Contributors Joaquin Bustelo
Joaquín Bustelo, Marxism List extract, 7th of January, 2005.
Perversions of the unholy alliances.
I know some people will feel shocked that even "civilian" employees of the U.S. military occupation regime are targets. Remember all the outrage over the targeting of international "humanitarian" occupation helpers? Whatever else may be said about it, it must be admitted that the approach WORKED. All the do-gooder NGO riff-raff who were quite cluelessly helping to shore up the imperialist military occupation under the guise of "humanitarianism" are now gone. And the CIA agents have had to come up with different cover stories.
Ditto for the poor Turkish and other truck drivers, etc. etc. etc. You run guns for the Americans and you die. Has there *ever* been a war where something like this was not the law?
Yet the press tells us that attacking enemy lines of communication are a new perversion created by an unholy alliance of "Islamists," "Baathists" and --of course, of course, of course-- "terrorists."
Yes, the imperialist press and politicians are outraged! Of course they are! Slowly but surely, this war of attrition has been cutting off the life blood of supplies and materiel to the imperialist occupation troops in the field, forcing them to divert an ever growing portion of its troops to its own logistics, and reducing them ever more to a series of disconnected, isolated garrisons from which they only sally forth surrounded by tons of armor plating with warplanes and helicopter gunships overhead.
The events surrounding the Fallujah campaign have confirmed that the rebel tactics are having an effect. To muster the division of *combat* forces they attacked Fallujah with, the Americans were forced to draw down their garrisons elsewhere, creating openings which the rebel forces exploited. And despite overwhelming superiority in troops and firepower, the Americans have not yet succeeded in taking the town! Even with the city reduced to rubble, Fallujah lives -- and fights! As for the promised follow-up cleaning out of the rest of the Sunni triangle, it has been forgotten.
There is a logical political reason for adopting a strategy of relentlessly attacking the puppet forces, in addition to the directly military ones. And that is that this is obviously an attempt to begin creating a social and political base for the occupation and eventually a neocolonial regime. That is the huge, overwhelming weakness of the U.S. in Iraq, it lacks any real social base. The resistance is not about to allow it to develop one.
The idea that the puppet armed and police forces of the Quisling cabinet should not be treated as such because unemployment is so high and they're not very effective anyways strikes me as being very far from obvious. There may be tens of thousands of Iraqis who feel forced by economics to become bootlickers for the Americans. There are millions who quite evidently do not. And we should recognize that we simply do not know what efforts the resistance makes to "turn" those who join the traitor troops. They may be quite substantial. At any rate, in moments of extreme candor, U.S. officers admit --usually off the record-- that their Iraqi "allies" are shot through with "infiltrators," suggesting that not only is this work being carried out, but that it has not been without effect.
There is a great deal of danger in reading too many Pentagon press releases, and that is overwhelmingly what there is in the U.S. press on Iraq. We should remember these "journalists" are people who are either embedded with U.S. forces or are only nominally in Iraq, they are in reality prisoners in a hotel. Their contact with Iraqis is restricted to a couple of chamber maids and bellhops who carry out their duties under the watchful eyes of scores of mercenaries, including those hired by the news media. Even that favorite fixture of every true hack's foreign reporting, The Taxi Driver, is missing from their dispatches, for they take no taxis because they go nowhere. In the best of cases, these reporters base their stories on what is fed to them by closed circuit feeds of press conferences and what dubious local-hire stringers tell them.
At any rate, the tactics being followed by the guerrillas in Iraq are largely a function of their politico-military situation as their commanders understand it. And they do not seem to me to be blatantly counterproductive or off the wall.
As for the tactics of the resistance, we should be slow to pass judgment, and instead try hard to understand.
This kind of movement relies on the tacit support of virtually the entire population, for in most areas there is no rearguard where a guerrilla fighter is safe, and any one of dozens of neighbors or relatives could turn him in. And because those who may be tempted to play the role of Judas know they are surrounded by those who would make sure the active fighters were informed of any treachery so it could be dealt with.
If the movement grows and spreads and becomes more active -- and that is what has been happening in Iraq for a year and a half -- that is not because it is paying a high political price for carrying out attacks the masses of people do not understand. Quite the contrary.
Joaquin Bustelo also contributes to the Avocado Education Project and Solidarity in Atlanta.
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