After four Blackwater mercenaries were killed and their lifeless, butchered bodies publicly displayed by gleeful insurgents in March 2004, George W. Bush was handed one of those "leadership moments" so earnestly lusted after by incorrigible narcissists of his variety.
Summoning every resource of eloquence and inspiration at his disposal, Bush -- according to the newly published memoir by Gen. Ricardo S. Sanchez, former commander of U.S. forces in Iraq -- disgorged what he probably thought was a masterpiece of Churchillian oratory in a videoconference with his national security team and commanding generals in Iraq:
"Kick ass! If somebody tries to stop the march to democracy, we will seek them out and kill them! We must be tougher than hell! This Vietnam stuff, this is not even close. It is a mind-set. We can't send that message. It's an excuse to prepare us for withdrawal. There is a series of moments and this is one of them. Our will is being tested, but we are resolute. We have a better way. Stay strong! Stay the course! Kill them! Be confident! Prevail! We are going to wipe them out! We are not blinking!"
This harangue was roughly equal parts towel-snapping frat-boy faux bravado, corporate seminar positive thinking dogma, partially digested talk radio sound-bites, and reheated Brezhnev-era Soviet revolutionary cant served up in one borderline-aphasic seizure.
Picking carefully through this slurry with a pair of tweezers we can extract one expression that nearly qualifies as a complete thought: The Marxoid imprecation against those who would "stop the march of Democracy" in Iraq and, presumably, elsewhere.
In fact, it was the audacity displayed by the residents of Fallujah in setting up their own self-governing institutions after the U.S. invasion that attracted the murderous attentions of Bush and his adult handlers.
Jeremy Scahill, in his exceptionally valuable study of Blackwater, Inc., points out that after the invasion "Fallujans had organized themselves and, before U.S. forces entered the city, created a local system of governance -- appointing a Civil Management Council with a manager and mayor -- in direct affront to the authority of the occupation."
Human Rights Watch reports that in Fallujah, the management of the city's public and private assets was apportioned among the various tribes, and arrangement one could call a form of checks and balances. The local hospital contracted with local militiamen to provide security. And local Imams "urged the public to respect law and order."
"Are you finished democratizing my city? Can I come out?"
What is described here is a rudimentary and very fragile form of republican self-government, albeit of a form based on cultural assumptions substantially different from those that informed our own Founders. So of course it had to be destroyed in the interests of the Bushevik Global Democratic Revolution.
Fallujah suffered greatly in the first Gulf War: A February 13 aerial bombing attack on a bridge spanning the Euphrates. The first airstrike failed to bring down the bridge. During the second, a half-dozen of the laser-guided "precision" missiles malfunctioned, missing the target and hitting a nearby residential neighborhood, an apartment building, and a crowded market. Scores were killed, hundreds more were wounded.
By the time the Bush family stretched forth its hand a second time to confer the blessings of armed benevolence upon the ungrateful Iraqis, Fallujah had become known as a stronghold of support for Saddam Hussein and anti-American hostility. This shouldn't surprise anyone with a particle of understanding of human nature. Which means it was utterly mystifying to those whose minds are incurably hostage to the tenets of totalitarian democracy.
You see, "Democracy" is the sanctified name used to describe whatever Washington sees fit to inflict on any community -- foreign or domestic -- it targets. And the objective of planting and nurturing democracy consecrates any means to bring about that end.
Shortly after U.S. troops invaded Iraq, a contingent of Marines occupied Fallujah, seizing the Al Qaed ("The Leader") School on Hay Nazzal Street as its headquarters. Since the reaction to this action was entirely predictable, the seizure has to be considered a deliberate provocation.
Opposition quickly coalesced, and a mob gathered around the school -- as well as Ba'ath Party HQ, also occupied by US troops -- to chant defiant slogans. The protest promoted Lt. Col, Eric Nantz, the U.S. commander in Fallujah, to warn the crowd via loudspeaker that the demonstration "could be considered a hostile act and would be engaged with deadly force.
At some point, a U.S. soldier was hit by a rock thrown by a demonstrator, and what had been a protest turned into a massacre. A hail of gunfire erupted, and hundreds of Iraqi civilians were slaughtered. Some eyewitnesses testify that U.S. troops ordered ambulance drivers away from the scene as civilians died in agony.
This all happened roughly a year before the death of four Blackwater operators who were sent, ill-prepared and with inadequate support, on a very badly planned mission in Fallujah.
It is tragically typical of the American mass mind -- at least, that small portion of it that still pays attention to the ongoing national crime in Iraq -- that the death of four mercenaries in the service of Washington's empire has become known as the "Fallujah Massacre," and -- of course -- there is no corresponding name for the murder of hundreds of Iraqis by American forces in 1991 and April 2003. Likewise, no name has been given to the breathtakingly savage campaign of detention, regimentation, state terrorism, and mass murder that the Bush Regime conducted in an attempt to impose democracy on Fallujah.
The death of four Blackwater operatives -- whose survivors were stiff-armed by both that politically connected corporation and the government it serves so dutifully -- gave the Regime "the ideal pretext to launch a massive assault on a population that was fast becoming a potent symbol suggesting that the United States and its Iraqi proxies were not really in control of the country," recounts Scahill. And remember: The triumph of "democracy" meant nothing more or less than uncontested U.S. control over Iraq.
In April 2004, Fallujah was encircled by U.S. troops and fenced in with concertina wire, and then Operation Vigilant Resolve began. According to on-site reports from both "embedded" and independent sources, occupation forces within the city seized control of the main hospital to prevent its use in treating the wounded. Air assaults destroyed the power plant and the main mosque.
