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The invasion-occupation of Iraq has been described as a classic case of asymmetrical warfare. Unable to begin to match the modern land, aerial and sea weaponry of the United States, the insurgents are fighting back with roadside IEDs, rifles and grenades to sow chaos, death and destruction. Many of these attacks have been in civilian marketplaces. The casualties show the inability, or unwillingness, of the U.S. to keep the peace and protect civilians, as required, by the way, under international law. The carnage, in turn, is supposed to generate more resistance to the U.S. occupation by the people of Iraq.
The idea behind asymmetrical attacks is not to directly engage U.S. forces because that truly would be a series of suicide missions. Almost four years into the occupation, an ominous new phase is revealing itself from the insurgents. They are concentrating on bringing down U.S. helicopters eight since January 20th, more than in all of 2006. Military strategists say they are not surprised. The New York Times reports that "the attackers used a variety of weapons, including shoulder-fired surface-to-air missiles, heavy machine guns, rocket-propelled grenades and unguided rockets that cannot be diverted by the flares helicopters disperse to fool heat-seeking missiles."
Now comes the move to chemical attacks namely chlorine that is used to decontaminate drinking water. Historically, armies fought with physics, chemistry and, less frequently, biology. Moving toward chemistry, the insurgents are opening up the possibility of megadisasters that are very difficult to stop. Again, reports The Times, "the attacks seem to have been poorly executed, burning the chemical agent rather than dispersing it, but more sophisticated weapons involving chlorine could injure hundreds and cause mass panic." Make that thousands. Sabotaging large tank cars with chlorine could generate a deadly cloud that could cover and devastate life over numerous square miles.
Lt. Col. Christopher Garver, an American military spokesman, said "The enemy is adaptive. The enemy wants to win."
Have you noticed how often the attackers escape with their weapons? How often their weapons caches are not located or their transfers are not interdicted. Welcome to asymmetrical warfare.
More than a few military and national security officials in the Bush regime have publicly stated that the U.S. military presence in Iraq is fueling the insurgency and providing a magnet, and training ground, for more violent people from inside Iraq and from other countries, including Al Qaeda, to learn the skills of sabotage and terror. These Bush advisors range from General Casey to former CIA director, Porter J. Goss and former anti-terrorist White House advisor to Bush, Richard Clark. These judgments are widespread. The muzzled U.S. Army opposed the invasion from the beginning.
Over two years ago, author David Halberstam compared the invasion of Iraq to smacking a beehive. Every month more and more beehives are being smacked and the stings are becoming more venomous.
With nearly 70 percent of the American people against this draining and bloody war, along with scores of prominent former high ranking military, diplomats and national security officials, why is Bush so stubborn, ignorant and intending to end his Administration on January 20, 2009 mired in the infamy of the Iraq quagmire? Madness, refusal to admit mistakes and wrongdoing, and the willingness to violate domestic laws and international treaties.
Hold Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney to the rule of the U.S. Constitution. Commence impeachment proceedings in the House of Representatives. In the meantime, the public should demand their resignation. Richard Nixon and Spiro Agnew resigned for far less "high crimes and misdemeanors." What is at stake here is the global position of the U.S.A. and its own national security.
RALPH NADER is the author of The Seventeen Traditions