In the first days after the events known as 9/11, I wrote a piece that appeared in a view different journals and websites that was titled “The Terrorism of War.” In that piece I mentioned that although there was no link between Saddam Hussein’s Iraq and the Islamic terrorists, the US “war on terror” would probably wind up creating one. Recent events in Iraq and Madrid seem to bear this prediction out. In short, the US war machine has created the situation it described, leaving the world with an invigorated collection of groups committing acts of terror against civilians in Iraq and elsewhere and an armed resistance movement opposed to the US and its diminishing allies occupying the countryside of Iraq.
While I remain skeptical that the attacks in Iraq that seem to be aimed at civilians are the work of Iraqi or foreign terrorist groups (I honestly think some of them are the work of Israeli and/or US intelligence agencies, either directly or through intermediary groups), this is the perception created by US media reports. The war on Iraq is now more than ever the “war on terror” in the minds of those Americans who use US television for their news. FOX News is the most obvious perpetrator of this lie, drawing conclusions as to the nature of the fighters based solely on their ethnocentric suppositions that are fueled by Pentagon half-truths and pro-Israeli neoconservative lies. These conclusions, when repeated over and over at a hysterical pitch-as is the nature of the twenty-four hour news networks-can convince most listeners that what they are hearing is the truth. As to those anti-occupation demonstrations and the attacks committed by locals: those are not what they appear to be. At least according to the FOX “news” team. Much like the police in the Rodney King beating insisted that the videotape was lying, the Pentagon and their propagandists insist that the resistance is not resistance and the Iraqis involved in it are not Iraqis. In other words, believe what they tell you, not what you see.
With the anniversary of the beginning of the war on Iraq here, it is instructive to take a look at the war and its opposition. The Democrats, who actually had a couple of candidates running on various versions of an antiwar platform in the early going, have now made it clear that they are going along with the Bush party line-the occupation and rebuilding of Iraq in Washington’s image is part of the war on terror. Furthermore, they are trying their best to convince those disgusted with Bush and Co. that the Kerry campaign is different than Bush. This may be the case as regards some domestic matters, but it is definitely not so when it comes to foreign policy. While FOX showed the March 17th blast in Baghdad, it was also showing a Kerry speech wherein he told his audience that the US troops needed to stay in Iraq to finish their job. On other occasions, Mr. Kerry has even called for an increase in troop strength. These statements beg the obvious question: what is the job of the troops? If it is to make the area safe for US investors and to project US military power in the region, then they do need to stay. If it’s to bring democracy and freedom to the Iraqi people, then they need to go. Immediately. Democracy can not be established as long as US troops are in Iraq. It doesn’t matter whether there is a US-installed government or a UN mandate that involves US troops. The US military and its civilian counterparts need to leave.
Of course they won’t. Why? Because democracy is not the end result of US intervention. Nor is it what Bush, Cheney and the rest hoped for back when they started this project. Certainly, US style democracy may be a goal of some of the war’s architects, but only as a by-product of the war’s fundamental purpose-the complete incorporation of Iraq into the global capitalist system under Washington’s terms. Obviously, this order is dominated by the United States and the incorporation of Iraq’s resources and labor force would insure that dominance for at least the immediate future. For those invested in this project, the events on the ground must be disheartening. The home-grown insurgency seems to be strengthening and various terror groups are leaving their murderous mark as well. After a year of war, the only guarantee US troops appear to represent is the guarantee that Iraq will suffer more misery and that more occupation soldiers will die. Oh yeah, and that the masters of war will continue to reap their bounty at everyone else’s expense.
RON JACOBS is author of The Way the Wind Blew: a history of the Weather Underground, which is being republished by Verso.
He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org