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    Deepening Crisis of Military Democracy in Iraq:

    Is the New Imperialist Strategy for the 21st Century working?

    By Andrew Malieni
    “The insurgency could go on for any number of years. Insurgencies tend to go on five, six, eight, 10, 12 years. Coalition forces, foreign forces are not going to repress that insurgency. We’re going to create an environment that the Iraqi people and the Iraqi security forces can win.”
    -US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, June 2005

    US imperialism is in a deep crisis in Iraq. The objective of invading Iraq was to gain control of its resources and establish it as a base for further expansion in the Middle East. However, the US is losing in Iraq. After two and a half years of occupying Iraq and over 150,000 Iraqis killed, the US has been unable to defeat the popular anti-occupation resistance.

    With the war on Iraq costing the US around $150 million each day, with the powerful and unconquered Iraqi resistance in the forms of strikes, demonstrations and armed resistance, with over 1,800 US soldiers dead, and amidst growing opposition to the war among poor, working and oppressed people within the US, splits are developing within the US imperialist ruling class on an exit strategy for Iraq. Some US congressmen have introduced and supported a bill in the US House of Representatives calling for a timetable to be set for the withdrawal of US troops from Iraq. President George Bush, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, and many other representatives of the US ruling class, on the other hand, are opposed to any such timetable, with Bush saying that “setting an artifi cial timetable would send the wrong message to the Iraqis, who need to know that America will not leave before the job is done.”

    US Ruling Class Debates Preventing Another Vietnam

    The US government and ruling elite differences are not based on ethical or human considerations. To withdraw foreign occupying troops from Iraq is not something that requires an “exit strategy” or timetable – the troops would only need to get into their planes and boats and fl y or sail home. They are tactical differences and are conditional on the US establishing a reliable Iraqi proxy force to do the US military’s job in guarding US imperialist interests so that the US government can cut its losses and move on.

    Faced by the resistance of most of the Iraqi people, including not only armed struggle but also labor strikes, demonstrations and other forms of resistance, the US has so far been unsuccessful in setting up a stable US colonial puppet government and reliable Iraqi security force. The Iraqi government in Baghdad has only limited authority in Iraq. Elected under the 140,000 guns of the US occupying army, it lacks any signifi cant base of support in Iraq, since its role is to serve the interests of the US corporations, interests that are entirely opposed to the interests of the Iraqi population, other than a small section of collaborators. It would neither survive nor exist without the protection of the 140,000 US occupying troops in Iraq. The opening session of the Iraqi “National Assembly” in March 2005, for example, was held virtually in a state of siege in the Green Zone, part of Baghdad the capital of Iraq. Checkpoints were set up throughout Baghdad and all of the delegates to the assembly were required to be searched before entry into the assembly hall. Even with all the measures that were taken, resistance fighters managed to fire several mortar shots into the Green Zone area. If the US is unable to fully secure one part of Baghdad, one can imagine what the situation is like for US occupation forces in the rest of Iraq.

    Nor has the US been successful in establishing a dependable Iraqi army. Most people in Iraq who join the government army do so because of economic desperation or even, in some cases, to get weapons and join the armed resistance movement. Few do so because of any loyalty to Washington or its government. Indeed, at the most critical points, there is a major tendency towards desertion or even defection to the resistance. In the November invasion of Fallujah, a stronghold of Iraqi resistance to occupation, two-thirds of one of the pro- army battalion deserted. This trend is mirrored, although so far on a smaller scale, among US troops, the majority of whom also join the US military for economic reasons. According to the Pentagon, more than 5,500 US soldiers have deserted the US military. This is coupled with problems in the US of meeting recruitment quotas for the military and with a growing resistance movement facing the US in Afghanistan as well.

    Military Democracy

    All the pretexts offered by the US ruling class for the invasion of Iraq have been exposed as lies, from weapons of mass destruction to the elimination of a brutal dictatorship and establishment of democracy. Not a single Iraqi weapon of mass destruction has been found, although the US has not hesitated to bomb cities into rubble or to use napalm and poison gases in Iraq. By the admission of the head of the Iraqi puppet government’s own human rights board, who could be expected to underestimate, up to 60% of the 12,000 prisoners in Iraq had been subjected to torture, including beatings, electric shocks, and upside-down hanging. Former members of the secret police of the Saddam Hussein government find a welcome home in the Iraqi interior ministry. Pro-US police commandos roam the streets in Iraq and torture and assassinate public opponents of the occupation, including journalists and clerics. Modeled after the right-wing death squads in El Salvador, trained and advised by the US government in the 1980s, there is significant evidence these police commandos have killed at least hundreds of Iraqis, on top of the further 150,000 Iraqi people killed by the US. If we accept what the US government is claiming about returning “democracy” to Iraq, then given the objective conditions, this ”democracy” has to be protected and maintained by more than 140,000 US/UK troops, jails, torture and assassinations. With this, the US political establishment has introduced a new “democracy” to the world: Military Democracy! No wonder Iraqi people say, NO THANK YOU!

    Everyday Life is a Disaster in Hell

    Malnutrition among children has doubled since 2003. The unemployment rate in Iraq is at 70%. Only 37% of Iraqi households overall are connected to a working sewage system; in rural areas it is only 3%. Of Iraqis that do have some access to electricity, that electricity supply tends to be quite limited. For example, in the capital city, Baghdad, electricity generally runs no more than six hours a day. If this is the case for a major urban center in Iraq, one can guess what the conditions are like in other parts of Iraq. The majority of Fallujah, for example, has no electricity at all. Only 54% of families in Iraq have access to safe drinking water, with many Iraqis forced to drink contaminated water. As a result, there have been outbreaks of cholera, a potentially fatal water-borne disease. Health offi cials have warned that it could become an epidemic. All of this is part of the “job” that Bush is talking about the US doing Imperialists, who have subjected Iraq to over a decade of bombings and sanctions, and then a second full-scale invasion and occupation, now have the arrogance to talk about “reconstruction.” But what exactly have these imperialist bandits actually done in terms of reconstruction? Of the $18.4 billion that US Congress officially allocated towards reconstruction, only about a quarter of it has been spent over two years later, and most of it has gone towards construction of the Iraqi puppet police and military apparatus. As long as there are foreign imperialist occupiers in Iraq, any progression in the interest of Iraqis is hindered. Only with self-determination and independence can Iraq have any opportunity for genuine development and progress.

    Nightmare of Vietnam is Coming Back

    Driving the imperialist war machine is the economic crisis that is facing the US and other imperialist countries. In order to improve its position against its imperialist rivals like France and Germany, the US ruling class is forced to go beyond its borders to plunder other countries and establish its domination and hegemony over strategically and geo-politically important areas. At the same time, the ruling class increases its attacks and exploitation of poor and working people in the US itself.

    The victory of the Iraqi people and their resistance over US imperialism will be a victory not only for people in Iraq, but also for people in Afghanistan, Palestine, Haiti, and oppressed people everywhere. It would certainly be a victory for poor and working people in the US, weakening the US ruling class, and thus putting oppressed people in the US in a better position against their primary oppressor.

    The anti-war movement in Canada, in solidarity with resistance to imperialism, must not only demand self-determination for Iraq, but also the withdrawal of Canadian imperialist troops from Afghanistan and Haiti and support self-determination for Indigenous Nations in Canada.

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