Labor Advocate Online

Grisly Trophies Won’t Bring Submission
by Bill Onasch

The territory which became modern Iraq has seen many invasions and occupations over the millennia. Persians, Greeks, Mongols, Turks, Brits all took their turns. But it had been quite a while since any gloating conquerors displayed the heads of their vanquished foes in an attempt to demonstrate the futility of further resistance.

This lapse into barbarism shows how frustrated the occupiers have become. Instead of showing grateful subservience the Iraqi peoples have been protesting and resisting the occupation. Some are carrying out armed struggle which is claiming lives of GIs on an almost daily basis.

The official explanation of these troubles is that they are the work of rump Baathist forces and that many Iraqis fear the old regime will come back to power. Televising grisly images of former leaders is calculated to demoralize the Baathists and reassure the general population that the bad guys will never return.

Even if this assessment of opposition was true it is unlikely this gruesome spectacle would have the desired effect. The most common response in Iraq—and throughout the civilized world—has been disgust and anger. Once again Bush/Blair have managed to make martyrs out of scum.

The fact is that their propaganda about the nature of Iraqi opposition is as phony as their lies about weapons of mass destruction. A majority in Iraq hated the old regime. An even bigger majority today hates being occupied by foreign troops who have thus far mainly brought misery and humiliation to their lives. Displays of corpses and destruction of statues will hardly win them over.

This macabre turn of events was really aimed at the American audience. People back home are becoming increasingly concerned about GI casualties. Many are coming to realize this occupation could drag on a long time. And then there are the recent exposures of how both Bush and Blair cynically lied about the threat of WMDs. It is hoped that this diversion will be seen as a victory.

Undoubtedly some drunken bigots are cheering this "victory" from the comfort of their neighborhood sports bar. But this elation won’t last much longer than the average attention span of a Fox News viewer.

American GIs are not being used to find any WMDs. They are not preparing democracy for Iraqis. The real aim of the occupation is to pave the way for Big Business to exploit the resources and peoples of Iraq.1 That’s bad for working people over there and bad for working people here as well. And it’s sure as hell bad for the GIs who are being used under false pretenses.

The only victory we will celebrate is the end of this occupation and the return of our men and women in uniform back home to where they belong.

1. For documentation and analysis of this drive see The corporate invasion of Iraq, by Rania Masri and USLAW REPORT: THE TRUTH ABOUT U.S. CORPORATIONS IN IRAQ.

July 25, 2003