When Robert Dreyfuss of the American Prospect asked an unspecified Bush neocon “strategist” how best to deal with the resistance in Iraq, the response he received was chilling, “It’s time for ‘no more Mr. Nice Guy.’ All those people shouting, ‘Down with America!’ and dancing in the street when Americans are attacked? We have to kill them.”
It’s not only Iraqis dancing in the streets and elusive resistance fighters that deserve to be killed, but pro-Saddam demonstrators as well.
“While Washington and London were still congratulating themselves on the capture of Saddam Hussein,” writes Robert Fisk in Baghdad, “US troops have shot dead at least 18 Iraqis in the streets of three major cities in the country. Dramatic videotape from the city of Ramadi 75 miles west of Baghdad showed unarmed supporters of Saddam Hussein being gunned down in semi-darkness as they fled from Americans troops. Eleven of the 18 dead were killed by the Americans in Samarra to the north of Baghdad.”
The United States doesn’t even pretend to respect the Geneva Conventions these days. Obviously, shooting unarmed demonstrators in the back as they flee is a war crime. But then neocons don’t do international law.
As Bush has repeatedly made clear, he believes international treaties are for wimps, appeasers, and the irrelevant. International law is for pantywaists such as the French, not intractable and self-righteous Americans engaged in a forever war against “terr’ism,” otherwise known as the Islamic religion.
Of course, it’s not a war crime if the media reports the murder of unarmed civilians as fair and square combat against “armed demonstrators,” as the Boston Globe did. Naturally, the Globe didn’t bother to mention the video Robert Fisk witnessed, but then they are receiving their information straight from the Pentagon, not unembedded journalists on the street.
It wasn’t the Boston Globe or other members of the Bush Ministry of Disinformation that reported Hussein al-Jaburi’s death threat to the people of Tikrit. It was al-Jazeera, the Arab news agency twice bombed by the Pentagon for the heresy of telling the truth.
“Any demonstration against the government or coalition forces will be fired upon,” said Jaburi, the US-imposed regional governor. “This is a fair warning.”
So much for democracy — but then the sort of democracy the Bushite neocons have in mind does not include the right to demonstrate.
The Bush version of democracy includes “privatization” of the Iraqi oil industry and other covetable natural resources by foreign transnational corporations, but not the right for Iraqi citizens to complain about it. Grousers and people in possession of Saddam’s portrait will be shot.
No more Mr. Nice Guy.
According to Robin Pomeroy of Reuters, demonstrations are illegal in the province surrounding Tikrit. Demonstrators will be sentenced to a year or more in jail. “They are not allowed to go around kissing pictures of Saddam in this city,” Lieutenant Colonel Steven Russell told Pomeroy. “It will not happen… We cannot hand out lollipops, it does not work.”
Last week Iraq’s Health Ministry ordered an abrupt end to the count of civilians killed during the invasion and occupation, according to the Associated Press. “We have stopped the collection of this information because our minister didn’t agree with it,” said Dr. Nazar Shabandar, the Health Ministry’s director of planning. “The CPA doesn’t want this to be done.”
In other words, there will be no official confirmation of the number of civilians killed by the US, such as those mowed down recently in Ramadi, apparently for nothing more than expressing their support for Saddam Hussein, although the Pentagon would have us believe they were engaged in murder and mayhem or releasing pigeons to signal to comrades.
Is it possible the CPA and the Pentagon don’t want you to know the exact number of people killed in Iraq because those numbers are about to escalate dramatically?
As Robert Fisk notes in his report about the Ramadi mass murder video, masked gunmen have appeared in Baghdad and at road checkpoints outside of Samarra. “They wear militia uniforms and, although they say they are part of the new American-backed ‘Iraqi Civil Defense Corps’, they have neither badges of rank nor unit markings,” writes Fisk.
It’s no secret the CIA has assassinated numerous Iraqis since Bush set his sights on their country. Recently leaked plans to kill even more, possibly many more, in much the same way the CIA killed 40,000 Vietnamese under the Phoenix program. As Dana Priest of the Washington Post reported on 29 March, CIA covert teams are “one feature of the largely invisible war being waged in Iraq by the CIA’s and Pentagon’s growing covert paramilitary and special operations divisions.”
If we are to believe Seymour Hersh over at the New Yorker, the US has summoned the Israelis to help murder Iraqis who resist occupation. “The Israelis have been training us in some of their tactics,” Hersh told Amy Goodman of Democracy Now!
“By now, we have put together enough sophisticated former Iraqi intelligence [Mukhabbarat] officers, we think, to form ad hoc advisory groups that would travel with our special forces,” Hersh explained. “They’ll also have an Israeli adviser, I think, pretty much undercover in the country advising them, too. So, that’s the next step, you know. Bang, bang, bang.”
