[Marxism] Would Jesus Get Out of Iraq?
lnp3 at panix.com
Sat Nov 25 10:04:18 MST 2006
Counterpunch Weekend Edition
November 25 / 26, 2006
New Congress, Same Quagmire
Would Jesus Get Out of Iraq?
By WILLIAM BLUM
The good news is that the Republicans lost.
The bad news is that the Democrats won.
The burning issue -- US withdrawal from Iraq -- remains as far from
resolution as before.
A clear majority of Americans are opposed to the war and almost all
of them would be very happy if the US military began the process of
leaving Iraq tomorrow, if not today. The rest of the world would
breathe a great sigh of relief and their long-running love affair
with the storybook place called "America" could begin to come back to life.
A State Department poll conducted in Iraq this past summer dealt with
the population's attitude toward the American occupation. Apart from
the Kurds -- who assisted the US military before, during, and after
the invasion and occupation, and don't think of themselves as Iraqis
-- most people favored an immediate withdrawal, ranging from 56% to
80% depending on the area.
The State Department report added that majorities in all regions
except Kurdish areas said that the departure of coalition forces
would make them feel safer and decrease violence.
George W. is on record declaring that if the people of Iraq ask the
United States to leave, the US will leave. He also has declared that
the Iraqis are "not happy they're occupied. I wouldn't be happy if I
were occupied either."
Yet, despite all this, and much more, the United States remains, with
predictions from Pentagon officials that American forces will be in
Iraq for years. Large US military bases are being constructed there;
they're not designed as temporary structures. Remember that 61 years
after the end of World War II the United States still has major bases
in Germany. Fifty-three years after the end of the Korean War the US
has tens of thousands of troops in South Korea.
Washington insists that it can't leave Iraq until it has completed
training and arming a police force and army which will keep order.
Not only does this inject thousands more armed men -- often while in
uniform -- into the raging daily atrocities, it implies that the
United States is concerned about the welfare and happiness of the
Iraqi people, a proposition rendered bizarre by almost four years of
inflicting upon those same people a thousand and one varieties of
hell on earth, literally destroying their ancient and modern
civilization. We are being asked to believe that the American
military resists leaving because some terrible thing will befall
their beloved Iraqi brethren. ("We bomb you because we care about
you" ... suitable to be inscribed on the side of a cruise missile.)
Even as I write this, on November 14, I read: "An overnight US raid
killed six people in mainly-Shia east Baghdad, sparking angry anti-US
protests. Thirty died in a US raid on the Sunni stronghold of Ramadi,
Iraqi officials said."
At the same time, the American occupation fuels hostility by the
Sunnis toward Shiite "collaborators" with the occupation, and
vice-versa. And each attack of course calls for retaliation. And the
bodies pile up. If the Americans left, both sides could negotiate and
participate in the reconstruction of Iraq without fear of being
branded traitors. The Iraqi government would lose its quisling
stigma. And Iraq's security forces would no longer have the handicap
of being seen to be working on behalf of foreign infidels against
So why don't the Yanquis just go home? Is all this not rather odd?
Three thousand of their own dead, tens of thousands critically
maimed. And still they stay. Why, they absolutely refuse to even
offer a timetable for withdrawal. No exit plan. No nothing.
No, it's not odd. It's oil.
Oil was not the only motivation for the American invasion and
occupation, but the other goals have already been achieved --
eliminating Saddam Hussein for Israel's sake, canceling the Iraqi use
of the euro in place of the dollar for oil transactions, expansion of
the empire in the middle east with new bases.
American oil companies have been busy under the occupation, and even
before the US invasion, preparing for a major exploitation of Iraq's
huge oil reserves. Chevron, ExxonMobil and others are all set to go.
Four years of preparation are coming to a head now. Iraq's new
national petroleum law -- written in a place called Washington, DC --
is about to be implemented. It will establish agreements with foreign
oil companies, privatizing much of Iraq's oil reserves under
exceedingly lucrative terms. Security will be the only problem,
protecting the oil companies' investments in a lawless country. For
that they need the American military close by.
William Blum is the author of Killing Hope: U.S. Military and CIA
Interventions Since World War II, Rogue State: a guide to the World's
Only Super Power. and West-Bloc Dissident: a Cold War Political Memoir.
He can be reached at: BBlum6 at aol.com
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