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May, 2003

Victory in Iraq: An Untidy Affair
By Stephen Simac

†† The invasion of Iraq wasn't quite the cakewalk Bush's chickenhawk advisors said it would be. Before the attack they implied the main problem for coalition forces would be what to do with all the flowers the natives were going to toss at them.
†† As it turned out the locals weren't that happy about being invaded. They just didn't seem to understand that we were liberators not colonizers. They seemed to think we were after their oil. Maybe it was the fact that the first actions our ground troops took were to secure the oil wells.
†† For the first few weeks the Iraqis put up a fight of sorts and were basically slaughtered. They did some damage, but it was an uneven battle, more like a massacre than a war. However thousands of defenders were willing to die for Saddam or his doubles.
††† In the end it was a relatively short war and that was good because Americans' attention spans were starting to be taxed. As it is Iraq will soon be as forgotten as Afghanistan or Panama. Who remembers what the codenames for those invasions were now?But this time they were trademarked.
It seemed like everything about the war had a marketing label from WMD ™ to Regime Change ™.†† Shock and Awe ™ was hyped up by the Pentagon because they got to discharge multibillions of dollars of Precision Guided ™ missiles in an extended orgasm of destruction.
†† Much of it radioactive. Depleted Uranium ™ is both a heavy metal and radioactive, and some 1500 tons of it as missiles were fired off, vaporized and left behind in Iraq to kill and sicken for generations. It can safely be predicted that Gulf War II soldiers will return to their homes with radioactive sperm, urine and feces just as Gulf War I vets did. One third of those forces are disabled or dead a decade later. The media loved the Pentagon's clever names for their war. They almost creamed in their newscasts about Operation S and A's bombs being rained down on Saddam's palaces and nearby markets.Those cheap green images really needed a visual upgrade. The whole war was lacking in production values.

Mother Superior Jumped the Gun
The first bombs didn't Decapitate Saddam ™, and Shock and Awe ™ didn't even disrupt communications.In the end it would have been cheaper to throw down suitcases of hundred dollar bills to buy off the Iraqi leaders. Rumors are that buying off Saddam with a golden parachute is what really ended the resistance.Since Saddam has been on the CIA payroll since 1959, it makes sense that he would leave for a nice severance package.
It was extremely unlikely that the US military wouldn't crush Iraqi defenders eventually, but a frontal assault on Baghdad would have been messy.
†† Especially if Saddam actually had Weapons of Mass Distraction ™. As it turned out the Iraqis relied on fairly low-tech weapons. Their most effective weapons were Russian wire guided tank missiles, fired from behind at our mechanized units speeding by on the Race to Baghdad ™. Friendly Fire ™ and accidents killed more coalition forces than Iraqis did.
†† The blitzkrieg advance on Baghdad was touted by Media Generals ™ as unparalleled in military history.In terms of inequality of armies it rivaled the Nazis' invasion of Poland.Iraqis did some damage to the invaders but tens of thousands were slaughtered by our Overwhelming Firepower ™ along with considerable civilian "collateral damage."
†† The Iraqi Soldier Bodycounts ™ were relayed from the military by American media as breathlessly as if they'd run with the news from Marathon. The numbers were impressive if you like kill ratios.
†† Civilian deaths and injuries were underplayed by our media if they mentioned them at all. Estimates in the foreign media ran to a few thousand killed, tens of thousands injured. American media ignored civilian deaths if they could.

Shooting the Messengers
†† There were several wars being covered. American media played mainly images of our Glorious Precision Bombing ™ lighting up the sky and Dusty Marines ™ driving to Baghdad.Al Jazeera the Arab television station covered the Civilian Slaughter ™ in gory detail and showed footage of American POWs ™.†† Even though the American media casually showed pictures of surrendered and dead Iraqi soldiers they universally condemned an Arab station for broadcasting similar images of Americans. Then they had to show us the Arab footage to point out what they were condemning.
Al Jazeera pissed the Pentagon off so much that the brass had them bombed for the second war in a row.The jet that bombed their building was so low the pilot could eyeball their reporters on the roof before he unleashed his missile. He killed one and injured other Arab reporters.
An American tank targeted some more journalists who hadn't stuck to the Precision Bombing ™ theme and had shown pictures of Dead Iraqi Babies ™.The Reuters news agency floor at the Palestine Hotel was fired on by a Marine tank and more journalists were killed and injured.There are videotapes of the actionthat seem to show deliberateintent. An Embedded Journalist ™ with that tank unitreportedly had to remind the tank commander that this real journalists from all over the world were in the Palestine Hotel after he called in an airstrike on it. Maybe because there was a witness, the commander called off the bombing. It wasn't that safe to be an Embedded Journalist ™ either, as several of them died from accidents or missile attacks.†††
Europeans held their breaths waiting for Bush's Iraq Adventure ™ to start WW III, while neoconservatives in America were already calling it WW IV: The Clash of Civilizations ™.
The ChickenHawk NeoCons ™ claimed collateral damage was a necessary evil to gain relief of oppression for the Iraqis from Saddam. Those people who weren't injured or killed would be able to put it into perspective and be properly grateful. Just like American southerners are now grateful to Abraham Lincoln.
†† The Moral Relativity of a Just War ™.Saddam was a Bad Man, an Evil Man ™ and we had to git 'im now or git 'im later. Neocons are now crowing it went so well that they have begun humming Onward Christian Soldiers to Syria and Iran ™.
"Rummy" Rumsfeld sounded like an overindulgent parent about the Iraqi looters who treated liberation as a license to pillage. Freedom is Untidy ™ he said, as if the looting and burning of government buildings was like a teenager's room.
†† Actually the looters and arsonists were quite orderly. There were even express lines for those looters with fewer than 8 items. They cleaned out everything down to Saddam's Gold Toilet Plunger ™ and his son's extensive porno collection. The looters were just ordinary citizens enjoying a Free Box Grand Opening ™.
†† Robert Fisk, a British journalist who reported from Baghdad during the war witnessed some of the torching of government buildings. This was an organized effort that went on after the looters had left behind an untidy mess. The arsonists arrived on a blue and white bus and were a disciplined destruction team. They wouldn't tell him who they were working for, just pointed a gun at him.
They weren't cleaning up after the looters either, just burning all the evidence. Why would teams of men act in such an organized fashion to burn the paper trail left behind? And why would our conquering heroes just watch the looters and arsonists destroy so much evidence for the Crimes of Saddam ™.

Splish Splash, Takin' a Ba'ath
†† Unless it was all part of the invasion plan.The looting of the museums will ultimately benefit the influential Antiquities Stealers who met with Bush's administration before the war. They were frustrated by Iraq's' "retentionist" laws that protected their ancient treasures, so they drew up a plan for liberation of Iraq's history.
†† Obviously Regime Change ™ was just a surface cleaning, because the first Iraqis hired by coalition forces were thousands of Saddam's Police.All of them were Ba'ath Party members. Including some of the same men who were in charge of his torture chambers. It's like Operation Paperclip all over again.For those with short attention spans, that was the US military codename for their hiring Nazis after WW II.
††† Saddam is widely believed in the Arab world to have been paid off to prevent a Siege of Baghdad ™ and allowed to flee with his family and many top Iraqi officials, possibly to Russia. His handwritten note ordering the Elite Republican Guards™ to cease fire has been shown on their newscasts, but American media have ignored this smoking gun. Hussein may end up in the same place as Osama Bin Laden.In an undisclosed location, perhaps rooming with Dick Cheney.†††

 

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