September 4, 2005
Toronto Sun

U.S. the New Saddam

U.S. to remain in Iraq 'more or less indefinitely'

by Eric Margolis

Gen. Jumper let the cat out of the bag. While President George Bush hints at eventual troop withdrawals, the Pentagon is busy building four major, permanent air bases in Iraq that will require heavy infantry protection.

Jumper's revelation confirms what this column has long said: The Pentagon plans to copy Imperial Britain's method of ruling oil-rich Iraq. In the 1920s, the British cobbled together Iraq from three disparate Ottoman provinces to control newly-found oil fields in Kurdistan and along the Iranian border.

London installed a puppet king and built an army of sepoy (native) troops to keep order and put down minor uprisings. Government minister Winston Churchill authorized use of poisonous mustard gas against Kurdish tribesmen in Iraq and Pushtuns in Afghanistan (today's Taliban). The RAF crushed all revolts.

It seems this is what Jumper has in mind. Mobile U.S. ground intervention forces will remain at the four major "Fort Apache" bases guarding Iraq's major oil fields. These bases will be "ceded" to the U.S. by a compliant Iraqi regime. The U.S. Air Force will police the Pax Americana with its precision-guided munitions and armed drones. . . .

The U.S. reportedly offered the 15 Sunni delegates $5 million each to vote for the constitution -- but was turned down. No mention was made that a U.S.-guided constitution for Iraq would violate the Geneva Conventions.

Chinese Taoists say you become what you hate. In a zesty irony, the U.S. now finds itself in a similar position as demonized Saddam Hussein. Saddam had to use his Sunni-dominated army to hold Iraq together by fighting Kurdish and Shia rebels. His brutal police jailed tens of thousands and routinely used torture.

Today, Iraq's new ruler, the U.S., is battling Sunni insurgents, ("al-Qaida terrorists," in the latest Pentagon doublespeak), rebuilding Saddam's dreaded secret police, holding 15,000 prisoners and torturing captives, as the Abu Ghraib outrage showed.


Eric Margolis, "Newest U.S. Colony Ruled by Air Power," Toronto Sun, April 28, 2003

Jonathan Power, "War of Civilizations?," International Herald Tribune, October 29, 2004

Michael Meacher, "America is Usurping the Democratic Will in Iraq," Independent, April 5, 2005

Enver Masud, "Saddam Hussein's Palaces: 'It's Deja Vu All Over Again'," The Wisdom Fund, May 1, 2005

Alain Gresh, "This Was the Most Glaring Scandal of All," Guardian, August 19, 2005

Anthony Shadid, "Night Draws Near: Iraq's People in the Shadow of America's War," Henry Holt and Co. (September 7, 2005)

["There's a line from history that nearly everyone in Baghdad remembers: 'Our armies do not come into your cities and lands as conquerors or enemies, but as liberators.' The speaker was Major General Sir Stanley Maude, the British commander who in 1917 entered the capital to end Ottoman rule ... The idea has proved memorable. So has the aftermath, a legacy that Iraqis ruefully note. The British remained in Iraq and in control of its oil for decades." The fact that the Bush administration uttered almost exactly the same line about its intentions was, of course, also noted in Baghdad.--Gary Kamiya, " What went wrong,", September 13, 2005]

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