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Feelin' Safe Yet?

Long version: mp3, 3.16 MBs, 4:46
Short version: mp3, 3.88 MBs, 3:16

[Col. Recorded 12/14/03]

It's been eight months since the Americans marched into the deserts of Iraq, as part of the triumph of the West in the now-classic 'Clash of Civilizations.'

Since that time, the Iraqis have staged a resistance that has cost the lives of hundreds of Americans, sent the United Nations into retreat, and caused several nations to refrain from even attempting to intervene in the region.

Americans started the Iraq War on a series of false pretenses; a) the war on terrorism;
b) Iraq's role in supporting the jihadis of 9/11; and c) Iraq's 'imminent threat' posed by weapons of mass destruction.

The capture of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein has sent the American media and politicians into paroxysms of joy. It's kind of like the second invasion of the country. The Hussein capture is of a piece that is a U.S. attempt at 'nation building.'

One of America's chief architects of the Cold War, found this aspect of Bush's new 'preemptive strike' doctrine wrong-headed. George Kennan called it "a great mistake in principle." In a little-noticed item in the congressional newspaper, *The Hill*, Kennan offered the opinion that a study of history teaches us "that you might start a war with certain things in [...] mind," but inevitably, nations turn to fighting for things "never thought of before." Of the second Iraqi war, Keenan noted it "bears no relation to the first war against terrorism."

Further, Kennan was harshly critical of the Congress, upon whom rests the awesome responsibility to declare war, but he was particularly dismissive of congressional Democrats, whom he called "shameful," "shabby," and "timid" in the face of Bush's
plans for war. Kennan, 98-years old at the time of the Sept. 2002 interview, was the formulator of the U.S. "containment" policies of the past 50 years, and was U.S. Ambassador to Moscow during the Soviet regime (ca. 1952), and Ambassador to Yugoslavia in the early 1960s. That this unabashed nationalist, conservative thinker is so critical of the present U.S. course is telling.

Clearly, Kennan sees 'imminent danger' from the Administration's present course of action.

Even with the capture of Hussein, does anyone seriously believe that the armed resistance to the U.S. occupation will cease? Saddam Hussein, President of the Iraqi state for over a generation, was not the engine, nor even the spark of the Iraqi Resistance. That Resistance is fueled by the presence and the behavior of Americans in a foreign land. The Resistance is fueled by Iraqi nationalism, not love for the Hussein family. We shall see if this event dulls the fires of resistance; time will tell.

According to one scholar who has examined the present situation in Iraq, the U.S. has done almost everything wrong. Alan Sorensen, associate Editor of *Current History*, has observed:

The U.S. military failed to deploy enough force to establish security, permitting looting and lawlessness to continue unchecked. It initially appointed (then dismissed) a low-key, low-profile coordinator to oversee reconstruction. It grossly underestimated the costs of restoring services and rebuilding infrastructure. It attempted to promote an emigre political figure with little experience in his native country. It failed to secure critical facilities, including arms caches, many of them still unguarded. It diverted
significant resources and manpower to a failed attempt to find weapons of mass destruction. It consigned the Iraqi Army to resentful unemployment. It emptied the government of knowledgeable technocrats. It invited Iraq's former imperial masters from Turkey to join the occupation. It favored select American businesses in the distribution of no-bid contracts. It failed miserably to engage in effective public diplomacy. It ignored a pre-invasion State Department report that has laid out with startling precision many of the challenges now bedeviling authorities. [Sorensen, A., "The Reluctant Nation Builders," *Current History*, (Dec. '03, p. 409)].

And Americans wonder why things are going so badly there.

The reason things are going so badly is because it was illconceived, from the get-go. Sold as the 'next step' in the 'war against terrorism', the Iraq Adventure is not really that, nor even nation building. It is empire-building, with Iraq chosen to serve as demonstration model. The subjugation of Iraq is meant to teach other regimes in the region the meaning of American imperial power. Those are the real stakes in Iraq.

Copyright 2003 Mumia Abu-Jamal


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Text © copyright 2003 by Mumia Abu-Jamal.
All rights reserved.
Reprinted by permission of the author.