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The Splendid Failure of Occupation Last Updated: Jan 4th, 2007 - 01:08:31

Part 37: Iraq, America�s Lab of Horror
By B. J. Sabri
Online Journal Contributing Writer

Oct 26, 2005, 16:14

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�In a separate incident, the US forces fired at a group of bricklayers at about 5:30 a.m. (0130 GMT) in Alawi district in central Baghdad, wounding 26 of them, the source said. The U.S. troops told the Iraqi police that they had shot at "terrorists." "But when our patrols reached the scene they discovered the wounded people were bricklayers who left home early looking for work," the source said.�The Chinese People's Daily Online [Italics added]

It took a suspicious event (9/11), two brutal wars of aggression (Afghanistan and Iraq), and a hurricane (Katrina) to permanently unmask the nature, objectives, and ideology of U.S. imperialism. But Katrina, with the devastation it left behind, exposed at least two fundamental articles of truth about a braggart superpower that is inexorably sliding toward institutionalized fascism:

  1. The magnitude and deep entrenchment of U.S. domestic racism coupled with the manifest poverty that pervades a sampling of U.S. urban centers.
  2. The impotence of U.S. ruling classes to assist thousands of stricken citizens; which forces us to note that, while those classes demonstrated an astounding alacrity in financing and preparing military expeditions against defenseless nations, they lacked the political and material means to confront the immediate aftermath of a hurricane.

In short, while Katrina exposed the domestic nature of the American system, U.S. wars against Afghanistan and Iraq, denuded the Zionist ideology of the United States and its master plan to rule the planet.

Figuratively, both wars removed the proverbial fig leaf from the U.S. mythologies of ��bber-system� and its �idealistic� pretensions. And, with their known aberration (examples: Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib), both wars proved that the United States is determined to impose its imperialist Order through military power, destruction, bestiality, and the subversion of elementary human values. However, the fact that the United States has stooped so low to expand its order, decisively demonstrates that, if a state cherishes violence as a means toward unopposed hegemonic order, that state has reached, necessarily, either the apex of its power or the nadir of its existence as a system.

Explanation: (1) violence by power erodes that power from inside, since it unleashes counter violence domestically and internationally, and (2) a system cannot subsist forever on violence while it remains unconcerned about its future implications: reversal of fortune is a historical if not epistemological fact. In both cases, ineluctable decline ensues.

More than any event in the long, blood-drenched U.S. colonialist history, Iraq uncovered what is terminally rotten with the United States, its military and political doctrines, supremacist culture, and its imperialist economic motivations. Beyond that, Iraq re-opened the entire chapters of U.S. colonialism, imperialism, and atrocities, from the near extermination of the Original Peoples to the present time, and moved them out from dusty archives to the foreground. In the end, Iraq will remain forever another testimony for a colonialist-imperialist system reared in violence and racist arrogance.

The question is, why did the president of the United States destroy Iraq, fill it with death, disease, and force over 200,000 refugees (Anbar Province, western Iraq) to leave their cities for tent-cities, so the United States can bomb their homes under the pretext they shelter �terrorists?�

There is only one truth about Bush and Iraq�he destroyed it, land and people, to conquer it for Israel, world and U.S. Zionism, born-again Christians, and, of course, for American imperialist interests. Everything else that Bush, Cheney, and other vicious colonialist figures have said about Iraq, so far, has become unrecyclable fetid garbage floating on the blas� American collective conscious.

Thomas R. Pickering and James R. Schlesinger of the empire-builder Council on Foreign Relations briefly but unequivocally detailed a few limited aspects of that truth. In their article Keep Iraq above politics, dated March 30, 2004, they reformulated what every American imperialist has been saying in countless ways: The United States wants to colonize Iraq�period. Following are the key points noted in that article:

  • But no matter how much they differ [Referring to Bush and Kerry] over past decisions, they must not lose sight of our critical national interests in postwar Iraq in the years ahead.
  • The United States has no alternative to remaining deeply engaged in Iraq. Failure to do so would ensure continued civil conflict and risk intervention and competition for influence among Iraq's neighbors. It could lead to long-term instability in the production and supply of oil.
  • Disengagement from Iraq would also represent a monumental policy failure for the United States, with an attendant loss of U.S. credibility, power and influence in the region and the world.
  • It is crucial that Iraqis have confidence that the United States truly intends to stay the course.
  • Bush and Kerry must reaffirm their willingness to sustain our financial and military commitment and to enhance the American performance on important security, political and economic assistance issues in the months and years ahead. In so doing, the United States will sustain its vital national security interests and keep faith with the Iraqi people. [Italics added]


  1. Critical national interests in postwar Iraq in the years ahead, means that the U.S. went to war, exclusively to carry out the implementation of those predetermined interests and have even allocated a timeframe for them: years ahead. This means colonization requires time.
  2. The United States has no alternative to remaining deeply engaged in Iraq, means that the United States is firmly committed to colonize Iraq.
  3. The statement, �It could lead to long-term instability in the production and supply of oil," is a major factor for the U.S.'s willful war against Iraq. Pickering and Schlesinger, however, omitted three facts: First, since the discovery of oil in the Middle East, no power except the U.S. and other western powers have ever controlled oil production and supply. Second, the U.S. has always sought to keep oil out of the control of the national governments of the region. Three, the U.S. is the major shareholder of ARAMCO and other oil concerns in the Gulf States. Therefore, there is no threat to oil supplies except by the interference of western powers, and Israeli wars and plans for the region through its U.S. proxy.
  4. As for the Iraqis �to have confidence that the U.S. truly intends to stay course," that is trivial propaganda. Whether the Iraqis have confidence or not, makes no difference since the United States is thinking in terms of �years ahead� regardless of objective conditions or the thinking of the Iraqis.
  5. �To sustain our national commitment�: this is equivalent to, �to sustain the commitment of the ruling class to occupy Iraq for the reasons reported in 1, 2, 3, and 4.
  6. Notice that the authors, this time, dispensed with concepts such as �freedom and the building of �democracy," and directly went to the bottom line of the American expedition, as when they wrote, �The United States will sustain its vital national security interests and keep faith with the Iraqi people." In this equation, the authors juxtaposed U.S. �vital national interests� to �keeping faith with the Iraqis." What faith did Pickering and Schlesinger have in mind? Was it Iraqis� faith in the U.S. �vital national interests," or in the enterprise to accomplish them as the occupation continues? And where is the objective for democracy except an American written Iraqi �constitution� to safeguard the post-occupation reality?

Briefly, starting on August 2, 1990, it took the United States 13 years to reach the point at which Pickering and Schlesinger were able to announce the next stages of the long-planned conquest of Iraq. In fact, from the Iraq invasion of Kuwait, to the American invasion of Iraq, up to the present, the United States' actions in Iraq have been one seamless operation to implement what Pickering and Schlesinger called: � critical national interests in postwar Iraq in the years ahead," and what Bush keeps calling �our mission in Iraq."

Irrefutably, the motives for U.S. wars against Iraq were never in relation to the invasion of Kuwait, never for peace and stability in the region or breach of international law. For instance, all of American-financed Israeli wars against the Arabs have been threatening the peace and stability and breaking international law since the installation of the Zionist state in 1948, but Washington never protested. And when Iraq invaded Iran with U.S. complicity and promise of support, Washington did not consider that invasion a threat to peace and stability. Now behold, when Iraq invaded Kuwait, an invasion that Washington supported to entrap Iraq, Iraq suddenly became a threat to peace and stability. In the end, and as a hypothesis: had Israel invaded Kuwait, Iraq, or Saudi Arabia, U.S. politicians would have certainly, applauded. . . .

Nor were U.S. wars against Iraq in relation to Iraq developing nuclear technology or WMD. The fact that India and Israel have nuclear weapons does not bother Wolfowitz, Perle, William Safire, and Richard Armitage, but if an Arab or Islamic country seeks or has nuclear technology (Pakistan for example) that country becomes a target for invasion (Pakistan is not in imminent danger, since now it is a U.S. ally). My position regarding the issue of nuclear weapons and technology is unequivocal despite expected objections: the ownership and development of nuclear science and technology including the building of nuclear bombs is not and must not be the exclusive monopoly of the west, Israel, Pakistan, India, China, and Russia. (This is especially true and necessary in a world filled with imperialist vultures and nation destroyers. If any nuclear nation has the audacity to denounce the immorality of weapons of mass destruction, it must be the first one to get rid of them.)

U.S. wars against Iraq were never in relation to the so-called Saddam�s atrocities, which, incidentally, no one knows what they are exactly except that Saddam terrorized his people. There is no dispute on the despotic nature of the Saddam regime. But if we exclude Saddam�s war against Iran and his invasion of Kuwait (wars generate atrocity, but atrocities are not an act of war) what remains out of the atrocity concept was a political system that did not tolerate dissention and persecuted its political opponents without mercy. This is common, to varying degrees, to countless existing political systems in the world including the United States and its current colonialist regime in Iraq where all those who oppose the occupation are touted as �terrorist.�

Moreover, if the purpose of the invasion of Iraq is to replace a local dictatorship with a colonialist dictatorship, then there is no contest: local dictatorship is the best choice. In fairness to the Iraqi local dictatorship, it did not destroy its own cities, it did not bomb water and electric stations, it did not put over 18,000 Iraqis in concentration camps, it did not reduce Iraqi heritage to rubble, and it did not institute prison tortures, Abu Ghraib style. It is a verified fact that U.S. atrocities in Iraq since the occupation exceeded in scale and meaning all petty atrocities that Iraq�s local tyranny committed in four decades.

Not even Saddam�s government attack against separatist Iraqi Kurds is different from any other similar situations that existed in the world yesterday, as in the case of the U.S. federal government war against the separatist southern states. Or in the world today, as in the case of Russia�s war against Chechnya, Turkey against separatist Kurds, and Sri Lanka against separatist Tamil.

Domestic Iraqi policies did not motivate the U.S. occupation of Iraq�imperialist motives did. Indeed, the United States has been planning and preparing to conquer Iraq and the Arab Middle East in Western Asia since Truman. The Iraqi Revolution of 1958 that abolished the British-imposed monarchy and opened diplomatic relations with the Soviet Union had accelerated the strategic thinking of U.S. imperialist circles.

To execute that plan and conquer Iraq in stages beginning with the historical opportunity offered by the imminent collapse of the USSR, three American administrations have transformed Iraq from an advanced, rich, and developing country into a poor and desolate one, and a lab of horror for imperialist engineering. Four periods mark this transformation:

The Period, August 2, 1990 - January 16, 1991:

