesty International: US condemned over Iraq rights

Amnesty International has warned that the "conditions of detention Iraqis are held under... may amount to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, banned by international law"....
The group said prisoners were bound so tightly with plastic handcuffs that many still showed scars on their wrists a month after their arrest.

More details on US abuse of prisoners comes from this former detainee: Iraqi details harsh treatment as Amnesty criticizes U.S. interrogation methods

An Iraqi businessman detained during a raid on his home says U.S. interrogators deprived him of sleep, forced him to kneel naked and kept him bound hand and foot with a bag over his head for eight days.

The Resistance

Occupation Resistance Analysis

The psychological toll on the US troops is horrifying: On Battle and Home Fronts, a Roller Coaster of Nerves: Randomness of Attacks Takes a Toll on Troops

In numerous interviews here, soldiers said attacks happen all the time, but the vast majority miss their mark or result in minor injuries, and don't make it into news accounts. Soldiers with cuts and bruises and shrapnel wounds return to duty every day. Their near-misses are militarily insignificant, but psychologically damaging....
"There are so many shots fired here all the time, you don't even think about it, and that's what's horrible," said Torkildson, as he guarded the main gate with a machine gun....
"I just keep thinking," he said, "am I really here? Or am I just waiting to wake up?"

Robert Fisk claims here that the core of the resistance is Sunni Islamic in nature, led by people opposed to the Saddam regime, not remnants of that regime: US Death Toll Hits 50 as assault increase by Iraqi guerrillas

The deaths of Saddam's sons squelched the resistance: Iraq attacks kill five US troops. The rise in attacks in the last few days will undoubtedly contribute to further demoralization of the US troops, who want to go HOME.

Those poor Americans occupiers can't get a break: Muslims Take Offense to Footage of Bodies

The Baghdad Blogger on how the US messed up yet again.

Showing Pictures Could Turn Sons into Martyrs: Robert Fisk ponders how Iraqis - who are all too used to horror - will view the mortuary mug-shots of Uday and Qusay

Of course, we occupied ourselves yesterday with those photographs and with the deaths of the Americans. But no one bothered to ask about the two Iraqis gunned down by the Americans in the slums of Hay al-Gailani. Down the road, then, at 7:00 a.m. yesterday, drove two men. They failed to stop. The Americans peppered their car with bullets. The vehicle burst into flames. And the Americans just left. For half an hour, the car blazed out of control.... "There were just bones and flesh," Mohamed Eadem told me. "And of course there were no identity papers left, so they hadn't the slightest idea who these dead men were, and the Americans obviously didn't care." Their car was left in the street, shredded by bullets, a crowd of angry Iraqis banging their fists on the roof. Was there a better way to enlist more men in the battle against the occupation?

Jonathan Steele in the Guardian argues that the Resistance has its roots in the present: The Iraqis opposing occupation are not remnants of the old regime

Three US soldiers killed in Iraq

Interviewed by CBS News, these resistance fighters denied that they were fighting for Saddam: Iraqi Fighters: Yankees Go Home

"Yes, yes, " said one man. "We are farmers. We're Iraqis. This isn't about politics".... "This is occupation, so we fight against the occupation," said a fighter....
"We feel happy now because we can speak freely, but at the same time we don't want Saddam neither, or America. We just want the American soldiers to leave our country," reported the translator.

Robert Fisk claims that the death of Saddam's sons is likely to stimulate the Iraqi resistance, not squelch it as the US, and most analysts, claim. As a researcher, I figure its always good to have alternative hypotheses. The next few months will bring the test. His sons are dead but Saddam lives

But the guerrillas who are killing US troops every day are also being attacked by a growing Islamist Sunni movement which never had any love f or Saddam. Much more importantly, many Iraqis were reluctant to support the resistance for fear that an end to American occupation would mean the return of the ghastly old dictator. If he and his sons are dead, the chances are that the opposition to the American-led occupation will grow rather than diminish - on the grounds that with Saddam gone, Iraqis will have nothing to lose by fighting the Americans.

Robert Fisk: Guerrilla war in Iraq is out of control

Assaults on Americans are described as "Significant Incidents" while assaults on Iraqi civilians - during the theft of their cars, for example - are referred to under the simple heading of "Crime". American lives, the underlying tenor of these reports seems to be, are more important than innocent Iraqi lives.
But the message of all this information - most of it unreported by the media - is that the Americans are no longer safe anywhere in Iraq: not at Baghdad airport, which they captured with so much fanfare in early April, not at their military bases nor in the streets of central Baghdad, nor in their helicopters nor on the country roads.

