[Marxism] Is Iraq being plundered

David McDonald dbmcdonald at comcast.net
Wed Dec 29 16:15:51 MST 2004

>This mistaken economist view of human nature<

This is a heavy, unwarranted charge. But I have other questions about
for instance, what is it that is supposed to be being repatriated? Capital
in what form? The only repatriation I'm aware of is the theft of oil, which
is course is commodity capital. On that, I have my questions about the WSJ
article recently posted. My surmise is that almost all the oil being shipped
out of Iraq comes from the fields right around Basra and within striking
distance of Kuwait. There may even be enormous drilling sideways from Kuwait
into Iraq; that was one of the causes of the 1990 war if I remember
correctly. Betcha the overwhelming bulk of the $1.2 billion or so spent on
Iraqi reconstruction has gone to oil infrastructure in areas where the US
has interior lines. Except for the oil, which at $20B is quite an exception,
the theft is actually straight out of the pockets of US taxpayers and
straight into the hands of US corporations

I have always felt that the only non-cosmetic rebuilding the US would do in
Iraq was of the oil infrastructure. Everything else, from the US point of
view, is wasted money. These people won't spend a dime that isn't forced out
of them to rebuild the United States. Why would they lavish dollars on the
infrastructure of Iraq if it didn't pay immediate hard cash dividends?

I will repeat here an argument I made before the US invasion of Iraq: the
invasion was forced because the US was losing the fight to have the war and
the only solution to that problem was to start the war before the
opportunity was lost. The US lost every political initiative it took before
the war (leaving aside the votes in the US Congress) and it was rapidly
losing the battle of information. This I ascribe generally to the good sense
of the peoples of the world who sensed an opportunity to stop something
horrible and were gearing up for it; the antiwar movement should get
important credit for this, along with the failure of the bosses' strike
against PdVSA in Venezuela and the snubbing of imperialism by Turkey and the
denial of a second front in the north of Iraq. We should never forget that
an entire division of US forces was left floating around the Mediterranean
Ocean for weeks waiting their turn to disembark in Kuwait, thanks only to
the people of Turkey. Since those days, it has come out that the beginning
of the war on March 19th was a forced event, precipitated by Iraqi rocket
attacks on massed Coalition forces in Kuwait, a telling admission that the
US lost the initiative before the war even began since the US had to forego
the month or so of "shock and awe" it had planned, like 1990.

In an interesting aside, the Army still considers the invasion of Iraq to be
an unparalleled event in the history of warfare. To this day, they have
failed to understand that the collapse of the Iraqi army as the Coalition
forces approached Baghdad was at least partly an orderly retreat into
asymmetrical warfare. The very same Army historian officer who last week
said the war is lost participated in the writing of a massive nauseating
history of the invasion entitled "On Point." Now this officer says well, we
were writing about phase three (combat) not phase four (occupation).

I am also wondering about the very-early-in-the-occupation incident, either
day one or day two, when a single guy in a car took out 7 or so soldiers in
a car bomb incident at a checkpoint. This single action resulted in a marked
change in occupation forces; they started shooting everyone who did not obey
their orders instantly.

>From this point of view the grand Iraqi strategy could be called
Encirclement by the People:

1. have your army disappear in the face of the (too) rapidly advancing
Coalition forces

2. Now, surrounded by the sea of the people of Iraq, the occupiers are
goaded into anti-popular incidents that quickly crush any hope of their
being accepted, let alone accepted as Liberators. This could all be easily
accomplished by extremely small units or even individuals. It is not hard to
imagine, for instance, that one or two shots might have been fired into the
air (no bullet holes were found in the school itself) from the crowd
protesting the Marine's occupation of a local school in Fallujah; the
resulting Marine massacre of 17 civilians was the real beginning of the
resistance in Fallujah.

3. Saddam didn't have to tell the government to melt away. The instant the
forces of repression were withdrawn (i.e. Iraqi security forces of all
stripes) it disappeared as if by magic. Saddam didn't have to organize
looting--he could count on over-stretched Coalition forces to be unprepared
to deal with the consequences of the disappearance of government. Remember
that the original Coalition plan was to merely substitute leaders at the
tops of the various government ministries to create a new Iraqi state.
Looting happens pretty much automatically in the absence of civil order, as
any student of warfare knows; most looting is completely apolitical and
involves settling of economic and personal scores. Saddam probably counted
on some people to conduct the looting and others to be disgusted by the
Coalitions' failure to do anything about it. A recent report of the early
days of occupation recounts two sets of crowds: looters, and those watching
with disapproval. Why else, you might ask, did Saddam order the arming of
the people just prior to the invasion, if not to fight an insurgency he had
foreseen and attempted to organize? And why so many arms caches all over the
place if not to spread weapons far and wide beyond the ability of the
occupiers to keep track of them? This is not the sort of thing that can
happen overnight or without a plan.

It is entirely possible, in sum, that the rapid appearance and spread of the
resistance occurred with leadership input from the top.  Its success is
marked by the fact that the resistance is now pretty much a national fact
and former Baathists are just one current in it

More information about the Marxism mailing list