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[casi-analysis] Robert Cooper on occupation - a response

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Dear all

Robert Cooper has a rather idiotic article in this week's New Statesman
arguing that military occupation is not the road to democracy. You need to
be a subscriber in some fashion to access the article online, though I did
manage it once.

Here's a letter to the editor about it:

Robert Cooper observes that 'The mistake in 1991 was to leave too much of
Saddam Hussein's Republican Guard intact'.

He neglects to point out that this was a conscious policy decision, made
in Washington, overruling the commander in the field (General H. Norman
Schwarzkopf), which had the predictable consequences of enabling the
regime to survive the turmoil of the immediate postwar period.

In other words, the US deliberately sought to stabilize and maintain the
(undemocratic) regime in Iraq (by allowing it to operate helicopter
gunships against the rebels and so on).

Democracy was not the objective in 1991 and it was not the objective in
2003. Leaks throughout the year preceding the war made clear that the
preferred outcome of the crisis was a coup.

As the Telegraph pointed out days before the war began, Washington and
London had 'an incremental strategy  that applies mounting pressure and
allows time for Saddam's henchmen to decide their self-interest lies in
risking a move against him'.

A British military source told the Telegraph 'This is about getting
someone to tip him over.'

Cooper's essay presumes that the objective of the occupation is
'democracy'. All the evidence suggests that the objective is 'control' and
that undemocratic methods are quite congenial, today as in 1991.

Milan Rai
author of Regime Unchanged

Milan Rai
Justice Not Vengeance
landline 0845 458 9571 (UK) +44 1424 428 792 (int)
mobile phone (0)7980 748 555

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