Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Occupation 101

Welcome to Iraq: America's East Bank.

Bush's and Cheney's misbegotten invasion, launched against the advice of America's best minds and world opinion, has broken Iraq into sectarian shards. Now Bush expects to retire and leave us in Iraq - our own little Palestine with its multiple Gaza Strips. Did we ever ask ourselves, who likes to be occupied? Or, better yet - who wants to be an Occupier? (Raise your hand!)

This documentary will last approximately 90 minutes. How long can you endure watching it? A thin fraction of its length, I'm betting. As or before you click through, remember that real occupation of Iraq will be of indefinite length in the eyes of us, American state-side civilians. And that it appears to be endless in the eyes of Iraqis. Just as it has become for Palestinians.

Is it unfair or 'edgy' for me to compare our presence in Iraq with Israeli colonization of the West Bank? It makes me feel uncomfortable, but it's easy to cite consoling differences. We should remember that, according to the time line Bush has in mind for us, our stay in Iraq is only just beginning. (He has compared it in length to our deployment in Korea!) So it might be useful for us to view this documentary, so that we can get ahead of the learning curve and become aware of what's in store for us.

Is it demeaning to our courageous servicemen and women who risk their lives in Iraq (for the indefinite future) to call their mission 'an occupation'? As I have said before, I think it is the only honest description of what Bush is doing: he is demeaning the service of our armed forces by consigning them to something as common as an occupation.

What is demeaning is for Bush to have assigned to the finest and most professional fighting
force the world has ever known the degrading and ignominous role of conventional occupiers. He has sentenced our elite fight machine to the same role as the French army filled in Indo-China and Algeria, The Red Army in Afghanistan. Or, how about like our occupation of the Phillipines 1898-1946?

Because of the presumption of a divine right of do-overs for the Bush administration, we are somewhere between Plan C and Plan Z in their continuing reinvention of their 'stratergy' for Iraq. The plain fact is that as Anglo-American, Judeo-Christian invaders - ALL Iraqis call us Zionists[!] - we and our proxies have no, zero, zippo chance of winning acceptance or legitimacy in the heart of Mesapotamia. Think of snowmen in hell, because that's who we are and where we are.

Bush's 'surge' has not provided security or legitimacy to our government in the Green Zone. In the next permutation of Bush's Occupation, our occupational forces will be trimmed back to pre-surge levels. 'Sustainable' levels, we will be told, for the rest of Bush's term. Bush now blames Maliki. After he leaves office, Bush will be blaming Clinton(s) - both of them.

We Americans don't think of ourselves as occupiers.
Our nation was born by breaking out of an occupation. Bush's last great white hope, General David H. Petraeus, co-authored our current bible of occupation, FM 3-24. Only, the word 'occupation' is so odious to Americans, their title had to resort to the euphemism, "counterinsurgency". In concluding his review of FM 3-24, Edward Luttwak wrote that the:
ambivalence of a United States . . . that is willing to fight wars, that is willing to start wars because of future threats, that is willing to conquer territory or even entire countries, and yet is unwilling to govern what it conquers, even for a few years. Consequently, for all of the real talent manifested in the writing of FM 3-24 DRAFT, its prescriptions are in the end of little or no use and amount to a kind of malpractice. All its best methods, all its clever tactics, all the treasure and the blood that the United States has been willing to expend, cannot overcome the crippling ambivalence of occupiers who refuse to govern, and their principled and inevitable refusal to out-terrorize the insurgents, the necessary and sufficient condition of a tranquil occupation.
Against the American grain, then, Bush and Cheney's last great hope to escape infamy is to extend their occupation of Iraq indefinitely or morph it further into a war with Iran.

The last great hope of the American people may be to Demand a Fully-Funded Safe Withdrawal from Iraq, a position taken by Reps. Barbara Lee (D-CA), Maxine Waters (D-CA), and Lynn Woolsey (D-CA) in their July Open Letter to Bush in which they say,
We will only support appropriating funds for U.S. military operations in Iraq during Fiscal Year 2008 and beyond for the protection and safe redeployment of all our troops out of Iraq before you leave office.
At long last: a Congressional demand that Bush and Cheney finish eating their plates of occupation before they are excused from the table.

Have you finished that clip on Occupation 101, yet?

