Attacks will end if Coalition leaves
Every day, grim news comes from Iraq. A Black Hawk helicopter crashed near the city of Tikrit, killing six soldiers, and many are saying that a rocket-propelled grenade shot down the helicopter. If these suspicions prove correct, this will be the third U.S. helicopter shot down in two weeks, and it will bring the total number of soldiers killed since May 1 to 141, for a total of 255 U.S. soldiers killed since the start of the final phase of the war on Iraq.
The attack confirms what many have been reluctant to concede: Iraqis do not want the U.S. or anyone else to occupy their country. As the gruesome attack on the Red Cross compound proved, even those who are associated with the occupiers of their nation are considered targets. Clearly, the so-called liberation of Iraq has not gone according to plan. Yet, the simple fact is that many have become infected by the imperial rhetoric espoused by the Bush regime, bringing about the illusion that the occupation of Iraq is necessary. Quite the contrary, the occupying powers have done nothing to stabilize or liberate Iraq.
Supporters of the occupation of Iraq, either by the U.S.-led coalition or the United Nations, claim that a troop presence is necessary to protect Iraqis from "Ba'athist remnants and foreign Jihadists." But to label the Iraqi resistance as simply consisting of two monolithic groups is na?ve at best. Ba'athists constitute a percentage of the resistance. As Tariq Ali explains, "According to Iraqi opposition sources, there are more than 40 different resistance organizations. They consist of Ba'athists, dissident communists, disgusted by the treachery of the Iraqi Communist party in backing the occupation, nationalists, groups of Iraqi soldiers and officers disbanded by the occupation, and Sunni and Shia religious groups." The difficulty the occupying powers have had in crushing the resistance is a testament to its popularity. After all, if Iraqis supported the coalition, surely they would make every effort possible to turn in the resistors. To date, this has not been the case.
Failure to comply with the coalition's attempts to end the resistance, combined with increasing frustration due to the failure to secure the country, have lead to the perpetration of shocking acts by coalition troops. In one incident in the city of Dhuluaya, according to Patrick Cockburn of The Independent, "U.S. soldiers driving bulldozers, with jazz blaring from loudspeakers, have uprooted ancient groves of date palms as well as orange and lemon trees in central Iraq as part of a new policy of collective punishment of farmers who do not give information about guerrillas attacking U.S. troops." Such barbaric acts will only become more commonplace as the resistance grows stronger and more coalition troops are killed and wounded.
It seems the only area in which the colonization of Iraq is proceeding as planned is in the area of economic control. According to Naomi Klein of The Guardian, "On Sept. 19, [Coalition Administrator Paul] Bremer enacted the now infamous Order 39. It announced that 200 Iraqi state companies would be privatized; decreed that foreign firms can retain 100 percent ownership of Iraqi banks, mines and factories; and allowed these firms to move 100 percent of their profits out of Iraq." Order 39 ensures that the occupation of Iraq will be a successful colonial venture. Iraqi businessmen, bankrupted by years of harsh sanctions and used to the stability of a large public sector, will be unable to compete with the large multinational corporations who will surely move in to purchase every possible piece of the Iraqi pie. When the privatization of Iraq is completed military occupation of the country will be unnecessary, since any government which comes to power will be beholden to the owners of their nation.
It should be noted that Order 39 is forbidden under the terms of the Hague regulations of 1907 and the Geneva conventions of 1949. The coalition is clearly aware of this fact, since in a memo to Tony Blair written March 26, the British attorney general Lord Goldsmith warned that "the imposition of major structural economic reforms would not be authorized by international law." Thus, not only was the invasion of Iraq illegal, but the occupation of Iraq is as well.
The only just solution is the withdrawal of all foreign occupiers from Iraq. In addition, massive reparations should be paid to the nation by the main participants of the 13-year campaign of destruction against the Iraqi people. Western corporations and agencies may help in the reconstruction of Iraq only if a legitimate Iraqi government, not the farcical Governing Council, invites them and Order 39 is rescinded. Iraq must be for the Iraqis.
David Tauster is a junior in the School of International Service.