Is it a surprise unknown persons have bombed the United Nations building in Baghdad? No, the bombing was inevitable, considering the United Nation’s role in the occupation of Iraq. It is surprising, however, that the bombers were able to so easily drive a cement truck filled with explosives into the lobby of the hotel converted into an office building.
Considering the UN imposed various resolutions on Iraq after Bush the Elder’s brutal invasion (specifically, resolutions 661 and 687) — which eventually resulted in 600,000 children under the age of five dying of entirely preventable diarrhea, pneumonia, and respiratory and malnutrition-related diseases — is it any wonder more than a few Iraqis are motivated to kill UN employees?
Moreover, the UN building in Baghdad also housed the World Bank. Back in May, the World Bank sent "a senior Bank official" along with Sergio Vieira de Mello (who died in the bombing), UN Special Representative in Iraq, "to assess reconstruction and development needs on the ground," according to the World Bank’s website. The IMF and the World Bank "stand ready to play their normal role in Iraq’s re-development at the appropriate time," the said the IMF and World Bank in a press statement after their Spring Meetings, held April 12-13 in Washington, D.C.
So, what is the "normal role" played by the World Bank and IMF?
Imposing poverty, that’s what.
"Structural adjustment programs are a set of economic policies required by the World Bank and the IMF as a condition of loans these institutions make to developing countries," explains CorpWatch. "These programs often include austerity measures such as high interest rates and reduced access to credit, which result in slower economic growth as well as increased poverty and unemployment. Other adjustment policies include cuts in government spending on health care and education, increases in the cost of food, health care and other basic necessities, mandates to open markets to foreign trade and investment, and privatization of state-run enterprises… structural adjustment has exacerbated poverty in most countries where it has been applied, contributing to the suffering of millions and causing widespread environmental degradation. And since the 1980s, adjustment has helped create a net outflow of wealth from the developing world, which has paid out five times as much capital to the industrialized countries of the North as it has received."
In other words, the IMF and World Bank are rackets designed by immoral bankers and loan sharks to rape the Third World.
The United Nations is essentially a handmaiden of the IMF, World Bank, and the United States. So, from the point of view of many Iraqis, the lightly protected UN complex in Baghdad was an appropriate target, as were the main northern oil export pipeline into Turkey and warehouses scattered around Baghdad. Undoubtedly, the idea is to make Iraq so dangerous, violent, and unprofitable that the parasites on Wall Street and in Washington will think twice about implementing and supporting an occupation engineered to steal its oil and "privatize" its ravaged economy.
The murder of a Kellogg, Brown and Root (a subsidiary of Cheney’s Halliburton) employee north of Tikrit on August 5 served as a warning of things to come for these corporate looters and profiteers.
Increasingly, Iraqis involved in the resistance are targeting "civilians," who are in fact working for military contractors and organized theft operations such as the World Bank. The Kellog, Brown, and Root employee killed by an anti-tank mine was working on something call Material Command Logcap III. According to a CNBC business snapshot, Logcap III’s purpose is to "deliver Combat Support and Combat Service Support (CS/CSS)" to the US Army. In other words, this anonymous employee was providing support to the occupation forces and was undoubtedly regarded as a legitimate military target by Iraqi guerilla forces. No doubt these same guerilla forces, if they are indeed responsible for the United Nations compound bombing, also considered Sergio Vieira de Mello a legitimate military target. Not only US soldiers are targets in Iraq, but so are the corporate enablers of the occupation.
Once again, the corporate media has shifted into speculative overdrive: is it possible this was the handiwork of al-Qaeda? "There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack," reports the Bush Ministry of Propaganda (read: Fox News). "But its careful orchestration and very public, Western-world target immediately evoked past strikes by Usama bin Laden’s terrorist network."
It’s as if the entire history of "terrorism" — the title given to all national liberation movements directed against US hegemony — has disappeared since 9/11. Predictably, Fox trots out the same old shopworn "experts" to pin the blame on al-Qaeda. According to one such expert, Dia’a Rashwan, an expert on radical Islam at Egypt’s Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies, the UN bombing fits "the ideology of Al Qaeda… They consider the U.N. one of the international actors who helped the Americans to occupy Palestine and, later, Iraq."
