Thursday, May 08, 2003

From the new postings from Salam Pax (emphasis added):

"At around 6pm yesterday we turned on the electricity generator to check the news. Lo-and-behold, holy cow in the sky, what do we see? Iraqis trying to pull down the Saddam statue in Al-Firdaws square. That the American troops are so deep in the city was not as much surprising as the bunch of people trying to pull that thing down. By now any relatives and friends have told us that they saw a lot of American soldiers in the city, even before the 9th of April. Not only the presidential palaces, but also in many residential districts. The news does not tell you everything, they quickly mentioned the 'Saddam bridge' not saying that this was right beside the university of Baghdad and a stone's throw from the main presidential complex."

American soldiers were all over Baghdad before the official entry, even 'a stone's throw' from the main presidential complex. This means that the much publicized daring sorties into Baghdad were misdirection, as the Americans were already in Baghdad. The deal that was made with the Republican Guard is starting to come into focus. In Baghdad, Republican Guard members were actually instructed to desert. One high-ranking officer said:

"I saw with my own eyes a group of high-ranking officers moving through different units, asking them to leave their arms aside and go back home."

This deal is not necessarily a bad thing, as it may have save thousands of civilian lives in Baghdad. But it may have one serious flaw. It seems that part of the deal the Americans made was to promise a new job to Republican Guard commanders in American-controlled Iraq. Even worse, the speed with which the Americans are returning Baathist functionaries to power may reflect that the deal goes higher than just the Republican Guard commanders, and may involve the Baathist party itself. This wouldn't be surprising, as the Republican Guard commanders come out of the same social group as the other Baathist functionaries, and presumably would make as wide a deal for protection as possible. If so, the deal is more than just an expedient way of ending the war, but a complete contradiction to the American assertion that the point of the war was to liberate the Iraqi people from an oppressive regime. Torturers walk free, and many of the arson fires conveniently burned evidence that could have been used against political criminals in Iraq (it is even possible that the American tolerance of the arson was part of the deal, with the arson intended to remove any evidence that any future Iraqi government might want to use against the Baathists). The ultimate irony is that groups of Baathist paramilitary units that had been used to suppress political protest against Saddam may be reconstituted by the Americans to suppress political protest against the Americans. Without the weapons of mass destruction, and without the argument of 'liberation', the stark selfish reasons for the attack on Iraq are becoming clearer.