Liberating Iraq and Other Lies

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Joined: 20-02-04
Dec 15 2005 16:22
Liberating Iraq and Other Lies

…whether it’s a democracy, a fascist dictatorship, a parliament, or a communist dictatorship … the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders.

That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism, and exposing the country to greater danger.

--- Hermann Goering at the Nuremberg Trials

For centuries, pillage by invading armies was a normal part of warfare … Nowadays, at least in more civilised countries, we do not let armies rampage for booty. We leave the pillaging to the men in suits, and we don’t call it pillaging anymore. We call it economic development.

--- Brian Whitaker, the Guardian

Those who don’t remember the past are condemned to repeat it.

--- George Santayana, ‘Life of Reason’

Our ‘elected’ leaders are liars and hypocrites. We rolled our eyes in superior disbelief last year when George Bush jr. was ‘legitimately’ elected emperor of the world for the first time (Gore won in 2000). Last May only 27% of the British electorate (apparently possessing goldfish-like memories) elected an insidious liar and war criminal to be prime minister for another five years.

Despite the desperate myths spread recently from the bowels of the neo-Labour party machine, Tony Blair and his morally degenerate cabal have the blood of many innocents on their hands. Last October the highly-regarded Lancet medical journal published its comprehensive survey of Iraqi households to put a figure on civilian casualties since the invasion began of 100, 000, a shocking and disgusting total, immediately dismissed by the government as flawed research (can’t trust those damn towel-heads, eh?), and a toothless and consent-manufacturing mass media generally ignored or quickly buried the story.

The last few weeks have seen momentous events threaten to unravel the Blair administration’s neatly packaged web of deceit. Covered properly elsewhere in this publication, the London bombings on 7 July brought the oxymoronical ‘war on terror’ and its consequences starkly and brutally home. These particular evil-doers were British citizens, so with no foreign country to carpet bomb into oblivion the only response the government can come up with is to lurch ever more to the Right, murdering innocent people and eroding civil liberties as they go.

An increasingly ridiculous Blair denies that the illegal invasion of Iraq and its turbulent aftermath has anything to do with the attacks on Britain, despite the Royal Institute of International Affairs warning to the contrary. And the small matter, again relatively suppressed by the media, of Al-Qaida’s second in command appearing on television to state explicitly that the prime minister’s “policies brought you destruction in central London and will bring you more destruction.”

It is a blindingly obvious fact that the terror wrought on the Iraqi people by the British/US war machine has enraged many potential Islamist militants and has engendered terror (on a much smaller scale) in return. The authoritative report published 20 July by Iraq Body Count and Oxford Research Group details non-combatant civilian casualties since the invasion began, with a grand total of almost 25, 000 dead. A far cry from liberation - the authors warn the country is descending into chaos with an average of 34 Iraqi civilians dying each day.

This study should be more embarrassing to Blair and more difficult to ignore, since the analysis is based on media reports, and official figures from the Iraqi ministry of health and mortuaries (the coalition, of course, “don’t do body counts”).

The coalition invaded Iraq allegedly to advance freedom and democracy (and conveniently forgotten lies like non-existent WMDs) but we now know the real truth behind the propaganda machine - the occupation (and the US and UK foreign policy that underscores and predates it) is the root cause of the ‘terror’ problem. It has bred more violence, resistance and instability, replacing one formerly compliant dictatorship with a fresh new puppet administration ensuring US and British economic, political and military interests are served.

Though vehemently denouncing the ordinary working class Iraqis who raided banks and businesses in the initial chaos after Baghdad’s ‘liberation’, September 2003 saw the large scale looting of Iraq become official Bush administration policy. Juicy $500 billion Iraq reconstruction contracts were handed out to American firms without being put to tender, like awards for loyalty, amongst Bush and Cheney’s favourite campaign-contributing cronies such as the Halliburton and Bechtel corporations.

Whilst Iraqi oil is the most prized asset and the first thing they secured, it is only part of the spoils of war and the neo-conservatives’ occupation agenda. Iraqi public services devastated during a decade of war and sanctions have been privatised by colonial decree. Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) pro-consul Paul Bremer immediately permitted 100% ownership of businesses by foreign companies, who then expatriate their profits.

It is worth noting ‘Defence’ secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Bremer made sure the reconstruction of Iraq is paid for by the ‘liberated’ country themselves. A UN Security Council Resolution passed on the eve of invasion declared all confiscated Iraqi assets, leftover Oil for Food Programme billions, and resumed Iraq oil export revenues, were to be used “in a transparent manner, for the benefit of the Iraqi people.” But the CPA promptly began its US crony cash-out, and are now under investigation for disgraceful ‘financial impropriety’ (false accounting – remember Enron?) and ‘misappropriating’ tens of billions of dollars.