23 Moderated Comments:

Blogger Non-Partisàn said...

BTW, that Congressional letter has been signed by 70 Representatives!

8/22/2007 10:17:00 AM  
Blogger skip sievert said...

I guess that means that 70 Representatives found it politically expedient to do so.

Who do these Representatives actually represent ?
Ha ha.

8/22/2007 01:55:00 PM  
Blogger TomCat said...

Vig, I don't think that the comparison is that good, because the Israeli occupation of the West Bank is an extension of a historical conflict that goes back a long way over land on which both sides can support a claim. The word Palestinian comes from the same linguistic root as the word Philistine, so those people have been fighting each other over that land from centuries ago. The US has no claim whatsoever in Iraq, as the invasion and occupation were acts of aggression.

The demand to Bush will probably not make it through Congress, not because its supporters do not represent the majority of US citizens. It will fail because a minority, made up of goose-stepping GOP Senators, will filibuster it. Some will pay the price for doing so in 15 months.

8/22/2007 03:22:00 PM  
Blogger DB Cooper said...

People will correct me if I am wrong, but is not the point to compare the BURDENS of occupation in terms of duration, expense, blood, injury to the psyche? These scribblings of Vigilante's don't appear to compare historical or geopolitical details of different colonies or what not, do they?

8/22/2007 03:56:00 PM  
Blogger skip sievert said...

There is a direct link with what we are doing in Iraq, and what Israel does, and has done.
In case people forgot or do not know, we went to Iraq to punish a former client of ours, Saddam, and also then to seize control of the oil in that country. Mostly to keep it off the market, thus controlling the price.

Another reason was to show our affection for Israel. Bush is a lunatic/religious/idiot. Remember ?

Bush is also positioning himself and friends for the rapture.

No, I am not making that up. We are led by a madman.

In case people are sketchy on all this, put on your thinking caps, and remember that there is a propaganda war on for the hearts and minds of the people that make up our societal template.

Special interest brainwashing.

Prepare for the worse possible situations.

Americans are stupid.

They do not care, about much.

They have a lot of resources, and for some reason that has made them think they are 'smart'.

We are directly linked with Israel in the multi Axis of evil. The U.S. - England, Israel, Australia,,, etc.

We care about one thing. Money.
Maybe two things. Phucking people over also that put up a challenge to our control.
Propaganda controls the U.S.
Americans are snoring.
They have been dumbed down to the point now, that they do not care, about much of any thing except screwing their neighbor out of a dollar.

8/22/2007 06:09:00 PM  
Blogger M.D. said...

Bush lacked the imagination to transcend the awful history that is portrayed in that video.

The Congress - with very few exceptions - also lacks the vision to challenge and overcome the mythic "freedom through war" bullshit purveyed by Bush.

We're going to occupy Iraq for years - until leaders emerge to wake us from our sleep of reason.

"The potency of myth is that it allows us to make sense of mayhem and violent death. It gives a justification to what is often nothing more than gross human cruelty and stupidity. It allows us to believe we have achieved our place in human society because of a long chain of heroic endeavors, rather than accept the sad reality that we stumble along a dimly lit corridor of disasters. It disguises our powerlessness. It hides from view our own impotence and the ordinariness of our own leaders. By turning history into myth we transform random events into a chain of events directed by a will greater than our own, one that is determined and preordained. We are elevated above the multitude. We march toward nobility. And no society is immune."

Chris Hedges, War is a Force that Gives Us Meaning

Hedges is a great read, by the way.

8/22/2007 06:36:00 PM  
Blogger the WIZARD, fkap said...

vigilante, you write with great passion and truth. The video is mind bending. Alas, I will have to watch it all tomorrow due to severe technical restraints at this location.

But I feel your view is way too narrow, both historically and in current terms. Bush and Cheney did nothing is a vacuum. It is mainly through hindsight we recognize the horrific mistake of invasion. At the time 90% of the American public supported the invasion, as did nearly 90% of the Congress. And over 70 countries backed the move (or, at least gave lip-service to the toppling of Saddam).

And today Bush's power is so limited as to be, effectively, non-existent. He serves only 15 more months. We will leave Iraq, probably in shambles and in the grip of fascists. And the blame will fall squarely on Bush.

