The following is an archived copy of a message sent to a Discussion List run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.
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along with troop morale - or so it seems. Conversely, awareness is on the rise that the strength of mind of the Iraqi people is a force to be reckoned with. Here are summaries of some news items suggesting this: Item (1): ABC News correspondent Jeffrey Kofman has been filing stories about plummeting U.S. troop morale in Iraq - which is true. But the truth apparently upset the White House. So they put out the word to Republican-friendly media that Kofman is a homosexual and Canadian. True too - on both counts. In Wednesday, a headline on Matt Drudge's website announced: "ABC News correspondent who filed troop complaints story is openly gay, Canadian." This info was then picked up by conservative talk-radio and online commentators and has been circulating since. Critics say that Kofman's being Canadian was the reason he would file such "unpatriotic" reports from Iraq. ABC it seems will stick up for Kofman. But apparently the incidence caused a little furore in US media circles. The White House has denied that it started a smear campaign. Mr. Drudge, however, insists that Bush officials handed him the information on this Canadian reporter. He told the Washington Post: "someone from the White House communications shop tipped me to it." Is the White House getting so desperate that it can't even bear the truth about its own troops? And Mr. Kofman, contacted in Baghdad, is unfazed. --- Item (2): A cartoon in the National Post (a Black paper). A line of demonstrating Iraqis with signs that read: "Yankee go home", and "end occupation of Iraq". With the demonstrators are two US soldiers also carrying signs: "U.S. out of Iraq now", and "send U.S. home". In front of the demonstrators is an army bigwig bellowing, "I want all you people to go back to your homes... and army bases." --- Item (3) "Window may close rapidly on U.S. effort to rebuild Iraq". (For 'rebuild', I read privatize and exploit.) This is about the report by the Center for Strategic and International Studies. The Bush admin has only a short time left to "turning around the security situation", warns the report, before things "slide into chaos". By "security situation" they obviously don't mean security for the Iraqi people. This could easily be accomplished by allowing for a full-size police force - to say nothing about a democratically elected government. By "security" they mean security for the occupiers, ie, an end to the attacks on the occupying forces. Without that kind of security, no investor will invest a cent in the grandiose privatization schemes. Wolfowitz claims that the US was "unprepared for the lawlessness that emerged after Baghdad fell". This is nonsense. Anyone could have predicted that: If tomorrow the government of the US were toppled, the ministries dismantled, the police force disbanded, prisons thrown open, and the population made unemployed, all hell would break loose. And Americans haven't suffered 13 years of deprivation through sanctions in a bombed-out country. What the US was not prepared for was the resistance. They had not expected Iraqis to be so united against the occupation. Even the Kurds, the US's clients, are getting fed up as their expectations are not met. To break the resistance, the occupiers have been intentionally depriving Iraqis of security, electricity, water, and employment, I believe. And it looks as if the blackmail isn't going to work. Hearts and minds are certainly not won by forced deprivation - and by killing and harassing people. U.S. interest and credibility are on the line, says the report: "... unless law and order, along with better economic prospects and social services are delivered soon, Iraqis will lose hope..." "The Iraqi population has exceedingly high expectations", says the report, "and the window for co-operation may close rapidly, if they do not see progress." I am not sure what is meant by "high expectations". Iraqis are lacking the basic necessities such as electricity, water, and health care; food; work, and independence. Nothing "high" about that. The White House is also getting frustrated at its lack of success in "internationalizing the occupation". In plain English, they can't get countries to volunteer troops for Iraq. Washington has asked 85 countries, including Mongolia, but has had few takers, aside from New Europe and some Latin American countries. Several countries, including India, Pakistan, Russian, France, and Germany have said they would send troops only under a UN mandate. SCR-1483 does not provide for troops, so Washington wants to amend it. It may even consider a new UN mandate. The report recommends: "Drastic changes must be made immediately", it says, to get the word to the Iraqi people through "enhanced radio and TV programming and improved systems for distilling a key message every day." Are hearts and minds to be won through propaganda? And what might such a "key message" be? The report also recommends "programs to spur economic activity and to assist women". And I have the feeling that the tenor of that HRW report ties in with this. Winning over the female part of the population would go a long way of making Iraq safe for investors; to get the contracts rolling; and the oil flowing. Still, the occupiers' arrogance seems to have mellowed a bit. And it is largely the collective will of the Iraqi people that has made the US realize that they must do something - soon. So if the Iraqis can show such strength and courage despite suffering and deprivations, we as outsiders need not give in to weakness. Bon courage, Elga Sutter _______________________________________________ Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. 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