Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Post-mortem number 3,000,000,000

650,000 bodies later, the post-mortem on operation Iraqi Oil Release, continues today in the gruniad. Tim Pritchard rehashes the analyses and says that lessons should have been learnt from the key battle of Nasiriya, which took place during the initial invasion. Unfortunate then that he begins by acknowledging joyous spontaneous scenes of Iraqi celebration in tearing down Saddam's statue in Firdos square. This act is well known to have been orchestrated by a US marines psyops unit together with a few dozen Chalabi supporters. I think he rightly argues that the invaders intelligence missed the vital signs about a nascent insurgency that would nucleate and form the basis of the current crisis. That was not the worst of their crimes though.

What he does not write about is the sheer brutality of US forces in their engagement with Iraqi people all over the country. The Iraqi people were not treated as if they were being liberated, but as potential and actual targets who were expendable. They would either serve the occupation or die. Anybody driving near a checkpoint or near jumpy troops, would soon find that out and that included Italian intelligence officers. The problem for any invading army is always that the troops are mostly young and new to battle, rather than veterans. The constant physical and psychological stress takes it's toll, no matter how good the preparation. The racist stereotypes/nicknames propagated by officers such as ragheads, sandniggers and hajjis help to make killing easier for their troops but also serves to dehumanise the population. The bombing of civilian areas, the torture, the rapes, the random killing of military age men, are just the first few in the list of crimes against humanity, committed by the invading occupiers. No need to rake over the filthy tale of Abu Ghraib or other more secret torture camps run by the US intelligence agencies. Brutality and evil oft have good messengers. The message has travelled far and wide. The mask briefly slipped but was gripped by the media and restored. Time along with fading memory restores the facade. After a few scapegoats are punished, the episode is glossed over and relegated to history.

Pritchard finishes by saying that the next move by the occupation 'should be handled with less haste, more care, more sensitivity, and more humility'. Unfortunately when you have finished violently raping your victim, treating her with more sensitivity and covering her up with a nice dress, does not do much to lessen the impact of your crime. The only workable solution is justice for the victims. Reparation for crimes that cannot be undone. The perpetrators need to be seen to be dealt with, for a whole set of heinous war crimes. Appealing to neighbouring countries/witnesses (whom you have already verbally abused), to clear up the mess, will not suffice.


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