Thursday :: Apr 1, 2004

"They Will Greet Us With Roses"

by pessimist

One of the claims used to justify the invasion of Iraq by forces controlled by the PNAC Republic of Texas Petroleum is that we are bringing democracy and freedom to the Iraqi people. Anyone familiar with Walter Cronkite's Twentieth Century series can recall images of grateful Europeans greeting the troops who freed them from Hitler's tyrany. So what images are we, the Liberators of Iraq From Saddam's Sadistic Sons, facing?

Hostile Town's Descent to Carnage

"I am an honest person," said Maj. Abdelaziz Faisal Hamid Mehamdy, a native of Fallujah, who said he joined the police force last year. "We put ourselves in danger for the city we were born in."

"The violence is increasing against the Americans," said Mehamdy, who said he had been a lieutenant colonel in the army during the rule of former president Saddam Hussein. "They took over the country and they didn't give us anything. They came for democracy and to help the people, but we haven't seen any of this, just killing and violence."

Defiance a matter of Arab pride

In the Arab view, Bush and his advisers made a series of blunders in drawing up their plans for Iraq. Foremost, they believed their own propaganda, that the Iraqis would greet the invading Americans with cheers and applause. There are so far few signs of such a welcome.

Indeed. As one Iraqi put it:

"I am going back to defend the Iraqi people; to defend the old women of Iraq; the old men of Iraq; the land of Iraq," said the 33-year-old. "Do you allow someone to enter your home and force you out of it. They have put up the American flag in Umm Qasr, this is not liberation, this is occupation."

Greeted with roses, indeed!

I have heard that the photos of this event, that at least sometime shortly after the attack were available on the Internet, are quite gruesome. I haven't seen these myself, (and I won't link to any. You ghouls out there who seek images of this sort of horror can do your own search) so I can't attest. But the testimony of eyewitnesses presented below paint a gruesome enough picture for someone who grew up in Leave it to Beaver America. (Quotes that follow from this link)

Ahmed Obayid, 38, a commercial truck driver, said the ambush was carried out by three insurgents who drove into town on a large truck. He said the insurgents, whom he described as mujaheddin, Arabic for holy warriors, cleared the area by detonating an explosive device that created a loud noise but did not cause any damage. Shops were shuttered and pedestrians fled. "There were three who jumped from the truck, shooting," Obayid said.

The Americans were approaching in two SUVs, he and other witnesses said. Under fire, the driver of one of the vehicles swerved across the median in an unsuccessful effort to turn back. Obayid said one American survived the first volley of gunfire but was pulled from his disabled vehicle by a gathering mob.

"He had gotten shot in his chest," Obayid said. "The people killed him by throwing bricks on him and jumping on him until they killed him. They cut off his arm and his leg and his head, and they were cheering and dancing." Obayid said the attackers soon departed as townspeople went on a rampage.

For hours, young men and boys roamed the streets proclaiming their hatred of the U.S.-led occupation. Iraqi security forces, organized and trained by the occupation authority, were scarce. Local police stayed away from the gory aftermath of the assault. No one dared make an arrest.

By about 1 p.m., people milled around the smoldering SUVs at the site of the attack. Young men leaped on the wrecks and smashed any windows, mirrors or other glass that remained unbroken. Burhan Ahmed Ali, 21, a laborer, said, "The mujaheddin shot those two cars and killed everybody. . . .

"If you go to the bridge, you will find them hanging there, just like slaughtered sheep."

Saad Salim, a 16-year-old who was standing nearby, pointed upward. A severed right leg had been attached to a brick with some string and was suspended from a power line that spanned the street, hanging above the concrete median. "They cut off his leg and threw it up there," Salim said.

Several blocks away, on the east side of the Euphrates next to the older of two bridges spanning the river, two bodies lay on the ground. "They hung those two bodies for a long time, and there was dancing and cheering," said Ghanem Khuweilid Halbusi, 33, who sells cigarettes near the bridge. "They were throwing stones and beating them with sticks." Then the bodies were cut down, placed atop a pile of tires and set afire, he said.

At about 2 p.m., a cart pulled by a gray donkey dragged the corpses back from the riverbank. Three men sat atop the wooden carriage. One wore a yellow T-shirt with black stripes and black trousers and carried a knife in his hand. The second wore a white shirt and a red-and-white kaffiyeh, or head scarf, which he removed during the procession. The third man used a long piece of plastic to prod the donkey.

About 70 people followed the cart, shouting "shwaretek" -- a word in colloquial Iraqi Arabic that is used to question someone's nerve.

"What makes you come here, Bush, and mess with the people of Fallujah?" they chanted.

