By Jono Kinkade
After being imprisoned for three-and-a-half years and severely tortured by his own government, the “Warrior,” a former special forces officer under Saddam Hussein, vowed never to return to the military. Then, when the American forces entered Iraq, he rejoined his unit and has since been a leader in the Iraqi resistance.
This is one story in Meeting Resistance, a film that intimately documents the insurgency in Iraq. During a stop in Santa Cruz, filmmakers Molly Bingham and Steve Connors presented their documentary.
The film poses the crucial question: “What would you do if America was invaded?” It turns the neoconservative idea of “terrorism” on its head and calls for an important perspective of empathy and understanding of what it has been like for the everyday Iraqi who has had to endure five years of a violent occupation.
In interviews with Bingham and Connors, they said that in addition to normal people defending their nation, the American presence has made opportunities for the power-hungry to legitimize an extremist agenda.
This March 19 will mark the fifth anniversary of the occupation of Iraq. Five years, nearly 4,000 U.S. soldiers dead, likely around 1,000,000 Iraqi civilian deaths, and over $502,000,000,000 later, it is time to reassess why the United States is in Iraq, and what the future will hold. It is apparent that this is becoming another Vietnam, if not worse.
While it is true that aspects of Iraqi resistance are motivated by religious principles — many Muslims believe that they have a duty to fight any foreign occupier — the idea of resisting foreign occupancy is not unique to any religion or nation.
What if America were invaded?
Surely those who’ve slapped a flag or a yellow ribbon on their gas-guzzler might show the same neonationalist attitude that propels their support for the war—a war that many believe is still about freedom, still about supporting our troops, and still about 9/11, the day when the “enemy” attacked our soil.
Indeed, many of the reasons people support this onslaught of massacres and brutality are so very similar to those fueling the Iraqi insurgency. If only we could all take a few steps back and see that soldiers on both sides are fighting for similar reasons and show no signs of giving up any time soon.
That is why it is up to the leaders who started this mess to clean it up. For too long the Bush administration has gotten away with using unjustifiable half-truths and lies to dupe the American public into believing that there is some necessity for the U.S. troops to be in Iraq. A January report by the Center for Public Integrity showed that the Bush administration made 935 false statements between Sept. 11, 2001, and the invasion in March of 2003.
First came the post-9/11 claim that Iraq supported al Qaeda.
Then came the WMD hoax.
Still we hear that Iraq is a hotbed for “terrorists” and we need to prevent them from bringing the war home.
Now the biggest excuse is that a U.S. withdrawal would give way to civil war.
This is true in part, thanks to U.S. war-planes for wiping out the infrastructure and killing civilians, and for the home invasions and mass killings propelling the storm of violence. This all sparked the resistance called “terrorism,” and with it an opportunity for power-hungry extremists to gain support. This sounds a lot like the United States — a mix of war-mongering extremist leaders and average citizens willing to die for their country.
The idea of a “terrorist” insurgency is a lot like the guerrilla tactics employed by the American Revolution.
What was gunfire from a New England ditch is now planting a desert roadside bomb. We have become the Red Coats that our forefathers once fought against.
And while we hear so much about sectarian conflicts and civil war (which is more a conflict between nationalists and partionists), the Defense Department debunks the press conference fibs.
According to a DOD report, 74 percent of violent attacks target foreign military, 16 percent target Iraqi troops and police, and only 10 percent target civilians.
An August 2007 ABC-BBC poll showed that 78 percent of Iraqis believe that the U.S. presence creates more violence than it prevents, and 71 percent want the U.S. to get out of Iraq.
It is no wonder there is such a fervent insurgency in Iraq. And in the face of the world’s most powerful military machine, it’s no wonder why insurgents resort to what Bush so effortlessly calls “terrorism.”
So if it is not to prevent a civil war, than why is the U.S. there? Why have Bush administration officials began to negotiate plans for a long-term relationship with the Iraqi government?
There are bigger plans being laid here. As independent journalist Dahr Jamail told a crowd at UC Santa Cruz last year, and writes about in his book “Beyond the Green Zone: Dispatches from an Unembedded Journalist in Occupied Iraq,” the U.S. is building at least 15 permanent military bases — including an embassy that is three times larger than the Vatican, equipped with fast-food restaurants, rental car agencies, and all the other unnecessary amenities. It appears that Iraq is indeed the epicenter for larger plans to colonize the Middle East.
What we must realize is that our nation is creating this disaster. In the name of democracy, our nation is creating terrorism.
As protests erupt around the nation to decry the turning of half a decade of this tragic disaster, it is imperative that the American people en masse come to terms with these truths, and demand that this occupation come to an end. Unless this happens, no President or Congress, neither Democrat or Republican, will take the necessary steps to end this mayhem and bring home our brothers and sisters.
If the U.S. remains, the “Warrior” in Meeting Resistance is one of many who is prepared to get the job done:
“I hope the Americans send more forces, and we will send them home in coffins.”