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News ::
06 Jul 2003

By Fred Goldstein
Via Workers World News Service
Reprinted from the July 10, 2003
issue of Workers World newspaper


By Fred Goldstein

The U.S. occupation in Iraq is rapidly beginning to look like a
combination of the British colonial mandate with the early stages of the Vietnam War.

The U.S. administrator of the Coalition Provisional Authority, L. Paul
Bremer, is acting more and more like a dictatorial viceroy. The
Pentagon's Central Com mand is mounting increasingly larger operations
that resemble infamous Vietnam-style "search and destroy" missions in
its efforts to suppress the growing movement of resistance.

Despite claims by the Pentagon that the resistance is confined to small and isolated groups, a report in the Miami Herald of July 1 said that, "The top American administrator in Iraq, confronting growing anti-U.S. anger and guerrilla-style attacks, is asking for more American troops and dozens of U.S. officials to help speed up the restoration of order."

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld was "reviewing the request" from
Bremer, according to U.S. officials, speaking on condition of anonymity. But Rumsfeld "doesn't want to send more than the 146,000 American soldiers already in Iraq. It is being fiercely debated."

"It is inconceivable that Rumsfeld and [Deputy Secretary of Defense
Paul] Wolfowitz are fighting this, because it would mean admitting they were wrong," a senior administration official told the Herald.

Meanwhile, Washington is desperately trying to stem the growing number
of attacks on the occupation forces.

"Since President Bush declared an end to major combat operations two
months ago," wrote the New York Times of July 1, "at least 728 members
of coalition forces in Iraq have been wounded ... At least 154 of them
have died in hostile actions and 75 have died in non-hostile actions."
That averages out to four U.S. and British troops killed and 12 wounded each day since the war "ended."

The number of casualties does reflect the intensity of the growing
guerrilla resistance. The number of attacks that subject U.S. soldiers
to the pressure and fear of combat is much larger. "In a five-day
stretch last week," wrote the Chicago Tribune of June 29, "coalition
forces experienced 62 'significant' attacks, 10 of which either killed
coalition troops or wounded them seriously enough to require

Staff Sgt. Zachary Conklin of the Army's 82nd Airborne Division told the Tribune: "Now is the most dangerous time since we've been here. It's not like when we were first here--pushing forward, shooting at everyone who had a gun. You get attacked, but there's no definite enemy. You can't shoot all the civilians."

Spec. Joseph Broullard, 20, told the Tribune that he was on patrol last month in Baghdad and a group of men he recognized opened fire. "Many times, they've been there--waving, saying hello, watching us. Then they were shooting at us."

Thus, so much of the population is against the occupation that anyone is likely to be part of the resistance. Yet the U.S. military is engaged in a fruitless effort to wipe it out, on the premise that it is only a "few holdouts."


This line of the high command and the Pentagon, headed by Secretary of
Defense Donald Rumsfeld, is rapidly wearing thin. At a Pentagon press
briefing on June 30, Rumsfeld lashed out at the use of the words
"guerrilla war" and "quagmire." He was put up against the wall by CNN's Jamie McIntyre, who pulled out a Pentagon dictionary and quoted the definition of guerrilla war: "military and paramilitary operations
conducted in enemy-held or hostile territory by irregular ground
indigenous forces."

"Seems to fit a lot of what's going on in Iraq," commented McIntyre.
(Washington Post, June 30)

Rumsfeld simply dismissed the statement without putting up any defense: "It really doesn't."

The latest and largest offensive, Oper ation Sidewinder, sent thousands of troops, mainly from the 4th Infantry Divi sion, into Diyala province north of Bagh dad, which stretches from the Iranian border to the Tigris River. Dozens of raids have been carried out, with troops storming into people's home in towns throughout the region. This operation follows others carried out recently in central Iraq: Operation Desert Scorpion and Operation Peninsula Strike.

"Arab media images," wrote the Los Angeles Times of July 1, "of U.S.
troops entering Iraqi homes, ordering terrified residents outside and
rummaging through their possessions have touched deep emotional and
cultural chords here. Such searches have emerged as a flash point for
confrontations between Iraqis and occupying troops."

Typical is the account of the Saleh family in the village of Al Boajeel, just outside Tikrit. "According to the family, about 30 U.S. troops arrived in a dozen vehicles, bursting in and surrounding the compound, where many were sleeping. The troops handcuffed most of the men and separated them from the women. Some men were blindfolded.

