By Mike Whitney
|“We must bear in mind that imperialism is a world
system, the last stage of capitalism—and it must be
defeated in a world confrontation. The strategic end of
this struggle should be the destruction of imperialism.
Our share, the responsibility of the exploited and
underdeveloped of the world, is to eliminate the
foundations of imperialism: our oppressed nations, from
where they extract capital, raw materials, technicians,
and cheap labor, and to which they export new
capital-instruments of domination-arms and all kinds of
articles, thus submerging us in absolute dependence.”
Ernesto Che Guevara
Clearing House" -- -- While critics of the Iraq war are quick to point out
that US occupation is failing, they hesitate to draw the
obvious conclusion; that the Iraqi resistance is
winning. Observations like that are tantamount to
treason and thus banned in the establishment-media. The
idea of American invincibility is such a
carefully-nurtured myth that is defended in all quarters
and at all times. Even if U.S. troops were caught
red-handed pushing their helicopters into the Euphrates
while hastily fleeing Baghdad, the “embedded” media
would twist it around so it looked like a “strategic
There’s nothing new about media bias, but its effect on
the ongoing war has been negligible. The media’s “spin”
cannot alter the reality on the ground, and the fact is
the US is getting beaten quite badly. They’ve
locked-horns with a crafty enemy that has neutralized
their advantages in terms of firepower and technology
and limited their range of movement. It’s shocking to
think that after 4 years of bloody conflict, occupation
forces still control “no ground” beyond the looming
parapets of the Green Zone. This is a stunning admission
By every objective standard, the US is losing the war in
Iraq. Still, America’s misfortunes are simply the result
of administrative miscues or a bungled strategy, but the
unavoidable effect of a shrewd and ferocious adversary
that strikes unexpectedly and then hides among the
population. As Mao Tse-tung said, “The guerilla must
move among the people as a fish swims in the sea.” The
Iraqi resistance has managed this feat with greater
dexterity than anyone expected.
The benchmarks for winning a guerilla-type war are
fairly well known. The occupying army must quickly
establish security in order to elicit the support of the
general population. That’s why winning “hearts and
minds” is such a critical task. If the occupation is
widely unpopular, then reconstruction and security
become impossible, and the armed-struggle flourishes.
Now that 80% of the Iraqi people say that they want to
see a rapid draw-down of American troops, we can be
certain that victory, in any conventional sense of the
word, is out of the question.
Guerilla warfare has reached a new level of complexity
in Iraq. After 4 years, we know little more about the
resistance and their methods of operating as we did at
the time of the invasion. Is there a central-command or
just small independent cells? How do they communicate
among themselves? Do they have a reliable source of
weaponry and explosives? What are their funding sources?
How many men are in the resistance? How many women? Do
they move around the country or stay in one location?
Are there foreign donors or are they self-sustaining?
How deeply is the public engaged in supporting
Without knowing the answers to these questions, the
United States, with all its high-tech surveillance
gadgetry, is just a lumbering giant stumbling around
aimlessly. The dependence on rounding up and torturing
“military aged men” (MAMs) to gather intelligence about
resistance activities and networks has backfired
entirely; galvanizing the public against the occupation
and eroding America’s claim of moral superiority.
Guerilla warfare is a war of attrition; the steady,
inexorable wearing away of the enemy’s forces and
morale. The object is to invoke various asymmetrical
strategies to keep the invading army constantly
off-balance and on the defensive. The guerilla must keep
probing for vulnerabilities; picking away at potential
soft-spots while executing a program of sabotage and
deception. As Mao advised, “Withdraw when the enemy
advances; harass him when he stops; strike him when he
is weary; pursue him when he withdraws.”
The overall effect of this strategy is already apparent.
The mission’s goals have become vague and muddled, the
troops are increasingly demoralized, and there are no
clear benchmarks for success. Under these circumstances,
increasing troop strength is an act of pure desperation.
“Victory” is not possible when no one has a clear idea
of what victory means. That’s the problem with waging a
war simply to extract the wealth and resources from
another country. Eventually the mask of ideology slips
and everyone can see the true nature of the fraud.
There is a tendency in the West to minimize the
accomplishments of the Iraqi resistance, but no one can
dispute the results. With limited arms and resources,
they have out-flanked, out-maneuvered and
thoroughly-confounded the best-trained, best-equipped,
high-tech military war-machine the world has ever seen.
That’s no mean achievement. I expect that many
high-ranking American officers secretly admire their
enemy’s effectiveness. They’ve waged an impressive
battle under very thorny circumstances and they've
persevered despite clear disadvantages in
communications, logistics, firepower, propaganda,
mobility and supplies. With the most primitive of
weaponry and bomb-making equipment, they’ve gone
nose-to-nose with the world’s only superpower and forced
In truth, the Iraqi resistance has succeeded where the
Congress, the United Nations, and the millions of
peace-loving antiwar citizens across the globe failed;
they stopped the Bush juggernaut dead in its tracks.
Last week, Lt General Michael Maples admitted that
resistance attacks have increased “in scope, lethality,
and intensity.” Attacks on US forces are now up to a
whopping 180 per day, nearly double the number just a
year ago. The armed-struggle is clearly growing stronger
by the day.
At the same time, Bush’s problems continue to mount. His
army is stretched to the breaking-point, sectarian
fighting is on the rise, and the Al-Maliki government
has failed to disband the militias or devise a strategy
for establishing security beyond the Green Zone.
No part of the occupation has succeeded.
Bush’s plan for Iraq is doomed to fail, because it is
based on flawed logic. Overwhelming force and extreme
violence do not produce political solutions; just more
bloodshed. Iraq is not the Gaza Strip.
The only way forward now is for the United States to
declare an immediate ceasefire, call for negotiations
with the leaders of the Iraqi National Resistance,
convene a meeting between the main groups, (Sunni,
Shiite and Kurd) and agree in principle to the complete
withdrawal all American troops.
Even at this late date, there is reluctance among
conservative and liberal pundits alike, to acknowledge
that the Sunni-backed, Ba’athist-led resistance must be
dealt with and brought to the bargaining table.
Negotiations with the Iraqi Resistance is the “first
step” on the path to a political solution.
“Staying the course”, “phased withdrawal” or even
meeting with other regional powers, (such as Syria and
Iran) are merely superficial remedies that do not
address the central issue. The United States needs to
make a deal with the men who “carry the guns and pack
the explosives”; they are the ones who are fighting this
war and they are the ones who will decide the terms of a
Whether negotiations take place now or 5 years from now
depends entirely on George Bush, but the outcome of the
war is already certain. Bush’s imperial ambitions have
been smashed by a small cadre of committed Iraqi
nationalists. They’ve blocked the path to Tehran and
Damascus and paved the way for their country’s
Click on "comments" below to read or post comments
accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is
distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior
interest in receiving the included information for research and
educational purposes. Information Clearing House has no affiliation
whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is Information
ClearingHouse endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)