by William Bowles
â€œ The Armed Forces Press Service recently quoted Army Chief of Staff General Peter J. Schoomaker as saying that the current level of soldiers in Iraq could remain constant through 2010.â€ â€” â€˜Iraq and Afghanistan: Staying Until the Fight is Overâ€™ October 25, 2006
front page head for Wednesday 25 October proclaimed loudly â€œWeâ€™re out
of hereâ€ purportedly the words of General George Casey, the USâ€™s head
military honcho in Iraq. Of course the devil lives in the small print
as any reading â€˜between the linesâ€™ reveals. And in any case, Caseyâ€™s
comments are designed precisely to give the impression that a pullout is imminent when in reality, there is no way the US can leave voluntarily, there is simply too much at stake.
The question to ask is whether the current US strategy can do this and this is the debate (not in public of course) that is obsessing the US ruling class. And it is within this context that the issue of Iran looms large. Will the fight over resources extend to Iran either now or in the near future?
The military, both in the US and here in the UK are concerned only as to whether they can carry out their masterâ€™s instructions, all else is hot air. The media of course, presents the â€˜debateâ€™ in an entirely different light and understandably so given the overwhelming opposition to the occupation as well as to any extension of the war to Iran.
Military â€˜oppositionâ€™ is in reality a recognition that without a) more resources and/or b) a change in tactics, â€˜winningâ€™ the wars as such, is impossible but of course donâ€™t tell the public this, especially the families of dead soldiers. But winning wars is not in and of itself that important, what is important is keep the damn things going by one means or another.
Thus a â€œresidual US presenceâ€ will be needed, effectively for the indefinate future as all depends on the ability or otherwise of the puppet Iraqi government to take over the role of the occupier, itself a bit of classic newsspeak, for what else can one call a â€˜governmentâ€™ pretty well handpicked by the occupying forces through a completely stage-managed election other than a puppet one.
The Independent (along with the rest of the corporate media) is itself pretty good at covering up the actions of the criminal occupation in the way it chooses to portray the current situation in Iraq judging by its description of events. Thus the victim of the crime is presented to us as if it caused the current mayhem, much like a rape victim being described as â€˜asking for itâ€™ by dressing provocatively.
Patrick Cockburn in a page 3 piece tells us
â€œWhere did the US go wrong? â€¦ The greatest American mistake was to turn what could have been presented as liberation into an occupation.â€
Run that past me again? So, according to Cockburn it was all down to how the illegal invasion and occupation was presented. Amazing really how the power of self-deception works (if only he would keep it to himself and not inflict it on the reader). So no matter how one phrases it there is no recognition that the current situation is entirely the result of an illegal invasion in the first place. Instead, we read elsewhere in the same edition that
â€œThey [those US voices now allegedly raised in â€˜oppositionâ€™] argue that current policies have all but failed, as sectarian and anti-American violence [sic] threaten to overwhelm the country.â€
Note that legitimate opposition to the occupation is described as â€œanti-Americanâ€ but then what else can we expect from the â€˜Independentâ€™? Worse still, what is actually the resistance â€œthreatens to overwhelm the countryâ€, but surely isnâ€™t it the occupation thatâ€™s overwhelmed the country?
Cockburn goes on to tell us that
â€œOne theme has been constant throughout the past three-and-a-half years â€” the Iraqi government [sic] has always been weak.â€
But of course Cockburn neglects to inform his readers that for much of the three-and-a-half years there has not been any kind of government at all, let alone a legitimate one. Thus once again, itâ€™s the victimâ€™s fault!
After all this double-speak, Cockburn finally admits that there never has been a legitimate government nor can there ever be one as long as the country is occupied, but even his admission is tainted as he couches it as follows
â€œAll Iraqi governments, unelected and elected [sic], have been tainted and de-legitimised by being dependent on the US â€¦ Real authority had remained in the hands of the US.â€
How can they even be dependent on the US when the real power actually resides with the occupying forces? This is merely playing with words, for the Iraqi â€˜governmentâ€™ is the creation/result of the occupation in the first place.
Cockburnâ€™s words end up being â€˜all things to all menâ€™, itâ€™s merely a question of interpretation which is why his story ends up being a mealy-mouthed rationalisation for mass murder and genocide and by not admitting to the reader that the invasion was illegal and thus everything that followed was a priori illegitimate let alone became â€œde-legitimisedâ€.
Worse still, the reportage entirely masks the real issues namely, can the objectives of the USUK be continued under some other guise? Consider the problem confronted by the corporate and state-run media in selling the imperial line: The original rationale, WMD, unravelled years ago so a switch was made to bringing â€˜democracyâ€™ to Iraq and more broadly, to the Middle East. This too has unravelled not only because there is no sign of so-called Western democracy but more importantly, resistance to foreign occupation has gone from strength to strength.
