The following is an archived copy of a message sent to a Discussion List run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.
Views expressed in this archived message are those of the author, not of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.
[Main archive index/search] [List information] [Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq Homepage]
>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 efficiency. >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 resistors/terrorists. >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 http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article5431.htm 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 discussions. _______________________________________________ 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