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Iraq's Day Will Dawn Again
July 1, 2003
By Jack Smith

Posted via Jack Smith's Mid-Hudson Activist Newsletter, July 1, 2003, Issue #86 part 1
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1. THE CIVILIAN DEATH TOLL IN IRAQ . The White House won't tell you, but we have some convincing estimates.

2. IRAQ'S DAY WILL DAWN AGAIN . The events taking place in Baghdad and Washington regarding the occupation of Iraq are extraordinarily complex and important. The entire situation, which contains a lot more elements than meet the eye, may well blow up in the Bush administration's face. This quite lengthy article attempts to identify and analyze the interconnecting issues in order to understand what's really happening. What is the nature of the guerrilla struggle against the occupation? Who are the Shi'ites and will they ultimately rebel? How about the Kurds, and the Sunnis? To what extent are U.S. troops mistreating the civilian population? Will the occupation become a complete fiasco for the United States? And what is George Bush's real plan for Iraq and the entire Middle East?

3. HE NEVER GOT THE EVIDENCE . The Bush administration tried to convince a leading American general to lend his name to charges that Saddam Hussein was connected to the Sept. 11 attacks. He was willing, but asked for some evidence that the allegations were true. They never got back to him, and we bet it wasn't because they lost is phone number.

4. EXPERT DOUBTS CHARGE AGAINST CUBA . Cuba, too, has been falsely accused of possessing weapons of mass destruction and named as a possible U.S. target. Now it turns out that the high State Department official who made the charge sought to pressure a key department intelligence analyst into backing his falsehood. The analyst didn't, and just blew the whistle to a Senate committee.

5. WASHINGTON NEEDS A COLONIAL OFFICE . A disarmingly honest conservative comes up with an idea whose time has come.


How many Iraqi civilians have been slaughtered by the U.S.-British invasion force since the Bush administration launched its "preemptive" war in March? Reliable unofficial sources project a figure of many thousands, but both the White House and the Pentagon refuse to answer this question, though each surely has made a fairly accurate internal estimate.

According to Gen. Tommy Franks, "We don't do body counts." He was echoed by Secretary of State Colin Powell soon after the combat ended in April: "We really don't know how many civilian deaths there have been." This, at least, is a more diplomatic evasion than Gen. Powell offered in 1991, when he was Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff during Iraq War I. "It's really not a number I'm terribly interested in," he told reporters when queried at the time.

Washington won't even admit it has any idea of the number of Iraqi soldiers who have been killed. Navy Capt. Frank Thorp, the chief military spokesman at Central Command headquarters in the Middle East, provided the New York Times with this rehearsed soundbite in April: "We cannot look at combat as a scorecard." The task of estimating enemy dead, he continued, is "too time-consuming and, frankly, too risky." Such an explanation must be unique in the annals of warfare. The Council on Foreign Relations published its own estimate at the end of June: up to 10,000 Iraqi soldiers died, compared to just over 200 GIs.

The Bush administration, in our opinion, is concealing the civilian total because it is quite high. And it won't reveal the military figure because it is so disproportionately large compared to U.S.-British dead that it would convey the impression that the conflict was absurdly one-sided, which, of course, being a bully's war of aggression, it was.

In the absence of official cooperation, the Associated Press conducted a survey of its own. The mid-June issue of Editor & Publisher, the trade publication of the newspaper industry, carried this account of the wire service's research:

"Using a rigorous methodology, seven AP reporters in Iraq over a period of five weeks reviewed dozens of documents from 60 of Iraq's 124 hospitals, covering the period from March 20, the war's beginning, to April 20, when the fighting abated. The tally: 3,240 civilians died throughout the country, with 1,896 of those in Baghdad alone. But AP referred to these totals as 'still fragmentary' with the likely figure 'significantly' higher."

AP, of course, only counted the deaths of civilians recorded in the surveyed hospitals during a one-month period. This does not include civilians (1) who may have died at other hospitals, (2) who were buried immediately by their families, (3) who were blown to pieces and could not be buried, (4) who died since April 20, and (5) who will die due to earlier wounds or to diseases that are a direct result of the invasion and occupation. In addition, the AP figures cannot calculate the many future civilian deaths that are inevitable due to contamination from depleted uranium and to unexploded munitions, especially the hundreds of thousands of "coalition" cluster bombs scattered throughout the region.

