“They are attacking residential neighborhoods,” he said as US warplanes swooped over the area and fired rockets. Intense gunfire could be heard from the streets.
The military cordon that has formed around Fallujah is the new face of the American invasion; the Jenin phase. The city is surrounded with razor wire, the curtains are drawn and the punishment has begun.
All the reports indicate heavy fighting and, perhaps, as many as 200 Iraqis have been killed so far. (Many of them children)
This is what is meant by Iraqi Liberation.
Let’s be clear about what is going on in. The world’s only superpower has invaded a sovereign nation without cause and is waging war against a civilian population.
At present, that war is being won by mere force of arms, absent any moral justification.
At the same time, fighting has spread throughout the country in response to Muqtada al Sadr’s open defiance of the occupation. Al Sadr has called for an immediate withdrawal of coalition troops from the cities and release of more than 10,000 prisoners detained without charge by occupation forces. His defiance has been a lightening rod for Iraqis across the country to engage in open revolt.
Almost over night the American occupation forces have become “the enemy.”
The bloodletting that is taking place throughout Iraq insures that this situation will not change, only intensify.
Proconsul Paul Bremer has reacted in a way that is consistent with policies of the Bush Administration. Regardless of the issue, all problems are addressed with “overwhelming force;” the Bush foreign policy panacea. This is having the astonishing affect of uniting the disparate groups (including both Sunni and Shiite) under one banner and for one common cause; expelling the Americans.
It is impossible to ascertain Al Sadr’s importance in this uprising. Certainly, he was a marginal and, seemingly, radical figure before, not attracting much attention. Now, his stature as “David facing Goliath” is widespread throughout Iraq (and perhaps the Muslim world) and he has galvanized the nation against a bloody and self-serving occupation.
This is a bad situation for the Bush claque, who apparently mistook Iraq for Haiti or Afghanistan. Now, Defense Secretary Rumsfeld will have to reach into his bag-o-tricks and figure out how to quash the rebellion before election time. Already, Bush’s numbers are starting to plummet as the American public begins to wake up to how they have been duped.
Rumsfeld’s response is not difficult to anticipate. He is a man who relies on force and deception as the only viable tools for conducting policy. To that end, the media will be treated every bit as harshly as the “rebels” themselves. We should expect that more reporters will be murdered so that Rumsfeld can protect the misleading narrative (of progress in Iraq) he has worked so hard to cultivate.
Other than shutting down the press, Rumsfeld’s main task will be kill as many people as necessary to put down the insurgency; a job for which he is remarkably well qualified.
This will undoubtedly mean stepping up the counter-insurgency programs. Author Douglas Valentine has referred to these operations in this way.
“More and more the so-called ‘counter-insurgency’ in Iraq resembles the CIA’s infamous Phoenix Program in South Vietnam, in which the CIA — under cover of military ‘cordon and search’ operations — went into villages that supported the resistance, in hopes of catching or killing guerrilla leaders. The My Lai massacre was the penultimate example of such a flawed policy. ”
These special operations are a favorite of Rumsfeld’s, as they provide a protective wall of secrecy for suffering and death they generate. They not only crush elements in the resistance but have the added benefit of terrorizing the local population.
Iraq is at the crossroads. Not because of any one particular event but because the reality the Bush Administration’s objectives are becoming more apparent. As columnist Andy Shallal opines, The Iraqis “are beginning to realize that the freedom they were promised is not going to materialize_no jobs, no security and now no voice….The US is left with a cabal of cronies(The Governing Council)whose allegiance is far more to the corporate invaders than it is to the people of Iraq.”
This is a fair description of the current reality in Iraq today. It is a situation is bound to deteriorate as the worlds most powerful army is being employed to crush the national aspirations of 25 million people and convert their country into a new West Bank.
The recent events reveal the hideous injustice of occupation. This should be seen as an opportunity for people of conscience to lend their voices to the chorus of those who say, “America, Out of Iraq!”
MIKE WHITNEY can be reached at: [email protected]