Friday, July 14, 2006

No Bravery: A nation blind to their disgrace

I wrote this a week or two ago for a news site based in Australia but with what has been happening in Iraq in the last few days I thought I would put it up here:

No Bravery: A Nation Blind to their Disgrace

Like the muffled screams of a man in quicksand hoping that the bottom is not too far down, the bloody news continues to seep out from Iraq. As Japan announces it is withdrawing from Iraq and Britain debates it, the Australian Prime Minister says he is not a hostage when it comes to Iraq:
“Mr. Howard said Australia would not be hostage to a particular timetable for withdrawal from Iraq. 'We will only leave when the job is finished,' he said.
"Troops face combat in new Iraq role: PM", Sydney Morning Herald 2006/06/22
What job is he talking about? Former regional governor in Iraq, Rory Stewart gives us some idea of the direction “the job” began taking very early after the "liberation" of Iraq:
”We hoped we had created the opportunity for progressive groups to organise and govern. Then we left and the dream collapsed - in two elections the Islamists, the Sadrists, Da'wa and the Iranian-linked parties took almost all the seats provincially and nationally. The rural sheikhs, the "liberal" middle classes and the religious minorities mostly vanished from the government. The new state was reactionary, violent, intolerant towards women and religious minorities, and uncooperative with the coalition.”
Rory Stewart, The Guardian“Occupational Hazards: My Time Governing In Iraq”
This violent chaos which accompanies “the job” is not helped by the “Private Security Firms” [read mercenaries] being used to assist trade negotiations in the country. Of course it does happen occasionally that shooting is involved in trade negotiations, someone is killed and “the deal” may actually be threatened:
“A $90 million wheat deal with Iraq may be in doubt after Australian troops in Baghdad shot dead the Iraqi trade minister's security guard, believing they were under attack from insurgents.” Shooting Threatens Trade DealSydney Morning Herald 2006/06/22
The trade opportunities and the wealth that remains in Iraq seem to play an important role in “the job”. But how is this contributing to a possible end to violence. But even the United States government is doubtful:
“Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld said on Sunday that it might take as long as 12 years to quell the insurgency. He said Iraq's security forces will have to finish the job because American and foreign troops will have left the country by then. As his defence chief predicted the insurgency could last for years, President George W. Bush was preparing a major address on the Iraq war.”.Iraqi PM: Security in two years
To gain some idea of the feelings held by the occupying forces why not listen to “Hadji Girl”, a hit with the marines when it was .”.performed in this video
Here is a taste of the sentiment involved:
“I grabbed her little sister and put her in front of me. As the bullets began to fly, the blood sprayed from between her eyes, and then I laughed maniacally . . .I blew those little f**kers to eternity . . .They should have known they were f**king with the Marines".”
It looks like things can only get worse in Iraq, hence the announcement of the expanded combat role for Australian troops. Of course by this stage withdrawing from the fractured collection of tribal and regional loyalties posing as a country and struggling with a long history of colonialism would probably ensure a dramatic escalation in violence.
This only makes the recent statements by the Australian Prime Minister seem all the more foolish. "The job" may take a generation while Iraq is being occupied and a civil war will ensue if the troops leave. As a final statement on the war in Iraq, there is James Blunt’s “No Bravery”, based on his experiences as a soldier in Kosovo. Here it seems so apt for the slaughter that is going on daily in Iraq.
Finally to see some of the non-censored horror of this war there is the online film Iraq: The Hidden Story. Not something for the squeamish.

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