Coastal Post Online


June, 2003

Harvesting The Dragon's Teeth

By Edward W. Miller

   "Our fathers and ourselves sowed the dragon's teeth. Our  children know and suffer the armed men."
Stephen Vincent Benet

    While the Saudis survey the massive destruction of their American worker's quarters in Riyadh, and bury their dead, Americans, warned earlier to leave that country, were hastily escaping by the planeload from King Faud's Kingdom. A few hundred miles to the west and close to the Mediterranean shores in Morocco, hundreds of natives and tourists, crowding the streets of Casablanca were suddenly blasted by a series of suicide bombings which targeted a Jewish cemetery, Jewish Community Center, Belgian embassy and the Hotel Safir. Initial head counts showed 41 dead and over 100 wounded.
   Mohammed Nabil Ben Abdallah, Morocco's minister of communication characterized the suicide bombers as "young Kamikazi commandos, mostly in their 20s," adding "We are convinced that they are part of a cell with direct ties to an international network..." ( SF Chronicle 18 May)
   James Hall, foreign editor for THE SCOTSMAN on May 19th, wrote: "US officials have told the US press they believe Osama bin Laden's operation now has regional commanders in Yemen, Pakistan, the Philippines, and Chechyna. Saudi Arabia has four or five Al Qaeda cells, they believe." "Though key figures have been arrested amid huge publicity, US experts are now saying the key positions vacated by these men are being 'backfilled' by a new generation."
   Meanwhile in Israel, on May 18th, a suicide bomber blew himself up in a bus in downtown Jerusalem, killing seven and wounding at least 20 and shortly thereafter a second suicide bomber blasted himself near the entrance to the village of Dahiya el-Barid not far from Jerusalem. On the following day five suicide bombers, one of them female, likewise sacrificed themselves in Israel. Sharon, scheduled to fly to Washington to meet with president Bush, canceled the trip and closed the borders between the Occupied Territories and Israel, keeping some 20,000 Palestinians from their jobs.
   The editor of Israel's Tel Aviv paper HA'ARETZ, commented: "If there is one lesson Israel can impart to the Americans, it is that every occupation is appalling, that it tramples the occupied and corrupts the occupier." Meanwhile in Afghanistan, America's puppet president, Hamid Karzai, remained holed-up and powerless in his Capital, Kabul, while in the Afghan town of Meymaneh, assassins with their turbans wrapped to hide their faces ambushed a convoy on a main streetā executing Rasul Beg, mid-level militia commander while igniting one of the fiercest battles between rival warlords ever waged in this northern town. The gunfight lasted 20 hours, killed 13 people including an 8-year old boy. 
   "That battle... is in many ways the woeful tale of Afghanistan 18 months after the fall of the Taliban and the instillation of the Karzai interim administration. Despite military and financial support from the United States and its allies, the Afghan government has been unable to assert its authority over a country driven by ethnic, religious and cultural differences and shattered by decades of war." As competing militias recruited soldiers the number of gunmen increased dramatically as did the crime rate. In three weeks there were 20 armed robberies in town. (Washington Post) In a speech broadcast on state television May 18th Karzai threatened to resign if "fractious governors" continued to keep the customs revenues due his central government, adding that his civil servants and security forces had not been paid since March. (Assoc. Press)
   History tells us Afghanistan can be a dangerous neighborhood for the unaccustomed
 westerner. Around the turn of the last century when the British attacked Afghanistan with an expeditionary force. they marched triumphant into Kabul... The following evening, heading southward towards Kandahar, as their troops filed through a narrow mountain pass, Afghans descending from the heights above with knives and rifles, butchered the entire regiment of 16,000 men. Only the regimental surgeon,  riding a fast horse, survived to tell the story.
   News from Iraq these days suggests that Washington, while planning its military capture of Saddam's country and envisioning an enthusiastic response from Iraq's liberated people, never consulted the readily available history of previous "liberators." 
   In May 19 New York Times, Eric Schmitt and David E. Langer report: "The looting, lawlessness, and violence that planners thought would mar only the first few weeks has proved more widespread and enduring than Bush and his aids expected and is threatening to undermine the American plan." Though on March 16th Vice President Dick Cheney said : "We will in fact be greeted as liberators," No one in Washington anticipated the degree to which chaos would undermine the central goal of presenting the United States as a liberator." 
   The Times reported that not only did the retired Army Lieutenant-General Garner, charged with both the physical and political rebuilding of Iraq clash with his top administrator Barbara Bodine, but when Garner with his entourage arrived in Baghdad he found  "no functioning e-mail, no way for outsiders to reach them by telephone, no cars and drivers to get them around the city and no interpreters." Bodine has since been sent back to Washington. Garner in his taped testimony to Congress (May 13th) listed 11 "major goals" to be accomplished before he leaves Iraq on June 15th, saying "The next 30 to 40 days is probably the critical period."
   Lieutenant-General Garner and his Washington bosses should have reviewed the British experience in Iraq. As John Glancy outlines it in THE GUARDIAN (April 13th) "No-one , least of all the British, should be surprised at the state of anarchy in Iraq. We have been there before." Glancy calls Iraq "the product of a lying empireā carved duplicitously from ancient history." Because British thwarted Arab hopes, "anarchy and insurrection were there from the start."
   Glancy reports the British responded to Iraqi resistance with poison gas attacks and bombing. "When the Iraqi tribes stood up for themselves we unleashed the flying dogs of war to "police them." Terror bombing, night bombing, heavy bombers, delayed action bombs (particularly lethal against children) were all developed during raids on mud, reed and stone villages during the League of Nations Mandate" ...which ended in 1932. In the summer of 1920 an uprising of 100,000 Iraqis lodged against the British was thwarted as the RAF flew missions totaling 4008 hours, dropped 97 tons of bombs and killed nearly 9000 Iraqis. Churchill, Glancy reported, "was particularly keen on chemical weapons, suggesting they be used "against recalcitrant Arabs as an experiment." 
   The ongoing so-called "terrorism" reported in countries across the globe , from the Mideast to Aceh in Indonesia, reminds us that the human animal will not quietly tolerate subjugation . Osama Ben Laden has taken it upon himself to lead a jihad against the brutal subjugation of his Muslim brethren in both Iraq and the Occupied Territories, and punish the US and Britain for their ten years of starvation, bacterial and radioactive genocide of Saddam's people, and the US' support for Sharon's ongoing brutal subjugation of the Palestinians.
   The Israelis, who are destroying their own democracy in a Nazi-like campaign to steal their neighbor's land and subjugate the Palestinians, bitterly complain about "suicide bombers" . The Jews conveniently forget their Hebrew ancestors, who, rather than tolerate a repressive occupation by the Roman Empire , also chose to kill themselves. The annual Jewish celebration of the Massada celebrates that massive suicide. Had explosives been available in those days, the Romans might well have faced Jewish suicide bombers. 
   As we Americans celebrate MEMORIAL DAY recalling sacrifices for freedom during a brief 200 years of existence, lines once read as a monument was raised to our Revolutionary War heroes come to mind:
"Spirit, that made those heroes dare to die and leave their children free, bid time and nature gently spare the shaft we raise to them and thee."
 Ralph Waldo Emerson 1803-1882


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