Whether we should stay and properly clean up this mess or not, we won't. This isn't Korea. And this isn't the United States of 1954.

You spoke glowing of Barack Obama in the previous post and I agree. He will not leave troops in Iraq. And I think he has a real chance of winning.

But even if Hillary wins, she will be guided by the polls and continued occupation is not an option. She might stay longer than Obama, but not much.

No Republican has any chance of winning.

We didnt stay in Viet Nam; we won't stay in Iraq.

8/22/2007 07:17:00 PM  
Blogger skip sievert said...

"But I feel your view is way too narrow, both historically and in current terms. Bush and Cheney did nothing in a vacuum. It is mainly through hindsight we recognize the horrific mistake of invasion. At the time 90% of the American public supported the invasion, as did nearly 90% of the Congress. And over 70 countries backed the move (or, at least gave lip-service to the toppling of Saddam)."

Not sure what planet you live on Wizard, but virtually no one I knew supported it, and most of the people I knew, were all of the mind that it would be a disaster before it started.
Maybe you are referring to the brainwash stories from the New York Times or something ?

"Bush and Cheney did nothing in a vacuum"
Huh ? Ha ha.

8/22/2007 07:27:00 PM  
Blogger the WIZARD, fkap said...

We can all only regret that the American public (unless the Gallup and other polls lied) and our Members of Congress (their patriotic speeches and votes are on record, including Edwards, Clinton and Kerry) had the vision and foresight of Skip and his friends.

Skip, you were right! But not enough of us saw it then. And not enough of us had the courage to stand up against the President and stop it.

And Bush had "enough" international enablers from Australia to Japan to Poland
to pull it off.

The world would be a better place today if more people had your foresight and backed Feingold, Kucinich, Obama(then unknown) and Dean and stopped the invasion before it began.

8/23/2007 05:38:00 AM  
Blogger Vigilante said...

Thank You, Thank you, Thank you, Skip. You have saved me a lot of scarce minutes responding to a rather disappointing statement from Wizard. It turns out, Wizard was only trolling and chumming, throwing out scraps of carrion from his yacht named GROUPTHINK. You, Skip, were on the scene like a school of great whites and the feeding frenzy is over by the time I get here. The best thing left for me to say to Wizard is:

(1) refer him to my Kool-Aid Kafeteria (a work-in-progress) so he can see that among the sippers of bromides, there were plenty of wide-awake coffee drinkers who saw what was going down. (Some one rescue me from my musical illiteracy: what was that Vietnam-era song, "Stop-look! What's that going down"?)

(2) refer him to his own (I have to trust that even Wizard has one by now) well-thumbed desk copy of Al Gore's Assault on Reason, for a critique of America's systemic failure to prevent and respond to the 9-11 crisis, as well as prevent a small clique of warmongers from taking charge of something they couldn't grasp. It's not a to much of a stretch, the century being as young as it is, to say Gore is the Alexis de Tocqueville of the 21st Century.

But by far the worse scrap that Wizard has left on this page is the implications that's it's all over, there's no use looking back, let's move forward, we are leaving Iraq, etc.

We're not: The same dynamics which got us there are keeping us there: the unexamined buzz-words from the White House, filtering down channel through an uncritical media to a casually inattentive electorate: "extremists", "insurgents", "enemies", "Islamofascists", (too many to list). For 15 months Wizard is content to allow this occupation to sit on the table and he doesn't see how it can instantly be morphed into another war (with Iran)??? I think not, Wiz. Wake TFU. It's our still-broken American system that needs to be fixed - not Iraq's. Wake TFU, will you? And smell the gawdamned coffee.

8/23/2007 06:49:00 AM  
Blogger Vigilante said...

That said, Wiz, you're still my favorite Republican. I still may feature you on one of my weekly Republican Fridays!

8/23/2007 06:51:00 AM  
Blogger Vigilante said...

M.D., I'm turning over to you my queue at Audible-Dot-Com.

8/23/2007 06:55:00 AM  
Blogger skip sievert said...

"The world would be a better place today if more people had your foresight and backed Feingold, Kucinich, Obama(then unknown) and Dean and stopped the invasion before it began."

Well, not only do I not support any of those political flunky`s named, I really detest them, as a 'more of the same' offering, from a system that is on its last legs, and almost ready to destroy itself.

