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Re: [casi] He was betrayed

>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

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

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.

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