WORLD AFFAIRS BRIEF
July 4, 2003
Copyright Joel M. Skousen
The day following the presidents brash Bring em on--we've got the force necessary to deal with the security situation taunt to Iraqi guerrilla fighters, they responded with three separate attacks wounding ten US troops. Obviously, the Iraqis arent being intimidated by the Bush bravado. In any case, such statements send the wrong message to people who hate the new American occupiers enough to risk life and limb. Bushs threat was meant to send a message that no matter what you do, we will not leave and we will not retreat. But the you cant win stance isnt going to deter Islamic street fighters because winning isnt the ultimate issue with Muslim fundamentalists; it is revenge. Like suicide bombers, each man feels he has done his full duty to Allah by killing even one infidel occupying his land. The more arrogantly Bush parades his troops around Iraq, the more he goads the populace against him. Meanwhile, every Iraqi protester killed by American troops in street confrontations leaves behind dozens of family members who are now nursing a grudge. Hatred and revenge are still very much a part of modern Arab culture.
Bush has the raw power at his command to send thousands more troops into Iraq, as long as he maintains a certain level of support among the American public. By hiding the costs of the operation through debt and monetary creation, he can make the occupation a relatively painless endeavor for Americans, lessening potential resistance to the war efforts. Public opinion can be easily manipulated with the backing of the establishment press, whose continual use of clearly propagandized phrases such as Operation Enduring Freedom are insulting in their duplicity. In addition, the administration makes good use of terrorist alerts and war provocations to shore up public support. The propaganda effects being utilized are seemingly endless, yet each one seems more effective than the last. This, of course, is a sad commentary on the ability of the American public to sense hypocrisy when masked by flag-waving appeals to patriotism.
There are limits, I would hope, even to American gullibility. If the casualties increase to 20 or 30 a day, the Iraqi occupation will become as unpopular as Vietnam, no matter how the administration spins the results. I dont expect that to happen, however. Even in Israel, which is continually infiltrated by dedicated suicide bombers wreaking death daily, the casualties average fewer than five per day. If the numbers in Iraq stay in the current low range, Americans will remain concerned but passive. Americans have an incredible ability to shrug off bad news as long as it happens far away, it doesnt inconvenience their daily lifestyle, and the press doesnt make it a daily drumbeat.
The Root Problem: Although the administration is loath to admit it, the difficulties facing the US in its occupation of Iraq are directly attributable to its heavy-handed intervention, its arrogance, and its policies of excessive control in Iraq and Afghanistan. These are the attributes for which America is so hated throughout the world. In any coalition in which it enters, the US consistently refuses to rely upon the ingenuity and manpower of the locals, insisting instead on controlling every aspect themselves. Then they act surprised when they get blamed for everything that does or does not happen.
In Iraq, the infrastructure is more than a year away from a full and reliable return to normalcy (by Western standards). Most cities still receive electricity and water service for less than a third of the day. Sanitation is still poor. The US is throwing millions of dollars at these problems, but almost all the work is going to American civilian contractors. Iraqi workers, who desperately need jobs, are resentful they arent getting work when so much needs to be done. The US is even intervening in areas where Iraqis dont feel there is a need. In trying to redo the entire health, education and welfare system in Iraq, the US is attempting to establish a US modeled IRS to increase tax collections. Already, the Iraqi economy is one big black market, and no one is paying taxes.
Increasingly, US workers are being confronted with physical threats. One worker named Frank Dall said, There is aggressive behavior toward us. In one instance we had car windows removed and smashed by pupils after we had checked out a school. Dall works for Creative Associate, a US company with a $63 million contract to help rebuild Iraq's public education system. No one asked for the US help in education, but its a Bush administration mandate touted as an indispensable reform in Iraq.
Rather than lessen the tension by loosening up restrictions, chief administrator Paul Bremers team is tightening the noose on dissent. Elections are being cancelled, and political councils tasked with planning for post-war Iraq are being increasingly restricted to pro-American yes-men, who are despised within Iraq as lackeys of the Americans. Additionally, as I have mentioned in previous briefs, censorship is increasing dramatically in scope as the administration works to keep all anti-American views off the airwaves and out of local newspaper.
Even civilian American personnel are being put under a uniform gag order by the new censorship restrictions. Federal appellate judge Gilbert S. Merritt of Nashville is in Iraq as one of 13 experts selected by the U.S. Justice Department to help rebuild Iraq's judicial system. The Nashville, Tennessean has been publishing his first hand reports from Iraq. Recently he announced that these reports would cease as he and all others were being muzzled and restricted from airing their private views.
This is my last story from Baghdad. The so-called Coalition Provisional Authority, or CPA, acting through its head, L. Paul Bremer, issued a gag order two days ago that says: Speaking To The Media. To insure the effective co-ordination of the CPA's message, any plan for a member of the CPA to talk to the media should first be coordinated with the Directorate of Strategic Communication. The Directorate of Strategic Communication, according to the order, was a recent creation designed with the intention of delivering a coherent strategic information for the CPA. In other words, everything must be censored first. The coherent information excuse is just that.
More Troops and Civilian Workers on the Way: All the prime contractors handling the Iraq occupation, sitting on millions of dollars in insider contracts, are desperate to find workers to fill the demands. Recruitment is fairly private. These insider corporations, who got their bids without competition and without setting a foot in Iraq prior to the award, are trying to evade publicity as much as possible.
With the rapid rise in irregular warfare, US military commanders have issued requests for thousands more troops, not only to handle the increased fighting, but to continue the desperate search for WMDs. Insider news sources present at last months meeting outside Doha, Qatar between President Bush with his top Iraq commanders, said that Bush was frantic to find weapons of mass destruction. According to one source, Bush came straight to the point after brief introductions. Where are the weapons of mass destruction? he asked, turning to his top administrator Paul Bremer. Are you in charge of finding WMD? Bremer said no, and looked over at Gen. Tommy Franks (whose is leaving the service). Franks responded that it wasnt his job either. So who is in charge of finding WMD? asked Bush, a little irritated. Someone volunteered the name of one of Rumsfelds deputies, Stephen Cambone. Bush didnt recognize the name.
If this conversation is legitimate, it means that Bush has been kept in the dark about the NSAs satellite photos taken before the war, which show long armed convoys of heavy materiel being transported from Iraq to Syria. Otherwise, there would be no reason to pretend that they didnt know where Saddams weapons went. In fact, US satellite reconnaissance would also know the exact location where those convoys unloaded their cargo in Syria.
The latest news, however, is that the CIA has been put in charge of finding
WMD in Iraqa strange revelation that indicates to me that the Bush team
is intent on producing some results, whether by hook or by crook. The CIA is
the agency of choice for accomplishing illegal black operations, with its carefully
selected personnel who have no principles except following orders. Given that
the US already knows what happened to Saddams WMDs, Im convinced
the CIA will either plant some token amount of weapons, or find some small quantity
of other illegal materialssufficient for the administration to call it
a smoking gun justification for the war.
Partial Quotations with attribution permitted.
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