FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Hail Jim Hickey, "Irish Hero" of the Colonial Occupation of Iraq

by HARRY BROWNE

 

You think the Americans don’t know what they’re doing in Iraq? They know all too well.

Check out, for example, Captain Christopher Cirino of the 82nd Airborne, who told an English journalist in Fallujah a few weeks ago: “The men we are being attacked by are Syrian-trained terrorists and local freedom fighters.”

That’s right. He said “freedom fighters”.

Now check out the codenames employed in the weekend swoop for Saddam Hussein near Tikrit. ‘Red Dawn’, they called it, with suspected Iraqi-resistance locations tagged ‘Wolverine 1’ and ‘Wolverine 2’.

Press comments have noted that ‘Red Dawn’, a 1984 John Milius flick that chronicles a Soviet invasion of the US, is a favourite movie of American right-wingers. What hasn’t often been pointed out is that the heroes of ‘Red Dawn’ are a brave band of ragged small-town resisters to the invasion, and they call themselves ‘Wolverines’.

So do you really think the Americans are so twisted by their own propaganda that they see themselves in the roles of Patrick Swayze and his heroic local comrades? Not at all. ‘Red Dawn’ is a little colonial in-joke: in this version of the movie, the resistance is scattered, and the invaders win.

The joke runs a little deeper still. The chief instrument of imperial oppression in this real-life story is an Irishman, Chicago-born Colonel Jim Hickey, commander of the 1st brigade of the 4th infantry division.

The colonel is inheritor of an Irish national tradition of resistance to colonialism–and a Hickey family tradition of US military service. His grandfather served in Europe during the first World War before returning to Ireland, and his father was sent to Korea after emigrating to America.

The Irish heritage was never far away. The colonel’s parents now own a shop in Naperville, Illinois, that sells Irish ‘gifts’.

Perhaps he grew up kissing little replica blarney stones. Hickey has happily chatted to journalists all week despite the fact he was 100 yards away from Saddam at the time of his arrest. His interview with Rachael English on RTE Radio 1 lasted a full 20 minutes.

Mind you, there’s little art to his gab. He speaks in chilling military jargon that better suits the villain of the movie rather than the hero. “My principal task was to complete the destruction of all former-regime elements within the area of Tikrit.” As for the resistance: “We will give back much more than we take, I can guarantee you that.”

Rhetorically Hickey is no George W Bush, though on RTE he did try to invent a word, twice: Iraqi fighters would engage in “erratic, spasmatic activity” and “irrational, spasmatic behaviour”, he said.

He also managed the odd bit of awkward Bush-ian piety, forced out on radio after a long hesitation: “The Almighty was with us that night.”

Being based in one of the marble guest-houses formerly enjoyed by Saddam’s inner circle may have gone to Hickey’s head. “I have hundreds of thousands of people in this area,” he told English, words worthy of any colonial military administrator.

Hickey’s parents came from the west of Ireland. He grew up in “a strong Irish culture… Over time I’ve really gained an appreciation of the uniqueness of that type of upbringing, and the strength of the values that come from people like my parents… Their sense of humanity and right and wrong has definitely influenced me over the years.”

His mammy calls it “a true American story”, in which “Jim is giving something back to this country we adopted.”

In obscure American lingo, a ‘jimhickey’ is someone who performs his task with excellence. No doubt the colonel is such a man.

But look at the front of Monday’s Evening Herald in Ireland and see the little photo of his auntie in west Clare, where ragged bands of small-town resisters once battled an Empire. Then ask yourself, Saddam aside, whether his task in Iraq is worthy of his heritage.

Counterpuncher HARRY BROWNE is a lecturer in the School of Media at Dublin Institute of Technology and a member of the steering committee of the Irish Anti-War Movement. He can be reached at harrybrowne@eircom.net

 

Harry Browne lectures in Dublin Institute of Technology and is the author of The Frontman: Bono (In the Name of Power). Email:harry.browne@gmail.com, Twitter @harrybrowne

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

January 17, 2017
John Pilger
The Issue is Not Trump. It is Us
John K. White
Is Equality Overrated, Too?
Michael J. Sainato
The DNC Hands the Democratic Party Over to David Brock and Billionaire Donors
John Davis
Landscapes of Shame: America’s National Parks
Andrew Smolski
Third Coast Pillory: Politicians and Rhetorical Tricks
Chris Busby
The Scientific Hero of Chernobyl: Alexey V. Yablokov, the Man Who Dared to Speak the Truth
David Macaray
Four Reasons Trump Will Quit
Chet Richards
The Vicissitudes of the Rural South
Clancy Sigal
“You Don’t Care About Jobs”: Why the Democrats Lost
Robert Dodge
Martin Luther King and U.S. Politics: Time for a U.S. Truth and Reconciliation Commission
Jack Sadat Lee
I Dream of Justice for All the Animal Kingdom
James McEnteer
Mourning Again in America
January 16, 2017
Paul Street
How Pure is Your Hate?
Jeffrey St. Clair - Alexander Cockburn
Did the Elites Have Martin Luther King Jr. Killed?
Robert Hunziker
Global Warming Clobbers Ocean Life
Patrick Cockburn
The Terrifying Parallels Between Trump and Erdogan
Kenneth Surin
The Neoliberal Stranglehold on the American Public University
Lawrence Davidson
Is There a Future for the Democratic Party?
Douglas Valentine
Who Killed MLK Jr?
Robert Fisk
The Foreign Correspondent in the Age of Twitter and Trump
Dale Bryan
“Where Do We Go from Here?”
David Swanson
The Deep State Wants to Deep Six Us
Dan Bacher
Obama Administration Orders Speedy Completion of Delta Tunnels Plan
Mark Weisbrot
Obama Should Make Sure that Haitian Victims of UN-Caused Cholera are Compensated
Winslow Myers
The Light of the World
Bruce Mastron
My Latest Reason to Boycott the NFL: Guns
Weekend Edition
January 13, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Gregory Elich
Did the Russians Really Hack the DNC?
Jeffrey St. Clair
The President Who Wasn’t There: Barack Obama’s Legacy of Impotence
Anthony DiMaggio
Ethics Fiasco: Trump, Divestment and the Perversion of Executive Politics
Joshua Frank
Farewell Obummer, Hello Golden Showers
Paul Street
Hit the Road, Barack: Some Farewell Reflections
Vijay Prashad
After Aleppo: the State of Syria
John Wight
Russia Must be Destroyed: John McCain and the Case of the Dodgy Dossier
Rob Urie
Meet the Deplorables
Patrick Cockburn
The Russian Dossier Reminds Me of the Row Over Saddam’s WMDs
Eric Sommer
U.S.-China War: a Danger Hidden from the American People
Andrew Levine
Are Democrats Still the Lesser Evil?
Linda Pentz Gunter
What’s Really Behind the Indian Point Nuclear Deal?
Robert Fantina
Trucks, ‘Terror’ and Israel
Richard Moser
Universal Values are Revolutionary Values
Russell Mokhiber
Build the Bagdikian Wall: “Sponsored News” at the Washington Post
Yoav Litvin
Establishment Narcissism – The Democrats’ Game of Thrones
David Rosen
Return of the Repressed: Trump & the Revival of the Culture Wars
Robert Koehler
War Consciousness and the F-35
Rev. William Alberts
The New Smell of McCarthyism Demands Faith Leaders Speak Truth to Power
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail