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

Part 38: Inside America's lab of horror
By B. J. Sabri
Online Journal Contributing Writer

Nov 9, 2005, 00:45

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"Iraq is free of rape rooms and torture chambers."--President Bush, remarks to Republican National Committee Presidential Gala, Oct. 8, 2003

"Abuse of prisoners was abhorrent and "does not represent the America that I know."--President Bush referring to American rape rooms and torture chambers in Abu Ghraib prison; interviews with two Arab satellite news channels, al-Arabiya and al-Hurra; May 5, 2004.

In December 1990, The Village Voice published a long detailed article on the American entrapment of Iraq in Kuwait. The article described the coordination between the Kuwaiti government with the CIA, James Baker, and the Bush family (Neil Bush had interests in Bahraini oil deals, and oil exploration in the Persian Gulf) to provoke Iraq into attacking Kuwait.

Background: Iraq charged Kuwait with stealing oil through slanted drilling from the Rumailah oil fields situated in Iraq. As a counter-charge, the Kuwaitis threatened that if Iraq attacks Kuwait, Kuwait would, "Call in the Americans."

The American involvement in the Iraqi-Kuwaiti dispute was a masterpiece of double deception. As the United States was telling the Kuwaitis to defy Iraq and not negotiate a solution, it was also assuring the Iraqis that is was neutral on Arab-Arab disputes. Saddam Hussein himself confirmed the American duplicity at the onset of the bombardment of Iraq with a famous exclamation that no one reported in the Western media. Said Hussein: "Laghad ghadara al-ghadiroon," translation: "the treacherous [meaning the United States] betrayed us."

In part 37, I called those events and the political standoff that followed the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait until the Gulf War as the first stage of the American conquest of Iraq. Considering those events, that invasion was a monumental American success in the strategy to (1) station American forces in the oil-producing Persian Gulf region, and (2) wage war on Iraq to eliminate a major Arab antagonist to Israel after the surrender of Egypt in 1978. (The Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz described the role of Israel in the war against Iraq by writing, "The Jewish lobbyists in the USA are deeply involved in the propaganda work promoting a war against Iraq.") [Editorial, January 13, 1990]

But the most ambitious item of that strategy was the long-term planning to conquer the country (Iraq) with the second largest oil reserves on earth. My statement of Iraq's conquest by stages is accurate. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, no other military power could hinder the march of the United States toward an absolutist imperium through the control of strategic regions and resources.

To restart colonialism, however, the United States proceeded by escalation beginning with the threat of war against Yugoslavia over Kosovo to test Russia's reaction. Once Russia assented by withholding support to Yugoslavia and abstaining from employing deterrence, the United States attacked Yugoslavia.

Because analytical history as used in this series is not about chronology, but rather the ideologies, mass movements, political-economic antagonism or collusions among states, and the motives that make that history, I have to introduce the second stage of Iraq's conquest by reprising for a moment my discussion on Thomas R. Pickering and James R. Schlesinger. In their article, "Keep Iraq above politics," Pickering (ambassador to the U.N. during the presidency of George H. Bush) and Schlesinger (1973-74 secretary of defense to Nixon and Ford) stated, "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."

In doing so, they (1) proposed to remove the Iraqi question from any possible democratic debate during the election, (2) made of it an exclusive affair of the imperialist circles, but not of the American people, and (3) defined the timeframe for the re-engineering of Iraq to serve, among other things, U.S. oil objectives and "national interests."

Beyond that, they employed the term "postwar" (as in postwar Iraq) without referring to the conditions that created it, and the conditions that war is leaving behind. Pickering and Schlesinger, naturally, discarded everything else about the war on Iraq, but singled out the only thing that matters to imperialism: a postwar reality that would allow the United States to implement a "national Interests" project in the "years ahead."

While the preceding statement is the co-primary catalyst (the other Israel's agenda) for the U.S. war and the occupation of Iraq, other U.S. imperialists take that motive, empty it from its content, and relate it to a different subject. The following is a limited sampling of apparent motives:

We will stay on the offense. We'll complete our work in Afghanistan and Iraq. An immediate withdrawal of our troops in Iraq, or the broader Middle East, as some have called for, would only embolden the terrorists and create a staging ground to launch more attacks against America and free nations. So long as I'm the president, we will stay, we will fight, and we will win the war on terror." [President Bush, addressing National Guards and Reserves Idaho on August 24, 2005] [Source] [Italics added].

Did Bush mean what he said? Yes, but only as it applies to the intent of continuing to occupy Iraq--the rest is rhetorical rubbish.

However, Robert H. Reid of the imperialist news agency, the Associated Press, privy to the scope of Pickering, Schlesinger, and Bush, contradicted all of them by further separating the issue of unstated colonialism from the presence of U.S. troops in Iraq. He recast the issue in a new dimension by inventing a tale with which he hoped to create a different impression on the scope of the U.S. presence in Iraq. He wrote:

After freeing the hostage and capturing two militants, the Shiite militiamen were ambushed by the Sunnis on their way out of the religiously mixed town, al-Husseini said. Police Lt. Thair Mahmoud said 14 others--12 militiamen and two policemen--were wounded. The incident underscores tensions among hard-line elements in Iraq's rival religious and ethnic communities at a time when the United States is struggling to promote a political process seen as key to calming the insurgency so that U.S. and other foreign troops can go home. [Source]

Reid depicted the U.S. war and entrenchment in Iraq as if it were a mission to promote a "Political process seen as a key to calming the insurgency so that the U.S. and other foreign troops can go home." The question is, based on what research can Reid be so sure that promoting an Iraqi "political process" at the service of the occupation regime has a calming effect (read: tranquilizer) on the anti-occupation resistance? Reid was shrewd. He separated the strategic decision to occupy Iraq from its imperialistic reality, and then assigned an altruistic explanation to the continuing occupation as exemplified by the phrase, "to promote a political process . . ."

To amplify Reid's insinuation (published on October 27, 2005) that "U.S. troops would go after the so-called promotion of a political process," the Associated Press reprised its campaign of deception through the pen of another staff writer, Thomas Wagner, who repeated Reid's words, almost verbatim. On October 29, 2005, Wagner writing from Baghdad stated:

On Friday, the deadline for candidates to file, a Sunni Arab coalition submitted its list of names, signaling greater Sunni participation in a process Washington hopes will help speed the day when U.S. troops can go home.[ Source] [Italics added]

Wagner added two new elements: (1) that the departure (going home) of the occupying forces is what Washington hopes for, and (2) he qualified the time for that "going home" as in, "one day." Reid and Wagner illustrate two things. First, the amalgamation between the system and its means of communication, and second, a flagrant element of deception: Wagner's statement, ". . . . U.S. can go home one day" is an open-end supposition that, anyway, contradicts Reid's categorical, "So U.S. and other foreign troops can go home."

Which version is correct?

The answer is neither. But we can deduce the true status of intention by different means: the near completion of 14 permanent military bases built across Iraq. This how it works: if 3,000-4,000 military personnel would populate each base, the total would be between 42,000-56,000 individuals. This number would probably be the size of what would remain from the original colonialist expedition of the United Sates should it decide to "go home." A size that is sufficient to embed U.S. presence in Iraq for decades to come.

Although U.S. politicians never talk about these military bases, the strategy is clear: Iraqification of the American occupation force by "Iraqi laws" written by the United States. . . . And with this outdated stratagem, the U.S. is hoping to conquer Iraq.

While Bush kept moving inside his vacuous rhetoric, Pickering and Schlesinger outlined a very specific agenda of U.S. imperialist aims in Iraq. As for Reid and Wagner: both are insidious voices of trickery. For instance, Reid was categorical that Sunnis attacked Shiites. How did he know that? Since Sunnism is only an Islamic school of thought, do Sunnis then wear insignias signaling they are Sunnis? Or did those Sunnis go to American journalists and tell them: Yes, we are Sunnis and we attack Shiites!

To recapitulate, the conquest of Iraq followed an experimented practice of colonialism: capitalize on circumstances to conquer by stages. Within this design, the period from the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait (August 2, 1990) until the eve of the American attack against Iraq (January 17, 1991) was only the beginning of a long road to conquest. The next period, which began with the military operations against Iraq, otherwise called, "Operation Desert Storm," is when the U.S. sealed Iraq's fate and prepared it for invasion 12 years later.

The Period, January 17, 1991-March 28, 1991

Nothing is more direct than the House Committee on Armed Services (then chaired by Les Aspen) in communicating the strategic scope of the Gulf War. In its memorandum dated March 30, 1992, and entitled: Defense For A New Era: Lessons of the Gulf War, the Committee declares, a posteriori, the "marvelous" conditions that allowed the United States to slaughter hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, undisturbed:

Desert Storm was the perfect war with the perfect enemy. The enemy leader was universally despised and his troops offered very little resistance. We had the perfect coalition, the perfect infrastructure and the perfect battlefield. We should be careful about the lessons we draw from the war. [Source] [Italics added]

With this disposition to wage a war of unprecedented destructiveness against a developing country, the United States restarted its colonialist march against the people of Iraq who now replaced the Original Peoples of the U.S., Hawaiians, Filipinos, and Alaskans, as a target for conquest.