A nonprofit organization, Iraq Body Count, has been conducting its own highly detailed survey, based on press reports, of Iraqi civilians killed by U.S.-British crusaders from Jan. 1 until July 2 and arrived at a maximum total of 7,653. The organization's website,, contains an extensive database and other informative material. This count is incomplete because many civilian deaths have not been recorded in the mass media, but it may be the most thorough count so far. Our guess, which we consider conservative, is "probably around 10,000."

This means that probably 20,000 Iraqis have been killed (so far, and there's plenty more to come) and a country destroyed because of weapons of mass destruction and a connection with 9/11 that never existed.

Obtaining accurate figures of Iraqi civilians wounded in the conflict is virtually impossible. It must be huge. The AP reported in April that "The number of casualties in Baghdad is so high that hospitals have stopped counting the number of people treated." The International Committee of the Red Cross said at the same time that "No one is able to keep accurate statistics of the admitted and transferred war wounded any longer as one emergency arrival follows the other in the hospitals of Baghdad."


By Jack A. Smith, July 1, 2003

It's going to be an exceptionally long, hot summer for the U.S. army of occupation in Baghdad and the Bush administration in Washington. After three weeks of high-tech war and nearly 12 weeks of a postwar occupation characterized by low-tech bungling and bullying, this article will attempt to connect the various elements presently at play in both capitals.

In Baghdad, the average high temperature in July and August is 110 degrees, but the most searing heat emanates from . the low-intensity but politically volatile guerrilla war waged against the occupation forces by Arab Sunnis and their allies in central Iraq; . sharp disagreements with U.S. occupation policy and the possibility of a revolt by the majority Shi'ites in the south; . the contradictions inherent in Kurdish intentions in the north; and . popular antagonism toward an occupying force seemingly incapable of restoring the electrical and water supplies or of observing basic proprieties toward a subject people and their culture.

In Washington, the muggy heat of summer is irrelevant compared to the crisis confronting the White House deriving from . the unexpectedly fierce opposition to the Pentagon's occupation and the mounting coalition death toll; . the collapse of plans for the speedy establishment of a puppet government responsive to the U.S. colonial administration; . the inability to capture deposed President Saddam Hussein or halt the continuing struggle against the occupation by elements of the now banned former ruling Ba'ath Party; and . the gathering domestic political storm emanating from the absence of proof to substantiate pre-invasion claims of Iraq's possession of weapons of mass destruction and the alleged connection between the Baghdad government and the Sept. 11 attacks.

Despite its facade of triumphalism, the Bush administration is deeply worried. It cannot afford to "lose" Iraq. The successful subjugation of the country provides the U.S. with control of a significant portion of the world's petroleum reserves and a launching pad for the political reorganization of the entire Middle East to facilitate the extension of American hegemony. Failure in Iraq would not only undermine this strategic objective but could destroy prospects for the reelection of President Bush and his neo-conservative government.

As of July 1, two dozen American and six British soldiers have been killed by the resistance since President Bush proclaimed combat to be over May 1, and scores more have died in other circumstances. The Defense Department rarely mentions new attacks unless occupation personnel are killed or seriously wounded. According to a most reliable source, however, "there may be as many as a dozen attempted attacks per day."

The Pentagon insists that the guerrillas are disorganized, die-hard remnants of the overthrown regime or "pockets of dead-enders," as though Iraqi society was bereft of national sentiment, patriots and leftists who may have taken up arms in opposition to foreign aggression. The anti-occupation insurgency is in its very early stages and appears to be composed of organized and local elements, small but growing. Three new combat groups have already announced their presence: "Return," "Popular Resistance for the Liberation of Iraq," and "Mujahedin of the Victorious Sect," and more are on the way.

Posturing as usual, President Bush responded to the insurgency July 2 by declaring, "There are certain people there who would like to run us out of there, create conditions where we get nervous and decide to leave. But we're not leaving.... Bring 'em on! We've got the force necessary to deal with the security situation."

Adding to administration concerns are new opinion polls indicating public support for the war is waning, mainly due to continuing Iraqi resistance and to questions about whether President Bush told the truth about weapons of mass destruction. A CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll showed that the percentage of Americans who thought "the situation in Iraq was worth going to war over" dropped from 76% in April to 56% today, a substantial decline. Another poll by the University of Maryland's Program on International Policy Attitudes determined that 62% of the people believed the Bush administration was either "stretching the truth but not making false statements" (52%) or "presenting evidence they knew was false" (10%).

