The US armed forces cannot win in Iraq under any circumstances. The connection between Saddam's regime and 9/11 has vaporized. All the rumored weapons of mass destruction have failed to turn up. The hopes of an incipient Arab democracy will go the same way of the sham imperialist puppets in the Balkans or the US will inadvertently midwife yet another fundamentalist Islamic nation in the Middle East. Now the government/media complex is searching for a new reason to be in Iraq: terrorism with a twist. Ambrose Bierce would be proud.
We are hearing increasing media attention to "terrorist" actions against US troops. It appears to be a last ditch effort by the usual suspects in the DC/NYC Axis to scare the American people into supporting a conflict they are quickly growing disillusioned with. Follow the yellow brick road of the neoconservative mind: Our troops may be in the wrong place at the wrong time for all the wrong reasons, but we will keep them there because they are getting killed and injured. Our troops in Kosovo hunkered down in base camps rarely venturing outside the wire for fear of harm; in essence, staying hermetically sealed to protect themselves e.g., force protection. The fearful and timid desk warriors in the Pentagon have made force protection the endstate of every occupation we engage in. So we embark on sexy imperialist adventures with young men as bait, plenty are maimed and some get killed, and we remain in spite of this in order for politicians to prove their bravado at others' expense. A subtle variation on Bastiat's famous axiom. I am not making this up. We're now replicating that failure in Iraq. Let's examine the United Nations definition of terrorism from the UN Office on Drugs and Crime:
"In order to cut through the Gordian definitional knot, terrorism expert A. Schmid suggested in 1992 in a report for the then UN Crime Branch that it might be a good idea to take the existing consensus on what constitutes a “war crime” as a point of departure. If the core of war crimes – deliberate attacks on civilians, hostage taking and the killing of prisoners – is extended to peacetime, we could simply define acts of terrorism as “peacetime equivalents of war crimes.”
I'm amused by the idea of a UN Crime Branch since I thought that was the entire purpose of the United Nations: making the world safe for larger and more lethal statist enterprises. Readers of LRC are well aware of the elasticity of war crimes since the bankrollers of the Criminal Tribunal in The Hague appear to have a structural immunity to any of these charges for US/NATO actions. Note the overarching inference to noncombatant victims and the distinction of states of war and peace. The numerous incidents since our "victory" was consolidated in Iraq on 1 May 2003 of US troops "accidentally " maiming or killing civilians remains perfectly excusable but when Iraqi resistance and guerilla actions kill US occupying troops, it is "terrorism." Mind you, the Zionist guerilla actions against sleeping British military garrisons in Palestine by Hagunah and Irgun during the struggle to establish a Jewish state in the aftermath of WWII can yield a fuzzy application of the terrorist definition. I'm certain that if American forces received intelligence on a guerilla base or movement and conducted a raid or ambush it would not be labeled a terrorist action. The antiterrorism industry for the longest time made a distinction about politically motivated violence against noncombatants as the prime directive of terrorist behavior. Now we see the trial balloon floated by the neoconservative brain trust to see if the US military can cry foul when they're fired upon. Can this definition now be expanded to mean that any resistance or response to American combat action will be unfair and terroristic? This is not as outrageous as it appears to the new warriors in the Pentagon and may be a direct result of the new feminized, antiseptic, and technocratic paradigm that is permeating the US armed forces from the top. The "old school" muddy boots warriors are now anachronisms.
The dirty little secret that is a universal trait among all these conflicts throughout millennia is that resistance to uninvited invaders by disparate and spontaneous groups or individuals will flourish as long as foreign troops and the apparatchiks they protect remain incountry. Just revisit Roman troubles in England and British difficulties in India and Afghanistan. I suspect there may be pockets of influence by Saddam loyalists, al-Queda operatives or vacationing mujaheddin but the lion's share of resistance which is stiffening and expanding in Iraq is just plain-vanilla Iraqi men who have had their fill of being fodder for yet another experiment in "Statists-R-Us" (patent pending by the USA). I would suggest another distinct possibility: during our incessant bombing in the pregame festivities to the ground invasion, how many women and children were maimed or killed and their men left alive? If there was even one and I suspect there were many more, these men would certainly have the motive, opportunity and intent to harm the occupying forces in any way possible once the foreign invaders made landfall.
Bush the Younger and his coterie of chickenhawks are reaching a point of no return in Iraq. All the administration pretenses and lies are falling like a house of cards. If they choose to remain, they must convince the American people that the bloodshed is nothing more than a continuation of the War on Terror and Iraq is a stepping stone to finally eliminate the threat altogether. If they choose to cut and run, it will be the greatest recruiting tool Muslim Murder, Incorporated will need. Al-Queda and every other terrorist faction will be emboldened like never before. (Memo to the world: If you are a nation-state and you don't have WMD, get them yesterday. The Stalinist hivestate of North Korea is a shining example.) They will choose the former until the flow of maimed and killed US soldiers forces the latter. All the usual suspects in the media will simply follow the latest Orwellian twist to the English language and we will continue to rush blindly into the future dustbin of fallen imperial powers. After all, if we're not an empire, why didn't we hand Iraq to the Iraqis on May 2nd, 2003?
October 13, 2003