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Advancing to the rear Putsch declares victory and pulls out
by Bryan Zepp Jamieson
Zepps Commentaries
November 17, 2003

Make no mistake about it: the administration's about-face on Iraq, declaring that they would have a full administrative pullout by next June and a military pullout by 2006, represents a clear defeat, and a humiliation for the administration.

Putsch and Phoney Blair are getting together this week for a state affair in London (and to give you some idea of the warm welcome they expect, the Secret Service asked for diplomatic immunity so they could shoot and kill protesters that got too scary looking for the boy president. The Brits, not interested in seeing London become another Fallujah, turned them down), and while they'll put a brave face on it, the fact is they are conceding defeat in Iraq. They plan to turn administrative control over in Iraq by July 1st, 2004, and have the military out by 2006. Mind you, just a few weeks ago, they were talking five years on administrative control, and decades on removing the military.

Though it was punctuated with another horrific Black Hawk crash that took another 17 lives, the announcement was dressed up as an example of clear-eyed leadership and planning. Something distinctly missing (and it's still missing) was a basic admission that the US had, as last week's CIA report made clear, lost control of the situation in Iraq, and were facing a grim and increasingly well-organized opposition a Resistance like countries have historically raised against foreign invaders since time immemorial. In the United States, the Resistance was variously referred to as the Minutemen or the militia. The English, of course, considered them terrorists, and agitators funded by the French.

Perhaps the most surprising thing about the Iraq situation is that it would take anyone by surprise. But the American right wing has always had the strange notion that patriotism and willingness to fight for one's country are virtues that are unique to Americans, and that the population of other countries can be bought off with candy bars and promises of MTV. It reflects the incredible extent of American ignorance of world affairs and world history.

The admin really believed that hatred of Saddam was so profound and widespread that a vast majority of Iraqis would favor occupation of their country by alien forces that spoke a different language, worshiped a strange god, and treated the locals with contempt and often brutality. Military personnel treated Iraqi men with scorn, reasoning that American superiority was so clear that it would be obvious to those they mistreated as well as to themselves, and if they got looks of sullen resentment, it meant no more than a similar look from a kicked dog, who would nevertheless continue to obey.

This administration, even by American right wing standards, is profoundly arrogant and ignorant. Americans in the 1950s and 1960s used to clamor for attacks on the USSR and China, based on the notion that the Russians and Chinese would hate their governments so much they would cluster around the American liberators and shower them with kisses and fine food, much as the French had done in 1944 and 1945. They forgot that the French were being rescued from a hated foreign occupier, and not their own government. They also forgot that the Russians died by the tens of millions fighting for their country in World War II, despite the fact that the country was being led by the vile and brutal dictator, Stalin. People fight for their countries, not whoever happens to be the leader.

More recently, a lot of American right wingers remarked about French "cowardice" in World War II (based, apparently, on the fact that the army, overwhelmed, surrendered in mere weeks before the German onslaught). Millions of French died resisting the Germans. Yes, they greeted the allies as heroes come to save them, but the goal of those allies was to drive the Germans out, not to invade France, and the French people knew it. Had the Brits and the Americans decided to lay claim to France after Germany was vanquished, they would have found themselves facing a Resistance of their own from the French in short order.

As soon as I heard the rightwingers prattling about "the cowardly French" I realized that they had utterly no clue as to what was going to happen in Iraq.

There's utterly no reason to say "I told you so." Quite aside from the fact that the far right is about as likely to learn from their mistakes as a snail is to take up tap dancing, taking any credit for forecasting the course of events is about as impressive as predicting tomorrow's sunrise. We saw the quick military defeat of Saddam's military (much smaller and weaker than we were led to believe, and of course, no weapons of mass destruction after all) followed by a series of blunders by the military stationed there that alienated the populace (although in my wildest moments I wouldn't have guessed that they would have fired wildly into crowds twice in three days like they did in Fallujah, or that they would aerate a van filled with women and kids that seemed to be slowing insufficiently). This, in turn, would be followed by an ever more organized and effective resistance. I based this, not on any particular knowledge of Iraqi culture, and certainly not on any assumption that the people loved Saddam, but simply on the fact that their country had been invaded by foreign infidels and was being held, and they would fight for their country. This requires no knowledge of Iraqi culture, or Moslem mores. It's a human universal. American literature is filled with speculative stories of invaders taking America, and ordinary-joe type citizens forming resistance cells and ambushing the convoys of the invaders.

How could they be so stupid as to think that fighting for your country was something only Americans did?

The administration insists that the resistance isn't the Iraqi people, who all just love Uncle Sam and Baptists and disco music, but is run by outside agitators, terrorists from al Qaida. Despite this, I strongly believe that elements of the resistance are composed of outside agitators, terrorists from al Qaida.

Americans aren't running the show, the way Dick Cheney likes to pretend, and for al Qaida, Putsch's foolish venture into Iraq was the opportunity of a lifetime. While the Iraqi people will be delighted to see the back of the Americans, al Qaida will be working hard to keep them bogged down, vulnerable and distracted in the Iraq honey pot. The Taliban now controls about 70% of Afghanistan, and the CIA reports that al Qaida is bigger and stronger than it was at 9/11. Putsch, in his greed to control middle-eastern oil fields, played right into al Qaida's hands.

There is this to be said about the decision; it will split the Resistance in half, since quite a few will opt to leave the Americans unmolested in hopes they will leave the country as promised. Only those interested in keeping America at gunpoint will do otherwise.

What Putsch has to hope is that the Iraqi people will work to keep al Qaida in line and refrain from taking shots at the Americans, especially while they are retreating. Once they are gone, Iraq can have a radical fundamentalist regime, and provide a powerhouse base for al Qaida and other such groups. This, in turn, strengthens the hand of the mullahs' regime in Iran, and further weakens Musharraf's government in Pakistan, raising the possibility that radical fundamentalists can seize control of a nation that already has nuclear weapons.

Putsch might be able to get the daily attacks on troops off the front page, and it's possible that his spin machine will convince enough of the public that he didn't just suffer an ignominious defeat in Iraq.

But the damage his misadventure has caused will continue to buffet and stymie America for long after he has left office.

© Topplebush.com
Posted: November 17, 2003

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