Around the same time, the CPA lowered the wage base for Iraqi public sector employees (the majority of the Iraqi workforce) from rates set when the US troops first arrived in Iraq. Since then housing and food subsidies have also been abolished, and numerous anti-Trade Union laws have been retained. In December 2003 the occupiers and their lackeys attacked and closed down the headquarters of the Iraqi Federation of Trade Unions in Baghdad, which has remained non-operational ever since. Current unemployment is as high as 70%, which condemns the majority to a life of misery, hunger and isolation, especially since there are no welfare benefits.

The poor wages and safety conditions have led to an upsurge in class struggle labour activity such as strikes and occupations. In Nassiriyah last year, the workers of the aluminium factory saw off the Mahdi Army which had attempted to occupy and turn it into a military base, not to mention numerous wildcat strikes in cities across Iraq, mainly in electricity generating stations. The CPA was forced to back down in their insistence on wage reductions. In Um Qasr and other ports workers’ committees have been set up. Women have joined the Organisation for the Freedom of Women in Iraq in their thousands, raising the slogan ‘No to Occupation and the veil’. These groups, especially the militant and vibrant unemployed movement, were often the first to confront the occupation utilising all forms of collective direct action. This is consistent with an Iraqi tradition of class struggle, from the widespread popular unrest of 1958 to the mass rebellion to overthrow Saddam in 1991 in which conscripted soldiers, Kurdish rebels and Iraqi civilians participated (whom the US deserted). Rebels seized Basra, Kabala, Najaf, Kurkuk and other major cities. Mosques and symbols of the Ba’athist regime were destroyed as riots, insurrection and demonstrations rocked the Iraqi elite. In some areas self-organised workers councils (shoras) were set up to run things.

In calling for the end of the occupation of Iraq, we must not hide our principled opposition to tactics such as indiscriminate car bombings carried out by groups within the so-called Iraqi resistance, including all Islamist groups who despite their

differences over tactics have the same basic aims: to establish a regime founded on Sharai law, with strict sexual apartheid. They hate atheists, secularists, other religious groups, feminists, organised workers, socialists and communists and they devote columns to denouncing them in their papers. In Basra, Islamist parties have set up an “emirate” where women are rarely seen in the street and where alcohol and nightclubs and even picnics are forbidden. Where local Islamic groups such as the al-Sadr army have gained power the offices of the Unemployed Union of Iraq, the Workers Communist Party and Women’s Movement have frequently been targeted and attacked.

In the short term, we must provide what solidarity and assistance we can to those who are struggling for a genuinely free and equal Iraq. The best solution to the crisis is for the Iraqi working class to destroy the power structures that have oppressed them for so long, to resist not just the military occupation but the local fundamentalists, nationalists, Ba’athists and demagogues who wish to carve up Iraq for their own ends. We have watched and participated in the mass demonstrations across the world against this war to no avail and yet the war rages on with devastating consequences for all of us.

Instead of grovelling to unresponsive politicians and Trade Union bureaucrats, we need to build an aggressive campaign based on self-managed collective direct action, civil-disobedience and international solidarity. One that brings the campaign to the doorsteps of those gangsters and profiteers that have benefited from the plunder of Iraq’s resources, and an incompetent or compliant media that has helped legitimise the war. In the Republic, Shannon War port has actively assisted the US death machine with the re-fuelling of war-planes carrying weapons of mass destruction and transporting troops and arms. We need to engage in general anti-militarist agitation to encourage those serving in the occupation forces to resist and disobey orders. Fundamentally, we need to learn from history that marching from A to B (or wearing wristbands and listening to pop concerts) never causes meaningful change and that the State never concedes anything without some form of collective struggle.

Most importantly, a movement which does not seek to abolish the existing power structures which create war is a sham! In struggling for the end of the occupation of Iraq we must eradicate the very global structures of capitalism and its protector the state which ensures the dominance and exploitation of the majority by a privileged minority. US General Smedley Butler who served in the US army was all too familiar with this:

I spent 33 years and four months in active military service as a member of this country’s most agile military force, the Marine Corps. I served in all commissioned ranks from Second Lieutenant to Major General; I spent most of my time being a high class

muscle- man for Big Business, for Wall Street and for the Bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism. During those years, I had, as the boys in the back room would say, a swell racket. Looking back on it, I feel that I could have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was to operate his racket in three districts. I operated on three continents.

The trumpeted ‘handover of power’, and the coalition and its puppet media-lauded elections, rather than marking a shift towards democracy, replaced a formerly compliant regime with a representative body too afraid or impotent to deny the new rulers of the world their plundered authority. And Bagdad is burning.

paul michael

Steven.'s picture
Joined: 27-06-06
Dec 15 2005 16:36

Hey Mal, cheers, but for stuff like that, could you please post it to ?

Boulcolonial has an Organise! login for it...

Lazy Riser's picture
Lazy Riser
Joined: 6-05-05
Dec 15 2005 16:37


Last May only 27% of the British electorate (apparently possessing goldfish-like memories) elected an insidious liar and war criminal to be prime minister for another five years.

Which one would you rather us have elected then, comrade? Micheal Howard?