As conceived, the plan for subordinating Iraq was elegantly simple. It began with the premise that the U.S. is big and powerful, with a population manipulated psychologically by fear and fabrication into supporting a war of aggression, while Iraq is small, weak, essentially defenseless and rent with easily exploitable political, ethnic and religious conflicts.

Victory was to be swift and certain, starting with a massive "shock and awe" display of the world's most technically efficient death machine. Several elements of the Pentagon plan worked remarkably well. For example, commanding Gen. Tommy Franks revealed recently that the U.S. was successful in bribing several key Iraqi generals into surrendering their troops without a fight, paving the way for an unexpectedly swift entry into Baghdad.

But several important elements of Washington's design for conquest were fulfilled only in part or failed. President Hussein was supposed to be killed the first day, but he escaped. The occupation government intended to deftly resume essential services and have Iraq up and running in a few weeks, but this has proved to be an embarrassing illusion. Efforts to convince the Iraqi people that they were liberated, not conquered, have obviously gone awry. A campaign to disarm the population didn't work. The scheme to establish a "democratic" government composed of Iraqi political exiles long in Uncle Sam's pocket and elements whose loyalty could be purchased, has run into serious obstacles. The schedule for privatizing the Iraqi economy has been delayed until the guerrilla fighting ends and the political dispute over popular governance is resolved.

Victory was doubtless swift, but hardly certain. Unforeseen by the Bush regime was the refusal of the Iraqi people . regardless of their various attitudes toward the Hussein government . to meekly acquiesce in subordinating their country's hard-fought independence and national sovereignty to the modern Crusader in the White House. Consequently, a much prolonged, repressive occupation has become a probability.

The guerrilla struggle, at this point largely confined to central Iraq where the minority Sunni Muslims live, is not yet the Bush administration's greatest worry, although it could become so should the armed insurgency spread to the south, where the Shi'ite majority (60% of Iraq) resides. The Sunnis (who constitute a majority in the Muslim world), have traditionally been favored by Iraq's rulers throughout the Ottoman and British empires and after independence as well by the Ba'athist government. Even more problematic for the White House is the disposition of the Shi'ite Muslim community, not just because it is the majority but because many Shia Muslims have a strong attraction to neighboring non-Arab Iran, home to the world's largest Shi'ite population.

While Washington depicts its seizure of Baghdad as motivated by a desire to democratize the country, it fears that if the Shi'ites exercise power in proportion to their voting numbers Iraq will fall under Iranian influence . a disaster from the Bush administration's point of view because this would infinitely complicate administration plans for hegemony. Even worse is the fear that the secular Iraq to which the Ba'ath Party was dedicated might become transformed into an Islamic religious state. Reflecting this view, New York Times corespondent Nicholas D. Kristof wrote from Basra June 24 that "an iron curtain of fundamentalism risks falling over Iraq."

Many Shi'ites, who experienced repression from the Iraqi government, seemed to welcome the downfall of Saddam Hussein but have no intention of allowing Iraq to become an American colony. Several Shia leaders have spoken forcefully against the occupation and have expressed fears that the U.S.-British crusaders plan to remain in Iraq for a prolonged period. They also made it clear soon after the invasion that they had no confidence in Washington's preference for a largely exile-based government led by the Pentagon's favorite, banker Ahmed Chalabi, a shady character with hardly any support in his home country. The main Shi'ite organization, the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI), further announced it would not join such a government.

The Kurds in the north, who still envision an eventually independent Kurdistan composed of Kurds in Iraq, Iran, Turkey and Syria, are non-Arab Sunnis long at odds with the Baghdad government. They have enjoyed autonomy in the north and protection from Washington since the end of the first Iraq war, a status which enabled them to obtain a disproportionatly large share of the revenue from the UN's oil-for-food program. Iraqi Kurds long ago split into two antagonistic and at times warring factions, each in control of territory. Anticipating potential postwar difficulties with the Arab Sunnis and Shi'ites, who appear to distrust Kurd intentions, the two factions agreed to merge June 13 to strengthen Kurdish influence in any new government. Their particular demand is that they be granted autonomy within a federal state, including "an internal self-defense force." The Kurds share with the SCIRI and other political forces a suspicion that the U.S. is seeking to delay creation of a new Iraqi government.

