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Analysis Last Updated: Dec 31st, 2005 - 13:52:10

An Iraq exit strategy, progressivism, and the incorporation of the imperialist lexicon
By B. J. Sabri
Online Journal Contributing Writer

Nov 14, 2005, 00:15

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 �I would put on record my conviction that Independence in fact would be a farce, if the British Troops are in India even for peace and order within or danger from without.� -- Mohandas Gandhi on occupation

Taking notice of the escalating deaths and military failure of the United States to subdue the Iraqi armed resistance after 32 months of a Hitlerian-like occupation, during which the Bush regime used every weapon imaginable except a nuclear bomb, imperialists across Europe and the United States began circulating a buzzword for a fictitious withdrawal from Iraq called, �exit strategy."

What is an exit strategy in the general sense? Is it a plan to withdraw forces while still under fire? Is it just a plan to just exit from an occupied place or country? If the United States wants to exit Iraq, why does it need a strategy? Would not a workable plan would be sufficient? Alternatively, what if the United States instead of seeking an �exit strategy� is actually is pondering a staying strategy?

So far, no one in the imperialist camp would be comfortable enough to answer these questions, and the debate on that nebulous �exit strategy" rests on a very solid colonialist assumption by the United States. This assumption posits that an American exit strategy means that �after completing the mission and the creation of so-called Iraqi democratic institutions, the U.S. would remain in Iraq to guarantee the nascent fragile Iraqi democracy.�

Effectively though, seeing that the United States of Kissinger, Halliburton, Bechtel, and war-making (�defense�) contractors is not enthusiastic or in a hurry to define in concrete terms what an �exit strategy� is, countless essayists of imperialism jumped to rescue the empire from a defeat that is shaping up faster than the occupation circles are able to cope with.

While it is understandable that those essayists may have a motive to sustain their connections to the Israeli-American project in Iraq, it is not clear as why some progressive writers compete with the imperialist camp on who could better �rescue the United States by offering confused theorization on matters they did not analyze enough to fully understand. Among these writers, who are joining in the frenzy of rescue, is Manuel Garcia Jr., a physicist, writer, and a poet.

In the closing paragraph of an incoherent article, Iraq: To End The Occupation, End The Civil War, Manuel Garcia Jr. writes, �My aim in making these suggestions is purely selfish. I want the war to end as quickly as possible, I want Americans home, and I want the killing to end.�

Of course, I am not singling out Garcia -- many other progressive writers tend to mix well thought writing projects with disinformation they take for granted as factual or information turned up by searches, but without providing a clue as how this is so, and who came up with it. In doing so, they annul the good part with the bad one. The result is a work that only adds confusion to readers who want to know the facts as presented by the alternative media.

This article, therefore, examines this type of writing by studying the shortcomings and erroneous extrapolation of facts as made by a progressive writer. To put it bluntly, the way Garcia elaborated his views on a subject of such enormous importance requires direct dialectical intervention.

For instance, aside from sincere wishful thinking, Garcia�s exhortation to end the neocon or hyper-imperialist occupation of Iraq with such a nebulous formula is one among the most disturbing trends that now pervades some progressive writers with a penchant for prolific writing but without substance, critical reflection, or research required to address the occupation of Iraq in an international context.

Not only did the article exhibit a glaring ignorance of Iraqi historical, societal, national, cultural, and religious realities before and after the occupation, but also an unexpected disregard for the econo-military and ideological nature of the imperialist transformation of Iraq and their consequence internationally. Thus, it was evident that the absence of specific knowledge on the operative mechanisms of both colonialism and imperialism had deleted, unavoidably, any possible validity that the article could otherwise achieve.

If Garcia�s purpose for writing such an article is to see an end to the American occupation of Iraq, a one sentence article, such as �end the occupation now," would certainly suffice. But to expand on a slogan and venture into the uncharted territory of political elaboration without adequate knowledge on the subject is unmitigated intellectual disaster for Garcia or, as a matter of course, for any other writer. Specifically to propose a solution that ends the occupation by ending a civil war that does not exit is the apogee of political naivet�.