Soldier Killed in Ambush North of Baghdad

Three GIs dead and 10,000 Iraqi protest the occupation: Two U.S. Soldiers Killed in Iraq Ambush. (Notice how the "noncombat" death from speeding to avoid attack isn't counted.) Meanwhile, the Boston Globe today headlines US stressing Iraq success amid attacks: Reconstruction, finding Hussein called priorities.

Now we hear the White House is smearing the ABC reporter who reported about bad troop morale. This is how they attempt to cow the press into submission: Drudging Up Personal Details . And a commanding general's wife accuses the soldier's wives of aiding the enemy! General's wife: Complaints aid enemy in Iraq.

A couple hours after the next story we hear: Pentagon retaliates against GIs who spoke out on TV

The retaliation from Washington was swift. "It was the end of the world," said one officer Thursday. "It went all the way up to President Bush and back down again on top of us. At least six of us here will lose our careers."
In Baghdad, average soldiers from other Army brigades are eager to spill similar complaints. "I'm not sure people in Washington really know what it's like here," said Corp. Todd Burchard as he stood on a street corner, sweating profusely and looking bored. "We'll keep doing our jobs as best as anyone can, but we shouldn't have to still be here in the first place." Nearby, Pfc. Jason Ring stood next to his Humvee. "We liberated Iraq. Now the people here don't want us here, and guess what? We don't want to be here either," he said. "So why are we still here? Why don't they bring us home?"

As pointed out by Mike Ewens on Antiwar.org, this recent New York Times story contained a direct threat by Gen. John P. Abizaid, commander of US forces in Iraq, against soldiers expressing displeasure with US policy and/or policymakers [See next article.]: U.S. Commander in Iraq Says Yearlong Tours Are Option to Combat 'Guerrilla' War.

"None of us that wear this uniform are free to say anything disparaging about the secretary of defense or the president of the United States," General Abizaid said during his Pentagon briefing. "We're not free to do that. It's our professional code. Whatever action may be taken, whether it's a verbal reprimand or something more stringent is up to the commanders on the scene and it's not for me to comment."

And the poor GIs suffer, along with the Iraqis: Key U.S. Army Division Shocked at Extended Iraq Duty. [Reuters] And a even stronger account from ABC News: A Big Letdown: Soldiers Learn They’ll Be in Baghdad Longer Than Expected

The sergeant at the 2nd Battle Combat Team Headquarters pulled me aside in the corridor. "I've got my own 'Most Wanted' list," he told me.... The aces in my deck are Paul Bremer, Donald Rumsfeld, George Bush and Paul Wolfowitz," he said.
"If Donald Rumsfeld were sitting here in front of us, what would you say to him?" I asked a group of soldiers .... In the back of the group, Spc. Clinton Deitz put up his hand. "If Donald Rumsfeld was here," he said, "I'd ask him for his resignation." Those are strong words from troops used to following orders....
"I used to want to help these people," said Pfc. Eric Rattler, "but now I don't really care about them anymore. I've seen so much, you know, little kids throwing rocks at you. Once you pacify an area, it seems like the area you just came from turns bad again. I'd like this country to be all right, but I don't care anymore."

Bomb Kills U.S. Soldier, Hurts 2 in Iraq. More details a couple hours later: Pro-American Mayor, Son Killed in Iraq [From AP]

Finally we hear how many US troops have been wounded in Iraq: Pentagon: 1,000 troops wounded in Iraq war

Even US-picked Iraqi police want to keep their distance from US troops -- they don't want to become targets: Iraqi Police Warn U.S. Troops on Safety

Another day, a few more GIs dead: Attacks Kill Two U.S. Soldiers in Iraq

Note how widespread the attacks are now. Obviously, the Iraqis aren't rushing to turn in the resistance fighters, so a little American payola is needed: Attacks wound seven U.S. soldiers, coalition offers reward for attackers [from the Associated Press]

Privately, US officials are starting to admit that the US is fighting a guerilla war in Iraq: In Postwar Iraq, the Battle Widens: Recent Attacks on U.S. Forces Raise Concerns of a Guerrilla Conflict. See also: Urban Combat Frustrates Army: Attackers in Baghdad Using Cover of Crowds, Buildings

Many soldiers say they are not surprised by the increasing attacks or the displays of anger among Iraqis. "They're getting tired of us," said Spec. James McNeely, 48, a member of the D.C. National Guard's 547th Transportation Company. "Wouldn't you be mad if they invaded your country?"

