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Why We (US) Should Get Out of Iraq ASAP

by Sanderson Beck

Most unbiased, well educated people would agree with United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan that the 2003 invasion of Iraq by the US, UK, and their accomplices was not authorized by the United Nations and was illegal. The continuing military occupation of Iraq is thus illegitimate and has turned that country into a deadly war zone. Like Vietnam in the 1960s, Iraq is now a bloody civil war with the superpowerful United States supporting a puppet government on one side that by this imperial combination opposes true self-determination. To justify this blatant attempt to control the oil fields of Iraq with the rhetoric of democracy is obviously propaganda. Democracy means self-determination and cannot be forced on another country by military power. Other words better describe that approach. As I told Judge Patrick Walsh during my trial for protesting the invasion of Iraq, more people are beginning to use the f-word, and the f-word is fascism. This combination of patriotic nationalism, aggressive militarism that invades other countries, supported by and for the advantage of corporate capitalists, using a constant bombardment of lies and propaganda offers future historians another textbook example that is more subtle and more powerful than the fascism of the Germans, Italians, and Japanese in the 1930s.

As soon as the US forces invaded Iraq, they began the process of privatizing what had been a socialist Iraq. Although President George W. Bush said that the oil would be turned over to the Iraqi people, his credibility on this promise is questionable, especially because he has implied that revenues from Iraqi oil could be used to pay for US expenses in Iraq. This Iraq War has already cost the United States more than $400 billion, nearly 4,000 lives, and about 30,000 wounded. The number of Iraqis killed since the March 2003 invasion has been scientifically estimated to be more than a half million. The psychological damage on Americans is incalculable, and the loss of moral crediblity of America in world opinion is substantial.

In May 2003 a decision was made to disband the Ba'athist government of mostly Sunnis and the armed forces that were loyal to that regime, probably based on the calculation that elections would bring to power their religious adversaries, the majority Shi'a. This well known imperialist method of divide and rule caused chaos in the country and immediately brought about a growing insurgency and civil war. The US-led Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) tried to govern Iraq, and on June 28, 2004 appointed the former CIA employee Iyad Allawi as a puppet prime minister. The Sunnis boycotted the elections of January 2005 which were won by the Shi'a and the Kurds, who have been allowed to govern in northern Iraq.

Currently the US is trying to train and equip a new Iraqi army to fight the insurgency so that the US can withdraw. The problem with this strategy is that this makes that regime a client state of the US, and the likely scenario is that the US will continue to give them military aid, will maintain military bases in Iraq, and thus will be in a position to dominate Iraq's economy. As in the Vietnam War, this puts the US against those who are struggling against an imperial power for self-determination. Thus the civil war is likely to drag on even as the US tries to gradually withdraw forces in an "Iraqization" (recall Vietnamization) of the war. The fundamental injustice of the US trying to use military force to dominate the oil resources of the region is ethically unsupportable and can never permanently stand. As long as Iraqis are willing to fight for their own independence, it is only a question of how much more suffering must occur before the US realizes it cannot dominate another country and completely withdraws.

Thus the wisest course of action now and in the future (for as long as the stupid policy continues) is for the US and UK to admit they made a mistake and de-escalate the conflict by removing their own forces and weapons to truly disarm Iraq as they are replaced by UN Peacekeeping contingents from other countries. The United Nations Security Council could authorize such a neutral force that could legitimately help protect the democratic processes of writing a constitution and holding new elections. As with the American-Vietnam War, the longer the US continues its wrong-headed militaristic policy the worse it will be for US personnel, for the Iraqis, and for the world. The situation in Afghanistan is similar, and the US should pull its forces out of that country also.

This has been published in the book PEACE OR BUST. For ordering information, please click here.

Sanderson Beck has written many books including the ETHICS OF CIVILIZATION (6 volumes), History of Peace (2 volumes), BEST FOR ALL: How We Can Save the World and the Nonviolent Action Handbook.

Copyright © 2005-2008 by Sanderson Beck

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