Saturday, February 16, 2013

US out of Iraq!

March 19th is the 10th anniversary of the US occupation of Iraq. All of the news out of Iraq these days is about sectarian conflict between Sunni & Shiite Muslims. There isn’t just a news blackout on the US occupation but blatant deception that it even exists despite 5,000 US mercenaries, 3,000 US Army special operatives, 17,000 spies & “security contractors” guarding 650 diplomats, & a 1.5 million Iraqi army serving as US proxy. Some commentators (like Patrick Cockburn & Juan Cole) place great emphasis on the “sectarian” (i.e., religious) conflicts between Sunni, Shia, & Kurds. They elaborate the history & doctrinal disputes (going back to 627 AD), the shifting alliances, & the complexities (in mind-numbing detail) but often portray the US as a bystander or intermediary to these conflicts rather than central to fomenting them. Whatever doctrinal differences the two denominations of Islam may have, only a political naif would deny the conflict is made political & exacerbated by the pernicious meddling of US operatives in order to justify occupation, to take attention away from US occupation & portray Arabs as medieval, even primeval, in their fervors. Enough with the racism!

The US can work at cross purposes with either denomination--or with both at the same time--in the interests of US domination. Religious schism & ethnic differences are used (along with bribing & blackmailing corrupt officials & torturing dissidents) as a divisive strategy in all of the Arab countries (& elsewhere) to maintain US military & economic control. Much more important by a long shot are the competing claims of contending classes--between those who can bargain or buy their way out of this carnage & those who are stuck in hell. The latter are the hope of the future.

Have religious differences (no more consequential than those between Presbyterians & Catholics) made millions of Iraqis indifferent to the uncounted & countless dead & injured since 2003? To the million-plus orphans & widows? To the 2-million who fled Iraq & the 2-million internal refugees? To the 600,000 homeless children? To sewage covering the streets of Iraqi cities & towns? To the lack of clean water, fuel, electricity, & deteriorating health & education services? To the 50% unemployment? To the 92% of Iraqi children with learning impediments? To the sexual & other horrific methods of torture imposed on women & men prisoners? (Amnesty International describes a Baghdad prison where "interrogators sodomize detainees with sticks & pistol barrels. Some men say they were forced to perform oral sex on interrogators & guards "& threatened with the rape of females in their families.) The answer to all these queries is, “Not by a long shot!”

Media will not tell the truth. It will not make the distinction between artificially engendered religious conflicts & political opposition to US occupation. Sunnis & Shiites fought side by side against the British colonizers; they live next door to each other, marry each other, love & quarrel with one another. It is the US occupation & the puppet Iraqi regime that divides them. The immediate withdrawal of the US & its axillary forces is the only way forward for peace & justice in Iraq.

This small boy is at a Fallujah protest against the tyrannies of the US-backed Iraqi regime. He is described as an Iraqi Sunni. He is more accurately described as the future of Iraqi political opposition to US occupation. He is one of our own.

Antiwar protests are being planned for the spring demanding the immediate, unconditional withdrawal of all US forces from Iraq. Get your placards ready.

(Photo by Mohammed Jalil/EPA)

No comments:

Post a Comment