FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Get the US Out of Iraq

by RON JACOBS

 

So, the US is occupying Iraq. What does that mean?

Does it mean that US marines are shooting into crowds of Iraqis protesting the US presence and killing some members of the crowd?

Does it mean the reappearance of death by cholera and typhoid in the city of Baghdad because the hospitals in that city have been bombed, looted and burned and these hospitals don’t have the medicines to combat these diseases and others related to the destruction wrought by years of US sanctions and days of bombing?

Does it mean the theft of priceless antiquities by organized gangs of criminals while US marines stood guard at Iraq’s oil ministry building?

Does it mean the death by cluster bombs and depleted uranium shell casings of more Iraqi civilians?

Does it mean the denial of entry into Iraq of UN weapons inspection teams by the United States?

Does it mean the construction of US military bases on Iraqi soil? Bases constructed for the purpose of maintaining US control of the country and to enable an easy attack on any other nations or popular movements in the region who refuse to go along with the US desire for global domination beginning in the Middle East?

Does it mean that anyone challenging the Americans and their plans is subject to arrest by the US military?

Does it mean incredible profiteering off the Iraqi people’s misery by corporations whose connections to the regime in Washington DC are more than just coincidental?

I wish I could truthfully answer no to all these questions, but I can’t. Unfortunately, the answer to every single one of them is yes. What this means is that the US is once again disregarding its moral and legal obligations. Not only was their war on Iraq immoral and illegal, so is their occupation! The invaders have a moral and legal obligation to rebuild the infrastructure they destroyed with money from their own pockets. The invaders have a moral and legal obligation to clean up the unexploded ammunition and the shell casings its attack left strewn about the country with money from their own pockets. The invaders have a moral and legal obligation to provide security and food to the citizens of the country that they so brutally destroyed-with money from their own pockets. But the US is doing none of this!

This fact is reason enough to insist that the US military get out of Iraq now and take all their weapons and airplanes with them. They shouldn’t wait until after their democracy anointed by Bush and Rumsfeld is installed. They shouldn’t even wait until their version of security is in place. Heck, they shouldn’t even wait until next week. They should leave NOW!.

The US has not begun aid shipments, it has blocked them. The US has not opened up the rebuilding of Iraq to the international community, it has made itself very clear that it has no intention of opening this process up. Indeed, the only thing the US has done in Iraq besides killing protesters opposed to its presence is get the oil flowing again.

Even if the US were to do an about face and meet all of its obligations they should still demand that they get out of Iraq. Why? Because they don’t belong there, that’s why. Nobody invited them in. Who, then will help the Iraqis rebuild if the US doesn’t? How will they ever achieve democracy and freedom?

Well, here’s a revolutionary thought. Why not let the Iraqis rebuild their country? Why not let them organize their own government? Can they do that? Do they know how?

Let me answer that by talking about another kind of occupation.

Occupation is not just a military action. It is a psychological and social phenomenon, too. Occupation is one of the first steps towards colonization. In the case of the US and Iraq in 2003, our country is the colonizer whether we like it or not. Now, the colonial mindset does not only affect the colonized, it also affects the colonizer. As surely as there are US servicewomen and men occupying Baghdad, our psyche is occupied by a mindset that leads us to question the ability of Iraqis to govern themselves and rebuild their country without US interference. Why? Because we are trained to think that only the US (and maybe some of its allies) know what a good government is. Many of us think this even if we don’t like our government.

It doesn’t matter if we think the US should run Iraq or if we think the UN should. It doesn’t matter whether we think the US liberated the Iraqi people or just took over the place for their oil. The very fact that we question the Iraqis’ ability to take care of themselves shows how our consciousness is tainted with the stain of the occupier.

As long as the United States is in Iraq and the Middle East, we are occupiers and colonizers.

So, can the Iraqis rebuild their own country?

Of course, the Iraqis can rebuild their own country.

Furthermore, the only way the Iraqi people will be able to really choose their own destiny is by getting the US masters of war out of their country. Likewise, the only way we in the United States will ever be able to truly choose our own destiny is by getting the masters of war out of our government. In other words, the first step towards real democracy in the USA is also the first step towards democracy in Iraq-and that first step is getting the US out of Iraq.

