Terrorism Accomplished: the Real Targets of the 2003 Invasion
By Jacek Teller
It was three in the morning and visibility was close to zero. The wind had kicked up every last available grain of sand and seemed determined to move the entire desert over the Iraq-Kuwait boarder. But not even the colossal Shamal wind could stop the invasion.
It was too late, the decision had been made long ago – decades prior, in fact – Iraqi oil must be under US control.
It was March 20, 2003, the day we crossed the boarder. Over twenty helicopters loaded with British Marines had taken off, at three in the morning, from Ali Al Salem air base, located just miles from the Iraqi boarder. The base, a decrepit landing strip pock-marked with craters and bullet holes from a decade prior, was engulfed in a sandstorm so intense I could not see my own feet. It was almost completely dark and flashlights were useless – they just illuminated the sand right in front of them. Yet, twenty some-odd US helicopters, fully loaded with troops and vehicles, were to find their way to the Umm Qasr Peninsula (flying at low altitude), negotiate antiaircraft defenses and secure, by ground assault, the oil refining and storage facilities there.
It must have been very important to secure those, because even after one of the aircraft, a CH-46E of HMM-268, crashed into the ground, the commanders hesitated to call the mission off. The aircraft returned at first light – one short, and the mission not accomplished. (Four US Marines and eight British marines were killed in the crash.)
During the following weeks, US and British forces advanced northward in Blitzkrieg fashion – massive, indiscriminate aerial bombing followed by “raids” performed by ground forces. The citizens of the towns and cities were disarmed one by one – the confiscated, mostly Soviet made, weapons loaded onto trucks and taken away to who knows where. Every farmer, sheepherder, shop-owner and family man lost his means of self defense during these “raids.” This was the first of many US policies implemented in Iraq that would have never been implemented at home. We get second amendment rights, but the Iraqi man who wishes to keep a rusty old AK-47 to defend his family in a war zone does not.
The needs of the people – food, water, medicine, sanitation, hospitals and schools were on the agenda. The targets were clear – secure the oil infrastructure, (the pipelines, in particular) and disarm the population.
Once this was done, Paul Bremer, Ahmed Chalabi and their accomplices could carry out the necessary steps to prepare Iraq for full economic exploitation. Tariffs were eradicated, copyright laws made more stringent, and exclusive contracts for re-construction granted – the market was completely opened to foreign goods and investors. The infrastructure was neglected while the world’s largest US embassy was erected in the center of it all.
And when the Iraqi people dare to demand an election, it was stalled, sabotaged, and discredited – the only acceptable brand of democracy was to be an imported one. But that was all okay, the people were disarmed and starving. “Mission Accomplished.”
In late 2003, the Polish arrived to take command of coalition forces in Iraq and I was asked to interpret between their commanders and ours. I was born and raised in Poland and speak Polish. From interpreting a month’s worth of negotiations, it seemed quite clear that the US commanders did not want to hand over any control over to anyone, the coalition forces were a farce – a PR stunt. Again, the imperative was US control.
In early 2004, as “invasion” turned to “occupation” Washington’s ability to control the Iraqi population slipped. Of course, this was not surprising given that many military strategists and policy planners warned us of the troop numbers required to maintain control by force – in two countries at once, no less. Zbigniew Brzezinski estimated that number to be 500,000 – A number that is simply not realistic.
Is it any wonder then that Washington turned to the foreign policy strategy that has been in effect in South America for the better part of a century. I’m talking about terrorism.
The U.S. Code and the FBI define ‘terrorism’ as “…the unlawful use of force or violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives.” This is why we have Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo, Bagram and various other secret prisons. Amnesty International reported in their March 2003 “Beyond Abu Ghraib” report that at the end of 2005 there were over 14,000 “security detainees” held in Iraq, many for over a year and many without formal charges. All part of a larger scheme to bludgeon and coerce the Iraqis to accept foreign domination and exploitation.
Jacek Teller is a member of Iraq Veterans Against the War. He is now a student at East Carolina University and can be reached at email@example.com.
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