Thursday, May 20, 2004

The Iraqi Parallel

American forces fired missiles in to a home in Makr al' Deeb, Iraq, killing at least 40, whom witnesses claim were gathered for a wedding. The U.S. maintains "significant intelligence" indicated that the target was a suspected safehouse for foreign fighters from Syria. This, despite video evidence of little dead children and women taken at the scene.

One has to wonder where such intelligence came from? We now know that U.S. forces, private contractors, and possibly Defense Department Special Access Program personnel created an illegal program of interrogation by torture inside Iraqi prisons in order to develop intelligence on the resistance. Anyone with a passing knowledge of interrogation and psychology will tell you that torture produces plenty of intelligence: bad intelligence. Torture victims say whatever their captives want to hear. Could the "significant intellegence" that Kimmet cites be the product of torture?

If so, a complete cluster-fuck shows itself to be the inevitably SNAFU product of an increasingly desperate occupation policy. We torture prisoners to get intel, thereby creating a PR and moral meltdown. Then we use the intel we tortured out of some poor sot to mistakenly missile 40 civilians at a wedding, creating another PR and moral meltdown. Turns out our "source" made some dumb shit up about foriegn fighters in Makr al' Deeb because he really wanted us to stop electrocuting his nuts with a car battery, and the bride's family broke off her betrothal to his brother.

I'm only speculating about any actual link, of course, but in the gestalt of public opinion, such a link forming in people's minds is almost inevitable. Incompetent and immoral choices beget incompetent and immoral results. In a final irony, Bush criticized Israel for using some of the very same targeting of innocents in Gaza as we are using in Iraq. Israeli soldiers opened fire with tanks and a missile into a crowd of civilians. They claim that there were 'gunmen' in the crowd, but that they are sorry since it now "seems" that civilians were killed. In the U.N. the American delegation took the almost unprecedented step of abstaining on a vote critical of Israel. Bush urged Israel to restraint and said, "It is essential that people respect innocent life in order for us to achieve peace." Wouldn't it be marvelous if all politicians would just follow their own advice?

The timing and parallels between events in Gaza and Iraq cannot help but reinforce in the minds of Middle Easterners, and Iraqi's in particular, the parallels between the Israeli occupation of Palestine, or the French occupation of Algeria, and the American occupation of Iraq. The Israeli's propensity to see 'gunmen' whenever they commit an atrocity is disturbingly similar to the function of American cries of 'terrorists', 'dead-enders', 'Ba'athists', or 'foreign fighters'.

The Iraqis are not fooled. They know exactly who the resisters are. They are members of their tribes and families, businessmen and religious leaders in their communities, and fellow Iraqis. As Patrick Graham writes in his Harper's article "Beyond Fallujah" in the as-yet-unwired June issue, the resistance is Iraq. The resisters are the Shieks of the tribes, the Imams of the mosques, and the businessmen of the souks. After spending over a year with the people of Sunni triangle, Graham has developed an intelligence network the Pentagon would envy.

The conclusion that Graham would write in his report to the President would be that it is impossible to supress or outlast the resistance, because it expresses the will of the Iraqi people. The silent majority do not want us to stay. They want peace, and they want democracy, certainly; but they know that they have to get those things for themselves. They are done with Saddam and ready for a new Iraq, but not one modeled on Palestine or Algeria. And that's where we seem to be headed.


At 1:02 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


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