The cart traveled back toward the scene of the attack, then eastward on Highway 10, the four-lane main road through town, dropping the corpses in front of the municipal building. A short while later, a man driving a battered white Toyota Corona attached the corpses to his rear bumper and drove away.

Since the invasion of Iraq a year ago, Fallujah has been the scene of seemingly countless attacks on occupation troops and civilians. U.S. soldiers and Marines have killed Iraqis; Iraqis have killed Americans and their supporters. On Wednesday, no one was more frank about the city's volatility than local police officials. But even after months of frequent bloodshed, many residents said they were unprepared for the brutality that erupted on Wednesday. Some invoked the concept of haram, acts prohibited by Islam.

"They really shouldn't do this to the bodies," said Jamal Mehsen, 18, a student carrying a book in his arm and a blue pen in his shirt pocket. "It's religious sin to do this to the bodies after they killed them. . . . It's disgusting."

Throughout the day, people anticipated a clash between the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force, which formally took control of western Iraq last week, and the insurgents believed to permeate the city's crowded alleyways and cramped buildings.

Halbusi, the vendor, said he feared vengeance. "If the Americans come and see those people, they will kill everyone here," he said. "It's too dangerous." Then he walked quickly away.

By nightfall, however, the Marines had not entered Fallujah to retrieve the civilians' bodies. "It will be better for them to send either some of the tribal leaders or the police to get the bodies back to the base, instead of coming in here," said Ahmed Salaam, 21, who was selling refreshments from a sidewalk stand near the eastern edge of the town.

I believe certain that if these four American dead were active duty US personnel we certainly would see some kind of overreaction by US troops. As it currently is unclear as to who these men really worked for, there is no way to state for certain that some kind of reprisal isn't in the works.

But the more important point is that the American people aren't getting the message that the Occupation of Iraq isn't the bed of roses it was portrayed to be as the invasion began. They aren't getting the message that the Iraqi people do not see us as liberators, but as invaders, even though this article was published in the Chicago Tribune, hardly a lib'rul rag. The Trib holds a great deal of gravitas, as demonstrated during Watergate when Richard Nixon resigned within days of the Trib coming out for is impeachment.

In the face of such gravitas, it should be convincing to conservatives that Iraq is not as the Bush (mis)Administration claims. If, as George Warmonger Bush likes to claim, "it's your money" one would think that fiscal conservatives would want the best possible return on their investment in the investment of Iraq. But with growing evidence that Iraq is about to explode, like too many of us have warned for too long without heed, this can't be good for the bottom line. If the Iraq Occupation was a stock, the sell orders would be piling up on the brokers' desks.

George Warmonger Bush promised us an "eternal war". There were early signs, such as the events in Iraq which coincided with his grandstanding strut on the flight deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln, which should have been a warning, but we as a nation chose to ignore them. Hadn't our 'Commander-in-Chief' stated 'Mission accomplished'?

Maybe the 'mission' was exactly as claimed - starting the eternal war. Halliburton isn't complaining, and I think we could make the case that the Carlyle Group isn't either.

These warning signs, including the horrible acts by some of the people in Fallujah, continue to shout that things are not as they are billed to be, and STILL Bush maintains fairly high approval ratings for his conduct of the War on Terra in the polls. What is it going to take to wake the American people?

As one of my Orange County (CA) Republican coworkers said just yesterday, "Bush gets blamed for everything. Don't people remember 9/11?" as if that justifies everything. 9/11 is intended to erase any liability for BushCo failing to defend the country against the attacks in the first place, as Richard Clarke recently testified. (This just in - THEY KNEW!) It is intended to justify the incredible fiscal deficits which are being increased daily. It is supposed to soothe our worried civil libertarian souls that the Patriot Act is defending us from terror. It is supposed to ease the pain of millions of jobs disappearing into the BFEE/PNAC New Multinational Corporate World Order through the Race to the Bottom. 9/11 is the justification for every predation upon the American people, world peace and freedom, the world economy, and the entire environment that BushCo has committed. And, as the polls indicate, We, the Sheeple believe this to be so.

We as a nation don't remember Gold Star Mothers, or why they were so called. Is it going to take the sight of streets-full of Gold Stars in the windows of homes to drive home the fact that war is NOT merely a game of Castle Wolfenstein?

We don't remember that during one of the last televised press briefings Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf was allowed to give during Desert Storm he said that "It's no video game out there. People are dying." He states in this interview that "war is not a Nintendo game, war is not something that's fought by robots." As of January of 2003, even before the latest assault upon world peace, Schwarzkopf reminds us that he still knows what a horror war is.

At the rate we are going, the American people will again know as well. Soon.

pessimist :: 9:24 PM :: Comments (0) :: Digg It!