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>The question as I understand it boils down to this: to what extent where the >crimes of the Baath regime under President Hussein a consequence of >necessity in a very tough struggle for survival - with the price of failure >being the collapse into anarchy that we are seeing at the present time? There is a rather insightful, as well as pleasant (masquerading under a tongue-in-cheek style) article at http://www.techno-preneur.net/timeis/technology/sctechOct/management.html concerning "managment by crisis", pointing out that this is not only responding to crisis but managing by allowing or creating crisis. I have seen an article saying that this technique is taught at the Yale business school for use in company take-overs: throwing things into chaos to enable a takeover by offering "strong leadership". Bush and the neo-cons have done this to gain extraordinary control; the US has often done this in the past to other nations under the label of "destabilizing" a regime they didn't like. The sanctions did that, and I would say that Saddam used them to his advantage. The Iraqi resistance groups create crises as part of a campaigne to gain power. The occupation military creates crisis, making it difficult for the people to effectively organize against the occupation. Crisis is generally chaotic and unpredictable, but it tends to favor two polarities: the significantly stronger and the significantly weaker, leaving the ordinary people in the middle struggling to get through their days and just survive. Part of the advantage to the government leadership during crisis is being able to justify outrageous action by shouting "This is an emergency!" (true even if they create only the perception of emergency). Part of the mechanism of polarization is the deliberate fear-mongering and demonization of the "enemy". If a group want radical change based on emotion rather than a carefully deliberative and rational process in which they become just another participant, then choosing crisis might well put them in a better position. If crisis is thrust upon them (or him) then the street-wise will at least be able to take advantage of it ( whether looters or king). The article That Dirk posted ("Dec 22 Let's Divide Iraq as We Did in Yugoslavia") points to an application of this idea. That we see in the various reports of reactions from Iraqis regarding the capture of Saddam a wide variation between grief and jubilation shows the polarity which exists, and the potential for further crisis and civil disturbance. The lionization or demonization of Saddam is dangerous, but we can expect it to be encouraged by those seeking power -- just as the US the polarities of "love Bush" and "hate Bush" are encouraged by the poitical players. The Iraqi people should understand that getting wrapped in the rhetoric and pronouncements of either side works against them, against putting the past in proper perspective and moving ahead. It can be argued that resistance of some form is necessary, that some sense of crisis among the American people is required to change their attitudes towards the proponents of invasion and empire, but Iraqis themselves must understand the mechanisms and not become victims of their own rebelllion. This is a great strength of non-violent resistance: it remains under the control of the resistors, and shows up any violent counter-actors to be the barbarians (as in the civil rights demonstrations of the sixties, and the outrages of the police in Miami recently). One great fault of Saddam's human right violations aside from the despicable suffering of the victims was that it left him open to the complaints and propganda which eventually led to attack on Iraq -- provided an excuse. Blowing us the UN building, power plants, and so forth provide an excuse for the occupation to use military force -- even when completely out of proportion to the actual threats. We see it in Israel where Sharon is able to use the suicide attacks to harden the Israeli public to the abuses of the Palistinians -- and also in US opinion. Armed resistance is a dangerous strategy for those wanting liberty and can easily be turned against them through the use of propaganda. The one key element of non-violent resistance, however, is the press. The victory is dependent on turning public opinion and support against the aggressors -- in this case in the US, primarily. It may have given some a bit of satisfaction in terms of moral indignation and righteous retribution to blow up the UN, but I doubt it helped the cause of independence any. It got a lot of people angry who might have been able to put pressure on the US -- instead the war-mongers were able to say, essentially, "we told you so: we have to have to control these madmen with armed troops". But the press is fickle, and at least in the US largely under the spell (and direct control) of those who want to use violence to control and exploit Iraq. There is some movement countering that currently, but it is fragile. The biggest joker in current deck is Al Qaeda. If another large scale attack is mounted it could go two ways: Bush could be shown to have been inneffective in his "war on terrorism" and lose credibility, or people could become scared and "ralley 'round the flag" -- with the administration again blurring the difference between Al Qaeda and Iraq, and promoting their pre-emptive war policy. Chaos is unpredictable, and favors the extremists. The thing which would be of most help now is the emergence of an Iraqi "moderate" -- at least someone perceived as such, who can build a good relationship with the press, and give hope to the people (and gain their support). Even if the final goal is one which most Americans would consider "radical" the immediate situation is one where there is a point of stability to operate from, and from which to move forward. Iraqis must understand this necessity and pull together, also understanding that the occupation will likely try to divide and weaken them. While the violent resistance, killing of US troops, destroying buildings and such, make the American people nervous and keeps Iraq in the news, it also provides justification to those wanting to continue occupation and increase military presence. We see this in the resistance to immediate withdrawal in arguments such as "But if we just pull out Iraq will fall apart and be taken over by extremists and terrorists". That the US fears non-violent organized resistance is shown by the extreme reaction to it -- firing on demonstrators and the raiding of the union headquarters. There is a question of the effectiveness of a non-violent approach as opposed to violence, and of whether the Iraqi people will suffer more by adopting one strategy over the other. We never have certainty or guarantees, but in any violent clash we can expect that the US will like prevail simply by superior arms. One can gather from the forgoing that the US will be able to gain popular US support for military operations in the face of violence from Iraqis, at least for a long time, and remembering how long the Vietnamese war continued. Disruption of oil production is another issue, however. Blowing up pipelines and refineries, while ultimately imposing hardship on the Iraqis also disrupts the occupation and puts the lie to any statements of "It's beginning to work in Iraq" while not eliciting the emotional response of people being killed. Other tactics can be developed, but the effects on popular opinion and overall strategy need to be carefully considered -- the goal being to bring liberty to Iraq with the least damage and human misery possible. That means moving away from extremism and centralized control. While one can understand how Saddam was under pressure to tightly control the country under attack, we need to remember that in the end that strategy did fail. _______________________________________________ Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. 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