When a bomb blows up the US-trained police cadet graduating class, virtually everyone in town blames the Americans. Unlikely as it is (what's the motive?) beliefs like this certainly shows how the populace views the occupation: how the Iraq Town Blames U.S. Troops for Fatal Explosion at Cadet Graduation

"The Americans did this," said Jassim's brother, Hamid. "They did it to make confusion, to make us fight each other." Hamid Jassim's opinion was shared by almost everyone interviewed in Ramadi on Sunday. That a theory so far-fetched could win the minds of so many in this small city is yet another indication of how Iraq is spinning out of control and into chaos.
The commander of the 3rd Armored Calvary in Ramadi stressed that the attack was not an example of guerilla warfare. "Guerilla warfare is where the population supports the guerillas. That is not the case here," said Col. David Teeples. "We have a good relationship with the people." Most people on the streets of Ramadi Sunday, though, said they loath the U.S. presence. The few exceptions included the regional governor and Ramadi police chief, both of whom are supported, and guarded, by U.S. military.
Mohammad Kamis, another one of the police cadets, said "there's no question the Americans made (the bombing), they did it so we will start fighting each other." Khalid Jamil Kurdi, who worked in the local glass factory before the war, said "because some people have attacked the Americans, they are turning off our water and electricity … we'll have Jihad, it is inevitable."

Three Americans killed in one day. At what point will the public notice the costs of imperial war? Two American soldiers killed in convoy attacks in Baghdad, third killed in shooting The Iraqi public seems to overwhelmingly support the anti-American resistance. Even at Baghdad University, there are cheers as a soldier is killed: As Goodwill Fades, Attacks Rise in Iraq

Not surprisingly, US troop morale is bad, as they realize they've been conned: Troop morale in Iraq hits 'rock bottom' and, also from the same issue of The Christian Science Monitor, Fatigued, US troops yearn for home.

"I don't know how anybody is going to be when we get back. I'm a changed person," says Staff Sgt. Antony Joseph, a public-affairs officer in Fallujah. "You can't see death and destruction and not be changed by it. What does it do to those who cut people down? Some have seen their friends die next to them."

Here is the news conference of Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld where he tries to avoid the analogy to Vietnam. Instead, Iraq today is akin to the early days of the United States! [A psychoanalytic question: Is this propaganda or delusion?]

The US response to Iraqis making it clear they don't want the US? tell them "tough sh_t": Iraqi attacks could signal wide revolt

[S]aid a senior military official in Washington. "You have to go in and tell them: 'We're gonna do what we did in Germany and Japan. We're gonna write your constitution. We're gonna install your government. We're gonna write your laws. We're gonna watch your every move for a decade, and then maybe you'll get a chance to do it yourself.' "

There was a huge explosion in a mosque in Fallujah yesterday, which killed at least 10 Iraqis. The US claims they had nothing to do with it. Much of the US press aren't even reporting Iraqi claims that it was caused by a US missile. As Patrick Cockburn reports, it may not matter as the Iraqis remain convinced it was the US, and will no doubt seek revenge. Iraq's resistance: A new Vietnam for the White House? >

Analysis, Commentary, & Domestic Reaction

Occupation Resistance Analysis

George Monbiot, columnist for the Guardian, dissects the warrior America, and its blindness to reality America is a religion: US leaders now see themselves as priests of a divine mission to rid the world of its demons

The campaign against military families continues: Military Wife Rebuked for E-Mail: Spouse Accused of Spreading Fear in Bid for Information

Eric Margolis provides us with an essebtial lexicon for understanding recent event: Terms of engagement: Herewith, definitions to keep on top of current events

# Dictator - A ruler you don't like, or who does not cooperate.
# Statesman - A cooperative dictator.

Christopher Dickey in Newsweek Onlinedisagrees with the optimistic view of what is going on in Iraq: Body Counts: Uday and Qusay’s deaths will not stop the guerrilla war. Why Iraq could be worse than Vietnam

he United States has to do just about everything, but it looks as if it didn’t prepare for anything. “People in the conspiracy-minded Arab world just can’t believe you could make such mistakes,” a Jordanian business consultant told me this afternoon. “They see a great plot to dismember an Arab state or whatever. But they’re just misreading your incompetence”....
Winning a guerrilla war requires more than just presence, however. The response to rebellion has to be clear, direct, very brutal and very invasive not only for the enemy but for the innocents. And we shouldn’t kid ourselves about this. There is a terrible sameness in the history of effective counterinsurgencies....
“Ironically, if Saddam is killed as well as his two sons,” says Abu Odeh, [a former advisor to Jordan’s King Hussein ] “that will accelerate the process of seeing the Americans as the real enemy.”

