[Marxism] Another Disgraceful Article from "The Militant"

David53 Altman altman_d at hotmail.com
Fri Apr 9 07:34:40 MDT 2004

>From the latest issue of "The Militant," (http://www.themilitant.com/), an 
article more interesting for what it doesn't say than for what it does. 
Barnes & Co. can't really say that there is no Iraqi Resistance anymore, so 
they just walk aroiund the issue, talking about "protests" and so forth.


U.S. forces step up assaults
in occupied Iraqi cities
(front page)

U.S. occupation troops initiated a crackdown in early April in the city of 
Fallujah and in two Baghdad neighborhoods where attacks on U.S.-led forces 
had taken place.

Fallujah, a largely Sunni Muslim town north of the Iraqi capital, was sealed 
off by U.S. forces in preparation for stepped-up military assaults. In 
Baghdad, U.S. troops with tanks and other combat vehicles were sent into 
Sadr City and other working-class neighborhoods where a Shiite Muslim group 
has led protests against occupation forces. In both cities the U.S. forces 
launched air strikes.

In Fallujah, local residents told reporters that several people had been 
killed when a U.S. warplane dropped bombs on a working-class district after 
U.S. officers said their troops had come under mortar fire from that area. 
U.S. troops sealed off the town as a prelude to a military push called 
“Operation Vigilant Resolve” involving 1,200 U.S. Marines and two battalions 
of U.S.-trained Iraqi paramilitary forces. U.S. officers vowed to “pacify” 
the town, where celebratory crowds had greeted the deaths on March 31 of 
four armed guards under contract to the Pentagon.

In the Iraqi capital, up to 1,000 U.S. troops accompanied by a column of 
tanks moved into and around Sadr City, a largely Shiite Muslim working-class 
district that is home to 2 million people. U.S. soldiers opened fire on 
people attending a funeral for compatriots killed the previous day by 
occupation forces. Angry funeral-goers threw stones at the troops.

After a U.S. troop convoy entering the nearby Shuala district came under 
attack, helicopter gunships strafed the area—the first reported air attack 
on an area in Baghdad since the overthrow of Saddam Hussein’s government by 
U.S. and British-led troops last year.

Over the previous two days, Sadr City had been a center of several protests 
and armed actions directed against the occupation forces in a number of 
cities and towns, from Basra in the south to Fallujah. Eight U.S. soldiers 
and 22 Iraqis were killed in clashes in the Baghdad suburb between the U.S. 
troops and members and supporters of a militia associated with Moktada 
al-Sadr, a Shiite Muslim cleric who opposes the occupation. Twenty-four U.S. 
troops and 85 Iraqis were wounded.

The fighting erupted after the U.S. proconsul of Iraq, Paul Bremer, 
“declared Sadr an outlaw and said the occupying force ‘will not tolerate’ 
attempts to supplant its authority,” Reuters reported.

By the morning of April 5, U.S. forces had built earthen barricades across 
all the entrances to Fallujah in preparation for a crackdown.

U.S. officers said they were targeting those responsible for the deaths of 
the four guards, a privately hired component of the occupation forces. The 
four were ambushed and killed as they drove through the city. An angry crowd 
then gathered, some of whom set fire to the bodies, hanging two of them from 
a bridge over the Euphrates River. The incident was played up by the U.S. 
big-business media in a propaganda campaign to whip up patriotic sentiment 
in U.S. bourgeois public opinion.

Referred to by U.S. officials as “contract workers,” the four guards were 
highly paid employees of Blackwater U.S.A., a business founded in 1998 by 
former Navy SEALs that provides hired guns for big-business and political 
leaders. They are mostly former policemen and Special Forces.

Such mercenary outfits have been integrated into the U.S.-led occupation 
forces. The New York Times reported that up to two dozen such companies are 
fielding up to 15,000 hired soldiers in Iraq.

On April 4, during a street protest by 5,000 people in the Shiite city of 
Najaf, south of Baghdad, supporters of Sadr reportedly opened fire on a 
Spanish-run garrison. Spanish and Salvadoran troops fired back, sparking a 
several-hour-long battle. Twenty-two Iraqis were killed and 200 wounded. 
Among the occupation forces, a Salvadoran soldier was killed and several 
other troops were wounded.

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