Orwell in Iraq: Snow Jobs, Zarqawi and Bogus Peace Plans
By Dahr Jamail
r u t h o u t" "My personal opinion is that the only way
we will lose this war is if we pull out prematurely," said Colonel
Jeffrey Snow, who commands a brigade of soldiers in Iraq. Snow, as
reported by AFP on June 30th, fears losing public support in the US
for the ongoing occupation of Iraq because of "negative perceptions"
at home due to news that is "always bad."
Reuters reported, also on June 30th, Snow admitting that resistance
attacks in Baghdad have risen despite the recent security crackdown
that brought tens of thousands of American and Iraqi soldiers, new
checkpoints and curfews in the capital city.
The same Col. Snow, unable (or more likely, unwilling) to provide
statistics on the increased number of attacks, instead used the
excuse that the steps the US military took to tell the Iraqi people
about the new security measures kept resistance fighters informed of
the military's plans. On that note, it couldn't be more obvious that
someone in his position is there for his ability to follow orders,
rather than his aptitude toward the application of logic.
In another dazzling flash of brain activity, Snow, who obviously
thinks "war" is a suitable term for the illegal occupation of Iraq,
commented, "We expected there would be an increase in attacks, and
that is precisely what's happened." He also added, "I believe that
these attacks are going to go down over time. So I remain
Snow is obviously annoyed with the fact that select media outlets
continue to report the increasing violence, ongoing deaths of Iraqi
civilians and US soldiers, and that the country is, at this point,
essentially as devastated as it was when Hulagu Khan's Mongols
sacked Baghdad 748 years ago.
Just three days before the flash of brilliant analysis by Snow, the
Iraqi health ministry announced it had received 262 corpses within
the previous four days as the result of armed operations all over
the country. It also reported that 580 people were injured in the
same time period, and did not count people known to have been
abducted and murdered but whose bodies have not yet been found.
But Snow seems to be less concerned with the reality on the ground
than he is with public perception of the hell that Iraq has become.
While he admits that his own troops have come under a greater number
of resistance attacks, he preferred to offer his professional
critique of media coverage on the failed state of Iraq.
"Our soldiers may be in the crosshairs every day, but it is the
American voter who is a real target, and it is the media that
carries the message back each day across the airwaves. So when the
news is not balanced and it's always bad, that clearly leads to
negative perceptions back home," said the leader of the 1st Brigade
of the 10th Mountain Division, which has been in Iraq nearly one
Determined to leave reporters with a warm, fuzzy feeling inside
about the situation in Iraq, as well as to explain his obvious
contradictions, Snow added, "The way I would answer that is that
attacks here recently are up in our area. However, the overall
effectiveness is down. So you may perceive that as double-speak."
While Snow was busy contemplating his gifts of double-speak the next
day, July 1st, a car bomb attacked a police patrol in Sadr City,
Baghdad, killing at least 62 people and wounding over 100.
With the plan to secure Baghdad, "Operation Forward Together," now
three weeks old, and the so-called terror leader in Iraq, Abu Musab
al-Zarqawi, killed, the security situation has only continued to
"Killing Zarqawi has not improved the situation in Iraq one bit,"
said Loretta Napoleoni, Fullbright Scholar at Johns Hopkins
University, author of the books Terror Inc. and Insurgent Iraq.
While speaking to an audience in Seville, Spain, where we both gave
lectures about the situation in Iraq this past weekend, the expert
about Zarqawi and terror groups now operating in Iraq added, "In
fact, it might well have made things worse. There is evidence to
back the claim that al-Qaeda gave information to the Multi-National
Forces about Zarqawi to have him killed, since they had been having
problems with him for quite some time. Thus, killing him may well
have strengthened the link between al-Qaeda and Sunni resistance
groups in Iraq."
When I interviewed Napoleoni, she told me that the image of Zarqawi
portrayed by Western media outlets was basically the antithesis of
reality. "He [Zarqawi] was not in control of the Sunni resistance.
He was in control of a very small group of jihadists, predominantly
foreign fighters. He was extremely unpopular among the other
factions of Sunni resistance fighters. Some of the members of the
resistance even tried two times to remove him because he was a
negative political influence."
