Saturday, 21 January 2017

Two Distinct Wars in Iraq

It is widely known that President Bush led the United States into an "unjustified war" against Iraq based on deceptions and lies linking Hussein Saddam with ties to 9-11 attacks and al Qaeda terrorists, and with possession of WMDs. It is also vastly accepted that Bush has initiated a "global war" against terrorism. However, it is not commonly acknowledged that these two wars in Iraq are distinct and different. The U.S. Congress only authorized Bush to remove the supposedly impending threat of Saddam in the Authorization for Use of Military Force: "to deter and prevent acts of international terrorism against the United States."

Why did the U.S. start a war in Iraq?

For the last two and a half years, unfolding events have revealed the startling Bush administration's true motives for war. Behind the false reasons given for attacking Iraq, the neoconservatives' ambitious agenda was to dominate the Middle East, and eventually the world. By removing Saddam, the U.S. could control the flow of Iraq's oil, change regime by installing a puppet government, and establish a footing for launching future wars within the region.

Despite the Bush administration's claim that the invasion of Iraq was not for oil by turning the oil fields over to the Iraqi puppet government, the U.S. government supported by oil conglomerates plan to seize control of Iraq's economy by privatizing Iraq's oil, which was backed by senior figures in the Iraqi Oil Ministry, under the Production Sharing Agreements (PSAs) that will be put into effect as soon as an apparent "legitimate" government is established. According to the Crude Design report, 64 percent of Iraq's oil reserves so far have been promised to multi-national companies for oil development, which will cost Iraq hundreds of billions of dollars in lost revenue. With less than half of its own oil in control, the Iraqi government will face a daunting task of rebuilding its war-torn country for years to come.

Ever since Bush declared an end to major combat operations in Iraq on May 1, 2003, not one single U.S. military unit has been withdrawn, while more than ten "coalition of the willing" nations have already left. He has repeatedly stated that the U.S. military would depart when Iraq became free, self-governing, and safe from terrorists. As a free nation, three official Iraqi elections have already been held in 2005 (January, July and December), yet American soldiers are still on Iraq soil. In fact, the U.S. troops, the bulk of the international coalition, have increased from around 100,000 to 160,000 for "security reasons" to fight rising insurgency. Evidently, the insurgents, who have been waging guerilla warfare against the coalition patrols and the Iraqi police forces (perceived as American stooges), are 90 percent Iraqi patriots against the U.S. occupation. The so-called "foreign terrorists" didn't even exist in Iraq before the U.S.-led invasion. As long as the coalition forces remain in Iraq, the insurgency will definitely grow and intensify because the Iraqi combatants and the foreign fighters are battling the same archenemy - the U.S. troops.

Lately, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld promised to withdraw from 5,000 to 9,000 troops in March of 2006 - the gesture is nothing more than a political ploy to pacify rising discontent from the public and some Congressmen about the war until after 2006 U.S. elections. After all, Bush as the Commander-in-Chief, not Rumsfeld, has repeatedly refused to set a timetable for troop withdrawal.

By establishing the U.S. military presence in Iraq, the Bush Administration could now conveniently launch wars against its opposite-end neighbors, Iran and Syria, both of which are surrounded by the U.S.-friendly Arab nations. On the political front, the U.S. has been demanding the U.N. to take action against Iran for developing suspected nuclear weapons and Syria for allegedly being involved in the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. Recently, Bush, leveling the same accusations that incited a war against Iraq, called Iran and Syria "outlaw regimes" with "a long history of collaboration with terrorists." (Reuters, October 28, 2005)

Why has Iraq descended into such chaos?

Although the Bush administration has been criticized for being "incompetent" or "inept" in executing the Iraq war, upon a closer scrutiny, the chaos that has followed the invasion was actually part of a larger scheme to maintain the U.S. military indefinitely in Iraq.

From the outset of the war, General Tommy Franks drew up the attack plan Operation Iraqi Freedom, emphasizing speed and agility to topple Saddam. Unlike the 1991 Gulf war campaign with massive 500,000 U.S. troops, 150,000 coalition troops and artillery strength, Franks led much smaller American forces of about 100,000 to a swift victory, capturing Baghdad in three weeks. Soon he retired on July 23, 2003 as a four-star general and published his war experiences in American Soldier (Regan Books, August 2004). In his book, Franks warned before the invasion that a quick victory would lead to a "catastrophic success" in dealing with postwar anarchy in Iraq. 

The first thing the U.S. troops did when they marched into Iraq was to seize the oilfields, neglecting to secure other important sites - hospitals, museums, and nuclear facilities. Thus, major cities descended into chaos as American soldiers stood by watching Iraqi looters made off with palace furniture, cultural treasures, medical equipment, and highly sensitive lab materials.

