[Marxism] White Man's Burden in Iraq

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Mon Apr 12 09:06:49 MDT 2004

Hearts, Minds, And The Military in Iraq
by Gilles d'Aymery

Swans, April 12, 2004

"The time has come for a new approach in Iraq. [...]

[O]ne year after the fall of Baghdad, the United States should not be 
casting about for a formula to bring additional U.S. troops to Iraq. We 
should instead be working toward an exit strategy. [...]

[F]rom the flood of disturbing dispatches from Iraq, it is clear that 
many Iraqis, both Sunni and Shiite, are seething under the yoke of the 
American occupation. [...]

It is staggeringly clear that the Administration did not understand the 
consequences of invading Iraq a year ago, and it is staggeringly clear 
that the Administration has no effective plan to cope with the aftermath 
of the war and the functional collapse of Iraq. It is time - past time - 
for the President to remedy that omission and to level with the American 
people about the magnitude of mistakes made and lessons learned. America 
needs a roadmap out of Iraq, one that is orderly and astute, else more 
of our men and women in uniform will follow the fate of Tennyson's 
doomed Light Brigade."
—US Senator Robert C. Byrd (GA. D.); Remarks to the floor of the Senate, 
April 8, 2004.

Once more, the powerful remarks of Sen. Byrd will resonate with those 
who opposed the War in Iraq in the first place, and have, ever since 
this gruesome disaster began over one year ago, principally and 
courageously ("It has been suggested that any who dare to question the 
President are no better than the terrorists themselves," says Sen. 
Byrd.) advocated to bring the troops home. Once more, the thousands who 
demonstrated in the streets of New York City, Los Angeles, San 
Francisco, etc. this past weekend, and the millions all over the world 
who pray that reason may prevail, will hope that the powers that be in 
Washington D.C. will heed the words and the wisdom of the good senator. 
Once more, they will be disappointed -- but hopefully not disillusioned 
further into the darkness of cynicism -- for the voice of this 
octogenarian will eventually carry the day.

Their hope may be momentarily (years, decades?) thwarted, for power is 
blinded by careerism and self-interest, reason has been trashed along 
the same corridors, and a pathological cultural gene -- some call it a 
meme -- has deluded the white "liberal" elite and its whored lackeys and 
other palatial guard dogs -- the punditocracy -- to herald, for as long 
as one can remember, that we, the good fornicating Christian capitalist 
consumers, were the holder of the truth, the sole possessor of 
knowledge, and the definer of progress.

So, "[F]irst, we are going to win," says Gen. John Abizaid, the head of 
the Army's Central Command in Iraq. "Secondly," he adds, "everyone needs 
to understand that there is no more powerful force assembled on earth 
than this military force in this country backed up with our naval and 
air forces in near proximity." To be pin-pointedly clear, he follows 
with "those who oppose moving democracy forward will have to pay the 
consequences if they don't cease and desist." We will "pacify" the 
country, the American military spokesman, Brig. Gen. Mark Kimmitt, 
assures us. We have overwhelming forces. The bad guys, the Saddam 
remnants, the Sunni diehards, the al Qaeda extremists, the foreign 
suicide bombers, the Shia thugs, the Mahdist fanatics, the insurgents, 
the rebels -- they all are terrorists now according to Bill Safire (1) 
-- will be defeated. If necessary, more troops will be sent to advance 
progress in this far-away land. We are the force of good against evil. 
We will carry the day. It's called Freedom and Democracy -- the latest 
example of our mission civilisatrice.

"My battalion carries out dozens of missions all over the city -- 
missions that are improving peoples' lives. We have restored schools and 
universities, hospitals, power plants and water systems. We have 
engineered new infrastructure projects and much more. We have also 
brought security and order to many of Baghdad's worst areas -- areas 
once afflicted with chaos and brutality. Our efforts to train vast 
numbers of Iraqis to police and secure the city's basic law and order 
are bearing fruit.

"Our mission is vital. We are transforming a once very sick society into 
a hopeful place. Dozens of newspapers and the concepts of freedom of 
religious worship and expression are flowering here. So, too, are 
educational improvements."

--Joe Roche, U.S. Army's 16th Combat Engineer Battalion in Iraq, and 
adjunct fellow at the National Center for Public Policy Research, a 
Washington think-tank. (2)

Let's give the benefit of the doubt to Mr. Roche and take for granted 
that he actually wrote those words -- instead of disseminating the 
disinformation concocted in one of the many PR departments at the 
Pentagon -- and that he believes them.

Then, forget the fact that had we not deliberately destroyed Iraq's 
infrastructure through Gulf War I, a decade of decimating sanctions, 
repeated bombing raids over the years, culminating with Gulf War II and 
the occupation, there would be little need for the Joe Roches of this 
world to perform their missionary work as part of the most "powerful 
force assembled on earth." Ignore that the Iraqis never asked to be 
"liberated." Disregard the number of Iraqi families whose father or son, 
mother or daughter, cousin, uncle, nephew, grandparent, friend, 
acquaintance, died in the past 13 years because of the two wars and 
sanctions we inflicted upon Iraq. Discount the growing hatred and 
resistance to, for better or worse, the occupiers, which is quite 
precisely what Americans and their puppets are. What counts for the Joe 
Roches of the world, what only counts, is that we believe we are the 
forces of good, always at the ready to deliver the downtrodden masses 
from their dark caves and frozen ignorance.

full: http://www.swans.com/library/art10/ga175.html


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