Almost all of Iraq's political groupings oppose the U.S. plan to form a political council composed of up to 30 Iraqi leaders to be "democratically" selected by Paul Bremer, now in effect the viceroy in charge of the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) which governs Iraq. This council would function as an advisory body to the CPA and could even nominate ministers for the occupation government, again with Bremer's approval, and have some input in creating a new constitution. The formation of an Iraqi-run government is supposed to take place in the undefined future.

The Chalabi-led Iraqi National Congress, the umbrella group with which most of the exile organizations associate, plus virtually all other Iraqi political groups, fear that the council will become a substitute for an indigenous government. The Iraqi groups support the idea of forming their own provisional government in the near future during the occupation. Abu Hatem, a Shi'ite guerrilla leader who conducted a long struggle against the Baghdad regime, told the British daily Independent June 27 that "any program for reconstruction without an interim Iraqi government will fail."

In an important development June 30, Iraq's highest ranking Shi'ite leader, Ayatollah Ali Sistani . a presumed "moderate" . termed the CPA plan for drafting a constitution "unacceptable." He insisted that only an Iraqi-elected conclave should draft a constitution, followed by a national referendum to accept or reject the draft. Of the two trends within Shi'ite Islam, Sistani is associated with the "Orthodox" segment which separates the clergy from politics, as opposed to the more politically activist "Sadr" branch, which leans toward the Iranian system of political involvement. His intervention on the constitutional question is unusual and unites all Iraqi Shias on an important political issue in opposition to Washington's preferences.

The question of the new government has become a headache for the Bush administration. Its rhetoric about liberation and democracy, which was intended to convert an illegal act of aggression into a humanitarian gesture, cannot now be reversed at whim. At the same time, Washington has every intention of exercising control over any future Iraqi government and constitution in order to profit from its substantial investment in war, occupation and reorganizing the country. Considering that there is an insurgency in the Sunni center of the country, coupled with remaining support for the Hussein government, plus the peculiar political requirements of the Kurds in the north, and the potential for rebellion in the Shi'ite south, the U.S. seeks to delay formation of an elected government until it is convinced such an entity will conform to Washington's long range interests.

The U.S. has taken a number of steps in recent weeks to prevent the occupation from turning into a complete fiasco. The two most important are: Incidentally, the money for this operation is not necessarily being paid by the U.S. Treasury. The CPA is financing some of its projects with $100 million from Iraqi funds seized by the U.S. or removed from Baghdad banks. As time goes on, the Bush administration intends to pay much of the occupation and rebuilding costs from Iraqi oil revenues, now that the sanctions have been scrapped. The rebuilding alone is estimated to cost $100 billion, most of which will go to American companies, principally those that contribute generously to Republican Party election campaign coffers. It is assumed that Iraq will also finance a planned American-trained and controlled 40,000-member Iraqi army and a new police force, likewise responsible to U.S. overseers. American taxpayers presumably will cover the up to $100 billion a year costs of keeping a large occupation force in the Middle East.

So far, these carrot and stick measures have not sufficed to "win the hearts and minds" of the Iraqi people, despite initial White House propaganda about U.S. troops being met with cheers and bouquets. Popular resentment is growing daily, especially given the CPA's inability to provide minimal services to inhabitants of Baghdad and other cities. The attitude of the U.S. military in particular has generated considerable anger among the masses of people. Iraqis are continually complaining that the army of occupation does not treat them with an iota of respect. During their frequent raids on Iraqi homes, it is not unusual for young children as well as adults to be handcuffed and hooded. The American media usually refuse to report such abuses, including violence and sadism, by U.S. soldiers toward Iraqi civilians, but the foreign press publishes numerous accounts.

A report in the London Evening Standard June 19, based on interviews with a half-dozen GIs, is a case in point among many. "By their own admission," wrote correspondent Bob Graham, "these American soldiers have killed civilians without hesitation, shot wounded fighters and left others to die in agony." Army Sgt. First Class John Meadows told Graham, "You can't distinguish between who's trying to kill you and who's not. Like, the only way to get through shit like that was to concentrate on getting through it by killing as many people as you can, people you know are trying to kill you. Killing them first and getting home." He was talking about civilians.

