Dec 1, 2003
Rushing into Iraq Thanksgiving Day, Bush stayed just long enough to have his picture taken carrying a tray of turkey and to be heard telling the troops to hang in there. It was a bit of a come-down from his seemingly triumphant "photo op" on May 1, when outfitted in a flight suit, saluted by ranks upon ranks of sailors on the wide-open deck of an aircraft carrier, he declared combat operations over.
Not only is the war not going well today, it's going from bad to worse.
In the month of November alone, the administration ran through three different plans for setting up an Iraqi puppet regime – with no success so far in finding enough puppets to agree to be part of it. The same month, November, was marked by the largest number of U.S. fatalities since war started last March – that is, more than in any other month of either the official war or the post-war war. But what was perhaps most significant, at least in a symbolic way, was the attack on the two U.S. soldiers in Mosul beaten by a crowd of teenagers. Despite U.S. claims that the resistance is centered in the Sunni triangle, Mosul is not part of this famous triangle. Despite U.S. claims that the attacks on U.S. troops come from hardened remnants of the Saddam Hussein regime hiding in the shadows or from "foreign fighters," the attack in Mosul was carried out by parts of the Iraqi population itself, by very young Iraqis. And it was carried out in broad daylight, in the midst of traffic, on a crowded street – and cheered by pedestrians.
Was it a horrible death, the death suffered by those two soldiers? Yes. But every death is horrible – the deaths suffered by the almost 500 other U.S. and allied troops, the deaths suffered by the tens of thousands of Iraqis.
Will Bush's propaganda trip work? Will he make the population here at home, not to mention the troops themselves, forget what they know about this filthy war?
Not likely, if we can gauge by letters that U.S. troops have been writing to their families and comments they make to reporters "embedded" with the army. Large numbers of troops understand they are not welcome in Iraq. Many are angry at the deceit and lies used to push them into this war.
Today, the morale of the troops is bad – even Stars and Stripes, the official military newspaper for the troops, admits it. The question is, what will happen tomorrow? Where will this demoralization take them?
Today, the U.S. troops (like the Iraqi people) may seem only to be victims of this war, pawns in this violent game carried out by the U.S. ruling class to put its hands on Iraqi oil. But, like the Iraqi people, they have every reason to want the U.S. out of Iraq. Of course, they are joined in wanting an end to the U.S. war on Iraq by their friends and relatives here at home, along with everyone else outraged by this terrible war. But, along with the Iraqi people, they have the most reason to want an immediate end to the U.S. aggression against Iraq.
In Viet Nam, the U.S. government decided there was no "light at the end of the tunnel" when large numbers of U.S. troops went from being simply demoralized to actively expressing resistance to that war. That's when the U.S. government concluded it could no longer carry on that war.
The troops today in Iraq don't have to remain demoralized victims used against another people who are not their enemy.