So how can â€˜staying the courseâ€™ be presented as withdrawal? Simple, pass the buck to an Iraqi â€˜governmentâ€™ whether it can really govern or not. Who cares if the country falls apart, what counts is access to the resources it possesses. Behind the scenes, US control will continue through the use of heavily fortified bases and endless air attacks from any one of forward bases scattered throughout the region, Kuwait which has US army and air-force bases, Qatar where its Centcom regional headquarters are located, Bahrain, HQ of the US fifth-fleet and Oman which also has major US air bases. Further afield they also have bases in Djibuti as well as Diego Garcia. (The UK will pull out so it can concentrate on trying to â€˜pacifyâ€™ Afghanistan.)
To achieve this end it is necessary to foment â€˜sectarianâ€™ violence, leading to a de facto partition of Iraq into three areas. The logic is merciless; one third of Iraqâ€™s oil reserves are in the Kurdish dominated north, much of the remainder in the â€˜Shia dominatedâ€™ south and finally, the Sunni â€˜dominatedâ€™ central region (henceforth to be called Babylon). Thus the MSM has emphasized the â€˜sectarian violenceâ€™ as the rationale for a Balkanisation of Iraq. Iraq is now designated as â€˜ungovernableâ€™ but all responsibility for creating this situation now resides with the Iraqis. So the Independent story is headlined â€œFrom â€˜mission accomplishedâ€™ to mission impossible for the Iraqisâ€ (25/10/06)! The buck has been successfully passed and the occupation â€˜Pontius Pilatedâ€™. Media mission accomplished.
Of course nowhere in media coverage of the situation do we read anything about what the Iraqi people want, their wishes are considered irrelevant even though there is plenty of evidence that Iraqis, regardless of their alleged tribal or ethnic allegiances are totally opposed to any breakup of Iraq. The voice of the resistance simply doesnâ€™t get a mention at all, it is dismissed as either â€˜al-Quâ€™edaâ€™ or various â€˜militiasâ€™ representing various and sundry â€˜sectarianâ€™ interests. As ever, the in-built racist assumptions.
The degree to which those who write imperial propaganda are part of the problem is perhaps best exemplified by the following piece in an Independent op-ed by regular contributor Mary Dejevsky, yet another apologist for British imperial policy but one incredulously framed pretty much in the first person, as if itâ€™s her empire (current or former) thatâ€™s coming apart at the seams (again), as she tries to compare the â€˜Suez Crisisâ€™ to the Iraqi â€˜crisisâ€™. Note that it is still described as a â€œcrisisâ€ as opposed to an illegal invasion, conjured up in secret (hidden even from Parliament) between the Brits, French and Israelis. Today it is called â€˜liberationâ€™ or generically, the â€˜war on terrorâ€™.
In this incredible piece of flim-flam, we read the following:
â€œMine is the generation that grew up in the shadow of Suez â€¦ our psychological inheritance was Britainâ€™s humiliation at Suez â€¦ that was all Suez seemed to be: an ill-defined national humiliation that supplied the assumed context for almost everything out there in the wider world â€¦ â€œThe Americans sold us down the riverâ€ â€¦ The parallels with Iraq are many, if not a complete match. Like Saddam Hussein with his refusal to give up EVEN FICTIONAL weapons of mass destruction, Nasser seemed to nurture ambitions that threatened vital western interests â€¦ Then, as before Iraq, a good deal secrecy obscured the British governmentâ€™s decision-making. And then, as now, post-invasion planning was lamentable.â€ â€” â€˜The shadow of Suez hangs heavy todayâ€™ Mary Dejevsky, the Independent, Wednesday, 24 October 2006.
And, as ever, Dejevskyâ€™s master race delusions about pretty much everyone east of the Danube are revealed as she tells us
â€œThey [the British] also miscalculated the likely response of the population in the countries they were invadingâ€”and showed great reluctance to heed the advice of respected [sic] experts.â€
It seems that no matter which page you turn to nor who writes what passes for news or analysis, we find a member of an army of apologists for the imperium, with a ready answer for whatever calamity befalls our poor, battered planet and its people.
And without a hint of irony, Dejevesky ends her piece as follows
â€œMust it really take another Suez or another Iraq, to cure our elite of their delusions of global grandeur? Was it not quite enough of a humiliation the first time around?â€
I rest my case.
1. See â€˜After failure in Iraqâ€™ Paul Rogers, Open Democracy, 26-10-2006