Specialist (corporal) Michael Richardson, 22, told the reporter, "There was no dilemma when it came to shooting people who were not in uniform. I just pulled the trigger. It was up close and personal the whole time. There wasn't a big distance. If they were there, they were the enemy, whether in uniform or not. Some were, some weren't." Later in the interview, Richardson offered that he keeps a photo of the World Trade Center hanging by his bed and another in his flak jacket. "Every time I feel sorry for these people I look at that," he said, evidently believing President Bush's falsehoods about an Iraqi connection to Sept. 11. "I think, 'They hit us at home and, now, it's our turn.' I don't want to say payback but, you know, it's pretty much payback."

Mistreatment of civilians evidently is not just a matter of individual misbehavior but government policy, according to a July 1 Associated Press article that combined its own reportage with a new Amnesty International investigation in Iraq. In essence, a number of Iraqi citizens arrested in mass roundups seem to have been tortured by their military jailers . and it turns out that such treatment is permissible by U.S. standards.

The AP focused on the case of Khraisan al-Abally, a 39-year-old businessman who was arrested at home and held in a jail at Baghdad airport for eight days while "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.... He was also kicked, forced to stare at a strobe light and blasted with what he termed 'very loud rubbish music.'" The soldiers shot and killed his brother when they broke into al-Abally's residence (but U.S. authorities claim never to have heard of the man) and also arrested his father, 80. He was released after his jailers ascertained he had no information about an Iraqi official they were seeking to locate.

"I thought I was going to lose my mind," al-Abally told the AP. "They said, 'I want you on your knees.' After three or four days it is very painful. My knees were bleeding and swollen.... This is democracy? No Iraqi would have thought the Americans were capable of this."

Army officials told the AP reporter that the abusive interrogators were adhering to the rules of military law. "Military intelligence officials have said sleep deprivation, shackling prisoners in uncomfortable positions and noise abuse are considered legal methods," the article revealed.

While there has been hardly a murmur in official U.S. circles about the mistreatment of civilians, the evident lack of a serious postwar occupation strategy is generating some criticism from outside and inside the Bush administration.

Very few complaints about the war and occupation have been forthcoming from the "opposition" Democratic Party, however, except, as usual, from Sen. Robert Byrd, Rep. Dennis Kucinich, and the party's beleaguered outpost of liberals. On June 26 two dozen House Democrats (out of 211) called for an independent commission to examine the "intelligence" used by the Bush administration to make the claim that Iraq harbored weapons of mass destruction and had ties to the Sept. 11 attacks. A day later, a few Democrats on the Senate Armed Services Committee declared that they planned to hold an inquiry of their own on the issue of WMD and links to terrorism.

The great majority of Democrat office holders are too timid (or right-wing) to take a couple of pot shots at the WMD scandal . the biggest sitting duck in Washington politics since Richard Nixon said he wasn't a crook. They seem to fear that an envelope of anthrax may eventually turn up under a rug in one of Baghdad's presidential mansions, thus exposing them to Republican charges of stabbing the Commander-in-Chief in the back while he's trying to save the lives of American families.

The most important critique of the occupation so far emanates from a pillar of the U.S. establishment . the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR, which publishes the prestigious periodical Foreign Affairs among its many interventions in Washington's international policies). The organization argues in a 25-page position paper June 25 that "The U.S. should provide Iraqis and Americans with a more coherent and compelling vision for Iraq's political future."

The report is the product of a CFR task force co-chaired former Defense Secretary and Energy Secretary James Schlesinger, and Thomas Pickering, a leading U.S. diplomat for five decades and former chief UN representative. Both have extensive contacts and influence with leading sectors of the ruling class, including top corporate, military and government figures.

The CFR calls on the Bush administration . to develop a realistic plan for the occupation, as opposed to "a series of false starts"; . to send considerably more U.S. troops into Iraq (at present there are 146,000 American and 12,000 British troops in the country, and perhaps 90,000 U.S. GIs in Kuwait) and extend the time of occupation in order to accomplish stated goals; . to engage the UN with some serious responsibilities (the unstated reason being to provide the U.S.-British invaders with retrospective cover for their illegal war); . to come up with a realistic plan for the step-by-step transfer of authority to Iraqi citizens; . to invest heavily in having the Pentagon train a large military contingent prepared to engage in post-conflict "nation building" for Iraq and wars to come.

