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Re: [casi] He was betrayed

>I for one am immensely impresseed. I had assumed that after suffering so
>much for so long, 'the Iraqi people' would accept the new US imposed 'order'
>and try to make the best of it. Thus Iraq would be converted into a US army
>base and become (what it wasn't under Saddam Hussein in the 1990s) a 'threat
>to its neighbours'. This was also, of course, the calculation of the
>American Neo-Conservatives.

The real surprise is that the US has been so incompetent. I think it may
have been Chomski who first pointed this out -- how other empires have
managed to install working puppet governments under far worse
circumstances, but even with deposing a hated dictator and having no
significant source of outside support for resistance, the coalition has
still completely botched it. The Iraqis WERE ready to accept it to a great
extent in the beginning -- at least for a while --- but how could anyone
accept current conditions, where many people are complaining they were
better off under Saddam?! The old-timer empire builders warned of this,
saying more troops would be needed, that there was a liited time frame, and
so forth.

>Instead, under the form of the largely Sunni resistance on the one hand and,
>on the other, of the largely Shi'i refusal to give the occupation any moral
>credibility, the Iraqis are showing themselves to be a people, or peoples of
>spirit (I don't think one can reasonably count the Kurd separatists as

Yes, there is that. The Iraqis have been well trained in resisting
occupation through experience. And they ARE a proud and resourceful
people.  After the Gulf War they got most things running again after a few
months, and here electricity and phones are still mostly down, and other
areas are in shambles. Bush and his buddies are extraordinarily inept
tyrants -- it seems almost as if they are trying to sabotage their own war
-- and that alone will make the difference in the end.

>'Iraqis - though the Kurds who supported the Ba'ath government may be
>another matter. It would be nice to know more about them and how they are
>faring at the present time)
>You suggest that the violent resistance would give the US an excuse to
>prolong their occupation, but at present the Bush administration seems to be
>showing the spirit they denounced in Clinton's abandonment of Somalia. When
>they arrived in Iraq they were talking about a ten year period of hegemony
>but now its an accelerated timetable for withdrawal. And though they will
>presumably still leave bases those bases will probably be as problematical
>for them as the ones they have abandoned in Saudi Arabia. It is far from

Frankly, the way they are behaving reminds me of the strange and shifting
arguments one sees in discussion groups where fundamentalist Christians try
to defend their self-contraditory beliefs. This may well be very close to
the problem: they are fanatical idealogues, freshly emerged from ivory
towers, with no practical sense. The Iraqis -- even the extremists -- are
street smart, resiliant and tough. Those who were not tended not to
survive. I'm thinking back to the report where one of the power plants
needed repair and Iraqi electricians came for the jobs, saying that they
knew  how to get stuff working because they had been doing it all along.
The US sent them away.

It seems (am I wrong?) that despite the tyranny of Saddam there was also a
democracy there in the sense that the people who did the work could make
on-the-job decisions needed to get things done. This is contrary to most
corporate minds in the US where usually even small decisions are made at
corporate headquarters and passed down. The US has been doing a lot of this
for a long time, and losing a lot real wealth because of it, but was able
to make it up by exploiting the resources of other nations.  Iraq, under
sanctions, could never afford that luxury, but had to operate with extreme

>We obviously can have no influence on how Iraqi politics evolves, including
>the great question whether the resistance should be violent or non-violent.
>It isn't in our hands and as a citizen of one of the two most aggressive
>states in the world (I am British) I'm not in a position to indulge in a
>purely moral condemnation. What seems to me quite remarkable is that,
>although the armed resistance has killed many Iraqis, including many
>bystanders, and is largely responsible for the oil shortages with all their
>consequences, popular anger (including Shi'i anger) is still largely
>directed against the occupation. The recent demonstrations against terrorism

One aspect of living under adverse conditions is self-control, including
putting aside emotional reaction when it works against you. I suspect that
most Iraqis understand lesser evils vs greater evils. If they succeed in
getting the ocupation out, then they can afford to deal with own problems,
including gangsters. But I think another factor is a certain willingness to
suffer the effects of the resistance knowing that it moves the situation
towards ousting the occupiers. The US is also killing bystanders, but
offers no promise of improvement that is believable. What other hope is
there except resistance?

>were on a much smaller scale than the half million claimed by Yasser. They
>seem to have been mainly the work of parties represented in the IGC, notably
>the Communist Party and SCIRI, and they certainly didn't express solidarity
>with the forces of order in their non-Iraqi guise.

What is terrorism? The targets of the resistance are the occupiers and
those who are seen to be cooperating -- seen by many as traitors.  The
situation is terrible. Compare the attitude of the suicide bomber to one
who perhaps is inadvertantly killed in a resistance attack.  But much of
the violence complained about is not terrorism nor resistance, but ordinary
thuggery, and the US is not protecting them from that, so these latter
sorts of injury can be blamed at least as much on the US as

>I think the main thrust of our political activity here in the West should be
>elections based on universal suffrage and the establishment of a government
>with the moral authority to take control of the economy and of security
>policy. This is obviously a demand on which people who suported the invasion
>(on anti-Saddam rather than pro US imperialism grounds) and people who
>oposed it can agree. Everyone indeed claims to want it. The differences turn

Many of us have concerns about that happening in the US as well. % \

>on questions of the timetable (as soon a possible, I say) and of the rights
>accorded to any interim government (as little as possible, I say).

Yes. The greatest role we -- outside of Iraq - can play is to keep putting
pressure on the occupying governments and trrying to inform the people.
Last night I forwarded a news article to a small
discussion list I am with, and two people replied back that they didn't
believe these things were true -- that the US would not do things like
this. Many people are in denial.  Our influence is not so much what the
Iraqis do, but what the occupiers do, and we can pass on  information from
them when possible.  It will be a mixed story, of course: all Iraqis are
not the same, and experiences vary, but we on the internet are as close to
an actual news service as can be had for now, it seems, for breaking past
the censorship and propaganda.

>CASI, with its wide diversity of opinion, is a good forum in which such
>matters can be discussed, with the analysis list as the best place for it,
>focussing on immediate practical questions and the welfare of the Iraqis
>(its getting off to a good start). There is, however, still room for a wider
>political/historical and even, I would suggest, theological discussion (the
>question of the role of Shari'a for example). And the continuing discussion
>list wuld be the best place for that.

That is interesting stuff, but I think the most important value to it is to
understand the Iraqis and what is happening there -- the better to have a
sound context from which to inform others.  The level of ignorance is quite
remarkable at times. I replied to a post on Kucinich's discussion board
today which said that both Saddam and Bin Laden were fanatical Muslim
leaders with fanatical religious followers (and I thought *I* was ignorant!
-- well, I largely am, but in comparison...) .  It is this sort of
ignorance which has been so destructive for Iraq, permitting even the
attack to take place at all.

What I really want to see is some way for a large number of ordinary Iraqis
to post their opinions and experience here (with translation when
applicable).  Technically this is a challenge, but it would be of immense
value.  The Iraqis, above all, should have a significant voice in such

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