FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Filling Saddam’s Shoes

by DAVE LINDORFF

 

One thing you can pretty much count on. When the U.S. charges in with guns blazing and bombs blowing up with the promise of “bringing democracy” to some benighted and oppressed people, the end result will be a corrupt and barbaric regime not much better, and maybe worse, than the old one.

This was certainly so in Vietnam, where one dictatorship after another was set up under American authority, each with its own new style of viciousness and corruption. It was true in Korea, where the U.S., after fending off North Korea, underwrote and supported a string of vicious tyrants. It is proving to be so in Haiti, where a gangster regime has been installed by U.S. troops.

So why the surprise that the regime set up in Iraq, soon to be validated with a fraudulent election (the world’s first secret election where voters don’t know whom they are voting for because the candidates, especially those backed by the U.S., dare not give out their names or speak in public of their “platforms”) is proving to be every bit as vicious as the old (one-time U.S-backed) regime of Saddam Hussein?

The U.S. military and the corrupt and smugly colonial administration of L. Paul Bremer set the tone early on, with brutal torture of captured Iraqi insurgent fighters and the casual slaughter of tens of thousands of innocent Iraqi civilians, including huge numbers of women and children (called “collateral damage by U.S. authorities).

Now we learn from Human Rights Watch that the interim U.S. puppet regime of Iyad Allawi is practicing all those Saddamite methods of torture itself on those the regime opposes. We’ve got reports of people being “routinely” hung by the wrists on meat hooks, shocked on the genitals with electrodes and beaten in torture chambers by people who are actually the very same guys who were working there beforein the employ of Saddam himself.

Human Rights Watch says these tender mercies are being practiced not just on Iraqi insurgents (most of whom are probably simply shot when captured), but on “political enemies” of the regime.

Abu Ghraib prison, built originally by Saddam’s regime for use as a torture center, and later used by the U.S. military and CIA for the same purpose, is now reportedly back in business under the aegis of the Allawi regime.

No comment from that great purported exporter of democracy, George Bush, or from that great prophet of democratic renewal in the Middle East, Paul Wolfowitz. No promise to investigate this ugly contradiction coming just five days after the president’s lofty inaugural claim that America has been called upon by the Almighty to “end tyranny” in the world.

Surely, if our 120,000 troops and hundreds of billions of dollars in weaponry in Iraq cannot end tyranny in that country, we are unlikely to end it anywhere.

But of course, like everything else this administration does, the claim to be promoting democracy is nothing but a lot of words, masking an ugly reality.

The real truth? Those Iraqi torturers have been trained by American forces. Heck, they’re almost certainly even using U.S.-supplied, U.S. taxpayer-financed torture equipment. (Taser Corp., helping to reduce America’s ballooning trade deficit, one jolt at a time.)

They’re just doing what the Pentagon and CIA, and Don Rumsfeld’s new secret intelligence unit want them to do, namely: crush all opposition to America’s hand-picked, puppet rulers in Iraq.

None of this will surprise the people of the rest of the world, who have long known that America is no tribune of freedom.

The question is, when will the American people themselves stop believing this malarkey, and recognize what their sons and daughters are being asked to die for?
One thing you can pretty much count on. When the U.S. charges in with guns blazing and bombs blowing up with the promise of “bringing democracy” to some benighted and oppressed people, the end result will be a corrupt and barbaric regime not much better, and maybe worse, than the old one.

This was certainly so in Vietnam, where one dictatorship after another was set up under American authority, each with its own new style of viciousness and corruption. It was true in Korea, where the U.S., after fending off North Korea, underwrote and supported a string of vicious tyrants. It is proving to be so in Haiti, where a gangster regime has been installed by U.S. troops.

So why the surprise that the regime set up in Iraq, soon to be validated with a fraudulent election (the world’s first secret election where voters don’t know whom they are voting for because the candidates, especially those backed by the U.S., dare not give out their names or speak in public of their “platforms”) is proving to be every bit as vicious as the old (one-time U.S-backed) regime of Saddam Hussein?

The U.S. military and the corrupt and smugly colonial administration of L. Paul Bremer set the tone early on, with brutal torture of captured Iraqi insurgent fighters and the casual slaughter of tens of thousands of innocent Iraqi civilians, including huge numbers of women and children (called “collateral damage by U.S. authorities).

Now we learn from that the interim U.S. puppet regime of Iyad Allawi is practicing all those Saddamite methods of torture itself on those the regime opposes. We’ve got reports of people being “routinely” hung by the wrists on meat hooks, shocked on the genitals with electrodes and beaten in torture chambers by people who are actually the very same guys who were working there beforein the employ of Saddam himself.

Human Rights Watch says these tender mercies are being practiced not just on Iraqi insurgents (most of whom are probably simply shot when captured), but on “political enemies” of the regime.

Abu Ghraib prison, built originally by Saddam’s regime for use as a torture center, and later used by the U.S. military and CIA for the same purpose, is now reportedly back in business under the aegis of the Allawi regime.