At least a few commentators, like Jules Witcover here, are pointing out that, in this brouhaha about the 16 words, Congress misses the big picture on war with Iraq. The big picture is the entire policy of preemptive war.

Sen. Bob Graham, presidential candidate, writes in Newsday about: The Dishonesty Of the President

According to the latest Zogby poll, Bush's job performance is down to 53% and 47% say it's time for someone new in the White House, compared to 46% who said Bush deserves to be reelected. With ratings like these, get ready for a new terror alert!

Greg Palast disects the Iraqi "democracy" blather coming from the US and British imperial administrations: The Unicycle of Evil and Poppy's Bomb

[I]t was our President's turn. He used the phrase "free Iraq" about half a dozen times. We know Iraq is free because Mr. Bush explained, he has just appointed Iraq's "governing council." The puppet show, our president told us gleefully, "is now meeting regularly." What about -- dare I mention the word -- ELECTIONS? o ask during a presidential press conference about the possibility that Iraqis be allowed to vote is considered as appropriate as passing wind at a debutante ball. "Democracy," Mr. Bush wagged his finger, "will take time to create."
Democracy, Bush and Blair admonish us, is not something we can rush into. Their point was illustrated this week when, in a little noticed announcement, Bush's man Bremer, who issues his dictates from Saddam's old office, cancelled all local elections.

Curiouser and curiouser. Documents released under the Freedom of Information Act show that Cheney's energy task force obtained maps of Iraqi oil fields, pipelines, refineries and terminals: CHENEY ENERGY TASK FORCE DOCUMENTS FEATURE MAP OF IRAQI OILFIELDS: Commerce & State Department Reports to Task Force Detail Oilfield & Gas Projects, Contracts & Exploration. Saudi Arabian & UAE Oil Facilities Profiled As Well. See the discussion in: Cheney's Oil Maps: Can the Real Reason for War be This Crass?

Robert Fisk draws the analogies between the Israeli treatment of occupied Palestine and the american treatment of occupied Iraq. He also unmasks the tremendous hypocrisy of the British who have historically criticized Israeli conduct, but now condone, or even collaborate in, comparable American conduct: What Israel does to Palestine, we are doing to Iraq: Want to criticise the Israelis for shooting stone-throwers in Gaza? The US does the same in Falujah

Martin Woollacott in the Guardian analyzes the American dilemma of having to pay for the occupation and reconstruction of Iraq after alienating most of those who could help: The US needs allies - but is too proud to pay the price: Bush has ambitious plans for Iraq, but lacks money and manpower

Two PR experts analyze the campaign for the war, and the right-wing propaganda machine in general: Trading on fear

Based on his Vietnam experience, Jeff Danziger describes the magnitude of the mistake the Pentagon made this week by extending the tour of duty for american troops "indefinitely": Tour of Duty or Deplorable Deployment?

The civil war in the US government intensifies as the CIA this time refused to go along with Bush Administration lies: CIA: Assessment of Syria's WMD exaggerated. [From the Miami Herald]

A group of conservatives, including a prominent lawyer in the first Bush administration, are warning of the dangers of empire and calling for a national debate [Note: This is not the Pat Buchanan wing of conservatism, but more mainstream folks. From the Wall Street Journal.] Manifesto Warns of Dangers Associated With an Empire

Here's an unsettling reminder of the horrors, both of Saddam's regime and of the sanctions against it from a human rights worker who supported the war: A question of guilt: Quick to damn others, Robin Cook is lamentably slow to accept his part in the deaths of many Iraqis

The Business Week take on what's happening: Boxed In in Baghdad

With Bush facing rising troop casualties, slow rebuilding, and sliding approval ratings at home, his options are few -- and narrowing

Bill Christison, a former CIA official calls for non-violent resistance to current policies: Should Antiwar Activists Begin More Aggressive Non-Violence?

James Carroll, as usual, has a very perceptive comment on the moral dimensions, or lack thereof, of President Bush as he responds to the current situation: Bush's war against evil

To address concerns about the savage violence engulfing "postwar" Iraq with a cocksure "Bring `em on!" as he did last week, is to display an absence of imagination shocking in a man of such authority. It showed a lack of capacity to identify either with enraged Iraqis who must rise to such a taunt or with young GIs who must now answer for it. Even in relationship to his own soldiers, there is nothing at the core of this man but visceral meanness.
No human being with a minimal self-knowledge could speak of evil as he [President Bush] does, but there is no self-knowledge without a self. Even this short "distance of history" shows George W. Bush to be, in that sense, the selfless president, which is not a compliment. It's a warning.

