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Battling Ideologies In Iraq

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Message Ron Fullwood
"What persuades men and women to mistake each other from time to time for gods or vermin is ideology. One can understand well enough how human beings may struggle and murder for good material reasons-reasons connected, for instance, with their physical survival. It is much harder to grasp how they may come to do so in the name of something as apparently abstract as ideas. Yet ideas are what men and women live by, and will occasionally die for." --Eagleton Bush wants us to choose sides in Iraq. He's laying it out as simply as he can, using the same incredible script he used at the outset of his unilateral, preemptive invasion and occupation of Iraq. When asked if he was resisting defining the violence in Iraq as a 'civil war' because it would mean that Iraqis were more concerned with fighting each other than with threatening U.S. security, Bush rolled the same loaded dice that he used to divert our nation's defenses from the pursuit in Afghanistan of the suspected orchestrators of the 9-11 attacks to fight and die in Iraq as part of the "ideological struggle" he imagines between his regime and "enemies" and "terrorists" everywhere. He imagines he's part of some television drama who's plot is too complicated for his American subjects to understand. "What you're seeing on TV has started last February," Bush told reporters today in Estonia. "It was an attempt by people to foment sectarian violence, and no -- no question it's dangerous there, and violent . . . twelve million people voted. They said, we want to live under a constitution which we approved. And our objective must be to help them realize their dreams. This is the -- this is an important part of an ideological struggle that is taking place here in the beginning of the 21st century," he said. Our soldiers are still being directed to fight and die in Iraq in defense of one side of a multi-fronted civil war because of a notion Bush has, that there is "democracy" in Iraq which is "emerging" from the escalating chaos. He blamed the dead rebel leader, Zarqawi, and al-Qaeda as the radicals and totalitarians who were responsible for "fomenting sectarian violence" in Iraq. It was attacks by al-Qaeda, Bush said, "causing people to seek reprisal." The "democracy" Bush seeks in Iraq would be the product of elections held under the occupation of our invading forces who were actively engaged in suppressing Batthist and Sunni communities with search and destroy missions, massive roundups and indefinite detentions of tens of thousands of Iraqis, and under the false authority of the U.S.-installed junta led by Ahmed Chalabi - the originator of the lies Bush used to justify his invasion. Bush decided to cut-and-run from the pursuit of bin-Laden in Afghanistan to use Iraq as a killing field for any and all who would oppose our forces there. "Bring them on" was Bush's taunt as he invited would-be combatants fight us in Iraq "so we wouldn't have to fight them here" in America. But, bin-Laden and al-Qaeda were not in Iraq when he deployed our forces there and directed them to unleash a horrifying wave of "shock and awe" against the sovereign nation. Undoubtedly, though, bin-Laden couldn't have been more pleased to watch from his own hidey-hole as Bush directed the bulk of our nation's defenses away from pursuing him, to a predictable folly in Iraq, which the rebel leader had predicted would draw Arabs to his fledgling jihad movement. Al-Qaeda attacked the United States, not Iraqis, but Bush was determined to use Iraq as an example of our nation's military might to give him some military victory to point to in the wake of letting bin-Laden and his accomplices escape into the mountains. Bush's invasion of Iraq was a reflection of his own insecurity more than it reflected anything remotely tied to our nation's security. There was no threat to America posed by Saddam, or even by Zarqawi as he enjoyed protection back then from Hussein's wrath just outside of the U.S. no-fly zone up North. There was almost no consideration to the consequences of removing the controlling force of Saddam's regime, and the impact it would have on aggravating the deep religious and factional differences of the many factions in Iraq. It was the U.S., not Zarqawi or al-Qaeda, who threw Iraq into chaos. It was the U.S., led by George Bush who told the Batthists they no longer had a place in Iraq's political future, driving them into the arms of those who would violently resist the U.S. in its occupation. It was the U.S. who disbanded the Iraqi military and supplied and trained the present one, which is rife with death squads and partisan militias. It was the U.S. who did the original killing of thousands of innocent Iraqis in their invasion, and later, in concert with their mock Iraqi government. Bush's argument now - that there are "extremists" in Iraq, and around the world, who "can't stand the thought of a democracy," and that their imagined intentions give him his mandate to save us all from their eventual takeover of the defenseless nation - has to be taken for what it is; the paranoid ranting of a man who knows he's committed a defenseless wrong, and painfully wishes Iraqis could forget the oppression of our own forces and concentrate on the other antagonists he made more threatening to Iraqis by invading and taking control. An important question Bush hasn't yet answered is, where does he get his mandate to continue his aggression against Iraq? Puppet governments don't usually reject the military help of their benefactors, but in Iraq's case, it's easy to see the government breaking ties with the U.S.. just to enhance their ability to survive the deadly dangerous political upheaval associated with the resident's resentments of the hand-holding between leaders. It's not hard to imagine many Iraqis discounting any value some may have once felt came from their harboring of the occupying forces as they wage their own struggle to survive the escalating sectional strife. Bush insisted that our soldiers should fight and die in Iraq to overthrow a rogue puppet who once held favor with outgoing defense chief Rumsfeld, and apparently, also enjoyed some level of strategic assistance against Iran from the incoming defense chief, Bob Gates when he was a lower-level Pentagon operative. Now, with the puppet overthrown, Iraqis are being made to accept, by the force of our military, whether they are "with us, or against us" as Bush claims his right to shape the direction of their nation to his own satisfaction, well apart from anything Iraqis say they want; their votes under the military occupation of his invading army counting for nothing more than an initial acceptance of the miserable state of their oppression. "One of the interesting things that's taking place -- and people have got to understand what's happening --" said Bush, "is when you see a young democracy beginning to emerge in the Middle East, the extremists try to defeat its emergence . . . a democracy will be a major defeat for those who articulate extremist points of view." Where is democracy "emerging" in Iraq? Their parliament voted on Tuesday to extend the country's state of emergency for 30 more days, repealing most of the protections and privileges granted under their new constitution. Where are Iraqis to express the democracy Bush imagines? Where are their representatives? How are they able to appeal to them in the present, escalating 'state of emergency' in Iraq? There is no democracy in Iraq to defend. There never was a democracy there. At one point, the Bush regime was floating the notion of accepting an "alternative to democracy" in Iraq as it became clear that Maliki's new regime was crumbling. What other country in the world can we imagine invading, occupying, and overthrowing the government of a sovereign nation and installing a compliant one, enjoying the tolerance of the world as they called the product of their aggression a "democracy?" Would anyone with a modicum of integrity support that effort as that country continued to attack and kill the sovereign nation's citizens, as our soldiers are killing Iraqis? The Iraqis who are violently resisting the U.S. sponsored junta want self-determination and "freedom" from the American occupiers. Bush's false authority disregards the violent expressions of their determination to be free as mere obstacles to his attempt to consolidate power for his sweet self. There's not a word from Bush about Shia or Sunni factions competing for land, resources, and power; only prattle about extremists who threaten his cynical attempt at nation-building by challenging his unpopular junta. It's all about defending Bush and the dangerous inventions of his cabal these days. Americans took a giant step away from his side as they removed his republican enablers in Congress. Iraqis should feel free to do the same as they focus on establishing and defending their own notions of Iraq's future apart from Bush's "ideological struggle" he says he's waging on their behalf.
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Ron Fullwood, is an activist from Columbia, Md. and the author of the book 'Power of Mischief' : Military Industry Executives are Making Bush Policy and the Country is Paying the Price
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