Many months ago, I wrote that GW Bush had opened Pandora’s Box with is invasion of Iraq. He thought it was going to be a picnic in the park, with a box opening with a beautiful woman coming out, just as Cheney and Wolfowitz told him, “The Iraqi people will meet us with cheers, with flowers and welcome us with open arms.” Ah, such nonsense.
The tiger, that Bush and Bremer agitated finally, after all the other insults to the Iraqi people, was a 30 year old firebrand from a kind of royal religious family, a family that had stood against Saddam Hussein to the point that the family leader was killed by Saddam, the Sadr family. In this case, Muqtadr Al Sadr followed in his father’s footsteps for the independence of the Iraqi Shi’a, and for Iraq.
When Bremer became personally irritated at Sadr’s newspaper, he closed it down, much to the dismay of those who thought that America believed in “freedom of the press.” But then again, it is clear that Bremer and Bush really have no democracy at all in mind, just the rhetoric of “We want to bring democracy to Iraq” (more nonsense and lies, obviously–especially in light of closing down the free press, and American soldiers assassinating Arab journalist from Al Jazeerah and Al Arabiyah).
Then, Bremer and his friends decided they would arrest Sadr for the murder of another Iraqi puppet clergyman that had been flown in from England to control the Shi’a population. There have been no witness called forth that Sadr did the killing or was even involved in it in any way, but Bremer wants this young man out of the way. Bremer and Bush both felt if they could collar Sadr, arrest and punish him, that they would use this as a lesson in “putting the Iraqi Shi’a in their place,” just as Kimmit and Bremer were going to put the Sunni of Fallujah in “their place, and let them know who is charge here.” Alas, it didn’t work out that way. Instead, the tiger came out, roaring, clawing and fighting for ever inch of land and meaning.
Now that Sadr has gone from Kufa to Najaf– it is clear he is wrapping himself in the robes of the Shi’a of old, those who were willing, like Husayn, to die for their beliefs. He has now taken fully the role of leader, who may become a martyr if he is killed, and if he stays alive, will become an even larger leader. Sistani had asked him to calm down, but when Bremer came after Al Sadr, even Sistani took Sadr’s side, and now has openly spoken against American actions. Thus, Bremer/Bush mistakes have created more trouble, not less. Add to this that there is an even closer unity among all Muslims in Iraq, and even in the world, against the American occupation of Iraq–and the tiger is even more dangerous for Bush/Bremer and their neo-con allies. Now, we in America must brace for even more reaction that may come to our own shores, as revenge for the Bremer/Bush/Kissinger “solution” (most do not know that Bremer, before he came to Iraq was president of Kissinger Associates–that’s something worth remembering when you start to analyze Bremer’s behavior. Remember Kissinger’s solutions to every major problem of people resisting American imperialism in Korea, Viet Nam, Afghanistan and now Iraq, was “bomb them back into the stone ages;” thus, the new American terroristic tactics of attacking civilians in major cities. Just imagine if you were a person living in one of those cities, just trying to survive with no water, no electricity, with American bombs and missiles landing everywhere, almost at random to terrorize you and the resistance fighters.)
Of course, it may be that Bremer wants this warfare to open up so that there will be no handing over <Iraq.Even> though Bush keeps saying the handover will take place as planned, there is still a question in the Western media of “to whom?” But, most of us who know the reality of the region realize that there will be no real hand-over, that America will still run the show with our army there, and our puppets in offices of control, so that it will be more than a facade of Iraqi control. But Sistani,Al Sadr and others also know this, and are sick and tired of this facade, this fakery, so now they are fighting back before it is too late–so that the whole worls can see the truth of the situation in Iraq. Something tha Bremer and Bush can no longer hide, as the fighting intensifies and the weakness of the U.S. military and its coalition partners is seen by the whole world. In fact, some military analysts with whom I have spoken, agree that this has given the Russians, Chinese, North Koreans and others a sense of our weaknesses, rather than our strengths. So much for Bush’s leadership in “time of war.” America now is no longer seen as a major military power except for its ability to destroy; much the same way that Israel can destroy, but not defeat the Palestinians. In fact, one middle east commentator called Iraq,” the new Sabra and Shatilla, the new West Bank and Gaza.” Perhaps, when all is said and done, it is.
