Ain"t Nothing New About the "New" Iraq

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When U.S. forces failed to beat the city of Fallujah into submission, a 'tactical redeployment' of forces was ordered and Iraqi security forces were sent in to quell the chaos that erupted at some point after the commencement of the U.S. occupation. General Mark Kimmitt was quick to point out that the maneuver was not a 'retreat'; in other words, a failure. In government and military doublespeak, admission of failure is never an option.

Monday night at the Army War College in Carlisle , Pennsylvania , President Bush, like General Kimmitt, admitted as much with the U.S. occupation of Iraq . Bush laid out the plans not for a 'new,' 'free,' 'democratic,' 'economically independent,' blah, blah, blah, Iraq, but for what will be a larger 'strategic redeployment' of the U. S. occupation--a failure on a much grander scale. Given his crashing poll numbers only months before the election, it's no wonder Bush wants do whatever is necessary to remove prison abuse scandals and American casualties from news headlines.

For the Iraqi people, the 'new' Iraq President Bush has promised them will be no different than what they have now or had under Saddam Hussein. Under the guise of establishing a 'representative' government, the vast majority of the Iraqi people will still be subject to the legalized plunder, mayhem, and murder of some small group or coalition of groups, except that legitimacy will be claimed as the 'consent of the governed.'

The structure of the new Iraqi government guarantees that corruption, greedy special interests, and political minorities will dominate, much like they do here in the United States and in every other representative government on earth. A president, two vice presidents, one prime minister, and 26 ministries representing such 'essential' components of representative government as health, education, and justice, will form the executive branch of Iraq 's government. According to President Bush, the legislative branch will be composed of a 'national council' chosen by Iraqis as a representation of their 'diversity.' Liberals should be ecstatic; affirmative action applied to representation in government.

A multi-department executive branch guarantees a 'seat at the table' to most potential challengers to what is de facto U.S. rule, thus reducing the effectiveness of any widespread rebellion to the central government. Consequently, pockets of resistance from the 'enemies of freedom,' disgruntled 'Saddam loyalists,' and foreign 'terrorists' opposed to everything a 'free' Iraq stands for, can be easily neutralized by domestic security forces with the 'assistance' of the new Iraq's allies such as the United States.

The vested interests in Iraq will become accomplices in their own continued enslavement by cooperating and fighting for the table scraps offered by their U.S. masters. In this regard, they will be no different than any other people in history, including Americans, who had freedom and threw it away because they allowed a corrupt government and a coalition of minorities to use the force of government to steal the property of the many to benefit the greed of the few. Such was the nature of 'representative' government in the last century.

Someone among the puppet masters for the future Iraq has been reading his or her Machiavelli. In The Prince, Machiavelli advised that 'A city which is used to freedom is more easily controlled by means of its own citizens than by any other . . . For in truth there is no sure method of holding such cities except by destruction.' Substitute 'nation' or 'country' for the word 'city' and you have a prescription for Iraq . Since most Americans can be easily swayed by media images as the measure of success or failure for any government policy, the symbolism of Baghdad as Iraq gains enormous political significance in the months prior to an election.

The 'destruction' of the 'city' ( Iraq ) is facilitated by controlling all the groups necessary to keep a potentially restless population at bay. Because Baghdad is the capital city of Iraq and the seat of its 'new' government, the perception of the new government's success will be measured by how many schools are built in the capital city, how many potholes are filled, how clean the air is, and whether there are handicapped ramps on every street corner in the city. The rest of Iraq could be embroiled in civil war, but so long as Americans see busy, happy faces on the streets of Baghdad , in their minds, President Bush's plan for a free, self-governing Iraq is a success.

So far, this has worked in Afghanistan . Kabul , the capital city, is Afghanistan to most Americans, and the Bush administration has played on this ignorance and misperception. Every so often, Hamid Kharzai makes an appearance in Washington and is paraded before the media like the Elephant Man. 'Control' of his country is limited to the immediate vicinity of the capital city. Kharzai himself would be a dead man inside of 24 hours if not for the protection he receives from the United States . Americans do not see the chaos that is the rest of Afghanistan . The media images from Afghanistan emanate from Kabul ; hence, Americans 'see' the success there and can be led to believe the same could happen in Iraq .

Any notion of 'freedom' the people of Afghanistan once had was gone the minute a coalition government, 'representative' of the people of Afghanistan as some would argue, agreed to serve as a puppet for the U.S. government. Likewise will be the future for the people, all the people of Iraq . As Machiavelli advised, or warned, nearly five hundred years ago, any spirit of freedom is best and most thoroughly destroyed when it can be destroyed by those chosen from among the people to be controlled and enslaved.

In his speech of Monday night, President Bush used the word 'sovereign,' or some derivative thereof, as often and as shallowly as he has used words such as 'freedom' and 'liberty' in prior speeches. To be sovereign means to be self-governing and independent. Mr. Bush said 'full sovereignty will give Iraqis a direct interest in the success of their own government,' but, 'given the recent increase in violence, we (the United States ) will maintain our troop level.' Maybe I'm out of touch with what's 'new,' but real self-governance and independence are impossible with 138,000 guns pointed at your head. Seems to me there ain't nothing new about the 'new' Iraq.

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Harry Goslin's picture
Columns on STR: 37

Harry Goslin lives in eastern Arizona.