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(en) US, Oakland, Ca. The Dawn #1 - Imperial War in Iraq: "Right on Schedule"

From Worker <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>(http://www.the-dawn.org)
Date Sat, 17 Jul 2004 21:37:34 +0200 (CEST)

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It has now been over a year since Bush declared ""victory" in
Iraq, and by the time you read this, the "handover" of Iraqi
"sovereignty" will be complete. That the sovereignty to be
handed over is only nominal is easily demonstrated by Colin
Powell's remarks on 27 April, that in order for the government
…instituting "powerful levers for influencing nearly every important decision the interim government will make."
"to be effective, some of its sovereignty will have to be given ================================================
The dawn is a voice for anarchist-communism.

back." Effective, in this context, of course means subservient to
US demands. Besides this sort of flat-out denial of Iraqi sovereignty,
one can also read the business news for confirmation of the fact that
US control will carry on in the background despite the veneer of
Iraqi power. A frank article in the Wall Street Journal is titled
"Behind the Scenes, U.S. Tightens Grip On Iraq's
Future." We are told that implementation is proceeding on a
plan that will give the US government "powerful levers for
influencing nearly every important decision the interim government
will make." These "proxies" will serve
"multi-year" terms and have "significant authority."
[13 May] These things are rarely seriously discussed in the press, as
"sovereignty" is well known as a code word, something that
can be used to help convince the public of the nobility of our
intentions in Iraq. The powerful understand, of course, that
"sovereignty" is not being used in its dictionary definition of
a sovereign state, "a state which administers its own
government, and is not dependent upon, or subject to, another
power," but in a new and more useful definition, namely, a state
subject to US imperial will. But will the US be able to pull this off?

Unfortunately, things have not been going as well for Bush's
oval office warriors as they would have liked. If one has been
following the news, it has been obvious that in the time which has
elapsed since the Abu Ghraib prison scandal, the voices within the
establishment press critical of Bush have grown.

… a heretofore unseen level of "ignorance,
arrogance, and incompetence."

This should not in any way be mistaken for a growth in
anti-imperialist sentiment, or even of a singular critique of the US
imperial mission in Iraq. Rather, there seems to be a growing
understanding within the ranks of the ruling classes that perhaps
Bush's brand of imperialism is not proving as effective as others
might. One part of this seems to be sheer level of uselessness of the
imperial apparatus that has been deployed to Iraq. The
"administrators" of the occupation, as described to
Chomsky by one high official of major NGO, are displaying a
heretofore unseen level of "ignorance, arrogance, and
incompetence." By any rubric of imperial occupation, the
Coalition Provisional Authority and its staff have proven a failure.
The CPA is staffed of untrained college graduates,
"well-meaning" if incredibly ignorant. They serve a
minimum three month minimum stay, far less, and at a far higher
salary, incidentally, then those in the National Guard or Army, who
are serving year-long tours, with many having the tours extended.

So there is a growing awareness in establishment circles of the poor
execution of the occupation of Iraq, an occupation which was
predicted by the liberal "hawks" and conservatives to be
easy, a "cake walk", and even those who opposed the war
seem to have underestimated exactly how bad it would be. The
prison abuses underscored exactly how stupid Democracy reigns in
Iraq. the Bush administration is, as has been well understood since
at least the 1980s that these things, like other unpleasant labors,
and best out-sourced to the locals. So certain were they of the
backing of the American people that they seem to have entirely
dropped any pretence of "plausible deniablity," an essential
part of believing that the US, of course, knew nothing about, and
condemned such activity. By getting out hands spoilt, one is forced
to utter absurdities which claim that although we were doing such
things, it was alright because it wasn't, of course, in our
"character." Once again, it seems, the Bush administration
has failed to display even the minimum level of competence
required of a colonial power.

In a forthcoming book, Imperial Hubris, which is being analyzed in
the liberal press, the author, a senior intelligence official known
only as "Anonymous," takes the position which is
emblematic of growing discontent with Bush's politics among
liberals, those who are not so enthusiastic about the Iraq war as
their "cruder" right wing counterparts, but feel that it is our
unfortunate duty. He argues that because we have been caught in
this unfortunate war between the Christian (or
"Anglo-Protestant") and Muslum world, we need to
conduct a war "to protect America" in "terms of keeping
the ability to live as we want, not as we must." and that we need
to abandon any pretense to "make them [Iraqis]
democratic" and realize that "[k]illing in large numbers is
not enough to defeat our Muslim foes." It is essential that we
soon realize the need to effect a "Sherman-like razing of
infrastructure. Roads and irrigation systems; bridges, power plants,
and crops in the field; fertilizer plants and grain mills," all those
things, in other words, which make civilian life possible. Ten years
sanctions, responsible for a drop in standing in the UN Human
Development Index from 50th to 126th place (among 174 nations),
were apparently not enough. What is needed is "actions [that]
will yield large civilian casualties, displaced populations, and
refugee flows." Although these actions are neither
"admirable nor desirable," they are necessary. In all
fairness, this is from somebody who calls the war in Iraq a mistake:
but, having made that mistake, we of course need to make the best
of it.

When John Kerry, in all probability, is elected in November, he is
just as likely, and he has said this himself, to escalate the war effort,
and he will probably have more widespread support for this project.
Whether or not he undertakes what "Anonymous" has
suggested, and what another JFK undertook in Vietnam, namely
the destruction off the independent civilian infrastructure with the
intent of destroying the support base of insurgency, remains to be
seen. What is almost certain is that in almost every meaningful way
the two candidates are indistinguishable, and that what will matter
most, for us, as anarchists, is what we are able to do to help stop the
terrible escalation of the war. There is little doubt that the growing
amount of deaths is damaging support for the war, but it would be a
mistake to think that we can now sit back and watch the war effort
disintegrate and have won. Although there is a growing awareness
of what a great "mistake" the war in Iraq was, it is essential
that we turn the debate, as much as possible, towards an
understanding of the war not as a noble mistake, which has claimed
the lives of almost one thousand of our "own" boys and
girls, and which can be "rescued," most probably through
the increased slaughter of Iraqis, but as a slightly off-course
imperial exercise, that has killed 21 to 50 thousand Iraqis, and
which stands to kill many, many more in the years to come. This
figure will be even higher if we are not on our watch.
F.K. Witt
The dawn is a voice for anarchist-communism.

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