Sunday, February 25, 2007

Daily Kos Defends Iraqi Terrorists

Over at Daily Kos there is a vial post defending the terrorists in Iraq, you know, the "freedom fighters" who are killing the "occupation."

LGF and Jawa among others have reported this. Here's a small, vial quote from a gigantic post filled with anti-American venom:

Writing in The Guardian yesterday, Peter Beaumont depicts the insurgents as brutal and immoral "jihadi fighters", who "use human shields and force children to run weapons for them." Meanwhile, the occupying forces are painted as benevolent bystanders, trying their hardest to combat the evil jihadis whilst sparing innocent civilian lives.

The demonisation of the Iraqi insurgency is understandable. It is in the interests of the political elites, and the corporate media that serve them, to portray any opposition to Western imperial policies as illegitimate, terroristic and barbaric. That an imperialistic or occupying power will attempt to demonise any resistance to it is a historical universal, as writer and activist Tariq Ali points out:

"Every resistance movement against imperialism has been categorised as terrorist ‹ the Mau Mau in Kenya were demonised and brutally tortured by the British; the Algerian FLN by the French; the Vietnamese by the French and the Americans.

Today Israel’s Ariel Sharon refers to Palestinians as terrorists, Russia’s Vladimir Putin crushes the Chechens in the name of fighting terror and Tony Blair is assaulting traditional civil liberties in this country in the name of fighting terror. It’s hardly surprising that the Iraqi resistance is characterised in the same fashion."

A quick examination of the reality, however, tells a very different story. Firstly, the Iraqi resistance is overwhelmingly indigenous. According to Major General Joseph Taluto, "99.9 per cent" of militants captured fighting U.S. forces in Iraq are Iraqi. When U.S. and Iraqi soldiers ‘methodically swept through Tall Afar’ in the largest counter-insurgency operation of 2005, they killed nearly 200 insurgents and detained close to 1,000. All those detained were Iraqi. Serious analysts of the occupation have long recognised that, in Scott Ritter’s words, the "anti-US resistance in Iraq today is Iraqi in nature, and more broadly based and deeply rooted than acknowledged." In a recent article for the International Journal of Contemporary Iraqi Studies, Stephen Zunes writes (.pdf) that "the al-Qaeda-inspired jihadists and the foreign fighters upon whom the Bush administration has focused represent only a small minority of the insurgency." The U.S. and UK governments, together with the Western media, focus disproportionately on the very few foreign fighters present in Iraq to minimise Iraqi opposition to the occupation and to delegitimise the resistance. In addition, as Zunes explains, branding the entire resistance movement "terrorists" (or by focusing disproportionately on al-Qaeda’s small role in the insurgency, thereby associating the insurgency as a whole with terrorism) enables Bush and Blair to present Iraq as a front in the "war on terror", whereas in fact it is nothing of the sort, and to "portray the US invasion and occupation of Iraq not as an act of aggression – as most of the international community sees it – but as an act of self-defence. By extension, it seeks to portray those who oppose the ongoing US occupation as appeasers or even supporters of totalitarianism and violence." According to Zunes, the number of foreign insurgents fighting with an agenda even remotely resembling that described by President Bush above constitutes "well under 5 per cent of the armed resistance."