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Destroy Fallugah to Save It

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  • Dan Clore
    News & Views for Anarchists & Activists: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/smygo ZNet November 08, 2004 We Had To Destroy Fallujah in Order to Save It By Edward
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 9, 2004
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      News & Views for Anarchists & Activists:
      http://groups.yahoo.com/group/smygo

      ZNet
      November 08, 2004
      We Had To Destroy Fallujah in Order to Save It
      By Edward Herman

      ""The similarities between the Vietnam and Iraq wars become
      more marked with each passing week. We are now told that the
      U.S. forces have surrounded Fallujah and are about to
      unleash a full-scale attack to recover it from the
      insurgents. They are already bombarding the town with
      howitzers and missiles, so we can be fairly certain that the
      town will be destroyed and that civilian casualties will be
      very heavy. Fallujah must be destroyed in order to save it
      from control by a resistance to the U.S.-invasion/occupation
      and U.S. control, as was the case with Ben Tre in Vietnam,
      about whose destruction the famous phrase "We had to destroy
      the town in order to save it" was coined by a U.S. officer
      implementing the destruction. Then as now the U.S. right to
      invade and destroy in order to shape the politics of a
      distant country was taken as a given by the media and
      ready-access intellectuals.

      In both cases there was this ready willingness to use
      advanced weaponry on relatively defenseless peoples, with
      heavy civilian casualties entirely acceptable, and of course
      kept under the rug as much as possible, with media
      assistance. There were no body counts of civilians in
      Vietnam, and U.S. leaders like Colin Powell and General
      Tommy Franks have been explicit that such counts as regards
      Iraqi civilians are not an interesting subject and in fact
      "We don't do body counts" (Franks). In Vietnam, U.S. legal
      personnel even coined the phrase "the mere gook rule," to
      describe the attitude toward the locals we were allegedly
      saving. In Iraq the natives are referred to as hajis by the
      invaders, a term of derogation that is matched by actions in
      raiding homes, dealing with prisoners, and once again the
      lavish use of high tech weapons in civilian-heavy locales
      with heavy civilian costs (heavy bombs, cluster bombs, DU
      ammunition).

      In both cases there was a large-scale abuse of prisoners and
      ugly prison conditions. In Vietnam, electronic methods of
      torture were widely used, partly by proxy troops advised by
      the United States and trained in these up-to-date methods,
      and prisoners were regularly killed after interrogation,
      sometimes by being dropped out of airplanes; and Vietnam was
      famous for its "tiger cages" that were the predecessors of
      the cages used at Guantanamo.

      In both cases puppet governments were installed by the
      occupying power with leaders who would take orders and give
      the United States a free hand to bomb and kill. There were
      "elections" in Vietnam in 1966 and 1967, held under comical
      conditions of non-freedom, in which a military junta that
      openly admitted it couldn't compete with the insurgents on a
      purely political basis, won handily. The U.S. media were
      greatly encouraged by these elections. Iraq is possibly
      going to have an election in January that will not be very
      free (see my "Cheney, the New York Times, and the Afghan, El
      Salvador, and Iraq Elections," forthcoming in the December
      issue of Z Magazine). But meanwhile it is nominally ruled by
      Ayad Allawi, openly selected by U.S. officials, but taken by
      the media (and Kofi Annan and the UN) as a genuine leader of
      Iraq. In the runup to "saving" Fallujah U.S. military
      officials say that they are awaiting a go-ahead from the
      head-of-sovereign-Iraq, Mr. Allawi, for permission! Like the
      United States needed a go-ahead from Generals Ky and Thieu
      to ravage their country with Agent Orange and napalm!

      In both cases the UN did nothing to impede straightforward
      aggression in violation of the UN Charter, although there
      has been a slight regression in that now Kofi Annan and
      company have been manipulated into servicing U.S.
      aggression: first, letting the United States play with them
      in making Iraq's threat of weapons of mass destruction a
      very serious business, even if the United States had to walk
      over the UN in the end when the inspections seemed to be
      yielding inadequate justification for conquest. But second,
      after the invasion-occupation, the UN was induced to give
      the occupation its imprimatur, therefore accelerating the UN
      decline to irrelevance as a peace-making body and making it
      an open tool of aggression and imperialism.

      In both cases, the huge turmoil that resulted from the
      invasion-occupation was used by the aggressor to justify
      further intervention and killing-having produced a great
      deal of instability, and stoked a powerful resistance by its
      horrifying tactics, the party responsible for the
      instability claimed the need to stay on and kill on a larger
      scale in the interest of "stability." Of course, the only
      stability sought by the aggressor was one in which at least
      some of the attack objectives were achieved: hopefully
      transformation of the target into a client state (still a
      goal in Iraq); in Vietnam, a partial victory without
      control, but so devastating the country and killing so many
      of its most energetic and productive citizens that Vietnam
      was unable to project any threatening development model to
      compete with the U.S. clients that had actually profited
      from the Vietnam holocaust.

      In both cases, when problems arose as pacification of the
      attacked country became more costly than anticipated,
      extrication was difficult. Losing in Vietnam to
      "Communists"--and little "yellow dwarves" to boot (Lyndon
      Johnson)--or in Iraq to a rag-tag, diversified but
      increasingly mass-based set of insurgents who had not a
      single helicopter, was intolerable, and would have domestic
      political costs. Withdrawal is therefore delayed, for many
      years in the case of Vietnam. Americans don't lose well, and
      today the powerful rightwing would shriek at the abandonment
      of our noble, God-ordered killing goals. In both cases, with
      the huge commitment to the aggression/occupation, there was
      the problem of the loss of credibility and the fear that the
      U.S. threat that keeps lesser breeds in line would seem less
      fearsome.

      There was also the problem that an actual loss, or seeming
      loss, would make the home public less willing to support
      future aggressions.This problem has been solved in part by
      choosing only weak targets, by effective demonization of
      their leadership, and by conquering them and exiting
      quickly. The failure to achieve a quick accomplishment of
      the "mission" in Iraq has been painful for the Bush
      administration, but now that Bush has won his election, and
      with no moral values obstructing his willingness to kill
      (those influential to his constituency certainly do not
      include "Thou shalt not kill"), we may expect escalated
      violence, starting with Fallujah.

      In each case, both Republicans and Democrats played an
      important role in mass killing: Eisenhower and Nixon, and
      Kennedy and Johnson in Vietnam; Bush-1 with the 1990 Persian
      Gulf War, and his son carrying the White Man's Burden in
      1993-1994; Clinton managing the "sanctions of mass
      destruction" that killed over a million Iraqi civilians, and
      with Blair, steadily and illegally bombing Iraq throughout
      his term of office; and John Kerry voting for the Bush-2
      war, and promising to stay the course with more troops and a
      planned four-year presence.

      In short, destroying towns, cities and countries to save
      them from falling out of the orbit of Godfather control is
      bipartisan and is built-in to the highly militarized
      imperial United States. This isn't going to change without a
      change in the U.S. political economy, now geared to
      domination, expansion, and war without end.

      --
      Dan Clore

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