  • On January 17, 1991, a military coalition of 34 countries (90 percent of which were American forces thus making the first U.S. war against Iraq an entirely American operation) arrayed against Iraq, attacked it for a full 42 days around the clock with massive aerial bombardment, followed by 100 hours of turkey shooting called, "ground war."
  • For a U.S. that was preparing for war with the Soviet Unions since the end of WW2, Iraq was the perfect opportunity and a substitute to test advanced weapons. These included Tomahawk missiles (used for the first time in U.S. wars), firebombs, oxygen-sucking bombs, napalm, stealth bombers (already experimentally used in the invasion of Panama), active uranium shells (used in battle for the first time).
  • To test their theory on a war won totally by air power, U.S. generals bombed Iraq to oblivion, not only through advanced aviation but also by the Vietnam-style carpet-bombing of southern Iraq with B52s. During that imperialist bombing, U.S. generals called Iraq a "military-rich environment." In military jargon, this meant the following: 179,000 square miles of territory was open for targeting at will.
  • It is imperative to mention that the American-imposed U.N. Resolution 678 which threatened war against Iraq unless it withdraws from Kuwait had been written in a way to leave the United States free to make its own interpretation of article number two of the resolution which reads, "The U.N., "Authorizes Member States co-operating with the Government of Kuwait, unless Iraq on or before 15 January 1991 fully implements, as set forth in paragraph 1 above, the foregoing resolutions, to use all necessary means to uphold and implement resolution 660 (1990) and all subsequent relevant resolutions and to restore international peace and security in the area;"
  • Unequivocally, what Resolution 678 called for was "to use all means to uphold Resolution 660," which called for Iraq to withdraw its forces from Kuwait, but not for the destruction of Iraq. The destruction of Iraq, however, was a fundamental U.S.-Israeli aim, since it is the foundation stone of a geopolitical project to eliminate Iraq as a strong balance to Israeli colonialism in the Middle East.
  • It suffices to say that at the end of U.S. military operations, the situation in bombarded Iraq was catastrophic. The United States destroyed Iraq's electric grid system, water and sewage purification stations, bridges, roads, basic industry including motor vehicle assembly, tire manufacturing, poultry hatcheries, fertilizers factories, dairy industry, chemical factories and every large building or shed that could resemble a factory.
  • In April of 1991, President George H. W. Bush exhorted the Iraqis to "rise against the 'dictator'" and hinted at support while his general in the regions promised logistical support. But when the returning defeated Iraqi army and other civilians responded to the exhortation by rising against the government, the United States, in a very calculated move, made a turnaround, and proceeded to defeat the uprising that Bush fomented.
  • Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf executed that move by allowing the Iraqi Army's gunship to suppress the rebellion, and by blocking, capturing, and then delivering the advancing rebellious battalions to the Iraqi government.
  • The sole purpose of that strategy was all too obvious: keeping a defeated regime in power to extract from it maximum concessions. All other puerile American suggestions that the United States did that to appease Saudi Arabia that an Arab Shiite not gain power in Iraq, etc . . . are just a standard U.S. justificatory propaganda that covered the aims of Bush, Baker, Scowcroft, et al.
  • Years later in an interview with Peter Jennings, Brent Scowcroft, admitted that the U.S. wanted a defeated regime but not a revolution that would turn Washington's objectives upside down and steals its military victory. (Meaning: If the rebellion had succeeded, those who would be the new leaders could have disregarded the terms of the ceasefire agreed to and signed by Saddam Hussein's government.
  • Another aspect of the Gulf War: since that war was never about Kuwait, but for the execution of a long-term plan to occupy Iraq and other oil-producing countries, the successive so-called No-Fly Zones [NFZ] imposed on Iraqi civilian and military aircrafts signaled another piece of the strategy to weaken Iraq further and invade it in the future.
  • It is elementary that the purpose of the NFZ was not to defend the Iraqi population from "Saddam's wrath," as Washington claimed, but to annul Iraq's sovereign rights over its own airspace. When a modern state loses such rights, it loses its independence; and that was the strategic meaning of the NFZ. A Global Policy Forum's article mildly dealt with the question of No-Fly Zones as follows:

"In April 1991, claiming a false authority under Security Council Resolution 688, the U.S., UK and France began to patrol the skies over northern Iraq, excluding Iraqi aircraft from this zone. The same powers started to enforce a second "no fly" zone in southern Iraq a few months later. Announced as a means to protect Iraqi Kurds (in the north) and Iraq's Shi'a population (in the south), the no-fly has offered dubious humanitarian protection, while engaging Iraq's government in ceaseless military pressure. France eventually withdrew from the no-fly process. The U.S.-UK turned no-fly into an even more aggressive operation after 1998, when "more robust rules of engagement" have led to regular bombing of ground targets and substantial civilian casualties." [Italics added] [Source]

  • Resolutely, U.S. economic sanctions instituted with U.N. Resolutions 661 and 687 and enforced by an American-Arab blockade and no-fly Zones have wreaked havoc on an Iraq already in shambles, and demonstrated the intricacies of the plan to destroy it first, as a means to conquer it 12 years later.

In the following part, we shall discuss the active phase of the second stage of conquest, i.e., the Gulf War, its consequences, and the paradigms it created.

Next: Part 39: Deep inside America's Lab of Horror

B. J. Sabri is an Iraqi-American anti-war activist. Email:

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The Splendid Failure of Occupation
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Part 45: How the U.S. engineered the Iraqi holocaust
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Part 43: The scheme behind the bombardment of Iraq
Part 42: Postwar aftermath or imperialist mutatis mutandis?
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Part 28: Imperialist expansions and 9/11
Part 27: Demystifying 9/11
Part 26: Dick Cheney, numbers and the metaphysics of 9/11