The Schlesinger-Pickering intervention is reminiscent of last summer's spurt of criticism from leading conservative members of the political establishment, including two key figures in the administration of President Bush the Elder . former National Security Adviser Brent Scowcroft and former Secretary of State James A. Baker. The demand last year was that the neo-conservative cabal of hotheads surrounding Bush the Younger recognize that it was in U.S. interests to first gain at least indirect backing from Congress and the UN before invading Iraq. Bush eventually complied, and obtained backing largely by fabricating the allegations about weapons of mass destruction.

The White House is well aware that its original postwar scenario is a shambles. It already replaced the man first chosen to head the "transition team" in Baghdad, retired Gen. Jay Garner, with Bremer, a neo-conservative former State Department functionary. A number of earlier mandates were also changed, but clearly the resistance struggle demands further adjustments in how Washington administers its new acquisition, a colony in everything but name.

A day after the CFR released its critical report, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld sent a team of so-called "outside policy experts" to Iraq to assess what must be done to effectively reorganize post-invasion Iraq. One of the most important tasks is to develop a means for quickly ending the insurgency and for obtaining the full cooperation of the country's leading political organizations. Three of the five team members are associated with the Center for Strategic and International Studies (a leading establishment think-tank), including its president. The other two represent the CFR and the United Nations Foundation.

One of the reasons behind the worry in ruling circles and the Bush administration's ongoing reevaluation of the occupation is that U.S. and foreign corporations will certainly be reluctant to invest heavily in the reconstruction and economic future of Iraq, despite the promise of huge profits, until the unsettling military-political crisis is resolved. U.S. plans for the economic future of Iraq are based on the following three factors: 1. Privatization of state-owned resources. 2. The development of a free market economy. 3. U.S. control of Iraq's oil resources, the second largest in the world.

1. Addressing the World Economic Conference in Jordan June 22, proconsul Bremer pledged to quickly privatize Iraq's economy, starting with 40 large state-owned enterprises. The principal sectors of the economy have been run by the state for decades and, until the 1991 war and the subsequent sanctions, assured that the Iraqi people in general enjoyed a basic income and satisfactory social services. During the U.S.-UN sanctions period of cruel and extreme deprivation, the state assumed the responsibility for subsidizing living standards, enforcing cheap prices and feeding some 60% of the population unable to fend for itself, largely through its limited exports of state-owned oil.

Bremer has made it clear that the views of the people of Iraq were not considered in the decision to sell-off the state sector to the highest bidder, largely to U.S. interests and corporations in Kuwait, Jordan and Turkey, among other foreign investors. Assuming the process recapitulates the privatization of national property in the USSR and other former socialist countries, foreign owners and local gangsters will obtain these businesses at bargain-basement prices.

2. At a press conference when he took control of Baghdad in May, Bremer attributed Iraq's economic problems primarily to its state ownership and centralization, not the war and sanctions, which ruined an otherwise well functioning economy. He later mused to the press, "History tells us that substantially and broadly held resources, protected by private property, private rights, are the best protection of political freedom." The conversion of Iraq into a "free trade" market economy is one of the Bush administration's highest colonial priorities, not just to create another large market for American goods but to stamp out any possible alternative to market-based capitalism. Washington's ultimate objective is for the entire Middle East to adopt this development model, thus bringing the region under total U.S. economic domination.

3. An amusing poster on display at one of the Washington antiwar protests this year asked, "What is OUR oil doing under THEIR sand?" Actually, the U.S. does not need, or intend to steal, Iraq's oil. It does, however, plan to control the flow of Iraqi oil, enriching U.S. oil companies in the process and getting cheap prices for itself, when state ownership is denationalized. It mainly seeks control as an eventual wedge against competing capitalist economies at a time when petroleum resources are being rapidly depleted and may be exhausted within the next 35-50 years. A number of advanced industrial states in Europe and Asia are, or will become, dependent on oil from the Middle East. U.S. control of the spigot dispensing Iraqi oil will greatly strengthen Washington's competitive edge in the inevitable intra-capitalist competitions to come, whether over oil, profits, markets, trade agreements, "living space," or wars of conquest. The two most horrific wars in world history, lest anyone forget, were intra-capitalist conflicts that took place within the last 90 years. The existence of the socialist camp after World War II unified the capitalist states for 45 years, but no such restraint exists today save that of U.S. military superiority, a perhaps relatively short-lived phenomenon given that Empires do come and go.

