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

March 23, 2017
Chip Gibbons
Crusader-in-Chief: the Strange Rehabilitation of George W. Bush
Michael J. Sainato
Cybersecurity Firm That Attributed DNC Hacks to Russia May Have Fabricated Russia Hacking in Ukraine
Chuck Collins
Underwater Nation: As the Rich Thrive, the Rest of Us Sink
CJ Hopkins
The United States of Cognitive Dissonance
Howard Lisnoff
BDS, Women’s Rights, Human Rights and the Failings of Security States
Mike Whitney
Will Washington Risk WW3 to Block an Emerging EU-Russia Superstate
John Wight
Martin McGuinness: Man of War who Fought for Peace in Ireland
Linn Washington Jr.
Ryancare Wreckage
Eileen Appelbaum
What We Learned From Just Two Pages of Trump’s Tax Returns
Mark Weisbrot
Ecuador’s Elections: Why National Sovereignty Matters
Thomas Knapp
It’s Time to End America’s Longest War
Chris Zinda
Aggregate Journalism at Salon
David Welsh
Bay Area Rallies Against Trump’s Muslim Ban II
March 22, 2017
Paul Street
Russiagate and the Democratic Party are for Chumps
Russell Mokhiber
Single-Payer, the Progressive Caucus and the Cuban Revolution
Gavin Lewis
McCarthyite Anti-Semitism Smears and Racism at the Guardian/Observer
Kathy Kelly
Reality and the U.S.-Made Famine in Yemen
Kim C. Domenico
Ending Our Secret Alliance with Victimhood: Toward an Adult Politics
L. Ali Khan
Profiling Islamophobes
Calvin Priest
May Day: Seattle Educators Moving Closer to Strike
David Swanson
Jimmy Breslin on How to Impeach Trump
Dave Lindorff
There Won’t Be Another Jimmy Breslin
Jonathan Latham
The Meaning of Life
Robert Fisk
Martin McGuinness: From “Super-Terrorist” to Super Statesman
Steve Horn
Architect of Federal Fracking Loophole May Head Trump Environmental Council
Binoy Kampmark
Grief, Loss and Losing a Father
Jim Tull
Will the Poor Always Be With Us?
Jesse Jackson
Trump’s “March Massacre” Budget
Joe Emersberger
Rafael Correa and the Future of Ecuador: a Response to James McEnteer
March 21, 2017
Reshmi Dutt-Ballerstadt
On Being the “Right Kind of Brown”
Kenneth Surin
God, Guns, Gays, Gummint: the Career of Rep. Bad Bob Goodlatte
David Rosen
Popular Insurgencies: Reshaping the Political Landscape
Ryan LaMothe
The Totalitarian Strain in American Democracy
Eric Sommer
The House Intelligence Committee: Evidence Not Required
Mike Hastie
My Lai Massacre, 49 Years Later
James McEnteer
An Era Ends in Ecuador: Forward or Back?
Evan Jones
Beyond the Pale
Stansfield Smith
First Two Months in Power: Hitler vs. Trump
Dulce Morales
A Movement for ‘Sanctuary Campuses’ Takes Shape
Pepe Escobar
Could Great Wall of Iron become New Silk Roadblock?
Olivia Alperstein
Trump Could Start a Nuclear War, Right Now
David Macaray
Norwegians Are the Happiest People on Earth
March 20, 2017
Michael Schwalbe
Tears of Solidarity
Patrick Cockburn
Brexit, Nationalism and the Damage Done
Peter Stone Brown
Chuck Berry: the First Poet of Rock and Roll
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail