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A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition: Statement on recent developments in Iraq
Answer Coalition
December 14, 2003

The U.S. military capture of Iraqi president Saddam Hussein is being trumpeted by the corporate media and the Bush administration as simultaneously a great victory, the start of a new era, and justification for the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq.

The seizure and public display of Saddam Hussein may be a propaganda victory for imperialism, but it changes nothing fundamental about the situation in Iraq, particularly the reality that the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq constitute a blatant and brutal violation of both international and U.S. law.

While hailing the detention of Saddam Hussein after an intense 8-month search, the current co-dictators of Iraq, L. Paul Bremer and Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, are expressing the hope of the Bush administration as a whole that this development will signal the beginning of the end for the Iraqi resistance.

But intensifying Iraqi resistance to the illegal and colonial war and occupation has not been primarily based - according even to the more knowledgeable corporate media journalists in Iraq - on loyalty to any particular individual. Instead, it is a response to the negation of Iraq's sovereignty and independence, as well as the increasing brutality of the occupying army.

Even supporters of Bush's war such as Sen. Jay Rockefeller, Vice-Chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, are raising questions: "Given the location and circumstances of his capture, it makes clear that Saddam was not managing the insurgency. ... That is significant and disturbing because it means the insurgents are not fighting for Saddam, they're fighting against the United States."

There can be no question that the Iraq occupation is a colonial project in every respect. The U.S.-appointed "Iraq Governing Council" is headed by CIA asset Ahmed Chalabi, whose family was the richest in all of Iraq when the British-controlled regime was overthrown in 1958. All of Iraq's assets are being put on the auction block.

The U.S. is setting up colonial-style Iraqi police, intelligence services, and paramilitary death squads. It is taking and holding family members hostage, including children and grandparents, to force Iraqis to submit themselves for "interrogation." U.S. forces are using "Israeli-style" collective punishment and violence against the population as a whole in large parts of the country.

"With a heavy dose of fear and violence, and a lot of money for projects, I think we can convince these people that we are here to help them," stated a U.S. battalion commander in Iraq (New York Times, December 7, 2003). He was speaking from one of the many Iraq villages that the U.S. has wrapped in razor wire, holding entire communities prisoner. A sign on the barbed wire reads, in English only, "This fence is here for your protection. Do not approach or try to cross, or you will be shot."

The U.S. government has a long history of destabilizing and overthrowing governments and replacing them with brutal dictatorships. One need only look at Iran, the Congo, Guatemala, and Chile to know that the democratic or undemocratic character of the government targeted by the U.S. has never been the motivation for its actions. In that context the U.S. government has supported the most brutal dictatorships and military regimes.

The long standing demonization of the former Iraqi government followed by the invasion and occupation of Iraq is part of a larger global project by the United States to militarily destroy any government that seeks to maintain even nominal independence from the dictates of Washington and Wall Street. The leadership of North Korea, Iran, Syria, Zimbabwe, Cuba, Palestine and others have been selected by the Bush administration for destruction. This stands in fundamental violation of the right of self determination. Only the Iraqi people have the right to determine who their leaders will be.

People should keep in mind as they watch the forthcoming carefully packaged documentary of the "crimes" of the former Iraqi government, that the Bush administration has taken tens of thousands of innocent Iraqi lives, has plunged Iraq into chaos and anarchy, and has removed the essential features of sovereignty for the Iraqi people who struggled in the past for decades against colonial rule.

The occupation is taking the lives of Iraqis, U.S. and other "coalition" forces every day. While Halliburton, Bechtel and other U.S. corporations are reaping immense profits, the people both here and there are paying the price for Bush and his corporate friends' looting spree, in blood and money. According to administration figures, the cost of the Iraq occupation is 210 million dollars every day. The administration has stated that it need not bother to count the number of Iraqis that it kills.

We will continue and intensify our mobilizing work to demand: "End the Occupation, Bring the Troops Home NOW! Money for Jobs, Health Care and Education, Not for War and Occupation."

Posted: December 15, 2003


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