Iraq resistance strong, popular anger growing
Published Jun 11, 2005 5:21 PM
President George W. Bush’s practiced
smiles and his cronies’ anxious denials can’t hide the truth:
Exposures of prisoner abuse, the military recruiting crisis, the instability of
Washington’s client regime in Baghdad, and especially the powerful
resistance movement are slamming the U.S.-led occupation.
inevitably, the skein of lies holding together the occupation of Iraq is coming
Resistance fighters have doubled their daily attacks since April,
the Pentagon admitted on May 31. At least 77 U.S. troops were killed in
That is the highest number since January, when U.S.-sponsored
national elections were held, Reuters reported. The Associated Press put the
number of U.S. casualties for the month at 80.
Military actions by the
resistance slow ed briefly after the Jan. 30 elections. That led Bush & Co.
to virtually crow, “Mis sion accomplished,” all over again. The
military brass spoke of reducing troop numbers by the end of the year—not
as a move to end the occupation, but because they believed Iraq would shortly be
Instead, it appears the resistance had made a
strategic decision: to retreat temporarily, giving the new occupation-sponsored
government time to expose its true character to any Iraqis who might have
harbored hopes that the election would herald the end of foreign
Today U.S. “experts” are singing a very different
“Those who believed that the elections would be a decisive
turning point undermining the insurgency are disappointed yet again,”
admitted Ted Carpenter, a defense analyst for the Cato Institute. “The
insurgency seems as capable as ever.”
Daniel Goure of the Lexington
Institute predicted Washington would have to keep “significant
numbers” of troops in Iraq “at least for the next five years. The
reality is we have discovered, despite all our propaganda, that we are facing a
very tough, resilient and smart adversary,” said Goure. (Reuters, May
May also marked the highest monthly death toll so far for members of
the Army National Guard and the military reserves. Some 31 of them died. (AP,
Most of these part-time soldiers were recruited under the slogan,
“One weekend a month, two weeks a year.” Few ever ex pect ed to be
deployed halfway around the world, much less to be on the front lines.
that’s exactly what is happening more and more—as the 150,000 U.S.
occupation troops on the ground are stretched thinner, and dissatisfaction grows
over extended stays, stop-loss orders, and former servicepeople being pulled out
of retire ment under the fine print of their contracts.
toll among the Guard and Reserve underscores an important aspect of their
recruiting problems,” wrote AP military analyst Robert Burns. “More
potential recruits, citing concern about being sent to the war zone, are opting
for other careers. The Army Guard missed its recruiting target last year and has
fallen even farther behind this year.”
The Guardian of Britain
reported June 5: “The U.S. military has stopped battalion commanders from
dismissing new recruits for drug abuse, alcohol, poor fitness and pregnancy in
an attempt to halt the rising attrition rate in an army under growing strain as
a result of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
“An internal memo sent
to senior commanders said the growing dropout rate was ‘a matter of great
concern’ in an army at war. It told officers: ‘We need your
concerted effort to reverse the negative trend. By reducing attrition 1 percent,
we can save up to 3,000 initial-term soldiers. That’s 3,000 more soldiers
in our formations.’”
Officially, the U.S. military says that
at least 1,668 soldiers had died in Iraq by June 4. But many believe the death
toll is actually much higher.
On May 29 the Spanish-language daily
newspaper El Diario/La Prensa reported that its independent review of military
documents provided to the government of Puerto Rico put the number of deaths at
Washington says it doesn’t keep a tally of Iraqis killed by
Iraqis refuse to serve
The U.S. occupation
and its client regime are having an even harder time recruiting Iraqis to
enforce the new status quo.
On June 5, Reuters reported that an Iraqi
National Guard unit, the 90-member Defense Force of Rutba, was disbanded after
its members refused to participate in training overseen by U.S.
“We refused to go because we were afraid that when we came
back to Rutba we would be killed,” said Taha Allawi, a member of the unit.
“The people here would believe that we were cooperating with U.S. forces
and that is a reason for anyone to be killed.”
An unnamed U.S.
official who oversees the training said that Iraqis who refused to attend the
courses would be dismissed. Then, almost as an afterthought, the official added
that it was of course the Iraqi defense ministry’s
Similarly, U.S. forces are in the driver’s seat of
“Operation Lightning,” the much-heralded door-to-door sweep of
Baghdad and surrounding areas to detain suspected “insurgents.” At
least 900 men between the ages of 15 and 55 had been rounded up by June
“In Latifiyah, 20 miles south of Bagh dad,” AP
correspondent Antonio Casta neda reported June 5, “Iraqi forces were in
the forefront of Saturday’s sweep through the semi-rural region, [but] it
was clear the U.S. military was still the driving force.
hours into the operation, for example, American forces voiced concern that an
area covered in tall grass had not been searched. ... ‘This is a dangerous
area. We need helicopters and the American army,’ Iraqi Brig. Gen. Najim
al-Ekabi said. The U.S. soldiers, who had spent months training Iraqi soldiers,
tried to persuade al-Ekabi to send his troops, saying it was likely that weapons
were hidden in the fields and alongside an irrigation canal.
“Al-Ekabi asked for a private meeting with the Americans and
departed shortly afterward in a large convoy, ostensibly to conduct the search.
Maj. Ronny Echelberger later went into the area with American forces and
searched a few homes, saying [he] was not sure the Iraqi search had been
On June 5, U.S. Marines said they had
discovered a well-equipped bunker used by the resistance at a quarry in Karma,
near Falluja. The bunker allegedly contained a large stockpile of weapons, as
well as air conditioning, showers and other facilities for guerrilla
The Bush administration immediately tried to spin the discovery
as evidence of “foreign terrorists” being at the heart of the
resistance. In reality, though, the bunker illustrates the indigenous resistance
movement’s high level of organization. It also reveals how carefully the
former Iraqi government prepared before the U.S. forces invaded in March
In the months leading up to Wash ing ton’s “Shock and
Awe” campaign, the government of President Saddam Hus sein had distributed
arms and provided training to the civilian population, among other preparations
for long-term resistance.
The contrast with the disorganized, demoralized
forces under the Iraqi colonial government’s flag couldn’t be
The Bush administration is rolling the
dice on its ability to co-opt the leaders of various Iraqi religious and
political factions into its “democratic process.” Objectively, on
the other hand, conditions increasingly fuel popular support for the militant
Unemployment is well over 50 percent throughout the
The colonial occupation is neglecting the task of rebuilding
infrastructure and medical care, decimated by the war and more than a decade of
devastating U.S./United Nations sanctions.
The number of long-term
prisoners detained at Abu Ghraib and Camp Bucca, near Basra, has more than
doubled since last August. There are now more than 10,000 such prisoners,
according to the June 5 Los Angeles Times:
“Military sweeps have
netted many guerrillas but also thousands of others whose offenses were
nonexistent, minor or impossible to prove. They often are held for months, only
to be released without explanation.”
Next, the U.S. occupiers will
try to divert growing anger in Iraq and worldwide with the announcement that
Saddam Hussein, the demonized former president of Iraq, is to stand trial on 12
charges this summer. It’s up to the anti-war movement here to keep the
public focus on the real issue: the demand that U.S. and all foreign occupation
troops immediately, unconditionally leave Iraq.
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