Iraq: "a badly deteriorating situation."

David McDonald dbmcdonald at
Thu Jul 10 13:44:40 MDT 2003

Exactly. The occupation is turning very, very sour.

While the scale of guerrilla is indeed quite small, it is sufficient to keep
the US troops confined to their defended camps, where they become more
miserable and humiliated by the hour, and it is also sufficient to ensure
that further unjustified attacks on Iraqi civilians will occur, thus
enflaming the Iraqi general population and cementing the idea of occupation
vs. liberation. Gigantic shows of force by the US (and what else do they
have?) will only make matters worse for the US by recruiting Iraqis to the

BTW, with regard to Lou's posted interview with a Fedayeen fighter claiming
to represent Baathist elements and formers of the regime, etc. etc., I would
be wary in trusting any given organization's claim to be leading the
resistance. Fromn what I read, it appears to be recruiting from many sectors
of the population and in many parts of Iraq, judging from quotes offered in
the press.

Here's another problem for the US rulers: if the US must admit to the need
to maintain at least 140,000 troops in Iraq (this omits the Saudi, Kuwaiti
and Qatarese deployments) for an unspecified time, where will they come up
with the divisions necessary to deal with whomever is chosen to be the next
sacrificial "Axis of Evil" country? Basic arithmetic indicates that the US
armed forces are, as they say, booked.  And, as this occupation unravels,
the need for the next war will loom larger, particularly as some adventurous
Democrats (by the standards of US electoral politics) begin to seriously nip
at Bush's heels. Presumably Howard Dean, more of a lapdog than a nipper at
the heels, who supports the occupation, will be obliged to come up with his
own scheme to keep the US war machine running at full tilt to save us all
from terrorism. I tremble in anticipation.

David McDonald

-----Original Message-----
From: owner-marxism at
[mailto:owner-marxism at]On Behalf Of Jose G. Perez
Sent: Thursday, July 10, 2003 8:39 AM
To: Marxmail
Subject: Iraq: "a badly deteriorating situation."

With yesterday's hearings before the Senate Armed Services Committee,
the truth about the Iraq war -- that it is turning into a new Vietnam --
is starting to come out.

General Tommy Franks, who just stepped down as head of Central Command,
said the U.S. would need to keep 150,000 troops there "for the
foreseeable future," and the Senators extracted from Rumsfeld a dollar
figure cost for this effort $3.9 billion a month, double what the
Bushites were claiming a couple of months ago.

Rumsfeld could offer the Senators nothing more than vague pleads for
patience, seconded by Bush in Africa.

What few specifics were addressed by Rumsfeld amount to a program of
Vietnamization that won't get off the ground for months. The idea is to
hire and train a puppet police force and a puppet army and set up a
puppet regime on top of it. The problem for the U.S. is that even a
puppet regime needs some sort of social base. The Iraqis who are with
the Americans have no base; the ones who do have a base aren't with the

That's why the U.S. has been so slow to call together any sort of body
of Iraqis to serve as political cover. It is Washington's judgment the
Iraqis aren't reliable. If the puppet assembly or council turns around
and demands the U.S. leave --and the pressure on them to do that from
the mosque and from the street are substantial-- it would be a terrible
political defeat for the occupation.

Given this, the New York Times today has an editorial (from which I drew
the quote in the subject line of this post) which proposes an
alternative policy, except that it really isn't an alternative, just the
same policy, only moreso: vigorous vietnamization. "One badly needed
change in Iraq is faster, more visible progress toward self-government."
And so on.

So far, the scale of the of the guerrilla resistance seems modest. But
reports in the kept press note the number of attacks are increasing, as
is their sophistication. But even on this scale, the effect on the
morale of the American occupation forces has been devastating. Rumsfeld
announced the Third Infantry division is being withdrawn, the one based
in Georgia and one of the ones that's been involved in all sorts of
reports about morale problems.

And in another "non combat" death, a soldier with the 101st air mobile
division died from what is officially described as a nonhostile gunfire
incident. The army isn't telling, but someone in the division ratted to
the AP that the soldier committed suicide. Not the sort of thing to
cheer up conquering heroes who thought they'd been promised that they'd
be home eating hot dogs and watching fireworks on July 4th, not eating
MRE's and receiving hostile fire from Iraqis in 100-degree-plus heat.

As for the effectiveness of the puppet police, the first element of the
puppet regime to be created, there is a telling anecdote in one of
today's dispatches:

"Also in the city, several dozen Iraqi police officers, most dressed in
their new U.S.-provided uniforms, marched on the mayor's office to
demand that U.S. forces leave the police station, where they have been
staying. The police, who say they will quit their posts if the soldiers
don't leave by the weekend, claim the soldiers' presence is putting them
in danger because they are frequently targeted by insurgents."


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