Thursday :: Nov 27, 2003

Political Pawns In Iraq


by Steve

On this day of thanks, let us give thanks for the health and happiness of our families, and also give thanks for those in our armed forces thrust into carrying out the political agendas of our leaders, even in the absence of direct threats to our national security. The only Americans who have been asked to make sacrifices of any kind in the current regime’s alleged war on terror are these troops and their families, yet they do so with honor and an outstanding sense of duty. Thankfully, they and their families will have the opportunity to vote their hearts and minds next November for an alternative that will not treat them like pawns and expendable instruments in a craven, inept enterprise headed by ruthless chickenhawk thugs.

In Iraq today, we find several new developments. Thomas Friedman writes on Iraq today, making the point that Saddam may have outfoxed the PNAC cabal into a long-term game and race for the hearts and minds of the Arab street, a race that due to our perceived real goals in Iraq amongst the locals we are likely to lose because the White House has misjudged how readily an imperial power would be received as “liberators.”

Dexter Filkins of the Times today, confirming Friedman’s column, points out that for all of the goodwill we buy in Iraq through new fire trucks and better salaries, the locals still loathe us and cheer when our troops are ambushed, even in previously safe havens like Mosul. The point still remains: the Iraqis have every reason to believe, based on the White House’s approach, that America is trying to buy off the support of Iraqis through new schools and salaries while we aim to rape their country of its natural resources and wealth. It doesn't help that the best evidence that Bush's reasons for invading so quickly last spring, as well as his whole unwillingness to consider the problems with our occupation when presented to him are laid out for all to see with the revelation that weapons inspectors, unable to find WMDs after months of us being told that they will be found, are now being reassigned to counterinsurgency work.

Even our friends on the Governing Council, including former Cheney pal Ahmad Chalabi, feel that the Iraqis are being used as political pawns in the November elections. While leading clerics call for more involvement by Iraqis in setting up the new government, the Iraqis take note that the Bushies want an accelerated process with limited participation by American-selected leaders, timed to help Bush in November 2004 while excluding Islamic leaders.

"Some Iraqis perceive the process as being too rushed to fit the American presidential elections," said Mowaffak al-Rubaie, a member of the Governing Council who is close to Ayatollah Sistani. "We don't mind helping our partners. We understand their requirements. And we will consider helping them."

The view that the United States elections play a major role in shaping Iraq's political future is widely held among council members.

Ahmad Chalabi, another council member, said: "The whole thing was set up so President Bush could come to the airport in October for a ceremony to congratulate the new Iraqi government. When you work backwards from that, you understand the dates the Americans were insisting on." American officials deny that electoral concerns played a role in their planning.

And the Americans wonder why the Iraqis still loathe us and attack our troops. The Iraqis have figured out that they are being used as political props by an imperial occupier that tries to buy off their support while the imposed regime limits the ability of the masses to control their own lives.

This gives the Iraqis a leg up on millions of Americans who can’t figure out the same here at home.

Steve :: 9:59 AM :: Comments (1) :: Digg It!