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?