The Occupation of Iraq is the Root of the Problem


The longer and stronger it gets, the more obvious it becomes that the Iraqi resistance is a broad front of Iraqi groups and individuals determined to chase the US occupiers from their nation. Some of its members use methods that are reprehensible and difficult to defend, but are in actuality no more gruesome than the methods used by US (and their Iraqi accomplices) forces. Like a friend of mine who was in Vietnam for two tours and, after getting out of the service, became the New England coordinator of Vietnam Veterans Against the War (VVAW), likes to say: “When you’re killing dozens of people at a time using incredibly vicious weapons, it’s a lot harder to see each individual murder.” Blowing up a whole building with people in it is much more murderous than picking off individual soldiers. It’s all too easy to forget this as the US body count climbs at an increasing rate and the Iraqi dead are not even counted.

When the US invaded Iraq in March 2003, the world was told that the reasons for this invasion were to find the weapons of mass destruction that Saddam Hussein’s government was developing and to capture Saddam Hussein. As virtually everyone knows, there were no WMD, and Hussein is in prison somewhere. In other words, the reasons for the invasion no longer exist. Yet, the US continues to kill Iraqis at an alarming rate and now insists that it wants to impose democracy on the people of that country.

Most people in the world knew that there were no WMD before the US and its “coalition” invaded. In addition, they did not consider Saddam Hussein’s capture worth going to war over. Many of these same people were convinced that the real reason for the US war on Iraq had a lot to do with oil, global capitalism, and Israeli plans for expansion. This perception rings truer every passing day. It is also the perception shared by most of the resistance.

That is why the Iraqi resistance is right. They are defending their cities and towns against an invader whose primary reason for being in country is to make it safe for exploitation by foreign capital. They are also fighting an aggressor whose propaganda tells the individual soldier that the Iraqi is subhuman and consequently has less right to live than the soldier. Why else do you think the Iraqis are being tortured in the POW camps and killed even though they are wounded and unarmed? The resistance is right because it refuses to sit by while their country is destroyed meter by meter in the name of something called American democracy. They are right because they oppose their places of worship and their cultural symbols being destroyed and molested by the occupiers. They are right because they refuse to allow the murders of their family members to go unanswered. They are right because they are exercising their fundamental political right to oppose an illegal and unjust occupation. The Iraqi resistance is right because they know the history of Western colonialism and imperialism and they will fight any attempts to return their country back to those days when they were the colony. They are right because the United States and its allies are wrong.

If you believe that the indigenous peoples of the Americas were right to oppose the European invaders, then you should agree that the Iraqis are right to resist the US and its allies. If you believe that the Indian and African peoples were right to oppose the European colonizers, then you should agree that the Iraqis are right to resist the US and its allies. If you believe that the Chinese were right to oppose the British and the Japanese invaders, than you should believe that the Iraqis are right to resist the US and its allies. If you believe that the Vietnamese were right to oppose the French, and then the US invaders, then you should believe that the Iraqis are right to resist the US and its allies. If you believe that the Palestinians are right to resist the Israeli occupiers, then you should believe that the Iraqis are right to oppose the US and its allies.

If one opposes the war and occupation, then at the very least, they can’t honestly oppose the resistance. It is the fight that the Iraqi resistance is waging that is the correct one. In order for their actions to end, the occupiers must remove their men and women from the country. Only then can the Iraqis begin working towards a just peace. As has been said before, the US and its sham regime in Baghdad are no longer part of the solution (if they ever were), they are the root of the problem. It is time for them to get the hell out.

RON JACOBS is author of The Way the Wind Blew: a history of the Weather Underground, which is just republished by Verso. Jacobs’ essay on Big Bill Broonzy is featured in CounterPunch’s new collection on music, art and sex, Serpents in the Garden. He can be reached at: rjacobs@zoo.uvm.edu


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Ron Jacobs is the author of Daydream Sunset: Sixties Counterculture in the Seventies published by CounterPunch Books. His latest offering is a pamphlet titled Capitalism: Is the Problem.  He lives in Vermont. He can be reached at: ronj1955@gmail.com.

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