And yet decades of bangs in the West Bank and Gaza have not put an end to Palestinian resistance to Zionist occupation and brutality. The Palestinians have actively resisted Zionist hyper-colonialism for well over thirty years. There’s a good chance they will continue to do so for another thirty years.
The CIA, with Israeli help, will kill more than people directly involved in the resistance. “Compare America’s conquest of Iraq with Israeli’s conquest of Palestine, and you begin to understand,” explains author and researcher Douglas Valentine. “In each case the strategy is massive war crimes on the one hand, and targeted kills of inspirational leaders on the other.”
In other words, the CIA hit teams now roaming Iraq will assassinate intellectuals and “inspirational leaders,” just as they did in Vietnam under the Phoenix program. “Under Phoenix,” writes Valentine, “due process was totally non-existent. South Vietnamese civilians whose names appeared on blacklists could be kidnapped, tortured, detained for two years without trial, or even murdered simply on the word of an anonymous informer.” No doubt many Iraqis will face much the same.
It won’t be the first time the CIA has targeted civilians in Iraq. In the 1963 military coup that eventually resulted in the US sanctioned dictatorship of Saddam Hussein, the CIA provided lists of “communists” to be slaughtered. According to author Said Aburish (A Brutal Friendship: The West and the Arab Elite, 1997), 5,000 people were killed, including many doctors, lawyers, teachers, and professors who comprised Iraq’s educated elite.
“No-one was spared. Even pregnant women and elderly men were killed. Some were tortured in front of their children,” writes Mohamoud Shaikh in a review of Aburish’s book. “According to the author, Saddam ‘had rushed back to Iraq from exile in Cairo [where he labored as a CIA asset] to join the victors… [he] was personally involved in the torture of leftists in the separate detention centers for fellaheen [peasants] and the Muthaqafeen or educated classes.'”
Murder is second nature for Dubya, the son of a former CIA director who targeted over a million people (with the help of Clinton) for death through illegal bombing raids, starvation, and disease in the wake of the first Iraq invasion. As an appointed-president-in-waiting, Bush the Minor sharpened his murderous instincts in Texas by condemning nearly 150 people to death. Now he says he wants the same for Saddam.
“I think he ought to receive the ultimate penalty,” Bush told ABC News, “for what he has done to his people… [he is] a disgusting tyrant who deserves justice, the ultimate justice.”
Ultimate justice, for our Christian Zionist president who spends much of his time marooned in the Old Testament, is nothing short of the death penalty.
Indeed, Saddam was “a disgusting tyrant,” one enabled by the United States and Europe. The US does not have an aversion to disgusting tyrants per se, so long as they do what they are told and remain obedient clients.
Maybe Bush should call for the execution of William Lakeland, the US assistant military attaché in Baghdad at the time of the coup that eventually brought Saddam to power. Lakeland was the main orchestrator and contact for the Ba’athist thugs the CIA now wants to hunt down and assassinate.
If Bush is truly disgusted by the rape rooms and mass graves of Saddam, he would have every person involved in the CIA-sponsored coup arrested, sent before a tribunal, convicted, and executed. At minimum, he should call George Tenet on the carpet and tell him no more Saddams, no more coups, no more mass assassination programs.
Of course, that will never happen. Only clients who run afoul of the Master Plan — making damn sure every profitable corner of the earth is sucked dry by neoliberal exploitation — will be hunted down, rounded up, rushed before a tribunal, and executed (or if lucky slammed into prison like another US client and CIA asset gone bad, Manual Noriega).
The Bushites over at the Pentagon have their work cut out for them. However, a spanking new Phoenix program aimed at Iraqi guerillas, intellectuals, or those who get in the way of what Halliburton and Bechtel want, will not put an end to the resistance, nor will US soldiers cutting down demonstrators “kissing pictures of Saddam” put an end to Iraqi outrage over the occupation and planned looting of their country.
If Bush gleans anything from the Israelis, it should be that brutality in the name of colonialism does not put an end to resistance, it only redoubles it. But then the Israelis do not understand this themselves, so how can we expect them to teach the Americans anything — that is an anything except how to kill people in large numbers.
History books are filled with repeated examples of successful resistance to invasion and occupation — from the Persian emperor Darius facing Scythian guerillas to Fulgencio Batista’s overthrow by a threadbare group of revolutionaries in Cuba.
But then Bush doesn’t bother to read books.
KURT NIMMO is a photographer and multimedia developer in Las Cruces, New Mexico. Visit his excellent no holds barred blog at www.kurtnimmo.com/blogger.html . Nimmo is a contributor to Cockburn and St. Clair’s, The Politics of Anti-Semitism. A collection of his essays for CounterPunch, Another Day in the Empire, will soon be published by Dandelion Books.
He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org