Platoons were dispersed throughout the city armed with loudspeakers and a vocabulary of exquisitely profane insults compiled by psy-ops specialists as a way of luring resistance fighters out from hiding. This "insult-and-shoot" tactic was eagerly taken up by platoons throughout the city: U.S. troops, to the accompaniment of "Welcome to the Jungle" and "Hell's Bells," pumped out a steady stream of profanity and then mercilessly gunned down those Fallujans who rose in defense of their community's honor.
Warplanes dropped their lethal payloads of 2,000-pound bombs on the city; AC-130 Spectre gunships capable of demolishing city blocks in minutes were a common sight in the skies above Fallujah. A doctor from Baghdad who witnessed the death toll later commented: "There is no law on earth that can justify what the Americans did to innocent people."
Yet Fallujah refused to be "pacified," let alone "democratized."
"As you remember, we went in because of the atrocities on the Blackwater security personnel, the four personnel that were killed and later burned, and then hung on the bridge," then-Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Richard Myers testified before Congress on Hitler's birthday (April 20). Imitating the propaganda style of Hitler's regime, Myers described the inhabitants of the city as non-human vermin fit only for extermination: "We went in because we had to and to find the perpetrators. And what we found was a huge rat's nest, that is still festering today...."
The second assault on Fallujah began shortly after Bush's triumph in the November 2004 election. This time, the same Empire that supplied Saddam with chemical weapons, and then execrated him as a singular monster for using them "against his own people," cut out the Middle-Man entirely, using white phosphorous munitions against the "rat's nest" in Fallujah.
This was what the bloody-handed Bushling had in what passes for his mind when he urged the annihilation of those who stood athwart the "march of democracy" in Iraq.
Faoud Ajami, an apologist for the neo-con wing of the Imperial ruling elite, is every bit as Arab as Vidkun Quisling was Norwegian. A few days ago Ajami -- who is called on occasionally by the likes of Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity to put a mock-academic gloss on the Regime's depraved ambitions -- decanted another dram of a familiar Establishment whine that is not improving with age: The plaint that it's simply unfair to judge the Iraq war, and the Warmakers, by the results of their policies and the facts as we now know them.
Ajami was provoked by Scott McClellan's memoirs, in which the erstwhile White House spokesliar tries to come clean about at least some of the deceptions that led to the invasion.
According to neo-con apologist Faoud Ajami, this little boy from Fallujah had to be mutilated because Saddam "taunted" the US Government. If that makes sense to you, you're qualified to teach at Johns Hopkins University.
Writing in the Wall Street Journal, Ajami pouts that McClellan's apostasy from the Warmakers' cult comes "in the sixth year of the war, at a time when many have forgotten what was thought and said before its onset. The nation was gripped by legitimate concern over gathering dangers in the aftermath of 9/11. Kabul and the war against the Taliban had not sufficed, for those were Arabs who struck America on 9/11. A war of deterrence had to be waged against Arab radicalism, and Saddam Hussein had drawn the short straw. He had not ducked, he had not scurried for cover. He openly mocked America's grief, taunted its power."
So ... an aggressive war simply had to be waged because Saddam had "taunted" the Empire, by refusing to duck or scurry for cover?
That is a war aim worthy of the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people, including more than 4,000 Americans?
This is the same quasi-thought, albeit expressed in slightly more elevated diction, that was given voice a year ago by Thomas Friedman of the New York Times: In a televised interview, Friedman said that a good and sufficient reason to invade Iraq was because "we" could, as a way of telling the Arab world, "Well, suck on this."
While Ajami avoids Friedman's use of urban patois -- which is singularly unconvincing, coming from a chinless, chest-less nebbish who probably can't do a single pushup, much less throw a decent punch -- he likewise insists that "democracy" cannot be victorious until all people everywhere, great and small, bow before the Empire's scepter.
Ann Coulter, who could probably take either Friedman or Ajami in a fist-fight, once reduced the discussion to a metaphor derived from prison rape: By ordering the invasion of Iraq, Coulter told an audience in mid-2003, Bush had "made the Middle East his bitch."
Well... not exactly. The problem, of course, is that neither Iraq nor the Middle East has been domesticated by the Empire, and never will. But the ongoing imperial wars will prove a splendid way to destroy whatever remains of American prosperity and national independence, as well as to flush out and eradicate anybody who remembers and seeks to restore the old republic.
"I don't care if it created more enemies," the Bushling spat at NBC News correspondent Richard Engel in a 2007 interview. "I had to act." To the same reporter, Bush blithely admitted that the war in Iraq "is going to take forty years." And his administration is taking steps right now to ensure that we will remain mired in Iraq and the region for at least two more generations.
Bush and his claque are seeking a special agreement with the Iraqi government to retain fifty permanent military bases in that country, and to provide permanent immunity for U.S. personnel stationed there. In familiar fashion, George the Dumber insists that congressional approval of this proposal -- which is a treaty by any honest use of language -- does not require Senate approval or congressional action of any kind.
Heroic armed missionaries of Democracy confront violent Iraqi ingrates -- at least, that's how the Regime and its apologists expect us to view this photograph.
Iraqi government officials protest that such an arrangement would entirely nullify Iraqi sovereignty. Ah, but Iraqi sovereignty, like all other principles, people, institutions, laws, or considerations, must yield to the imperatives of Washington's rule, aka Democracy. To that end, the Regime that rules us "is holding hostage some $50 billion of Iraq's money in the Federal Reserve Bank of New York to pressure the Iraqi government" into signing that agreement by July 31, reports the estimable Patrick Cockburn of Britain's Independent newspaper.
To many observers this appears to be simple, vulgar extortion.
This conclusion is entirely unfair, of course. It's democratic extortion -- surely, the noblest kind.
On sale now!
Are you on their little List? Probably -- if you've done anything worthwhile for freedom.