So, today, we have major fighting from the Shi’a, from the Sunni and whoever wants to join in to fight against the occupying forces from America, Poland, Uzbekistan, Ukraine, Spain, El Salvador and Italy–with the Shi’a and Sunni infliciting heavy casualties on the Western Alliance of the bought-and-paid for, from your American taxpayer money (not to mention the mercenaries that have been hired from all over the world at a rate of $100,000 to $200,000 per year–by the way, they, the mercenaries guard Bremer, our man, not our military????what’s that all about???) In fact, Skye news claimed that over 130 Western military and mercenary troops had been killed. Later, the U.S. military changed that and said only 12 had been killed, but hundreds of Iraqis.
As anyone who has ever been in war knows, you have no real idea of how many of your opponents you have killed; you only know of your own casualties. And, as usual, the U.S. military, like that of Israel, inflates the amount of kills of the enemy and lessens their own losses; we saw that in Viet Nam, in Korea before that, in Somali, in Afghanistan, and now in Iraq. But even if the Iraqis are losing at a rate of 4 to 1, there are millions of Iraqis to fight against America, and others from bordering countries, and others even as far away as China, who are coming in to fight against the Bush/Bremer army- of- the- paid-to-fight, and we have only 125,000 of our men there in Iraq, with few more to send. Our military is stretched between Afghanistan, Phillipines, Indonesia, Kenya, Germany, Japan, Korea and over 100 other places, and we have come down to sending our “national guard” to fight overseas.
Even if we have a draft, we cannot get enough men to deal with the Iraqis; several generals have made clear that we’d need over 500,000 men to just police Iraq, and that would be with minimum “resistance.” But believe me when I say, we are going to be facing major resistance from here on out. I say this because at this point, the moderate Shi’a and moderate Sunni, and even many of the Kurds are coming out to fight against America–because they realize they are not going to get a democracy of any sort, only an occupation by America and a country run by American puppets, with contracts that have been let that will allow American companies and their friends to keep milking Iraq for decades or longer.
NO, America must realize that the Iraqis are not dummies; the have lived through 5000 years of wars, and they are still intact–from the Mongols to the Ottomans, to the English, to Saddam and now the Americans. One more important point, that Bush and Bremer have failed to grasp, these Iraqis are willing to die for their religion and for their country–our men are not willing to die for Bush or for Iraq, and if they are smart, they will tell Bush, “Hell no, you come and fight if you think it is such a good idea and so important.” In fact, it would be a good idea to send Bush, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz and Bremer out to the field of battle and let them take Sadr on–I doubt they’d last more than a few minutes before they’d either high tail it out of there, with their tails between their legs, or if they stood and fought, they’d find they were not match for the Iraqis.
As things stand, our troops ahve better armament, planes, helicopters and tanks–and they will kill a lot of Iraqis, but this will do nothing but fuel the fire that will end up burning America and its allies in Britain and Italy–all because of Bush and Bremer’s ignorance. Those two ignoramuses thought Sistani was just an old man; they forgot that he was an eminent attorney, was one of the most brilliant men in Iraq, and that he has wisdom from his age–not senility.
They thought they could bluff Sadr and just roll over him. Ah, this is not, nor will it be the case. And, if Sadr dies. he will be magnified by others, so that his spirit, after death will be towering over the inferno it will ignite.
In both cases, the Bush/Bremer team showed they were the fools, the ones who didn’t know, nor do they yet realize, what they did when they opened Pandora’s Box.
SAM HAMOD is an expert on the Middle East and Islam; he was an advisor to the U.S. State Department, editor of 3rd World News, Director of The Islamic Center in Washington, DC, and a professor at Princeton. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org