by Matthew Rothschild
April 30, 2003
If anyone thought this occupation of Iraq was going to be easy, send them to Falluja. There, late on April 28 and again two days later, U.S. troops fired on crowds of Iraqis, killing at least fifteen and wounding scores more.
On April 28, about 200 people reportedly had gathered to protest the fact that U.S. troops had taken over a school, but then what happened is unclear--and may remain so, since both sides give such conflicting accounts.
U.S. troops say they were fired on from the crowd, and then returned fire; the protestors say no one from the crowd shot at the Americans.
On the morning of April 30, as demonstrators were denouncing the shootings, U.S. soldiers killed two of the demonstrators. Again, the troops said they were returning fire, and protestors said there was none.
But whatever ultimately happened, the obvious point is that the U.S. occupiers have already outlived their welcome, muted as it was.
My only question is, why is anyone surprised by this?
No one wants to be occupied; no one wants to be colonized; no one wants to see foreign troops patrolling their streets.
On top of that, Iraq is an overwhelmingly Muslim nation, and many clerics have been urging Iraqis to resist the occupiers.
And, with some justification, many, many Iraqis suspect that the primary reason Bush's invaders rolled in was to grab Iraq's oil. They saw U.S. troops guarding the oil fields and the oil ministry but not guarding the national museum. That was a none too subtle sign.
The United States in Iraq is acting like Britain in colonial India (or Britain in colonial Iraq 80 years ago, for that matter). It's also acting like Israel did in southern Lebanon.
Feverishly, Donald Rumsfeld is working to get an Iraqi face to front for the U.S. occupation, and Iraqi fingers to pull the triggers. But that won't mask the reality of the occupation.
The days, weeks, months, and--yes--years ahead for the American occupiers will not be easy. There will be more Fallujas, and there probably will be suicide bombers attacking U.S. forces.
This is what occupation looks like.