[Marxism] Re: Iraq is a scene from hell

Brian Shannon Brian_Shannon at verizon.net
Wed Aug 4 21:23:17 MDT 2004

There are 200,000 troops and civilian contractors in Iraq, a country 
the geographic size of California--the population is 24 million, while 
California's is 35 million. In relative numbers, the troops occupying 
Iraq are only 50 percent greater than the number of cops policing New 
York City.  Soldiers, of course, can never be as integrated into 
society as the police, who have their own problems vis-a-vis the 
citizenry. For those who were there, picture the National Guard in 
Chicago in 1968 (or any other urban area where the National Guard has 
been called out to control the population), with somewhat better 
training, but not speaking the native language.

Even in Vietnam, the U.S. troops had a native ally (although weak and 
compromised), developed over a period of years, whose personnel of 
course spoke the native language.

In NYC, very few police live in difficult areas such as Harlem, East 
Harlem, or Bedford-Stuyvesant. Nonetheless, they do live in homes in 
various suburbs, i.e., among the populace broadly considered. The 
police are able to go home, sleep with their families, get together 
with neighbors, attend church or other social institutions, go 
shopping, etc. To some extent they are "fish in the water."

But in Iraq, when not on duty, the occupation forces retreat to the 
Green Zone of Bagdad or other military bases. Who controls or, better 
stated, who can operate freely in the rest of Iraq (excluding the area 
controlled by the Kurds)? The Resistance, of course.

Even if the Resistance (seen only as the dedicated military and 
political opposition) doesn't yet--for the sake of argument--represent 
the majority of the population, there is little doubt that they can 
operate relatively freely. As the foreign occupation goes on, the 
resistance will become stronger--more experienced, more flexible in 
their strategy and tactics, with greater links to the population, and 
stronger organizational ties with each other.

Again to summarize: relative size of the policing force, invasion of 
foreigners (would apply even to other Arab forces), do not speak 
language, troops instead of local police, turnover of troops, no local 
allies, and the strengthening of the opposition over time.

For U.S. soldiers, it is indeed a "scene from hell."

from Brian Shannon

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