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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"With a heavy dose of fear and violence, and a lot of money for projects, I think we can convince these people that we are here to help them," Colonel Sassaman said. This quote from the New York Times story -- December 7, 2003 "Tough New Tactics by U.S. Tighten Grip on Iraq Towns" By DEXTER FILKINS -- very much echoes the famous comment made by a US military officer in Vietnam, when he said that a certain village had to be destroyed to save it. The insurgency in Iraq may very well be eventually crushed, but this will not guarantee the achievement of US objectives in Iraq (which at any rate are still unclear). This is because the success or failure of guerilla warfare against an occupying power is rarely decided on the military front, but on the political. If the US-led forces have to turn the entire Sunni Arab region of Iraq into a West Bank/Gaza Strip to crush insurgents, they will have lost. With so much political capital of the Bush administration vested in the liberation and democratisation of Iraq, it will not be able to survive an untenable situation, which is not just low level attacks on soldiers on a daily basis, but widespread opposition and resentment towards the US-led occupation, expressed in mass demonstrations, political activism, street rioting, and TV footage of youths hurling rocks and molotov cocktails at tanks and troops, similar to what was seen in the intifada in Palestine which had widespread popular support among Palestinians in general. This is when the last surviving rationale for the invasion of Iraq -- to liberate its people and establish democracy -- will look like a farce. What is far more damaging for the occupation than the small scale ambushes is the congregation of Iraqis after such attacks that celebrate around a burning military vehicle. As resentment among the Sunni Arab areas of Iraq grows, the Shi'ites are meanwhile showing signs of impatience with the political process outlined in mid-November. What they see in the fall of Saddam Hussein is not the beginning of a harmonious accord with the US and compliance with its Middle East agenda, but the chance to assert themselves after decades of repression in a way they never have been able to before. In Iran in 1979 it took mass demonstrations to topple what was seen as the most stable regime in the Middle East, an event that occurred without any insurgency as such. Already Iraq is looking like it is unravelling in such a way that it will bury the neoconservative fantasy about the Middle East. Lastly, how this quote below in any way coexists with President Bush's "forward strategy" of spreading democracy throughout the Middle East I will never know. It seems that orientalism is alive and well. "You have to understand the Arab mind," Capt. Todd Brown, a company commander with the Fourth Infantry Division, said as he stood outside the gates of Abu Hishma. "The only thing they understand is force - force, pride and saving face." Peter Kiernan _______________________________________________ Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. To unsubscribe, visit http://lists.casi.org.uk/mailman/listinfo/casi-discuss To contact the list manager, email email@example.com All postings are archived on CASI's website: http://www.casi.org.uk