Scenes of regular U.S. military nocturnal raids on family homes, street-to-street battles between soldiers and insurgents in broad daylight, and blown-up cars and collapsed buildings caused by either suicide bombers or U.S. missiles - all of which impart fear and confusion in the daily lives of the civilians. In addition, the Pentagon hiring of mercenaries and thugs to work undercover, conducting routine tortures of thousands of prisoners (90 percent were innocent according to Red Cross) in secret jails, and using depleted uranium, napalm and white phosphor on a civilian population - all of which have hastened the Iraqi populace to foment hatred towards the Americans.

The Bush administration, notably known for dividing not unifying America, is using the same strategy of instilling fear, intimidation and hatred among the people in order to exacerbate the chaos in Iraq. By encouraging anarchy, the neoconservatives essentially force Congress to continue funding the war under the waving flag for "supporting the troops" while they prepare to launch other wars in the Middle East.

Why is the U.S. military still in Iraq?

Behind the smokescreens and dubious claims that the White House Iraq Group (WHIG) has been propagandizing - to stabilize Iraq against insurgency, to help establish a democratic government, and to provide security for the Iraqi civilians - the U.S. military is now in Iraq to advance Bush's second goal - fighting a global war on terrorism.

Instead of preventing a civil war from occurring by forging unification, the U.S. military has intensified sectarian differences among three groups - Shiites, Sunnis, and Kurds. The U.S. Occupation first purged the Ba'athists (mainly Sunnis), later re-enlisted some of them in the security forces. Imposing a media blackout, the U.S. marines waited until Bush was re-elected as president to move into Sunni territories - Tal Afar for destruction and Fallujah a second time to wreak havoc, damaging two-thirds of the buildings in the holy city. Consequently, rebellions broke out nationwide, especially among the Sunnis who later refused to participate in the January 2005 election. By placing security forces of Kurds in Tal Afar and security forces of Shiites in Fallujah, the U.S. authority has not only deepened the rift among the groups but also allowed the Kurds and the Shiites to exact revenge on the Sunnis. As a result, the Shiite security forces run death squads and secret torture chambers that rival the brutality of Saddam's secret police.

To impose democracy on any nation is in fact an undemocratic act - suppressing freedom of choice for self-governing. As for the success of establishing a democratic Iraqi government, each of the three elections  was considered "fraudulent" and the elected lawmakers "illegitimate" by these different groups.

The fact that chaos reigns in Iraq says it all about the U.S.-led coalition providing security for the populace. The American and British forces have violated the Geneva Conventions for not providing protection for the civilians and not preserving civilian health with sufficient food, water, electricity and medical supplies in some areas of the Occupied Iraq. The total number of Iraqi casualties in military actions and terrorism ranges from 100,000 to 120,000 people, according to "Patterns of Population Discontent" (May 2005), a research on Project on Defense Alternatives. The 2004 data on post-invasion under-5 infant mortality was 122,000 (about 334 children died daily) from deprivation- or malnourishment-related causes, according to UNICEF (December 12, 2005).

Echoing the principles of Pax Americana for American imperialism, the National Security Strategy set forth by the Bush administration on September 20, 2002, outlines the U.S. approach to defending the country - embracing pre-emptive attacks against terrorism, ignoring international decisions if not in sync with U.S. interests, transforming the U.S. military with updated programs and weaponry, and establishing permanent global U.S. military bases and economic dominance disregarding international treaties. Every step of the strategy, so far, has been pursued as a foreign policy by the American government.

As early as September 7, 2003, Bush admitted in his Address to the Nation - "Iraq is now the central front" (in the global war on terror). It's not surprising that the largest U.S. embassy ever built is in Iraq as a symbol of the future American military and economical power in the Middle East. Although the Pentagon denied constructing permanent military bases, has identified at least twelve long-term encampments across Iraq. When Rumsfeld proposed a global "rearrangement" of U.S. forces to the Senate Armed Forces Committee, a radar facility learned that as many as 890 U.S. military installations exist in foreign countries.

Why Congress must withdraw the U.S. military NOW?

Rep. John Murtha, a highly decorated vet who voted for the Iraq War, is now denouncing the ongoing war not for the "cut and run" reason but for finally acknowledging the distinction of the two wars - the war against Saddam supposedly posing a threat to the U.S. and the global war against terrorism. The congressional approval for war against Saddam had already ended as he declared in his November 17 speech: "Our military has accomplished its mission and done its duty. Our military captured Saddam Hussein, and captured or killed his closest associates...It is time to bring them (troops) home."

Besides the illegality of the war, mounting casualties for Americans and Iraqis, deteriorating domestic situation, and tarnished American image in the world, the U.S. Congress must call the troops home NOW - for it has the constitutional right and the power to withdraw the U.S. military from Iraq under the War Powers Resolution of 1973. The Congressmen who are sitting on the fence must act NOW because the majority of Americans (60 percent) and Iraqis (80 percent) want the U.S. troops out for a very good and simple reason - the world wants global peace not a global war on our planet!

(First published on, January 2, 2006)