Monday, November 03, 2003

Operationally insignificant

NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND: Rummy Rumsfeld has found the cause of all our problems in Iraq and the rest of the Muslim world--Islamic schools (Rummy’s new word for the day: madrassa). He blamed attacks on US forces on the literally ones of foreign Muslim militants streaming, well, trickling, over the border. Rummy was speaking after a Chinook helicopter was shot down over Fallujah. I’m guessing no one reminded him that the bad relations between US forces and the Fallujanians began when they shot up two crowds of people protesting the military’s occupation of the town’s school, and that when they left the school, they left graffiti such as I love pork, Eat shit Iraq, etc.

The US commander in Iraq, Ricardo Sanchez, described the attacks as “operationally insignificant,” which should look good on the tombstones of the 18 US soldiers killed today.

Ah, India: “Three people died and 35 were injured yesterday when religious violence broke out after Muslim boys tried to get their cricket ball back from a Hindu temple in India. A provincial official said the boys were beaten up, prompting the clashes in Viramgam, Gujarat.”

Some excerpts from a Tariq Ali article:
One of the more comical sights in recent months was Paul Wolfowitz on one of his many visits informing a press conference in Baghdad that the "main problem was that there were too many foreigners in Iraq". Most Iraqis see the occupation armies as the real "foreign terrorists". Why? Because once you occupy a country, you have to behave in colonial fashion. This happens even where there is no resistance, as in the protectorates of Bosnia and Kosovo. Where there is resistance, as in Iraq, the only model on offer is a mixture of Gaza and Guantanamo.

the resistance is predominantly Iraqi - though I would not be surprised if other Arabs are crossing the borders to help. If there are Poles and Ukrainians in Baghdad and Najaf, why should Arabs not help each other?

As for the UN acting as an "honest broker", forget it - especially in Iraq, where it is part of the problem. Leaving aside its previous record (as the administrator of the killer sanctions, and the backer of weekly Anglo-American bombing raids for 12 years), on October 16 the security council disgraced itself again by welcoming "the positive response of the international community... to the broadly representative governing council... [and] supports the governing council's efforts to mobilise the people of Iraq..." Meanwhile a beaming fraudster, Ahmed Chalabi, was given the Iraqi seat at the UN. One can't help recalling how the US and Britain insisted on Pol Pot retaining his seat for over a decade after being toppled by the Vietnamese. The only norm recognised by the security council is brute force, and today there is only one power with the capacity to deploy it. That is why, for many in the southern hemisphere and elsewhere, the UN is the US.

After Baghdad fell, the Israeli war leader, Ariel Sharon, told the Palestinians to "come to your senses now that your protector has gone". As if the Palestinian struggle was dependent on Saddam or any other individual. This old colonial notion that the Arabs are lost without a headman is being contested in Gaza and Baghdad. And were Saddam to drop dead tomorrow, the resistance would increase rather than die down.

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