Of course, the US does not "occupy" Palestine, Israel does, admittedly with much assistance — both financial and military — from the United States. It’s true al-Qaeda’s "ideology" (or, rather, the pronouncements of its apparent titular head, bin Laden) is directed against US imperialism, but this ideology is not significantly different from that of other national liberation movements over the last fifty years, especially those in the Middle East. Fox and its experts assume we suffer from both amnesia and stupidity. In fact, unfortunately, many of us do.
At the time of the bombing, Dubya was on a golf course in Waco, Texas. "The terrorists that struck today again showed their contempt for the innocent," said Bush later. "They showed their fear of progress and their hatred of peace. They’re the enemies of the Iraqi people. They’re the enemies of every nation that seeks to help the Iraqi people… The civilized world will not be intimidated and these terrorists will not determine the future of Iraq they are testing our will, it will not be shaken."
It’s ironic, if not criminally insane, of Bush to so disingenuously express his concern for "innocent" Iraqis when he is responsible for slaughtering nearly eight thousand of them (according to the Iraq Body Count Project).
Bremer and Bush may consider the growing Iraqi resistance as consisting of little more than "terrorists," but the fact of the matter is Iraq did not invade the United States or Britain — or, for that matter, it did not attack Poland, Italy, Spain, Ukraine, Denmark, the Netherlands, Bulgaria, and Albania, countries that have sent or will send "stabilization" forces to Iraq — nor did Iraq ask for the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, Halliburton, Bechtel Group, Fluor Corp., Parsons Group, Stevedoring Services of America, and other corporate leeches to elbow their way into Iraq against the will of the Iraq people and line up to make a killing (literally) off oil, water, roads, trains, phones, ports, drugs, and anything else they can get their avaricious paws on.
So, who are the terrorists here — average Iraqis fighting a war of national liberation or the stockholders of Halliburton and Bechtel?
"Entirely absent from this ["reconstruction"] debate are the Iraqi people, who might — who knows? — want to hold on to a few of their assets," writes Naomi Klein of the Nation. "Iraq will be owed massive reparations after the bombing stops, but without any real democratic process, what is being planned is not reparations, reconstruction or rehabilitation. It is robbery: mass theft disguised as charity; privatization without representation."
Mass theft backed up the world’s most homicidal war machine.
The IMF and World Bank have done likewise for decades in Latin America. But Iraq is not Argentina or Uruguay — in Iraq there are hundreds of thousands of weapons in the hands of ordinary people, many of them with years of experience in Saddam’s military. In Latin America, US-trained thugs and death squads have made sure there is no serious opposition to what the swindlers on Wall Street and in Washington have done and continue to do. That’s not the case in Iraq.
Bush had his chance to hire the Ba’athists to do what they have done since the early 60s — terrorize and keep the Iraqi people in check — but thanks to the neocon aversion of anything even remotely Arab or Muslim, that opportunity has vanished. The Bushites have "de-nazified" their way into a completely untenable situation.
"We’re still, needless to say, much closer to the beginning than the end," said Rumsfeld of the situation in Iraq back in March. Needless to say, that situation is far worse now. It gets worse every day. It will be worse next week and even worse next month.
Like Vietnam, the "beginning" will stretch out forever, consuming an undetermined number of human lives and billions of dollars. There will be no "light at the end of the tunnel," as General Westmoreland would have liked to have it. In the months ahead, as the psychopathic Bushites attempt to redouble their efforts to eliminate the "bitter enders" and "Saddam remnants" in Iraq, support for an immediate and unconditional end of the occupation will grow in the United States. The Bushites know this and that’s why they devised and rushed through the Patriot Act. Patriot II waits in the wings.
In fact, since nearly the whole of the federal government and Congress is "Bush territory," the only political solution to the murderous insanity currently on tap in Iraq will likely come from the people, as it did during the Vietnam War.
Civil disobedience and direct may be required — again. But this time around the stakes will be much higher. In fact, considering the severity of the mental illness afflicting the Bushites, it may be cataclysmic.
KURT NIMMO is a photographer and multimedia developer in Las Cruces, New Mexico. Visit his excellent online gallery Ordinary Vistas. Nimmo is a contributor to Cockburn and St. Clair’s forthcoming volume, The Politics of Anti-Semitism.
He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org