I watch the daughter of a friend every afternoon. This little girl has helped me remember in the past several months, more than anything or anybody else, why I oppose war and work for justice and peace. It’s a very simple reason: I want the world that she lives in to be a place where she and her generation can thrive. Not just survive, but thrive. Not just here in the US, but everywhere in the world. I want her smile and the smile that almost every child has, no matter what their circumstances, to never disappear from her face because of something I did or something I failed to do.

Insisting on the immediate withdrawal of US forces from Iraq is not only about improving the future of Iraq and its children, it’s also about improving the future of the United States.

RON JACOBS is author of The Way the Wind Blew: a history of the Weather Underground.

He can be reached at: rjacobs@zoo.uvm.edu

 

Ron Jacobs is the author of Daydream Sunset: Sixties Counterculture in the Seventies published by CounterPunch Books. He lives in Vermont. He can be reached at: ronj1955@gmail.com.

More articles by:
Weekend Edition
July 29, 2016
Friday - Sunday
Michael Hudson
Obama Said Hillary will Continue His Legacy and Indeed She Will!
Jeffrey St. Clair
She Stoops to Conquer: Notes From the Democratic Convention
Rob Urie
Long Live the Queen of Chaos
Ismael Hossein-Zadeh
Evolution of Capitalism, Escalation of Imperialism
Margot Kidder
My Fellow Americans: We Are Fools
Lewis Evans
Executing Children Won’t Save the Tiger or the Rhino
Vijay Prashad
The Iraq War: a Story of Deceit
Chris Odinet
It Wasn’t Just the Baton Rouge Police Who Killed Alton Sterling
Brian Cloughley
Could Trump be Good for Peace?
Patrick Timmons
Racism, Freedom of Expression and the Prohibition of Guns at Universities in Texas
Gary Leupp
The Coming Crisis in U.S.-Turkey Relations
Pepe Escobar
Is War Inevitable in the South China Sea?
Norman Pollack
Clinton Incorruptible: An Ideological Contrivance
Robert Fantina
The Time for Third Parties is Now!
Andre Vltchek
Like Trump, Hitler Also Liked His “Small People”
Serge Halimi
Provoking Russia
David Rovics
The Republicans and Democrats Have Now Switched Places
Andrew Stewart
Countering The Nader Baiter Mythology
Rev. William Alberts
“Law and Order:” Code words for White Lives Matter Most
Ron Jacobs
Something Besides Politics for Summer’s End
David Swanson
It’s Not the Economy, Stupid
Erwan Castel
A Faith that Lifts Barricades: The Ukraine Government Bows and the Ultra-Nationalists are Furious
Steve Horn
Did Industry Ties Lead Democratic Party Platform Committee to Nix Fracking Ban?
Robert Fisk
How to Understand the Beheading of a French Priest
Colin Todhunter
Sugar-Coated Lies: How The Food Lobby Destroys Health In The EU
Franklin Lamb
“Don’t Cry For Us Syria … The Truth is We Shall Never Leave You!”
Caoimhghin Ó Croidheáin
The Artistic Representation of War and Peace, Politics and the Global Crisis
Frederick B. Hudson
Well Fed, Bill?
Harvey Wasserman
NY Times Pushes Nukes While Claiming Renewables Fail to Fight Climate Change
Elliot Sperber
Pseudo-Democracy, Reparations, and Actual Democracy
Uri Avnery
The Orange Man: Trump and the Middle East
Marjorie Cohn
The Content of Trump’s Character
Missy Comley Beattie
Pick Your Poison
Kathleen Wallace
Feel the About Turn
Joseph Grosso
Serving The Grid: Urban Planning in New York
John Repp
Real Cooperation with Nations Is the Best Survival Tactic
Binoy Kampmark
The Scourge of Youth Detention: The Northern Territory, Torture, and Australia’s Detention Disease
Kim Nicolini
Rain the Color Blue with a Little Red In It
Cesar Chelala
Gang Violence Rages Across Central America
Phillip Kim et al.
Open Letter to Bernie Sanders from Former Campaign Staffers
Tom H. Hastings
Africa/America
Robert Koehler
Slavery, War and Presidential Politics
Charles R. Larson
Review: B. George’s “The Death of Rex Ndongo”
July 28, 2016
Paul Street
Politician Speak at the DNC
Jeffrey St. Clair
Night of the Hollow Men: Notes From the Democratic Convention
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail