June 9, 2006
The last few weeks have seen disastrous news breaking over the Bush
administration, like Katrina come again. This time, though, it's not
hurricane winds and surging seas, but waves of innocent blood
overtopping the banks of the Tigris and the Euphrates to turn the White
House crimson. Report after report of horrific atrocities —
long held back by a levee of lies, fear, obfuscation and the natural
confusion of war — has broken through, flooding the imperial capital
with the reeking, corpse-filled backwash of the vast criminal folly
committed by its grubby little Caesar.
great is the stench of moral corruption that even America's corporate
media, for so long a simpering handmaiden to the ruling thugs, have been forced to take notice,
just as they did, all too briefly, during the Bushist abandonment of
New Orleans. New sites of shame have entered the American lexicon:
Hamandiya, Samarra — places where horrors large and small, confirmed
and alleged, comprehensible and unfathomable, have marked this
beginning of the fourth year of occupation.
this week's reported killing of the man identified as Abu Musab
al-Zaqarwi will be the spark for another spiral of bloodshed – and not
just from the followers. Zarqawi, whose power and influence was wildly
– and deliberately – exaggerated by Pentagon propagandists, was almost certainly betrayed by his ostensible allies in
the insurgency: the local Sunni-led nationalists, along with members of
his own organization. He had already been "demoted" by the Iraqi
resistance for his mad-dog ways; even al Qaeda leaders were
disassociating themselves from him, denouncing his mass-murdering
attacks on fellow Muslims, as the Christian Science Monitor reported weeks ago (and Eric Garris of Antiwar.com
reminded us this week). Now that he's gone, the nationalist insurgents
have pledged to intensify their attacks on Americans, to show that
Zarqawi was nothing, that they are the ones who have been doing the
real fighting, as Juan Cole reports.
The frenzy of death and darkness savaging Iraq will only grow, despite
the PR blip (see the New York Times regurgitating the whole Pentagon
fabrication of Zarqawi's supposed central role in the entire insurgency here) of the Zarqawi hit.
Indeed, as the tormented land flails in agony — racked by civil war, unbounded corruption, religious repression, infrastructure collapse, the violent subjugation of women and all the other evils introduced by President George W. Bush's war of aggression — U.S. forces seem to be gripped by an increasing frenzy of their own.
In just the last three months, a string of incidents has seen Iraqi
civilians gunned down by U.S. soldiers in outbursts of fury and panic,
as Scotland's Sunday Herald reports. The innocent victims include
unarmed women (one of them a pregnant woman trying to reach a hospital), infants, children, the elderly and the mentally handicapped.
May alone, Iraqi government officials charged that 32 civilians,
including women and children, were killed in airstrikes on houses, an
airstrike on a car and Baghdad house raids, AFP reports.
These allegations come from the Iraqi Islamic Party, which has
cooperated with the American occupation and "forms the core of the
Iraqi Accord Front, the Sunni religious coalition that holds 44 seats
in parliament," along with "a vice president, a vice premier, four
cabinet members and the speaker of the house," as Juan Cole reports.
"So these charges are originating not with hardliners or radicals
outside the new system, but with…de facto allies of the United States,"
will be more such killings brought to light as Iraqis, incensed by news
of the Haditha massacre and emboldened by the new government's apparent
willingness to confront their colonial overseers, come forth with fresh
long as the occupation goes on, the discipline of U.S. forces will
continue to fray under the literally dehumanizing conditions that
Bush's war has established in Iraq. For example, the Marines in the
Haditha massacre, many on their second or third combat tour, had
already descended into a "feral state," the Sunday Herald reports: abandoning regulation billets and living, unwashed and isolated, in "primitive huts bearing skull-and-crossbones signs." A wife of one of the Haditha soldiers told Newsweek that the degraded unit was rife with "drugs, alcohol, hazing, you name it."
As the BBC reported
— back in March, to resounding silence on American shores — Haditha
"was not an isolated incident," according to several U.S. veterans of
Specialist Michael Blake said it was common practice to "shoot up the
landscape or anything that moved" after an explosion. Sniper Jody Casey
said he was told to carry a shovel with him at all times, so he could
drop it next to any civilian his unit mowed down and then claim the
victim was planting an IED. "[Bombs] go off and you just zap any farmer
that is close to you," he said.
None of this surprising. As we noted last week,
polls show that U.S. forces in Iraq have been inculcated with the false
and hate-fomenting idea that their real mission is payback for Sept.
11. With revenge as their prism for viewing the Iraqi people, and
facing an ever-more violent and multi-sided resistance, atrocities —
deliberate, spontaneous or accidental — are guaranteed.
Even in the most justified conflicts, war spawns monstrosities, drawing out the beast that lurks in the muddy sediment of our brains. How much greater, then, is the guilt of those who knowingly instigate unjustified wars?
How much greater is the guilt of elitist cowards who send troops —
deceived, undersupplied, undertrained, overworked — into the
death-dealing chaos of urban warfare, in a land whose people can see
they are not being liberated but plundered, murdered, tortured,
terrorized and driven back into a primitive –indeed a feral – state of
course, individual soldiers retain their moral agency and the
responsibility for their actions even in wartime. (Although it's true
that refusing immoral orders poses risks; several Coalition veterans
have already been jailed by the Bush regime and the British government
for resisting any further complicity with their leaders' war crime in
Iraq.) The triggermen of atrocity should face justice — and no doubt
some of the low-hanging fruit will be plucked for heavily hyped trials
to demonstrate American "accountability."
But "everybody knows the dice are loaded," as Leonard Cohen sings. "Everybody
knows that the captain lied." Everybody knows there will be no
accountability for those who authored this desecration: Bush and his
dithering outrider, Tony Blair, two murderous mountebanks dripping with
self-anointed piety. Bush will retire with his millions to putter about
on his fake ranch, while Blair, robed in ermine, will ascend to the
House of Lords — and no doubt to a plum post with the Carlyle Group or
some other fine purveyor of backroom grease. So it will be with the
other perpetrators, like Don Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney, Condi Rice, Paul
Wolfowitz: nothing but riches, honors, security and respect – until
death drags them howling to the pit where they've sent so many innocent
yes, the Bush administration has been swamped with bad news, a lashing
storm that has further exposed the dark heart of its malevolent
enterprise. But everybody knows that nothing will change, just as
nothing changed after Katrina. Indeed, the imperial court of White
House and Congress has already moved on this week, shrugging off the
death and dishonor it has unleashed across the world to focus on more
important issues at home: punishing people who love each other in ways
unacceptable to writers of Bronze Age texts; criminalizing the
infinitely rare act of burning a symbolic piece of colored cloth; and
entrenching the inherited wealth of the aristocracy.
dead of Iraq mean nothing to them. Their own soldiers mean nothing to
them. No outrage, no scandal, no vastation will divert them from their
drive for loot and dominion. The madness will go on, growing deeper and
darker at every step.