[Marxism] An anatomy of the Iraqi resistance

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Sat May 21 20:29:07 MDT 2005

Counterpunch Weekend Edition
May 21 / 22, 2005
The Resistance in Context
An Anatomy of the Resistance to the American Occupation in Iraq


Much of the American left has been less than consistent with its approach 
to the occupation of Iraq. Before the invasion of March 2003, the streets 
of metropolitan America hosted a pageant of political dissent and 
indignation directed at the current administration. Yet in the 
post-invasion world the American left has been remarkably ambiguous and 
ambivalent. Whenever any one addresses this seeming inconsistency the 
rhetorical response is the same-"we" are there now so "we have to finish 
the job"-what "the job" is precisely always remains vague, however, it is 
intimately tied to Iraq's security. Donald Rumsfeld on a recent trip to 
Iraq reiterated the administration line; namely that the US would 
supposedly leave Iraq when the Iraqis were capable of putting down the 
so-called "insurgency." In other words, the reason the US invaded Iraq was 
WMD, but the reason they now remain is the resistance. And again the media 
have been as professionally contemptuous about examining American claims 
about the resistance as it was about weapons.

The media's misrepresentation of the resistance in Iraq has been a central 
component to the Bush administrations ideology for occupation. As an 
occupying power the US has ostensibly claimed a duty to protect the Iraqi 
people from the insecurity that the US presence ironically induces. 
Notwithstanding the many criticisms we could make of the American media in 
this regard, what is most frustrating is that many on the so-called "left," 
self-proclaimed critics of the war, have invested in the ideology of 

I was recently involved in a public event at one of the more prestigious 
universities here in the US where one of the guests-who has spent 
considerable time in occupied Iraq and who is also another self-proclaimed 
critic-denounced the Iraqi resistance as an extreme and terrible bid on 
behalf of "Wahhabists and former Baathists." When I asked the guest how 
much time he had actually spent with members of the resistance he could not 
provide me any substantive experience. In other words his intelligence on 
violence in Iraq was being provided by the same source that initiated the 
occupation in the first place-the US administration. It is both ironic and 
comical that little has been done to substantiate the claims being put 
forth by the American administration in this regard; but most notably there 
can be no serious hope of the Americans leaving Iraq so long as the 
majority of the country "fears" what might happen there next. And the 
administration's presentation of the resistance as a band of wide-eyed 
fanatics or desperate men "with nothing to lose" has been employed, quite 
tactfully, to keep up as much American support for the occupation as Iraqi. 
What I wish to do here is provide a brief anatomy of the resistance-a 
description of what it is made of and what it hopes to accomplish.

full: http://www.counterpunch.com/laith05212005.html

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