The Iraq catastrophe isn't down to mistakes or lack of planning, but a refusal to accept that people will resist foreign occupation
By Seumas Milne
The Guardian, Thursday March 20 2008
".....Meanwhile, we're being subjected to a renewed barrage of spin about the success of the US surge in turning the country round, quelling the violence and opening the way to a sunlit future. In an echo of his notorious "mission accomplished" speech of May 2003, George Bush yesterday proclaimed the Iraq war a "major strategic victory" in the "war on terror".
All this is self-delusion on a heroic scale. The unprovoked aggression launched by the US and Britain against Iraq five years ago today has already gone down across the world as, to borrow the words of President Roosevelt, "a day which will live in infamy". Iraqis were promised freedom, democracy and prosperity. Instead, as Jon Snow's compelling TV documentary Hidden Iraq underlined this week, they have seen the physical and social destruction of their country, mass killing, tens of thousands thrown into jail without trial, rampant torture, an epidemic of sectarian terror attacks, pauperisation, and the complete breakdown of basic services and supplies......
Now the same voices can be heard arguing against an end to the occupation on the grounds that withdrawal might trigger even worse violence. Of course no stabilisation of Iraq is going to be bloodless, but such arguments fail to recognise that the occupation itself has fostered sectarian conflict in classic colonial divide-and-rule style - the current US sponsorship of Sunni militias is a case in point. As the US military's own surveys show, Iraqis of all religious and ethnic groups believe the presence of foreign troops is the main cause of violence and 70% want them out now. Tellingly, violence in Basra dropped by 90% after British troops withdrew from the city to their airport base last summer. Naturally, the green zone government is against a US pullout, because it wouldn't survive on its own. But only when the occupation forces make an unequivocal commitment to leave will Iraq's main political and military players be compelled to come to an accommodation......."