Marc Ash: At War
By Marc Ash
t r u t h o u t | Perspective
Friday 02 July 2004
''Mr. President, Iraq is sovereign.''
With a simple handwritten note, national security advisor Condoleezza Rice made her bid to author one of the biggest and most brazen lies of our lifetimes. No, Iraq is not sovereign, far from it.
Iraq today remains occupied by a large, primarily US, military force of nearly 150,000. The presence of a foreign army is without popular support from the Iraqi people. Far from being embraced, the occupation has given rise to a local resistance prepared to give their lives to drive those they view as invaders from their homeland. In the 48 hours since Rice penned her note to Bush, four American soldiers have lost their lives and at least eleven more have been wounded.
A massive dis-information campaign has been waged in the US to convince the public that "Iraqis" now control their own fate. But the reality is that the Bush administration has hastily authorized our military to recall thousands of recently discharged veterans in an attempt to bolster an occupying force faced with fierce resistance.
The hasty Saigon-style exit of US overseer L. Paul Bremer III may not have been an escape, but it looked like one. Bremer's departure did however serve to draw attention away from the arrival of his replacement. The new American "Ambassador" to Iraq, John D. Negroponte, arrived almost without mention, a "diplomatic" force 1,700 strong in tow. If you have any misconceptions about Negroponte's mission in Iraq being a diplomatic one, put them to rest now. Mr. Negroponte's specialty is not diplomacy, it is mass graves. As US Ambassador to Honduras during the Reagan administration, he was the Iran-Contra point man in the region.
In 1984 the Reagan administration's plan to ignore the will of Congress and crush the duly elected Sandinista government in Nicaragua was in full swing. Money was coming in from the sale of arms to Iran, the CIA was training death squads to kill anyone who opposed the Reagan agenda, and someone had to coordinate those efforts. That someone was John D. Negroponte.
Specifically, Negroponte is charged by human rights groups with running political cover for the CIA sponsored Honduran Intelligence Battalion 3-16. Battalion 3-16, led by General Luis Alonso Discua Elvir, a graduate of the School of the Americas, was directly responsible for the disappearance of thousands of Nicaraguans who did nothing more than resist a foreign overthrow of their chosen leaders.
Fast forward, Iraq 2004. Newly US-appointed interim Prime Minister Iyad Allawi is a CIA favorite and has vowed to "crush" the resistance. John D. Negroponte arrives in the nick of time to play the role of Ambassador, and all players are in place. Yes, Abu Ghraib was bad, but what's coming could easily be far worse.
The elaborate and expensive "Iraqi Rule" charade is a made-for-American-TV production being thrown together literally on an hour-to-hour basis. The parading of former Iraqi ruler Saddam Hussein provides vivid insight into the desperate, even frantic, bid to maintain a veneer of order in the eyes of US voters.
With mind-boggling, chorus-line precision, every major corporate news agency in the US shouted, in unison, on cue: "Legal Custody of Saddam Transferred to Iraqis." For the record, Saddam is under US military armed guard now and will be until he dies. The rest of it is 100% grade-A, all-American bovine feces. Although it should be noted that the nephew of accused Iranian spy Ahmed Chalabi, Salem Chalabi, has been cast in the role of Judge in Saddam's made-for-TV trial: that should prove interesting.
It is difficult to imagine how Saddam Hussein can get anything approaching a fair trial. His testimony would be an embarrassment to the current occupants of the White House who for so long funded and supplied him, benefiting from his repression of true Iraqi interests. All this knowing well the scope of his crimes. So, once again, it's the all too familiar, rock-and-hard-place scenario.
No, Iraq is not sovereign, not by a long shot, and there isn't anyone in Washington that wants it to be anytime soon. No one knows that better that than those telling the lie. No, there is no multi-national force. It's George W. Bush in control of the US military and his cronies reaping the profits.
Lost in all this are those who pay the price of war, those whose lives are torn apart or ended and forgotten. When all the money has been made, and deposited, and spent, who will remember those who carried the rifle or lost the leg? When we leave Mesopotamia, and we will, who will think of the child crushed beneath the wheel of greed?
You can send comments to t r u t h o u t Executive Director Marc Ash at: firstname.lastname@example.org.