To conclude, the people of Iraq today are educated, cultured, well-read and knowledgeable about their country's long and important history, including the many, many centuries when Mesopotamia was dominated by over a half-dozen different invading empires. In the modern era, they have not forgotten that when Lt. Gen. Sir Stanley Maude led the invading army of the British Empire into Baghdad in 1917 to wrest Iraq from the Ottoman Empire, he proclaimed, "Our armies do not come into your cities and lands as conquerors or enemies, but as liberators," a pledge repeated by President Bush 86 years later, with approximately as much sincerity. Three years after Maude's pronouncement, the Iraqi people understood they were once again the subjects of foreign empire. Their four-month rebellion against British imperialism in 1920 cost them at least 10,000 lives.

In time, after experiencing several attempts at insurrection and no longer able to sustain the accouterments of its ever-shrinking empire, the British withdrew, leaving a puppet monarchy to govern in its place. Eventually, the Iraqi people deposed the monarchy, gained real independence and nationalized the oil resources that had been so profitable to British companies.

Over the years the governing Ba'ath Party initiated a number of progressive economic and social policies . from national healthcare to female equality . and consistently defended Iraq's independence, sovereignty and policy of secular governance. In time, however, Iraq's Ba'athist movement lost its original idealism, and the government adopted certain policies in contradiction to the interests of the Iraqi people, such as the repression of the left, discrimination against the Shia and Kurds, and the unjust, U.S.-supported war against Iran in the 1980s. President Hussein's miscalculation that Washington would ignore his 1990 campaign to reclaim Kuwait (which Baghdad considers a creature of British imperialism stolen from Iraq), provided the U.S. with the opportunity to launch the pathetically unequal 1991 war against Iraq, followed by the catastrophe of killer sanctions for the next dozen years until March 20 when Bush of Baghdad transformed the Iraqi people into the unwilling subjects of yet another empire.

But having once broken its shackles, will this ancient people passively submit to foreign domination? The history of recent decades suggests not. The current incipient guerrilla campaign is a just expression of national defense against imperialism, deserving of support. It may or may not develop into a full-blown uprising, but we suspect that the United States has stumbled into a complex new quagmire from whence it had best depart with dispatch. Much sooner than later, Iraq's day will dawn again.


The commanding general in charge of the Clinton administration's unjust, illegal war against Yugoslavia in 1999 has questioned one of the principal reasons put forward by the Bush administration for launching its unjust, illegal war in Iraq.

Appearing on NBC's Meet the Press June 15, former U.S. Army Gen. Wesley Clark revealed that a White House official contacted him by telephone just hours after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the Pentagon and World Trade Center, urging him to declare that the Iraqi government was implicated in the event. He didn't name the official. "There was a concerted effort during the fall of 2001, starting immediately after 9/11, to pin 9/11 and the terrorism problem on Saddam Hussein," he said. 'It came from ... people around the White House. It came from all over. I got a call on 9/11... at my home saying, 'You got to say this is connected. This is state-sponsored terrorism. This has to be connected to Saddam Hussein.' I said, 'I'm willing to say it, but what's your evidence?' And I never got any evidence." Clark clearly remains unconvinced that the Baghdad government was implicated in the Sept. 11 attacks, one of the Bush administration's two justifications for seizing Iraq. The other is the false allegation that Iraq possessed a large supply of weapons of mass destruction.

The progressive watchdog group Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting was critical of the corporate mass media for ignoring Clark's revelation. FAIR also noted that "Clark's assertion corroborates a little-noted CBS Evening News story that aired on Sept. 4, 2002. As correspondent David Martin reported: 'Barely five hours after American Airlines Flight 77 plowed into the Pentagon, the secretary of defense was telling his aides to start thinking about striking Iraq, even though there was no evidence linking Saddam Hussein to the attacks."


The Bush administration's fabrications about weapons of mass destruction (WMD) go beyond Iraq. New confirmation from a State Department source makes it clear that the White House lied about such weapons in Cuba, too.

