02 May 2004

Condemned to repeat

The Agonist has a fascinating long post talking about the crystalization of Iraqi resistence to US occupation in which he starts by talking about the very early stages of the Vietnam war.
We had promised to back reunification of Vietnam, and instead, Dulles backed a strong man by the name of Diem. Much like Chalabi of our own day, he had connections, they thought they could do business with him. Instead of allowing elections we backed his rule in Vietnam, which handed out concessions to his close friends. It sparked a guerilla insurgency that Diem dubbed ''the Vietcong.''
He then starts to produce some very disturbing figures to unpack the nature and capacities of the current Iraqi resistence in Fallujah.
Fallujah, clearly, is connected with the old al-Tikriti network of supplies, and has found means of recruiting former military personnel --- both Saddamist and former resistence --- to their cause, they have military cadres from Syria and other Islamic countries. Sadr's military consists of green recruits, has no foreign military cadres. In the last two months however, the increasing use of SAM-7, that is to say, shoulder fired Surface to Air Missiles --- shows they have gained a connection to outside supply.

If the experienced commanders and fighters from Fallujah are allowed to train and cross pollinate Sadr's access to recruits, then within a year we will see the same transformation in Iraqi resistence that occured in the Vietcong in the 1959-1962 period.

Need I add that this is exactly the kind of thing that has been totally invisible to me this last week when I was dependent upon television to follow events in Iraq? I cannot describe the despair this inspires, thinking about how our political system is predicated on elections held among citizens informed by this worse-than-useless medium.

I'm not saying that all American citizens should agree with this argument. I'm not sure that I agree with this argument. But I am saying they should be hearing arguments of this complexity. And it's difficult to believe that most folks dependant on television are even aware that arguments of this complexity even exist.

Here's the Agonist's punchline:

The inevitable conclusion is that current policy is creating the conditions by which reactionary elements from the old regime can be being rehabilitated, and that their natural course of alliance is with the newly energized and violent groups that are springing up in the wake of US occupation. That this combination could easily lead to a military coup later in the cycle, one which will then impose a government of similar characteristics to Saddam's, though without the expansionist tendencies. Since oil is necessary, the US and others will be forced to do business with this regime.

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