While talking with Napoleoni I wondered if Col. Snow truly believed
his own rhetoric. I asked her what she thought of the constant
assertions in Western corporate media outlets that Zarqawi was the
"leader of the Iraqi resistance."
"Well it's not true. It's absolutely not true," she told me, "I
don't know what they base these kinds of statements on. The
resistance in Iraq is quite complex, including the Shia factions,
and of course al-Zarqawi was not in control of that. Finally, al-Zarqawi
was a foreigner. This is the key element. The Iraqi resistance would
never follow a foreigner as a leader."
Hoping to shed some light on how people like Col. Snow, along with
so many US citizens, remain so ignorant about the reality on the
ground in Iraq, I asked Napoleoni, who lectures regularly on the
financing of terrorism as well as being an economist, another
Who is actually conducting the terrorism in Iraq? "The majority of
the suicide missions are carried out by non-Iraqis. There are lots
of people coming from the Gulf. There is a jihadist web site that
lists the names of the martyrs, and you can see that they come from
Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and even from the Emirates. This is the
majority of the suicide missions. Some people come from Syria and
Jordan, but the vast majority of people come from the Gulf."
So much for ongoing attempts by the Cheney administration to
implicate Syria and Iran in collaborating with the Iraqi resistance.
All Cheney needs to do is have his puppet, Mr. Bush, ask his pal,
the King of Saudi Arabia, why they are allowing so many martyrs into
Col. Snow take note, because if you really want to know what you are
attempting to hide from people in the US, you should ask Napoleoni.
According to her, the reason why Zarqawi and the few terrorist
groups operating in Iraq are given so much media attention is
because the Cheney administration "needs to personalize the enemy
and needs to have a dichotomy between good and evil. This has been,
very much, the Bush [Cheney] administration's policy right from the
beginning. His [Bush's] first speech after 9/11 was "You are either
with us or you are against us." So he clearly stated there is
nothing in between. So al-Zarqawi had to be an evil individual the
same way that Saddam Hussein was portrayed as an evil individual
because, you know, there is a moral battle here."
Col. Snow and other gullible US citizens should heed her conclusion
about why the myth of Zarqawi was blown so large and wide. "Of
course this [moral battle] is the umbrella under which the economic
battle and the hegemonic battles are taking place," she said.
While we were discussing the US-propagated myth of Zarqawi, I
decided to ask Napoleoni to comment on the absurd statements made by
Western corporate media outlets claiming that Zarqawi was in control
of Fallujah during the November 2004 massacre in the city.
"Al-Zarqawi was never in control of Fallujah," she told me, "In
fact, he was never in Fallujah." As we discussed the second US
assault on Fallujah in depth, she mentioned that negotiations
between resistance groups, tribal leaders and the US military were
happening right up to the launching of Operation Phantom Fury
"The reason why that negotiation failed was because after it was
agreed, the Americans basically demanded to have al-Zarqawi, and of
course the people of Fallujah couldn't give him to the Americans
because he was not in Fallujah," she said, confirming what I'd been
told by my sources in the city.
Another recent clue as to why resistance attacks against US and
Iraqi forces have been on the rise as of late is the "failed"
reconciliation plan put forth by Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki.
The vague plan offered by the Shia-dominated puppet government was
flawed from the beginning, and when I asked Napoleoni what she
thought of the "plan" she said, "I don't think it is going to work
at all. I think it is a window dressing for the West. I think it is
one of these political decisions in order to sell an image to the
West saying, "Oh, the new government in Iraq is actually offering
peace. But this peace is going to be rejected; therefore the new
government has no other choice but to continue repressing the
She continued, "I don't think there was anything in that proposal
that was written in order to bring a deal. Because if you look at
this, it is impossible for any of those groups to accept it. It's
too vague, for a start. Also, it basically prohibits amnesty for
anybody who has done any activity motivated by political violence.
So of course this was rejected because there was no way an amnesty
is going to be accepted by the Sunni when we are in a situation
where the government is in the hands of the Shia."
There is one thing that Col. Snow said about the US corporate media
that he and I agree on. Napoleoni, who worked for several banks and
internation?l organizations in Europe and the US as well as having
brought heads of state from around the world together to create a
new strategy for combating the financing of terror networks, agreed
And that is when Col. Snow told reporters, "It is the American voter
who is a real target."
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