Saturday, June 28, 2003

The killing of six Brits in Iraq is a tremendously important development, as it uncovers a lot of lies:

  1. The British have been claiming some kind of moral superiority over the Americans in their dealings with the Iraqis, as if their long experience at shouldering the 'white man's burden' has given them special skills at repressing people in a nice way. We now know that the Iraqis see the Brits in exactly the same way they see the Yanks, as an occupying army that has to be resisted and expelled.

  2. With their mistaken belief that they were befriending the people they are oppressing, the British have gradually let their guard down, and reduced their levels of suspicion. On the other hand, the Americans feel themselves more and more under attack, and are growing increasingly close to the Vietnam model, where they prefer to kill civilians than take any risk of being attacked. The British are now going to start heading down the American road of animalistic brutality. This will not only make things worse in Iraq, but it will develop a group of psychologically damaged people who will then return home to cause all manner of problems.

  3. The Americans have tried to blame the resistance entirely on 1) Sunnis; 2) supporters of Saddam; and 3) Baathists. Even the British persist in the idea that this resistance involved Saddam supporters somehow leaking down from the north, an absurdity given the area where the attack occurred and the fact that the locals were proud of the fact that they had chased away all the Baathists. The attacks on the Brits were by Shiite Marsh Arabs, long-time brutalized victims of Saddam (the Americans have made much of how the ancient culture of the Marsh Arabs was intentionally destroyed by Saddam), and certainly not Baathists. This attack is highly significant, as it shows that violent resistance now involves all sectors of Iraqi society, all areas of the country (an American has just been killed in the Shia city of Najaf), is a spontaneous reaction to the ham-handed oppression of the Crusaders, and has nothing to do with past history, political affiliation, or religion. This means that the resistance cannot be contained by eliminating a small group from Iraqi society.

  4. The British attack was clearly the spontaneous reaction of people to the grievous cultural insensitivity of the British soldiers in their brutal search for arms in people's houses. While there may be organized attacks in Iraq, almost all of the resistance is due to this kind of anger coupled with the natural yearning of a people to throw off the shackles of oppression. Of course, the Americans and British can't admit to these motivations as it would demonstrate that the Iraqis are now subject to the culturally insensitive and brutal Anglo-American occupation. This is a particularly touchy area now, when the Bush Administration is trying desperately to shift the rationale for the attack from weapons of mass destruction to the liberation of the Iraqi people.

  5. The Americans have tried to suck and blow on their public analysis of the resistance, claiming at the same time that it is not organized but that it is being done by Baathists for political purposes. The current propaganda spin is that Iraq is not going to degenerate into a guerrilla war. When word gets around of the success of such spontaneous attacks, how are the occupiers going to stop a guerrilla war from developing?

  6. The whole incident apparently started with a demonstration over a broken promise by the British to allow the city to be policed by local policemen. The British shot into the crowd, possibly in response to being fired upon, killing four people. The anger created by these deaths, coupled with the anger created by the insensitive way the British had been searching homes (treating women badly and bringing dogs in on the searches), resulted in a spontaneous reaction. Two British policemen were killed at the scene, and the crowd then chased four others to a police station, and killed them after a long gun battle. They may have been executed with their own guns after surrendering, a rough fate even for war criminals.

The Iraqis are now making the express argument that they do not want to give up their arms because they will need them to force out the occupying army. One of the reasons for their views is that the Americans and British have consistently broken all promises to provide even the smallest amount of local democratic government. Why then should the Iraqis believe that they will ever obtain any freedom unless they take it by force? If they wait, they will lose their guns and with them all chance to defend themselves.