John R. MacArthur, publisher of Harper's Magazine, in the Providence Journal places the current situation in Iraq in the context of the historic experience of imperialism in that country, including the double-dealing and betrayals of Lawrence of Arabia Lessons of History in Iraq

"They shoot and kill and destroy only for the good of the people shot down," [Indian nationalist Jawaharal] Nehru wrote in 1934. "The novel feature of the modern type of imperialism is its attempt to hide its terrorism and exploitation behind pious phrases about 'trusteeship' and the 'good of the masses' and the 'training of backward peoples in self-government.' "

Dennis Jett, a former US ambassador, asks in the Miami Herald Are We Committing War Crimes in Iraq? No wonder the US insists on immunity from the International Criminal Court. If you were a criminal, wouldn't you like immunity?

[T]he highest officials in Washington don't want to worry about being tried themselves. Take Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld. He might have to be concerned about an incident on June 18 where U.S. forces struck two elements of a convoy in western Iraq. Using ground forces, helicopters and an AC-130 gunship, the Americans destroyed several vehicles near a Syrian border post. They then proceeded into Syria, wounded five border guards and took them back to Iraq. (They were held for several days before being turned over to their government.)
Half an hour later, the Americans attacked an Iraqi village several miles away where the convoy had stopped earlier in the evening. Several houses were destroyed and a number of villagers injured. Two were killed -- Hakima Khalil and her one-year-old daughter Maha. The residents of the village could not understand why they had become targets as they claimed the convoy was just a group of livestock smugglers....
He also would not commit to producing a formal report on what happened, but instead said, ''Everyone will know that which is available to be known'' when ``the dust settles.''
If the dust ever does settle, the details of the engagement might make Rumsfeld a candidate for the international court. If the convoy was attacked without warning, someone might point out that ''shoot on sight'' orders are a war crime.
Whether or not Rumsfeld believes curfew violations are capital offenses, there is no facile explanation for why the village was attacked. Was it to demonstrate that those who host ''potential high-value targets'' make themselves targets? Collective punishment is also a war crime.

G. Jefferson Price III in the Baltimore Sun warns that the Bush administration is planning another war, in Liberia, to distract from the mess in Iraq: Using One War to Distract From Another

If Bush sends troops to Liberia, it would be "Wag the Dog Comes True," except Bush wouldn't be trying to distract from a love affair that disgraces the presidency. He'd be trying to distract Americans from the last war he started in a place that has been wrecked, and where Americans are being killed every week.

Harley Sorensen in the San Francisco Chronicle analyzes our President: The Madness Of King George

[President Bush to Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas:] "God told me to strike at al Qaida and I struck them, and then he instructed me to strike at Saddam, which I did, and now I am determined to solve the problem in the Middle East. If you can help me I will act, and if not, the elections will come and I will have to focus on them. "
OK, I've been shilly-shallying around here, hesitant to come right out and say what I think, but I'm becoming convinced that our president, the man with his finger on the nuclear trigger, is a bona fide nutcase. I really do. For him to say God told him to strike al-Qaida is just nutso. For him to say God told him to strike at Saddam, ditto. This guy is not dealing with a full deck.
Bush is a good salesman, which is almost certainly why his father's friends chose him to be the front man for the Republican Party.... But America needs more than a slick salesman to lead the world. We need, at the very least, a man with mental stability.... So what we have in the White House today is a megalomaniac with a messianic complex, a man who believes that he and he alone can resolve the world's problems. "I am determined to solve the problem in the Middle East," he said. I, I, I, I, I! With Bush it's always "I." In a job that requires great humility, we have an egomaniac.

Tom Hayden proposes the necessity of calling the Iraqi adventure what it is: Say It: This Is a Quagmire

Paul Bremer makes it clear. Any pretense of concern for the wishes of Iraqis is loooooooong gong. See the quote below from this commentary by Andrew Murray in the Guardian (UK) Hostages of the empire

[Bremer:] "We are going to fight them and impose our will on them and we will capture or... kill them until we have imposed law and order on this country," he declared at the weekend. "We dominate the scene and we will continue to impose our will on this country."
Occupation Resistance Analysis

Complied by Stephen Soldz

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

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