April 7, 2004
Bush's occupation of Iraq is now proving to be disastrous.
The violence of the last week puts the lie to the rhetoric of the Bush Administration and casts in grave doubt the possibility that it can hand over even the appearance of power to Iraqis at the end of June.
First, there was the barbarism in Fallujah, which showed just how hostile many people in Sunni Iraq are to the U.S. occupation.
But then, even more ominously, there was the Shiite uprising, which began April 4. Remember, the Shiites were brutally repressed by Saddam Hussein and so were expected to greet U.S. troops as great liberators.
That sentiment wore off long ago.
The young Shiite cleric, Muqtada al-Sadr, whose father was assassinated by Saddam's henchmen, sparked the April 4th uprising.
Its breadth should take the breath away from Paul Bremer. He now faces a two-front war.
The police he's been training were nowhere to be seen when these riots erupted. So much for the Iraqification of the security forces.
And the fiction that just a few Saddam holdouts in the so-called Sunni triangle were making all the trouble can no longer be maintained.
But there was Paul Bremer on the Today Show on April 5, trying to keep a stiff upper lip as his kingdom was disintegrating before his very eyes.
He denounced al-Sadr as a criminal and vowed, like some stern father, to restore order in this country that he treats as his own household.
And he said, without a trace of irony, that the United States insists on establishing rule by democracy, not by the barrel of a gun.
Hey Paul, you've got 130,000 soldiers with gun barrels. Who are you to talk?
So what do Bremer, Rumsfeld, and Bush do now?
They can crack down, but that will expose more U.S. troops to lethal fire and will likely only engender more hostility. Look what happened on April 7, when U.S. troops bombed a mosque in Fallujah and killed as many as 40 Iraqis. So much for "precise" retaliation.
Bremer, Rumsfeld, and Bush can arrest Al-Sadr, but then even more hell could break loose.
By increasing repression, they also repudiate the goal of democracy that they are ostensibly waging this war for.
So they're trapped. This is the logic of occupation. The occupier becomes the occupied.