Feelin' safe yet?
By Mumia Abu-Jamal from death row
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
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
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 ill-
conceived, 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
[Mr. Jamal is the author of *Faith of Our Fathers* (Africa
World Press, 2003). The Kennan quote is from: Cumings,
Bruce, "Is America an Imperial Power?", *Current History*,
Nov. '03, p. 360.]
"When a cause comes along and you know in your bones that it is
just, yet refuse to defend it--at that moment you begin to die.
And I have never seen so many corpses walking around talking about
justice." - Mumia Abu-Jamal
MUMIA'S COLUMNS NEED TO BE PUBLISHED AS BROADLY
AS POSSIBLE TO INSPIRE PROGRESSIVE MOVEMENT AND
HELP CALL ATTENTION TO HIS CASE.
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FAITH OF OUR FATHERS: AN EXAMINATION OF THE SPIRITUAL
LIFE OF AFRICAN AND AFRICAN-AMERICAN PEOPLE
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Submitted by: Sis. Marpessa
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