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Monday, January 22, 2007


The U.S. "occupation" of Iraq

Those of us who oppose the U.S. (and allied) presence in Iraq frequently speak of the "occupation" of Iraq. There may be no better term, but the fact of the matter is that, aside from the Green Zone and the inside of its massive military bases, the U.S. doesn't actually "occupy" Iraq at all, as two prominent incidents that occurred on Saturday demonstrated, and as even the U.S. media implicitly acknowledged in their reporting of those incidents.

The first incident was the shootdown of a U.S. helicopter, killing all 12 people aboard. Why were they in a helicopter? Because, we're told, it's too dangerous for U.S. troops to travel on the ground. And the second incident, in which five U.S. soldiers were killed in Karbala? It turns out the assailants passed through three different checkpoints just by flashing American army credentials. And why did they get through so easily? Because "U.S. personnel insist on passing without going through a security screening." Not, according to a report on CNN, because they are arrogantly above such things (although that's probably true as well), but because the danger to them of standing too long at a checkpoint is just too great.

The truth is that Americans are not safe anywhere (outside of their bases), because they aren't actually "occupying" Iraq at all. And, the corollary of that, which is that the overwhelming majority of Iraqis not only want them gone, and, if not actively engaged in actions to that end, are at least passively engaged in such activities.

End the "occupation" now!

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