No comment from that great purported exporter of democracy, George Bush, or from that great prophet of democratic renewal in the Middle East, Paul Wolfowitz. No promise to investigate this ugly contradiction coming just five days after the president’s lofty inaugural claim that America has been called upon by the Almighty to “end tyranny” in the world.

Surely, if our 120,000 troops and hundreds of billions of dollars in weaponry in Iraq cannot end tyranny in that country, we are unlikely to end it anywhere.

But of course, like everything else this administration does, the claim to be promoting democracy is nothing but a lot of words, masking an ugly reality.

The real truth? Those Iraqi torturers have been trained by American forces. Heck, they’re almost certainly even using U.S.-supplied, U.S. taxpayer-financed torture equipment. (Taser Corp., helping to reduce America’s ballooning trade deficit, one jolt at a time.)

They’re just doing what the Pentagon and CIA, and Don Rumsfeld’s new secret intelligence unit want them to do, namely: crush all opposition to America’s hand-picked, puppet rulers in Iraq.

None of this will surprise the people of the rest of the world, who have long known that America is no tribune of freedom.

The question is, when will the American people themselves stop believing this malarkey, and recognize what their sons and daughters are being asked to die for?

DAVE LINDORFF is the author of Killing Time: an Investigation into the Death Row Case of Mumia Abu-Jamal. His new book of CounterPunch columns titled “This Can’t be Happening!” is published by Common Courage Press. Information about both books and other work by Lindorff can be found at www.thiscantbehappening.net.

He can be reached at: dlindorff@yahoo.com

Dave Lindorff is a founding member of ThisCantBeHappening!, an online newspaper collective, and is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press).

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

May 25, 2017
Jennifer Matsui
The Rise of the Alt-Center
Michael Hudson
Another Housing Bubble?
Robert Fisk
Trump Meets the New Leader of the Secular World, Pope Francis
John Laforge
Draft Treaty Banning Nuclear Weapons Unveiled
Benjamin Dangl
Trump’s Budget Expands War on the Backs of America’s Poor
Alice Donovan
US-Led Air Strikes Killed Record Number of Civilians in Syria
Andrew Moss
The Meaning of Trump’s Wall
Leslie Scott
Trump in the Middle East: New Ideas, Old Politics
George Wuerthner
Environmental Groups as Climate Deniers
Pauline Murphy
The Irish Dead: Fighting Fascism in Spain, 1937
Brian Trautman
Veterans on the March
Eric Sommer
Trumps Attack on Social Spending Escalates Long-term Massive Robbery of American Work
Binoy Kampmark
Twenty-Seven Hours: Donald Trump in Israel
Christian Hillegas
Trump’s Islamophobia: the Persistence of Orientalism in Western Rhetoric and Media
Michael J. Sainato
Russiagate: Clintonites Spread the Weiner Conspiracy
Walter Clemens
What the President Could Learn from Our Shih-Tzu Eddie
May 24, 2017
Paul Street
Beyond Neoliberal Identity Politics
Daniel Read
Powder Keg: Manchester Terror Attack Could Lead to Yet Another Resurgence in Nationalist Hate
Robert Fisk
When Peace is a Commodity: Trump in the Middle East
Kenneth Surin
The UK’s Epochal Election
Jeff Berg
Lessons From a Modern Greek Tragedy
Steve Cooper
A Concrete Agenda for Progressives
Michael McKinley
Australia-as-Concierge: the Need for a Change of Occupation
William Hawes
Where Are Your Minds? An Open Letter to Thomas de Maiziere and the CDU
Steve Early
“Corporate Free” Candidates Move Up
Fariborz Saremi
Presidential Elections in Iran and the Outcomes
Dan Bacher
The Dark Heart of California’s Water Politics
Alessandra Bajec
Never Ending Injustice for Pinar Selek
Rob Seimetz
Death By Demigod
Jesse Jackson
Venezuela Needs Helping Hand, Not a Hammer Blow 
Binoy Kampmark
Return to Realpolitik: Trump in Saudi Arabia
Vern Loomis
The NRA: the Dragon in Our Midst
May 23, 2017
John Wight
Manchester Attacks: What Price Hypocrisy?
Patrick Cockburn
A Gathering of Autocrats: Trump Puts US on Sunni Muslim Side of Bitter Sectarian War with Shias
Shamus Cooke
Can Trump Salvage His Presidency in Syria’s War?
Thomas S. Harrington
“Risk”: a Sad Comedown for Laura Poitras
Josh White
Towards the Corbyn Doctrine
Mike Whitney
Rosenstein and Mueller: the Regime Change Tag-Team
Jan Oberg
Trump in Riyadh: an Arab NATO Against Syria and Iran
Susan Babbitt
The Most Dangerous Spy You’ve Never Heard Of: Ana Belén Montes
Rannie Amiri
Al-Awamiya: City of Resistance
Dimitris Konstantakopoulos
The European Left and the Greek Tragedy
Laura Leigh
This Land is Your Land, Except If You’re a Wild Horse Advocate
Hervé Kempf
Macron, Old World President
Michael J. Sainato
Devos Takes Out Her Hatchet
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail