Bulletin 149



10 November 2004
Grenoble, France

Dear Colleagues and Friends of CEIMSA,

Below are three more communications on the "immediate history" of
U.S. imperialist conquest in Iraq. In item A. Professor Edward Herman describes the similarities between U.S. justifications for excessive violence in Vietnam and those used in Iraq, including the policy of "looking the other way" when civilian casualities are discovered.

In item
B. Professor Richard Du Boff, has sent us a vivid description of the U.S. military use of religion to mobilize and narcotize the members of the killing teams before sending them into Falluja to fight the "evil ones".

In item
C. we have another eyewitness BLOG from Dahr Jamail, who describes this 21st-century conquest of new market opportunities in the Middle East and the utter dispair that accompanies this deadly farce.

Stay tuned. . . .

Francis McCollum Feeley
Professor of American Studies
Director of Research
University Grenoble 3

from Professor Edward Herman :
Sent: Sunday, November 07, 2004
Subject: Herman / We Had To Destroy Fallujah in Order to Save It / Nov 08

ZNet Commentary

We Had To Destroy Fallujah in Order to Save It November 08, 2004
By Edward Herman

The similarities between the Vietnam and Iraq wars become more marked with
each passing week.We are now told that the U.S. forces have surrounded
Fallujah and are about to unleash a full-scale attack to recover it from the
insurgents. They are already bombarding the town with howitzers and
missiles, so we can be fairly certain that the town will be destroyed and
that civilian casualties will be very heavy. Fallujah must be destroyed in
order to save it from control by a resistance to the
U.S.-invasion/occupation and U.S. control, as was the case with Ben Tre in
Vietnam, about whose destruction the famous phrase "We had to destroy the
town in order to save it" was coined by a U.S. officer implementing the
destruction. Then as now the U.S. right to invade and destroy in order to
shape the politics of a distant country was taken as a given by the media
and ready-access intellectuals.

In both cases there was this ready willingness to use advanced weaponry on
relatively defenseless peoples, with heavy civilian casualties entirely
acceptable, and of course kept under the rug as much as possible, with media
assistance. There were no body counts of civilians in Vietnam, and U.S.
leaders like Colin Powell and General Tommy Franks have been explicit that
such counts as regards Iraqi civilians are not an interesting subject and in
fact "We don't do body counts" (Franks). In Vietnam, U.S. legal personnel
even coined the phrase "the mere gook rule," to describe the attitude toward
the locals we were allegedly saving. In Iraq the natives are referred to as
hajis, towel heads, rag heads, and sand niggers by the invaders, terms of
derogation that are matched by actions in raiding homes, dealing with
prisoners, and once again the lavish use of high tech weapons in
civilian-heavy locales with heavy civilian costs (heavy bombs, cluster
bombs, DU ammunition).

In both cases there was a large-scale abuse of prisoners and ugly prison
conditions. In Vietnam, electronic methods of torture were widely used,
partly by proxy troops advised by the United States and trained in these
up-to-date methods, and prisoners were regularly killed after interrogation,
sometimes by being dropped out of airplanes; and Vietnam was famous for its
"tiger cages" that were the predecessors of the cages used at Guantanamo.

In both cases puppet governments were installed by the occupying power with
leaders who would take orders and give the United States a free hand to bomb
and kill. There were "elections" in Vietnam in 1966 and 1967, held under
comical conditions of non-freedom, in which a military junta that openly
admitted it couldn't compete with the insurgents on a purely political
basis, won handily. The U.S. media were greatly encouraged by these
elections. Iraq is possibly going to have an election in January that will
not be very free (see my "Cheney, the New York Times, and the Afghan, El
, and Iraq Elections," forthcoming in the December issue of Z
Magazine). But meanwhile it is nominally ruled by Ayad Allawi, openly
selected by U.S. officials, but taken by the media (and Kofi Annan and the
UN) as a genuine leader of Iraq. In the runup to "saving" Fallujah U.S.
military officials say that they are awaiting a go-ahead from the
head-of-sovereign-Iraq, Mr. Allawi, for permission! Like the United States
needed a go-ahead from Generals Ky and Thieu to ravage their country with
Agent Orange, napalm, and 500-pound bombs!

In both cases the UN did nothing to impede straightforward aggression in
violation of the UN Charter, although there has been a slight regression in
that now Kofi Annan and company have been manipulated into servicing U.S.
aggression: first, letting the United States play with them in making Iraq's
threat of weapons of mass destruction a very serious business, even if the
United States had to walk over the UN in the end when the inspections seemed
to be yielding inadequate justification for conquest. But second, after the
invasion-occupation, the UN was induced to give the occupation its
imprimatur, therefore accelerating the UN decline to irrelevance as a
peace-making body and making it an open tool of aggression and imperialism.

In both cases, the huge turmoil that resulted from the invasion-occupation
was used by the aggressor to justify further intervention and
killing--having produced a great deal of instability, and stoked a powerful
resistance by its horrifying tactics, the party responsible for the
instability claimed the need to stay on and kill on a larger scale in the
interest of "stability." Of course, the only stability sought by the
aggressor was one in which at least some of the attack objectives were
achieved: hopefully transformation of the target into a client state (still
a goal in Iraq); in Vietnam, a partial victory without control, but so
devastating the country and killing so many of its most energetic and
productive citizens that Vietnam was unable to project any threatening
development model to compete with the U.S. clients that had actually
profited from the Vietnam holocaust.

In both cases, when problems arose as pacification of the attacked country
became more costly than anticipated, extrication was difficult. Losing in
Vietnam to "Communists"-- and little "yellow dwarves" to boot (Lyndon
Johnson)--or in Iraq to a rag-tag, diversified but increasingly mass-based
set of insurgents who had not a single helicopter, was intolerable, and
would have domestic political costs. Withdrawal is therefore delayed, for
many years in the case of Vietnam. Americans don't lose well, and today the
powerful rightwing would shriek at the abandonment of our noble, God-ordered
killing goals. In both cases, with the huge commitment to the
aggression/occupation, there was the problem of the loss of credibility and
the fear that the U.S. threat that keeps lesser breeds in line would seem
less fearsome.

There was also the problem that an actual loss, or seeming loss, would make
the home public less willing to support future aggressions.This problem has
been solved in part by choosing only weak targets, by effective demonization
of their leadership, and by conquering them and exiting quickly. The failure
to achieve a quick accomplishment of the "mission" in Iraq has been painful
for the Bush administration, but now that Bush has won his election, and
with no moral values obstructing his willingness to kill (those influential
to his constituency certainly do not include "Thou shalt not kill"), we may
expect escalated violence, starting with Fallujah.

In each case, both Republicans and Democrats played an important role in
mass killing: Eisenhower and Nixon, and Kennedy and Johnson in Vietnam;
Bush-1 with the 1990 Persian Gulf War, and his son carrying the White Man's
Burden in 1993-1994; Clinton managing the "sanctions of mass destruction"
that killed over a million Iraqi civilians, and with Blair, steadily and
illegally bombing Iraq throughout his term of office; and John Kerry voting
for the Bush-2 war, and promising to stay the course with more troops and a
planned four-year presence.

In short, destroying towns, cities and countries to save them from falling
out of the orbit of Godfather control is bipartisan and is built-in to the
highly militarized imperial United States. This isn't going to change
without a change in the U.S. political economy, now geared to domination,
expansion, and war without end.

from Professor Richard Du Boff :
Date: Sat, 6 Nov 2004
Subject: US moral values in action...

Marines turn to God ahead of anticipated Fallujah battle
Sat Nov 06 2004 09:37

NEAR FALLUJAH, Iraq, Nov 6 (AFP) - With US forces massing outside Fallujah, 35 marines swayed to Christian rock music and asked Jesus Christ to protect them in what could be the biggest battle since American troops invaded Iraq last year.

Men with buzzcuts and clad in their camouflage waved their hands in the air, M-16 assault rifles laying beside them, and chanted heavy metal-flavoured lyrics in praise of Christ late Friday in a yellow-brick chapel.

They counted among thousands of troops surrounding the city of Fallujah, seeking solace as they awaited Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi's decision on whether or not to invade Fallujah.

"You are the sovereign. You're name is holy. You are the pure spotless lamb," a female voice cried out on the loudspeakers as the marines clapped their hands and closed their eyes, reflecting on what lay ahead for them.

The US military, with many soldiers coming from the conservative American south and midwest, has deep Christian roots.
In times that fighting looms, many soldiers draw on their evangelical or born-again heritage to help them face the battle. "It's always comforting. Church attendance is always up before the big push," said First Sergeant Miles Thatford. "Sometimes, all you've got is God."

Between the service's electric guitar religious tunes, marines stepped up on the chapel's small stage and recited a verse of scripture, meant to fortify them for war.
One spoke of their Old Testament hero, a shepherd who would become Israel's king, battling the Philistines some 3,000 years ago. "Thus David prevailed over the Philistines," the marine said, reading from scripture, and the marines shouted back "Hoorah, King David," using their signature grunt of approval.
The marines drew parallels from the verse with their present situation, where they perceive themselves as warriors fighting barbaric men opposed to all that is good in the world. "Victory belongs to the Lord," another young marine read.

Their chaplain, named Horne, told the worshippers they were stationed outside Fallujah to bring the Iraqis "freedom from oppression, rape, torture and murder ... We ask you God to bless us in that effort."
The marines then lined up and their chaplain blessed them with holy oil to protect them. "God's people would be annointed with oil," the chaplain said, as he lightly dabbed oil on the marines' foreheads.

The crowd then followed him outside their small auditorium for a baptism of about a half-dozen marines who had just found Christ.
The young men lined up and at least three of them stripped down to their shorts. The three laid down in a rubber dinghy filled with water and the chaplain's assistant, Navy corpsman Richard Vaughn, plunged their heads beneath the surface. Smiling, Vaughn baptised them "in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit."
Dripping wet, Corporal Keith Arguelles beamed after his baptism. "I just wanted to make sure I did this before I headed into the fight," he said on the military base not far from the city of Fallujah.

from Dahr Jamail :
Date: Tue, 09 Nov 2004 20:02:23 +0300
From: iraq_dispatches@dahrjamailiraq.com
Subject: Iraq Dispatches: The Fire is Spreading...

** Dahr Jamail's Iraq Dispatches **

     The Fire is Spreading &

The blasts of mortars exploding in the so-called Green Zone are thumping out my window as I type tonight. The blades of military helicopters chop the air as they circle above the area looking for, well, looking for something.

I know what they are doing to us-they are putting is in a big jail. First they close the borders with Syria and now Jordan, so we are trapped in Iraq, says Salam. Now they put a curfew on Baghdad. This is the first. The second is that the highway bridge connecting us to the west of Baghdad is bombed. Another bridge that leads to the south (Kerbala, Hilla, Najaf) was bombed. And now the other highway south to Amara, Nasiriya and Basra is blocked.

So all they have left to close is the highway to Diala&when that last one is closed, we are locked in to Baghdad, explains Salam, his face stoic but concerned, We are in. This is our life here man.

Iraqi Secretary of Defense, Hassim al-Sha alan, today announced to al-Arabia television that the resistance is organized and they have already prepared to fight in other places. So the fighting in Falluja will not end when the Americans take the city. The fighting will begin in other places like Baghdad, Baquba, Latifiya, Ramadi, Samarra, Khaldiya, Kirkuk and elsewhere.

Thus, the word on the street that the resistance was mostly out of Falluja prior to this battle is verified by the Iraqi Minister of Defense himself. The fire had begun to spread long before the current onslaught of Falluja.

Salam has a friend who just came from Baquba and said that the resistance came to the police station and told them to leave because they would be bombing the station. This policemen who left said he watched the resistance bomb the station. At least 25 policemen have been killed there, between two stations that were bombed.

In Kirkuk, the retaliatory strikes by the resistance for what is happening in Falluja have commenced as well. A suicide bomber detonated his car at a base for Iraqi National Guard, killing at least 1 national guard member and 2 civilians.

Of course the random gun battles and retaliation is ongoing in Baghdad. The so-called Green Zone continues to take mortars. This has been going on sporadically throughout the day, but is consistent now&the whumping explosions are incessant, even with choppers circling about overhead.

Also today, two churches in Al-Dora were destroyed by car bombs which detonated 5 minutes apart. When the injured and dead were taken from the scenes to Yarmouk Hospital, the hospital was car bombed. At least 8 people died it the hospital car bombing.

We are looking at this just as numbers, says Salam with a deep breath, But this is 8 families. This is 8 families that are suffering now.

5 policemen were killed in Al-Dora as well-not by car bomb, but by fighting with the resistance.

The growing fire of resistance has spread into the political realm in Iraq as well. The Association of Muslim Scholars (AMS) has called upon people not to vote in the upcoming election.

Dr. Harith al-Dhari, the secretary-general of the AMS, openly supports the Iraqi resistance to the occupation and has from the beginning. We have said we support the resistance since the occupation of this country began, he said today, This is our right as Iraqis. Therefore, we don t need a fatwa on this issue as this matter is clear.

Also today, a major Sunni political party, the Iraqi Islamic Party, has withdrawn from the Iraqi Interim Government. We are protesting the attack on Falluja and the injustice that is inflicted on the innocent people of the city, said Abd al-Hamid, We cannot be part of this attack.

Abu Talat called and told me of the curfew now in Baghdad. We have to be off the streets by 9:30 pm or we will be shot on sight.

You know Dahr, I used to stay out until 3am. Now this is our life, says Abu Talat. He is enraged. This is some kind of freedom. Thank you, George Bush. This is our life.

Everyone is nervous on the streets in Baghdad tonight. Every car left unattended is suspected as a car bomb.

Another man I met with today, Haythem, expressed his feelings about the occupation, Falluja, and the martial law.

Iraq is pregnant with an American fetus, he pauses for emphasis and says, And we need birth control pills. He sits for a moment, and after making a toast with a soft drink adds, Long life to Falluja.

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