The brutal face of U.S. occupation exposed
April 25, 2003 | Page 1
NOT EVEN two weeks ago, Washington's war makers declared victory in Iraq. Their media mouthpieces showed nonstop footage of U.S. soldiers pulling down a statue of Saddam Hussein, and every report described cheering Iraqis greeting Americans as "liberators."
But already, the real face of the U.S. occupation of Iraq has begun to emerge. Destruction. Hunger. Suffering. Death.
Many Iraqis did celebrate the downfall of the hated Saddam Hussein--helped into power decades before, some no doubt remembered, by Washington. But they didn't welcome a war that made George W. Bush the new master of Iraq.
Bush promised "liberation." But the reality today is that Baghdad and other cities remain largely without clean water, electricity, telephones or functioning hospitals. Food has become scarcer, and diseases like cholera are on the rise.
The U.S. military imposes nightly curfews in Baghdad--though it did nothing when museums and government buildings were looted and set ablaze in broad daylight. Except the Ministry of Oil--the one place in Baghdad that the U.S. guarded as though it were a national treasure. And of course, oil is Iraq's national treasure as far as the Bush gang is concerned.
Retired Gen. Jay Garner will call the shots for Washington, and his front man is likely to be Ahmed Chalabi--a thief with no support inside Iraq. Meanwhile, across the country, ex-Baathist officials from the old regime are reappearing in their former positions--as police and security forces, even as governors.
And while these thugs become part of the U.S. security apparatus, the wrath of American "liberators" is reserved for ordinary Iraqis who refuse to accept their new bosses. Like the men and women of Mosul, shot down by U.S. soldiers when they dared to protest against the installation of a governor handpicked by the U.S.
Growing numbers of Iraqis have taken to the streets in the first challenges to the occupiers. "I spotted American helmets bobbing above the crowd," a reporter for Britain's Independent described one confrontation in Baghdad. "'Look, buddy, I've got the gun--now back off,' a voice shouted. An Iraqi man was confronting an American soldier. 'Go ahead and shoot me. Go ahead,' the man said. A woman shouted into my face: 'It's about our pride. It's just about our pride.'"
This rage will only grow as ordinary Iraqis challenge the Washington warlords--with their plans to steal oil and use Iraq as a base for future wars. We have to support this resistance--by organizing the struggle here against the U.S. war machine and its drive for more conquests.