Thursday, December 6, 2012

US out of Iraq

We’re coming up on the anniversary of the phony US withdrawal from Iraq last December. It’s been hard to tell what’s going on in Iraq since there is a media blackout except for reports on car bombings & alleged conflict between Sunnis & Shi’ites. The actual number of US troops remaining there was intentionally confused by all the conflicting figures thrown around between the Pentagon, Obama & Leon Panetta. Estimates range from 3,000 (file that under fat chance) to 20,000.

What is known is that the US uses mercenaries (euphemistically called contractors) from criminal enterprises like the formerly named Blackwater. They are professional thugs-for-hire recruited among former Special Forces operatives, soldiers, & retired cops. As you can imagine, these companies are secretive about their operations & don’t reveal the number of mercenaries they have deployed in any country as an adjunct to the US military; nor do they reveal the number of employed mercenaries injured or killed. This is a useful deception since it lowers the number of war casualties reported & minimizes antiwar opposition. In Afghanistan, there are 105,000 US troops & 101,000 mercenaries. During some periods of the wars in Iraq & Afghanistan, mercenaries have outnumbered the troops. Some sources report there are close to 10,000 mercenaries still in Iraq but for all the deception involved, it could be double that.

You can tell they’re motivated by patriotism rather than a taste for homicide & war since some locate in the Cayman Islands to avoid paying federal taxes. It’s not the kind of work you brag about although some of their relatives are too stupid to know that & want them included in Veterans Day & Memorial Day events.

What we do know about Iraq is: the country is in a shambles; Saddam Hussein was prosecuted in a kangaroo court; Paul Bremer, both George Bushs, & Dick Cheney are still running around free; US troops are still deployed there & to say the US has withdrawn from Iraq is a colossal & despicable lie to hoodwink us (since it sure as hell doesn’t fool the Iraqis) & eliminate antiwar opposition.

This is a photo from the archives of US troops doing their emancipating--pointing a rifle at a small boy--in a neighborhood of Baghdad, in November 2007. Demand the actual, immediate, & unconditional withdrawal of all US troops & mercenaries from Iraq. (Photo by Thomas Dworzak)

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