But then, I am an advocate for system change, not the change of the current actors playing roles within our special interest driven society.

I do like the tone of this exchange though, and it is very interesting, when people can agree to disagree using good will.

8/23/2007 07:53:00 AM  
Blogger Non-Partisàn said...

Yes, Vigilante, it's not all over. The American system is still-broken. It's still Washington's Warmongering Uberalles!

8/23/2007 07:55:00 AM  
Blogger skip sievert said...

A cross posted comment M.D., I left on Swiftspeach on the - War Gives Us Meaning - book you have mentioned.

This book is mostly a waste of time.

While it is interesting to think about sociological aspects of the situation we are in, and try to apply abstract concepts of right and wrong, there really is not much point in it.

It is just a further diversion from actually doing any thing.

It is a well known fact that humans are liars, cheaters, murderers etc.
We know that.
All the moralistic blathering in the world will not change that.

The only way to change our society is to change the 'Rules of the Game'.
By changing the rules of the game, the actions of the players, are changed.
Are you following me ?

It is the system that needs changing.
The current groups are only being rewarded for their bad behavior, and it does no good to demonize them.
It may seem that war gives us meaning, according to this sociological witch doctor, that no doubt wants to sell lots of books, and is happy to make people scratch their heads, and believe that he is 'smart', or 'on to something'

Reality is, this author is just another loser idiot, that is blowing his own dollar ego horn.

8/23/2007 08:37:00 AM  
Blogger Vigilante said...

COMMENT MODERATION:
Please refrain from cross-posting. Cross-linking is more appropriate and less disruptive. Please replace the last comment with a link.

8/23/2007 09:35:00 AM  
Blogger skip sievert said...

Sorry, next time.

8/23/2007 02:46:00 PM  
Blogger the WIZARD, fkap said...

Thanks, vigilante, I'll take your ciriticism in the good natured manner you intended.

And it's kind of refreshing to be the token Republican here in VigilanteLand, as I am considered a hard core Democrat everywhere else.

vigilante wrote "It's our still-broken American system that needs to be fixed - not Iraq's."

I'll continue to support your proposed impeachment of Bush, but believe there is simply no national or political will to even start the process.

But, and this is important, what do you recommend to "fix" the American System beyond the impeachement??

8/23/2007 04:53:00 PM  
Blogger the WIZARD, fkap said...

.... just wondering out loud...

I realize 15 months is a long, long time, but.... do you really believe that neither Obama nor Clinton nor Edwards nor Dodd nor Richardson will remove us from Iraq?

Will they, like Bush, ignor the will of the American people? Will they continue the "Imperial Presidency?"

8/23/2007 05:03:00 PM  
Blogger M.D. said...

The Iraq occupation is doing exactly what Bush intends:

1) Winning control of oil resources, and

2) Driving the U.S. so far into debt that government will never recover.

Iraq is the bathtub he has chosen to drown our government in.

After years of Iraq, there won't be the resources to shore up social security.

Our government will be hobbled by debt for generations to come.

8/23/2007 07:28:00 PM  
Blogger skip sievert said...

The debt is fake M.D.

It can be eliminated by the stroke of a pen.

The resource destruction, and loss of life is real though.

What does Bush intend ?

Hard to say, what this clown intends, but he is becoming more and more a deaths head crazy.
Maybe a mad dog that reflects what America really has become.

8/23/2007 08:14:00 PM  
Blogger Boris said...

George Bush elicited predictable howls of outrage this week when he drew parallels between the catastrophes in Indochina (re-education camps, boat people and the killing fields) that followed America’s withdrawal from Vietnam after 1973 and what might happen in Iraq if American troops were abruptly pulled out. There are 1,189 news articles listed by Google.

He's walked into a fucking mine field. Has George ever taken a history class he hasn't flunked? He was AWOL from Vietnam, stoned 24-7, for all we know. How the hell would Chickenhawk know fuck about it?

Vigilante should stop calling stuff Iraq-Nam. It's Bush-Nam.

8/24/2007 06:09:00 AM  
Blogger Vigilante said...

For the best & most definitive smackdown on Bush-Nam consult my favorite bloggers at Swiftspeech.

8/24/2007 07:07:00 AM  

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