The Iraq occupation cannot possibly succeed
Posted: Saturday, June 21, 2003
The Pirates' Blunt, Useless Instruments
The Black Commentator
The Bush men looked out upon the expanses of Iraq and saw the perfect staging ground for a glorious, global offensive that would lead, inexorably, to a New American Century. From Kurdistan and the Shi'ite south the United States would commandeer sufficient oil to become OPEC, thus thwarting any move to unhitch petroleum prices from the dollar and sustaining a domestic fossil fuel feast that might last through a hundred corporate quarterly reports. Once the U.S. military and its corporate camp followers were fully embedded on the banks of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, the whole of the Eurasian land mass would be open to American power projection. Syria would swing wide the gates to Damascus, lest they be knocked down. Jubilant Iranians would sing Farsi songs in praise of Coca-Cola over Ayatollahs, while contributing their crude to the U.S.-controlled mix. Saudi Arabia would crumble from princely rot, ridding the U.S. of fat royal skimmers of profits rightfully belonging to people of Aramco.
France, Germany, Russia, China – every combination of nations – would accept the Borgian pronouncement: "Resistance is futile!" For all the world's peoples but Americans, time would stop, the dimension itself awaiting final definition by the Centurions.
For more than a decade the Pirates-in-waiting savored the moment that U.S. tanks would cross the Rubicon of history at the Kuwaiti border, the first leg of a short march to global hegemony. In April they stepped – into space. Like Wile E. Coyote, they are absolutely incapable of finding their way back.
Blind, deaf and dumb to history
This is an occupation unlike any other in modern history. Acting solely on greed and delusions, the Pirates dismissed the collective experience of humanity to attempt the occupation of a large and sophisticated society without a reasonable expectation of collaboration from any significant segment of the population. It cannot be done, as confirmed by the daily dispatches from Iraq and beyond.
Absent some modus vivendi with a social group large enough and sufficiently well placed to act on the occupier's behalf, the foreign power is left with only his blunt instruments. He can destroy the society, but he cannot make it run along lines that are to his benefit. He can shoot the civil service and essential workforce, but he cannot reap the value that he sought from that nation. He can inflate and restructure his army to perform vital economic and civil missions while simultaneously protecting itself against the population – for as long as he is willing to pay the huge cost. He has won himself a liability that will drain him of treasure and blood.
Unaided, the foreigner is also blind and deaf. Not only will he be shot, but he will not know why or by whom. He cannot control events, because he cannot anticipate the actions of others. He is lost and pitiful, clutching his blunt instruments. Lacking societal intelligence, he is dumb.
During the buildup to invasion, the Bush men went through the motions of considering the experiences of American occupation forces in post-World War II Japan and Germany. However, their useless corporate think tanks understood nothing. The Emperor of Japan told his people to cooperate with the Americans, and they did, collaborating in their own occupation. The surviving German high command accepted American terms of surrender and, joined by the economic elite and civil service, cooperated in the enforcement of those terms. (Under both occupations, huge chunks of the wartime regime were left in place at the end of hostilities, to later flourish as part of the post-occupation ruling circles.)
Japanese troops remained in Vietnam and Korea as armed protectors of the American occupation, until the French could be reinstated as Vietnam's colonial rulers and the Korean collaborators became viable. The French had maintained dominion over Vietnam from the 1800s by converting and empowering a collaborative Catholic population – the group the United States inherited after 1954. When minority Vietnamese Catholics became spent and were discarded in 1963 – no longer capable of effective collaboration – the puppet presidency devolved into a game of military musical chairs. U.S. troop strength began climbing to the half-million mark.
Faces in the crowd
The occupation lessons of the 20th century are totally lost on George Bush and his deluded Pirate crew. Instead, they perceived an undifferentiated Iraqi population without classes, hierarchies, centers of actual influence, defined social structures – in short, a history-less, inhuman mass. "Just a bunch of hajis," as the U.S. soldiers say.
The most profound racism led the Bush men to believe that the Iraqi people have no society, that they are a blank slate to be written on by the victor. Now the occupiers are reaping the whirlwind of centuries, the final denouement of their own murderous history. Shi'ites will not help the Pirates write their final, glorious chapter. Kurds have every reason to believe that they liberated themselves. To the Americans, Marsh Arabs are just Shi'ites with darker complexions. Chaldean Catholics are not numerous enough to play a collaborative role, and must seek American protection for their liquor stores. The Americans cannot distinguish between devout Sunni Muslims and the disproportionately Sunni Baath Party, treating both the same and ensuring that both will act, accordingly.
The political fairy tale that justified the war made it impossible for the U.S. to "properly" occupy Iraq by acting through the logical societal group: the existing Baath Party structures, a significant social force comprising millions of family members that is also dominant in the civil service and the oil industry. Instead, the most coherent secular segment of Iraqi society has been irreversibly demonized – an active enemy of the occupation. (The Communist Party, once 25,000 members strong until the U.S.-backed Baath Party attempted to exterminate it, is the other significant secular political presence in Iraq.) The Iraqi Army has been told to go home and calmly wait for private employment – wishful thinking on a massive scale.
Bush is left with his handpicked exiles, who will drown in the country of their birth.
Most Iraqi business sectors have reason to fear American schemes to transform their nation into something resembling Texas, especially as they see that American corporations are already acting as if they have powers of eminent domain over the country. Iraqi businessmen needn't worry. The U.S. occupation cannot take hold, because it is not rooted in reality or connected to anything Iraqi. The Bush men are unfit to occupy anyone, the worst possible candidates for world hegemony. Like Wile E. Coyote, they are going down.