Still in Iraq

This is from a paper in Fairbanks Alaska. Most large cirdculation papers would not publish such a forceful and vitriolic attack against US policy in Iraq

Still in Iraq
By Anna Godduhn
Published May 12, 2007

Why, with Saddam hung and the discovery that Iraq was no threat — not to mention hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, more than 3,750 of our own troops, plus hundreds of “green-card soldiers” and private contractors that aren’t part of the count all dead along with tens of thousands of traumatic brain injuries, amputations and mental perturbations — haven’t we left? Because our occupation promotes stability? Hardly.

Whether or not we are directly responsible for every detail of the misery in Iraq, our invasion and occupation have created an utterly intolerable situation. Evidence shows that some covert operations are intentionally fomenting violence, and we shouldn’t be surprised that the people of Iraq are less than tolerant: 78 percent of Iraqis oppose the presence of U.S. forces in Iraq, and 51 percent support armed attacks against U.S. soldiers. We surge, they surge. Ah, the nature of insurgencies; the insanity of war.

Imagine being 10 years old in Baghdad. Your father has been detained for more than a year, your older brother is missing; your mother has no money or food for you and your little sister, and won’t let you leave the house. Your aunts, some of whose husbands are also missing or dead, tell you the Americans may be doing cruel things to your father; no one talks about your brother.

The heat is stifling and the air is often heavy with explosives and death. Your dog disappeared long ago, and you never see your friends because those with parents who could have fled the country and school has been closed most of the last couple of years. The normalcy of electricity, health care, and water and sewage are near forgotten, replaced by chronic anxiety. Would any one of us not learn to hate our “liberators” if we lived such a childhood?

Would it matter if you understood that the pattern of massive military bases being constructed overlays oil fields and follows oil pipelines? Or if you recognized that your new “democracy” was quite literally installed by the United States? If, as a child, you did not know all this, eventually you would find out — and you would become even angrier …

There is one “benchmark” in particular that Americans should know more about. The administration and the mainstream media mention it a lot but never fully describe it. A new “revenue sharing” oil law — a law written in English, probably by Dick Cheney’s secret energy task force — requires that Sunni, Shiia and Kurdish Iraqi’s “share oil revenues.” More honestly, these groups are expected to share the fraction of revenues left over after multinational corporations take almost full control of Iraq’s soon-to-be-privatized oil wealth. Iraqis don’t like this oil law and they are fighting it, tooth and nail.

Insisting, with military force and fortification, that Iraq’s oil be privatized is no less than imperialism. Meanwhile, overworked and deeply stressed soldiers struggle to reconcile what they’ve been told with what they’ve seen. To end the war, to stabilize Iraq, the U.S. has to say it’s not our oil, and we have to mean it — we have to erase the oil law benchmark and cease the construction of permanent bases, while calmly leaving Iraq and paying retribution for the damage done. I can think of no better way to announce our good intentions than with impeachment proceedings against both the vice president and the president of the United States of America for their lies and abuses of power.

For more information, please see:

Seymour Hersh, “The Redirection,” The New Yorker, March 5, 2007.

Global Policy Forum, “Iraq Poll March 2007,”

Antonia Juhasz, “Whose Oil is it Anyway?” New York Times, March 13, 2007.

Anna Godduhn is the coordinator of the UA Fairbanks Coalition for Peace and Justice, a campus and community organization dedicated to raising awareness of the realities of war (


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