"The military confiscated $4,000 that was to be used for a medical
procedure for the ailing sheik's wife. They arrested eight men and took them off. 'We don't know where they are,' said Sheik Saleh. 'We would like to bring them some food.' The family was told to go to Tikrit and talk to a liaison officer. 'We don't know where to go.' The sheik said, 'We are simple people, farmers, yet the Americans come into our home by force. Where is the democracy that the Americans promised?'"

The struggle for the "hearts and minds" of the Iraqi people was a fraud to begin with. But what is happening now is precisely the opposite. The social, political and economic strains between the occupiers and the Iraqi people are growing wider and more intense with each raid, with each checkpoint shooting, and with each new edict from the occupation authorities restricting the rights of the Iraqis to determine their own future.

As it becomes clearer that Washington is in Iraq to subjugate the
country, the resistance widens.


Bremer recently dismissed the resistance as "a small remnant of die-hard opponents," just as his boss, Rumsfeld, continues to talk about a
handful of scattered "dead enders."

But it seems that Rumsfeld and Bremer are worried about more than a
handful of scattered elements. The Washington Post of June 28 reported
that "U.S. military commanders have ordered a halt to local elections
and self-rule in provincial cities and towns across Iraq, choosing
instead to install their own hand-picked mayors and administrators."

There is "no blanket prohibition" against self-rule, said Bremer. "I'm
not opposed to it, but I want to do it in a way that takes care of our

"In a postwar situation like this," continued Bremer, "if you start
holding elections, the people who are the rejectionists tend to win."
Bremer openly admitted that the former Baathists and the Islamic forces, after being so vilified by the U.S. propaganda machine, would win the elections now, after three months of occupation.

In an interview with the BBC reported in the London Guardian of June 30, Bremer ranted: "We are going to fight them and impose our will on them and we will capture or, if necessary, kill them until we have imposed law and order upon this country."

The version of pro-U.S. imperialist law and order that Bremer referred
to was crudely outlined by a "senior military official in Washington,"
according to the Los Angeles Times of June 29.

The Times quoted the official as saying: "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."

A British viceroy, schooled in the art of empire, might have used more
delicate language, but the underlying colonial mentality of the White
House and the Pentagon is fully expressed in the unattributed remarks of this "senior official," a term usually reserved for someone of very high status and authority.


Of course, the constitution and laws and puppet government that
Washington will allow have already been spelled out by Rumsfeld, Bremer, Wolfowitz and company.

They would allow the transnational corporations to come in and dominate Iraq's economy, something that has been against the law since the nationalist revolution of 1958. They would privatize the state industries that have served to develop the country. They would throw millions of workers out of work who are employed by these industries.

They would end the food, health and education subsidies that put a basic floor under the living standards of the workers and peasants. They would allow landlords to gouge rents and capitalists to super-exploit the Iraqi workers and peasants, all in the name of the "free market." And, above all, they would open the vast oil wealth of Iraq to the giant oil companies and divert this wealth from national development for the Iraqis to super-profits for the oil billionaires.

The occupation forces intend to make these decisions for Iraq,
independent of the will of the masses of people. To impose such
monumentally disastrous national decisions on any people is nothing but the wholesale imposition of colonial rule and the outright destruction of all semblance of sovereignty.

Even if the U.S. military were temporarily able to push back the
resistance long enough to put this reactionary colonial program of
conquest into practice, the hatred of the Iraqi people for the
colonizers would grow even stronger, especially as the foreign
imperialist millionaires and billionaires tried to take over the economy with the aid of a puppet army and police force.

Given the level of resistance to the occupation so far, it is highly
unlikely that the schemes of conquest hatched in the White House, the
Pentagon, the State Department and Wall Street will succeed over the
long run. Their entire quest for world empire is predicated upon victory in Iraq. The struggle to end the occupation of Iraq is a decisive element in the struggle against Washington's quest for world domination.

The Bush administration is willing to fight to the last drop of blood of the Iraqi people and of U.S. soldiers, too--who are being forced to kill and die every day. The task of the hour for the anti-war movement is to forge solidarity with the heroic Iraqi resistance and demand an end to the occupation and bring the troops home.

- END -

(Copyright Workers World Service: Everyone is permitted to copy and
distribute verbatim copies of this document, but changing it is not
allowed. For more information contact Workers World, 55 W. 17 St., NY,
NY 10011; via e-mail: ww (at) Subscribe wwnews-
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