"Patriotism is the willingness to kill and be killed for trivial reasons." Bertrand Russell

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Not quite getting it...

Response from RTE Editor to my post:

Dear ,

Thank you for your e-mail. I apologise for the delay in

I agree the US-led coalition troops and Iraqi forces
have met violent opposition...
There has also been inter-communal and faction

However, I do not think your analysis of reports on the
situation in Basra is the only one.

I suggest there is no total unity of opposition...and
that in the absence of a united oppositition there is a
tacit acceptance of the status quo.

I think this month's elections are likely to produce a
unity of purpose including moves towards the withdrawal
of foreign troops from Iraq.

Yours sincerely,

Vincent Delaney,
Editor RTÉ News on 2FM.

Repsonse to:

Dear Editor (RTE News),

It was stated on 2fm News on Monday (31/10/05 8pm) that Iraqis in Basra, the scene of the latest suicide bombing, had 'accepted' US occupation.

The Sunday Telegraph recently reported the results of a poll undertaken by the British MoD, the results were a damning indication of the lack of support for coalition occupation. The poll found that "up to 65 per cent of Iraqi citizens support attacks [on British troops] and fewer than one per cent think Allied military involvement is helping to improve security in their country."

Which also supports the findings of a report conducted by The Center for Strategic and International Studies at the end of 2004. It concluded that the Iraqi insurgency was "largely domestic in character, and had significant popular support," while the number of attacks on Coalition Forces accounted for approximately 75% of all attacks. Given that the insurgency is not a single entity it is fair to say that there are varied goals among these groups, with only one single goal common to all, the expulsion of foreign troops.

While Iraqis risk life and limb to further their democratic agenda, their prerogative was made clear in the January elections where a majority chose to elect a government whose stated goal was to call for the end of occupation. The argument that the fact Iraqis voted for an interim government that made a U-turn on occupation, signifies some sort of acceptance of occupation is in direct conflict with Iraqi public opinion.

Is it quite obvious that the majority of Iraqis are actively resisting occupation, most nonviolently. They have therefore not 'accepted' it. Will you be correcting this distortion?

I look forward to your reply.

Yours sincerely,

My initial thoughts:

Iraqis may have accepted occupation as a fact, for it is an undeniable fact, it would be fanciful not to. But they haven't accepted occupation. Pedantic as it may sound, the report implied Iraqis in Basra have accepted occupation. If they accepted occupation there would be no violent struggle, no democratic struggle etc. It is certainly not the case they have accepted it as the status quo.

It is as alterable as they choose it to be therefore as their right they have made it clear through democratic, peaceful and violent protest their lack of acceptance. Although they have accommodated their lives around it. They do not however tolerate it, as much any other violently and illegally occupied citizens would. Active resistance of the methods I mentioned evidences their position more than any definition of status quo. It is not an unalterable fact, status quo is not inertial.

The report suggested that they tolerate occupation, my contention, supported by many opinion polls is that this is not the case. Why point out that Iraqis accept the status quo, there is a status quo because the majority of people accept it. One is dependent on the other, not the egg and the chicken.

Unless it was intended to show that Iraqis have a firmer grasp of the situation than the occupation forces, that they realise they are powerless to command withdrawal. While the occupiers are apparently ignorant of the fact their occupation negates their withdrawal, because it adds to the violence that challenges stability, unless however the occupation does not intend to do as it publicly professes?

Logically it is not credible to state that Iraqis have accepted occupation, simply thinking about what that would mean. The accepting of a foreign force occupying your land, taking charge and soon ownership of your natural resources, the accepting of a force that holds to no recognisable law etc etc

The report should, in my opinion, have read "Iraqis forced to accept US occupation." In any other form acceptance has little meaning, since Iraqis have not been able to exercise free will in this 'acceptance'. They have accepted it as much as any other citizens of violently occupied territories would.

That Pentagon favorite Ahmed Chalabi puts the status quo quite succinctly, "The Iraqi people do not understand occupation. The Iraqi people do not want to be occupied, and the mistake initially was in not creating a provisional Iraqi government that would be the ally of the United States in the war against the terrorist, fascist Baathist regime of Saddam Hussein."

The point about elections bringing about withdrawal is not worth commenting on, as if the two are even remotely linked.