Moreover, it is unsettling to see Garcia develop his principal argument by building on irreparably flawed analyses that emanate directly from the vocabulary of U.S. imperialism. Even more unsettling than the previous statement is Garcia�s decision to rely on sources already tainted by propaganda or disinformation to validate his erratic conclusion. In a sense, Garcia, confusing good intentions as viable analysis, compounded his problem as a political writer by presenting a simplistic solution to a complex problem of which he did not explore the dimensions and implications in multiple contexts. But to name his inconsistent and mangled theorizations as an �Iraq exit strategy� is beyond comprehension.

The fact remains that addressing an Iraq exit strategy is a multipart argument that requires stringent analysis and above all competent knowledge of various interrelated factors. These include the nature of U.S. imperialism consequent to 9/11, the role of Zionism in the war against Arab and Muslim countries, the role of major nuclear powers in keeping the post-Iraq�s invasion world realities unchanged, and the role that former communist and Latin American countries play in supplying manpower to the occupation regime. Last, but not lastly, devising an American exit strategy from Iraq without studying the irreversible decay of the official Arab sub-system within the international system is an exercise in futility.

From the viewpoint of semantics, talking about the prospect of an American exit strategy from Iraq but without ending the occupation in all of its manifestations means one thing only: providing logistical support on ways and means by which the United States can extricate itself from Iraq while maintaining the occupation in different forms. In other words, it appears that the discussion on a U.S. exit strategy is mostly centered on how to help the United States extricate itself from possible military defeat while enjoying the fruit of occupation.

However, considering the imperialist ambitions of the Bush regime, we need not be aiding the United States escape defeat, but actually to help defeating it in Iraq, Afghanistan, Sudan, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Syria, Palestine, Iran, Kosovo, Yugoslavia, Venezuela, Cuba, and elsewhere, otherwise, the tumor of neocon colonialism will metastasize and destroy all countries of the world, one by one. Based on this view, the only possible exit strategy for the U.S. in Iraq is to withdraw from Iraq immediately, consign it to Iraqis not tainted by support for the occupation, and delete all the decrees imposed in 32 months of occupation.

In the end, regurgitating imperialist cliches and falsehood in a form assumed to be progressive opposition to the war essentially means two things: (1) intellectual disservice to the cause of Iraq�s liberation, and (2) unintended alliance with the Bush regime and its economic-ideological agenda. The following is a constructive criticism of Garcia�s article.

Garcia�s sloganeering title, �to end the occupation, end the civil war� makes no sense. First, the American invasion caused that apparent Iraqi civil strife. Second, what civil war is he alluding to, and whom is he calling on to end the occupation? Third, his statement of civil war in Iraq is baseless -- there is no is no civil war in Iraq. This is propaganda promoted by U.S. Zionism (Bernard Lewis, for example) to partition Iraq into three states, so the U.S. and Israel can completely control it via a system of alliances with Iraqi factions indebted to the U.S. for putting them in power.

What does exit in Iraq is violence in thee forms: (1) violence by the occupation force to subdue Iraq into submission by military means; (2) violence by mercenary and security forces brought in by the occupation regime; and (3) �violence� by the Iraqi resistance against the occupation that no reasonable person should call violence. Self-defense and a war of liberation against fascist invaders is not violence; it is an inalienable right inherent in human nature. My conviction on the right to resist an occupation of societies by other societies is such that, if the �creator� would come down to earth as an invader, humans would fight �him," not as a creator or God but as an invader.

The question that one may ask then is, �what about the daily violence that TV and the print media keep flooding us with, what about all those suicide bombers, and all these flying body parts, etc . . . The answer is that neither Arab Shiite nor Arab Sunnis executed them -- period. If none of these groups committed these macabre daily deaths then who did commit them?

To understand this, one need look no farther than the mercenary force tailored by former American proconsul John Negroponte around his Salvadoran experience and to the Israeli intelligence service. Anyone who can have access to alternative and reliable Arabic or not-Arabic websites (examples:, al-Quds Alarabi,, Bellaciao, etc.) can attest to this statement. All the talk about Arab Shiite Muslim violence against Arab Sunni Muslim or vice versa originates from Washington think tanks and media to maximize the spurious rationale that U.S. forces could not leave Iraq for �fear� of a civil war.

There is no denial, however, that the Shiite clergy is itching to rule Iraq under the wings of the occupation. Also, there is no denial that personal violence such as robberies and intimidations have increased a million-fold since the United States turned Iraq into a lawless country. But one must also remember that the immediate aim of the United Sates since the fall of Baghdad was to promote a false sense of Shiite power. This is because the U.S. knew that it should not gain the enmity of the Shiite relative majority in Iraq; that is why it proceeded immediately to harass the Sunnis under the assumption that because Saddam is Sunni, the Shiites would be happy to see the U.S. castigate the Sunni Arabs.

Civil war as a concept does not apply to Iraq, not even minimally. All what one hears in the American media is that a �suicide bomber� exploded in a Shiite neighborhood killing such and such number of people. The fact is that Iraqi writers writing on Iraqi websites, such as Kitabat and Iraq4all, report solid evidence on how the U.S. forces detain some citizens, drug them, and drive to a predestined location, and then detonate the car by remote control. And . . . Voila, here we have, ecce homo, al-Zarqawi associate, al-Qaeda terrorist, Islamist terrorist, suicide bomber, al-Zarqawi, and so on. But who is the foreign journalist who verified U.S. claims of �suicide bombers," checked their identity, and how did they get to the sites of explosions?

Garcia, mired in political confusion, calls the Iraqi resistance a �Sunni insurgency.� This is Washington�s terminology to downsize and vilify the uprising and delimit it to Arab Muslim Sunnis. To inform the reader, the Iraqi resistance includes Arabs (Sunni and Shiite), Kurds, Turcomanis, and Christians. Therefore, under the right to resist is an Iraqi resistance that includes a wide spectrum forming the Iraqi society as a whole, and that is regardless of preconceived ideas and indoctrination that Powell, Rice, and Wolfowitz want us to believe.

Lind as much as Garcia plays into the hands of Washington as when Lind proposes and Garcia concurs: �secret negotiations would be an end to attacks by the insurgency and the liquidation of al Qaeda in Iraq by insurgent forces.� It appears that both Lind and Garcia are living outside the solar system.

First, they take for granted that there is such a thing as al-Qaeda in Iraq. Second, because of this unsubstantiated disposition, they seem to view the U.S. war on Iraq, as a war between the United States and al-Qaeda. A question: Since al-Qaeda had its headquarters in Afghanistan but not in Iraq, why then do we not hear that Washington is fighting al-Qaeda in that country? Did al-Qaeda evaporate because the U.S. bombed Afghanistan? Moreover, since the U.S. is occupying a Muslim country called Afghanistan, why then do these �international al-Qaedaists� not flock to that country to fight the U.S. there? Specifically, is it not odd that they fight the U.S. only in Iraq?

When Garcia theorizes on the �insurgency," he takes his clue from Lind, who, in turn, takes his clue from the Christian Science Monitor (CSM). He wrote, �To complement Lind's proposal, let us speculate on how insurgency politics might speed a U.S. decision to leave Iraq.� In doing that, Garcia fell completely inside the trap of imperialist linguistics.

To advance his own speculation, Garcia then proceeded to expose what amounts to the jest of an American distortion of the Arab, Iraqi, and Islamic realities, incorporating a quote from Lind via the CSM, as in the sentence, �The Iraqi Sunni Insurgency has a political front, a coalition of political parties that is �Islamist, vehemently anti-American, opposed to foreign troops, and discreetly pro-insurgency.��

First, as I mentioned earlier, Sunni Insurgency is an oxymoron without any substantive validation. Categorically, in Iraq, we do not have a Sunni insurgency but an IRAQI UPRISING against the occupiers.

As for the �vehement anti-American� stuff, this is an imperialist hubris and a blatant tergiversation from real issues. How is it that an outside force can invade, destroy, loot, occupy, steal the oil, and kill over a hundred thousand Iraqi civilians (after killing a million Iraqi children in the decade preceding 9/11) and be called a liberation force instead of anti-Iraqi?

It is redundant to state that the Iraqis are against the American occupation, but are decidedly not anti-American. Yet, since the United States attacked Iraq in the name of the American people, then, technically speaking, fighting against the American occupation of Iraq implies fighting against the American people who authorized the war through their Congress, and then allowed the war party to stay in power.

For instance, did the Vietnamese fight the Americans because of anti-Americanism or because America was occupying a part of their country under the pretext of fighting communism? To reinforce this paradigm, did the South wage war against the North during the Civil War because of anti-Yankism or because of different issues? As for opposition to foreign troops, this is such an absurd statement: why should anyone accept a foreign military occupation of his home and land?

As far as it concern Lind's statement that Garcia found attractive, �Lind believes �it is closely tied to the Baathist elements of the insurgency, which are both a large part of the resistance and strongly opposed to al Qaeda.�" Well, of course, there are Baathists fighting against the occupation: are not Iraqis of any political persuasion entitled to fight the occupiers of their country?

With the following statement, Garcia stumbled and fell down. He identified five forces vying for power in Iraq; but among them, he included the occupation force! I have no idea that the occupation force could be an indigenous force so that Garcia could include it in his count. In theory, if the occupation force were to run for political office in Iraq and wins, then I can exclaim the day after, �Halleluiah and hurrahs . . . The occupation force won the election!�

In the trail of that faulty argument, Garcia added another argument with two halves: one is true, and the other is false, as when he wrote, �The invaders in Iraq are the Anglo-American forces seeking to control Iraqi oil, and the al Qaeda forces that seek to exploit the war to ignite an international revolution of their own vision.

The preceding is sheer political illiteracy. Garcia relied on the Bush regime to supply us with �his historical� version that the war and occupation of Iraq is an extension of the fight between imperialists wanting to control oil and al-Qaeda seeking international revolution. The only two leaders who made statements on al-Qaeda in such an ideological terminology are George Bush and Ariel Sharon.

Of course, I agree with Garcia on oil; but that is only one element. Aside from the still unresolved case of 9/11 that the U.S. attributed to al-Qaeda, which the U.S. itself created, trained, and financed to fight the Soviets in Afghanistan, the declared political manifesto of that ultra-conservative Islamist organization is to expel U.S. imperialism from Saudi Arabia. Based on a natural right to be free from occupation, why should any one oppose this right? If Islamists fought with American support and Saudi money to expel the Soviets from Afghanistan, why should they not fight to expel the Americans from Saudi Arabia or other Arab states? Do religious beliefs matter when one is fighting to liberate his historical soil from foreign invaders? Accepting the opposite is an invitation to accept colonialism.

Of course, there is a declared war between the United States and al-Qaeda (a mainly Saudi Arabian organization) about the presence of American occupying troops in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States. Involving al-Qaeda in the war of liberation of the Iraqi people against the American occupiers, however, is a ludicrous claim invented by Washington, amplified by its media, and swallowed by many people without verification or research.

From that statement forward, Garcia�s analyses lost all logical and analytical threads and began rolling downhill thus losing any intelligible political sense. For instance, he proposed a solution for Iraq based not only on palpable ignorance of Iraq but also on a fatal incapacity to remedy a political thought in total disarray.

  • Proposal 1: �Turf," the boundaries between three regions of military control: Kurd, Shia and Sunni.�

Comment: does this not imply a partition of Iraq? Did the U.S. invade Iraq to divide it into enclaves or to search for WMD? Or is that a strategy to divide-and-conquer? Historically, aside from the mountainous Kurdish region, the rest of Iraq has been homogenous for the past 7,000 years, so why does Garcia want to separate according to the scheme of Leslie Gelb and Bernard Lewis? Does he think that the south of Iraq is exclusively Shiite? Does not he know that in many instances a family, clan or tribe can include Shiite and Sunnis? Why should he separate them just because Washington and Tel Aviv want it so?

If this is a good idea, should the predominately African-American or Hispanic areas in the United States be politically and physically separated from the European-American areas? Is this not by logical extension a validation of the ethnic cleansing in Palestine and a vote for the Apartheid Wall? Are such dangerous musings worthy of consideration in progressive spheres?

  • Proposal 2: �Protection," the abolition of attacks on Iraqi civilians anywhere by all forces of the regional power, and the prevention of such attacks within the region by non-local Iraqi militias and foreign agents, for example ethnic and political revenge killings, and al Qaeda operations; the regional forces also oversee normal policing and crime prevention.

Comment: I have no comment to offer. The preceding elaboration is incoherent, born dead, and lacks sufficient linguistic construction to define the forces that populate post-invasion Iraq.

  • Proposal 3: �Business," work to bring normality to the functioning of utilities, domestic fuel supplies, schools and economic life within the region, and an agreement to allow "normal life" and reliable infrastructure to cross regional boundaries without impediment;

Comment: for once, I agree; but how can the Iraqis conduct �normal life� under an occupation that bombs them on a daily basis, cuts off electricity and starves people as collective punishment, and is overwhelming civilian society with fetid garbage that has not been collected for over two and a half years?

  • Proposal 4: �Liberation," cooperation in military and diplomatic operations to isolate and then expel the invading and occupying forces;

Comment: What is Garcia proposing exactly? What are these military and diplomatic operations? And who are involved in them? Most importantly, who is Garcia designating to expel the invaders, and by what means?

  • Proposal 5: �Nationalism," while resistance to the occupation may entail operations against the puppet government, every effort should be made to minimize the killing of other Iraqis even if deemed "collaborators" (see 2), and instead undermine the puppet government by infiltration and by "turning" its Iraqi personnel to the resistance by the appeal to nationalism, which will increasingly be seen enacted in liberated territory

Comment: I have no comment to offer -- language, content, and intent are mixed and unclear.

  • Proposal 6: �To achieve such a grand coalition, the parties would have to set aside some old ideas. The Kurds and Shia would have to give up on relying on U.S. power to hold down the Sunnis to open up greater opportunities for them to achieve regional and possibly even state power. They would have to agree that arriving at a power-sharing agreement with the Sunnis in a unified Iraq (though perhaps regionally autonomous) is their best option to ensure a general prosperity.

Comment: I have no coment to offer -- language, content, intent, and theorizations are incoherent, specifically on the matters of statehood. The proposal exposes bewildering shortcomings on an issue that the writer did not research.

  • Proposal 7: �The insurgent Sunnis would have to let go of any lingering attachment to Saddam Hussein and pre-invasion Baathist power. Like the Kurds and Shia, they would have to see their best interests as a united Iraq.�

Comment: Again Garcia mimics Bush�s references to the Iraqi resistance as a �Sunni insurgency.�

Regretfully, this type of �analysis� is not worth addressing. Because of Garcia�s approach to U.S. colonialist imperialism and its occupation of Iraq and he has forgotten Afghanistan, it doesn't meet solid criteria of critical writing, it is not possible to address the rest of the article.

Good intentions are never a substitute for clarity of purpose or strong argument that considers well researched reality. To define such a disjointed jamboree of claudicating ideas, poor information, and handicapped analyses as a proposal for an American exit strategy from Iraq is pathetic. And frankly, it is a huge disservice to the author, the readers, and to the Iraqi people that Garcia wants, earnestly, to see free.

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

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