  • On August 2, 1990, Iraq invaded Kuwait consequent to legitimate grievances with Kuwait (a former Iraqi territory granted independence by colonialist Britain in 1961, which, after a 50-year long claim, Iraq accepted in 1963) and resulting from the U.S. war on Iran by the Iraqi proxy of which Kuwait and Saudi Arabia were among the top financiers. That dispute, however, did not justify in any way the Iraqi aggression against Kuwait, despite the fact that Washington instigated the Kuwait intransigence to provoke Iraq into to making the fatal move by invading Kuwait. For the record, Kuwait was stealing Iraqi oil through cross drilling, and was flooding the oil markets with production out of its OPEC quota to drive the price of oil down, thus impeding Iraq�s recovery (an American plan) from its war with Iran.
  • The idea that the United States entrapped Iraq to invade Kuwait rests on solid foundation. On July 19, 1990, U.S. intelligence was aware that Iraq was about to invade Kuwait. The Defense Intelligence Agency�s Walter P. Lang saw the satellite images of Iraqi tank formations moving toward and amassing around the Kuwaiti Iraqi borders and knew that Iraq was about to invade Kuwait. [Bob Woodward, The Commanders, Simon & Schuster, 1991, chapter 17, page 205.]
  • The entrapment paradigm was not theory but fact. From July 19 until August 2 of 1990, the United States quietly allowed Iraq to build up its forces in preparation for the invasion and never warned Iraq that it would respond militarily should it invade Kuwait. The paradigm acquires irrefutable certainty consequent to the meeting between President Saddam Hussein and April Glaspie, then U.S. ambassador to Iraq, on July 25, 1990, only seven days before the invasion (read transcript.)
  • In that meeting, Glaspie unequivocally told the Iraqi president, �We [the United States] have no opinion on your Arab - Arab conflicts, such as your dispute with Kuwait. Secretary [of State James] Baker has directed me to emphasize the instruction, first given to Iraq in the 1960s, that the Kuwait issue is not associated with America.� [Italics added]. Having received that assurance, Iraq invaded Kuwait.
  • On August 6, 1990, not even hours into the invasion, a Security Council dominated by three imperialist states: United States, Britain, and France; a dying Soviet Union in transition to the imperialist camp, and an opportunist China that abstained, imposed total blockade and comprehensive trade sanctions to force Iraq to withdraw from Kuwait. Keep in mind that no one moved to impose sanctions of any sort on Israel for its occupation of the whole of Palestine, the Syrian Golan Heights, or its invasion of Lebanon.
  • The following episode is the final proof that the United States was aiming for war against Iraq at any cost. On August 3, 1990, President Saddam Hussein told King Hussein of Jordan that he would attend a mini-summit in Jeddah (Saudi Arabia) with King Fahd and the Emir of Kuwait to resolve the issue and that Iraq will withdraw its forces on August 5. The U.S. forced Saudi Arabia to cancel the meeting, ordered the Arab League through their marionette, Egypt, to condemn Iraq against the statute of the league requiring unanimity on the vote (seven states voted against). Earlier, on August 3, Iraq had threatened that if the League were to condemn Iraq, Iraq would annex Kuwait. The U.S. knew this private information from Mubarak of Egypt. Thus the sabotage of the summit was a very precise move, aimed at forcing a resolute Iraqi president to annex Kuwait, thus creating the objective conditions to build up the successive moves for war against Iraq [Pierre Salinger, Secret Dossier: The Hidden Agenda Behind the Gulf War, Penguin Books, 1991, Chapter 6, page 94]
  • Consequently, the unprecedented and prompt impositions of trade sanctions, coupled with the deliberation of Arab servants of the United States, were, per se, sufficient to stiffen Iraqi positions. With sanctions imposed immediately, with British and American fleets heading for the region, and with all threats to decapitate Iraq as a state (Air Force Gen. Michel Dugan, threatened to return Iraq to the �stone age") Iraqi president, Saddam Hussein became adamant about not relinquishing Kuwait.
  • Determined to keep its thrust for war, the United States refused all proposals advanced by Iraq for political settlement. One such proposal posited that Iraq would withdraw its forces from Kuwait, if Israel withdraws from the Arab lands it occupied in 1967. The U.S. and its Arab lackeys refused this important proposal.
  • To increase the pressure on Iraq for a military confrontation, the United States took advantage from Iraq sealing its borders in expectation of an American attack and insinuated Iraq took American hostages. But when Iraq allowed all foreigners to leave Iraq, the U.S. claimed it was a propaganda gesture.
  • During the political stalemate and up until Operation Desert Slaughter [Desert Storm], Iraqis could not import medicine and food (although the UN excluded these two items from its embargo, medicine and food could not reach Iraq via the ban on travel), machinery and spare parts, school supplies, etc. In addition, the U.S. seized or froze all of Iraq�s financial assets abroad. On top of all that, the U.S. imposed a total air and land travel ban, from and into Iraq.
  • It is vital to note that that in its entire history, the UN never adopted such harsh measures in the past against any nation deemed aggressor. For instance, when Iraq invaded Iran, the UN and the U.S. just issued calls to stop the fighting, but Henry Kissinger formulated U.S. thought clearly. He said, �It is in our interest that they bleed each other to death.� Also, when Israel invaded Lebanon; the USSR, Czechoslovakia and later Afghanistan; China, Tibet (despite the fact that Tibet, historically, is Chinese territory); or when the United States invaded Panama, and now Iraq, the UN imperialist system did not move a finger.
  • There are no accurate statistics on how many elderly and sick people have perished in Iraq because of lack of medicine or medical care during the political standoff before the �Gulf War." But the one thing certain about that period is, as a developing country, Iraq ceased to develop . . .

In the ensuing parts, I shall discuss three consecutive periods in the history of the American lab of horror in Iraq: (1) from the beginning to the end of the Gulf War, (2) from the end of that war until the eve of the U.S. invasion, and (3) from the invasion until present.

Next: Part 38: Inside America�s Iraqi Lab of horror

B. J. Sabri is an Iraqi American antiwar activist. Email:

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