A number of analysts with the CIA and other U.S. intelligence agencies have privately complained to leading newspapers in recent months that the Bush administration exaggerated their reports about the extent of WMD in the hands of so-called "rogue" states . but until late June none of their names appeared in print.

The New York Times revealed June 25, however, that an expert on chemical-biological warfare for the State Department told closed meetings of both the House and Senate Intelligence Committees earlier in the month that he was pressured by his superior to "tailor his analysis" to correspond with Bush administration demands, not just in Iraq but Cuba. The newspaper evidently obtained its information about the testimony from sources on each committee.

The witness was Christian Westermann, a senior intelligence expert in the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence a research. He was ordered to appear with other experts before both committees as they probed into "the Bush administration's handling of prewar reports on evidence that Iraq had illegal weapons and ties to terrorist groups."

Westermann told the committees that he was pressured by John Bolton, the undersecretary of state for arms control and international security, to agree that Cuba was developing a chemical-biological warfare capability that was threatening to the United States. The Times reported that "he made it clear that he had felt pressure... that originally dated to a clash the two had over Mr. Bolton's public assurances last year that Cuba has a biological weapons program. Mr. Westermann argued those assertions were not supported by sufficient intelligence."

Bolton, the State Department.s third-ranking official, is a protigi of far-right Sen. Jesse Helms, author of the Helms-Burton sanctions on Cuba. Disregarding Westermann's complaints, Bolton announced in a May 6, 2002, speech before the right-wing Heritage Foundation that Cuba.s world-class biotechnology industry was actually producing germ-warfare weapons of mass destruction which it endeavors to supply to .terrorist-sponsoring states.. This allegation, evidently the cause of the clash with Westermann, was obviously intended to establish Cuba as a possible future target for a "preemptive" strike by the U.S.

.We call on Cuba to cease all biological weapons-applicable cooperation with rogue states and to fully comply with all its obligations under the Biological [and Toxic] Weapons Convention," Bolton declared. "States that renounce terror and abandon weapons of mass destruction can become part of our effort [in the war on terrorism]. Those that do not, can expect to become our targets..

Ironically, six months before Bolton demanded that Cuba fulfill its "obligations," he informed the Geneva conference to strengthen the Biological and Toxic Weapons Convention that Washington . which possesses the world's largest supply of such means of mass destruction . rejected its new restrictions on the deadly weapons. Bolton specifically spurned on-site investigations and binding enforcement. The White House thus effectively scuttled the protocol on the grounds that it would impede the U.S. government's .legitimate activities..


From time to time an article appears in the establishment press that is so disarmingly honest . particularly if it is from a conservative point of view . that it inadvertently confirms what the left has been howling about for years. Titled, "Washington Needs A Colonial Office," this opinion piece appeared in the July 2 issue of the Financial Times. At first we thought it to be satire, but it's a serious proposal written by Max Boot, an Olin senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. Boot thinks the White House is mishandling the occupation of conquered Iraq. He supports the Bush administration's recent forays into regime-change "nation building," but despairs of Washington's lack of serious preparation in the thankless task of transforming subject nations such as Iraq into little Star-Spangled servants of imperialism. Of course he would be repelled by such words. Here is the conclusion of Boots' article, picking up just after he bemoans America's lack of professionalism in various aspects of colonial endeavor, such as building new police forces to keep the natives in line:

"....The irony is that there is no shortage of U.S. experts in all these fields, in and out of government, many of them veterans of prior peacekeeping operations. What is lacking is a central office that can marshal their expertise. We need to create a colonial office - fast.

"Of course, it cannot be called that. It needs an anodyne euphemism such as Office of Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance. But it should take its inspiration, if not its name, from the old British Colonial Office and India Office. Together, these two institutions ran large swaths of the world with a handful of bright, honest, industrious civil servants. They had an enormous impact, given the small numbers involved; there were seldom more than 1,000 members of the Indian civil service to administer hundreds of millions of Indians. Like its British predecessors, the U.S. colonial service needs to be an elite civilian agency that can call on forces for assistance where appropriate.

"The U.S. does not need or want a formal empire on the British model. But it desperately needs to win the peace in places such as Afghanistan and Iraq . where the British, as it happens, had a lot of experience of their own. They had their share of setbacks but they could not have accomplished as much as they did without their top imperial civil services. America needs to create one of its own, before its hard-won military gains turn to dust."


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