Wednesday, November 08, 2006


On "Victory to the Iraqi Resistance"

Reactionary nationalists--people who think the lives of Americans are somehow more valuable than the lives of non-Americans--in the peace movement flinch at the slogan "Victory to the Iraqi Resistance" and it may be a problematic motto but no matter how these nervous nellies "feel" it does not mean "kill more US soldiers." Below are three views on the Iraqi resistance. The first is from an American soldier who served as a combat engineer for eight months in Iraq before he deserted and moved to Canada. The second is part of a statement attributed to the "Islamic Jihad Army" in Iraq. The final view is from a New Zealander and makes reference to the Vietnam war.

From "You wouldn’t catch me dead in Iraq" in the Sunday Times (UK), August 27, 2006:
[PFC Joshua] Key rejects the American government line that the Iraqis fighting the occupation are terrorists. “I’m thinking, ‘What the hell?’ I mean, that’s not a terrorist. That’s the man’s home. That’s his son, that’s the father, that’s the mother, that’s the sister. Houses are destroyed. Husbands are detained, and wives don’t even know where they’re at. I mean, them are pissed-off people, and they have a reason to be. I would never wish this upon myself or my family, so why would I wish it upon them?”

On security duty in the Iraqi streets, Key found himself talking to the locals. He was surprised by how many spoke English, and he was frustrated by the military regulations that forbade him to accept dinner invitations in their homes. “I’m not your perfect killing machine,” he admits. “That’s where I broke the rules. I broke the rules by having a conscience.” And the more time he spent in Iraq, the more his conscience developed. “I was trained to be a total killer. I was trained in booby traps, explosives, landmines.” He pauses. “Hell, if you want to get technical about it, I was made to be an American terrorist. I was trained in everything that a terrorist is trained to do.” In case I might have missed his point, he says it again. “I mean terrorist.” Deserting seemed the only viable alternative, Key says. He did it, he insists, because he was lied to “by my president”. Iraq – it was obvious to him – was no threat to the US.
See also War Resisters Support Campaign

From ",' " December 13, 2004:
And to the American soldiers we say, you can also choose to fight tyranny with us. Lay down your weapons, and seek refuge in our mosques, churches and homes. We will protect you. And we will get you out of Iraq , as we have done with a few others before you.

Go back to your homes, families, and loved ones. This is not your war. Nor are you fighting for a true cause in Iraq.
From "Defeating The Occupiers On The Ground Will Free Iraq And End The War" in the GI Special, Vol. 2, No. 37 ( also available here):
Excerpts From Scott Feb 23 '04 (New Zealand) comment

The Iraqi people have a right to resist the occupation of their country. Accepting the Iraqi right to resistance also means accepting the right of Iraqis to attack New Zealand troops. We can't square the circle and be on both sides at once.

It's never 'bad PR' to tell the truth, and we shouldn't think that telling soldiers the truth will mean they'll never listen to us. When we protested against the frigate leaving for the Middle East at the beginning of 2002, one participant had a brother on the frigate, and another brother on a frigate which had just returned from a tour of duty in the same region. He didn't flinch from arguing that Iraqis had a right to attack his brother – that didn't mean he “wanted” an attack on his brother, but that he respected and cared about his brother enough to tell him the truth about the situation he had chosen to put himself in.

It was not wrong to call for a Vietnamese victory against the US, NZ etc because only the military victory of the Vietnamese, supported by a global anti-war movement, could end the war and bring the GIs and ANZACs home.

That's why so many US veterans who joined the anti-war movement used the slogan 'Victory to the Viet Cong!' They were actually being “loyal” to their comrades still in the field by calling for the defeat of the US ruling class.

Mutinies and 'fragging' – the assassination of officers with fragmentation grenades – were a factor in the eventual defeat of the US army, with historians calculating that 5% of US casualties came from their own side.

There is irrefutable evidence of armed resistance by the Iraqi working class to occupation. The last couple of months a series of armed confrontations have pitted unemployed workers against the coalition authorities.

Strypey argues that NZ should pull its troops out of Iraq and send money to help in the reconstruction of the country. No arguments there. But how on earth does Strypey think the occupiers going to be booted out of Iraq?

History – not least the history of the anti-war campaign last year – shows that imperialism will not withdraw unless it is defeated by resistance, including armed resistance. Protest in the West on its own can't do the job, because Bush, Clark et al are not going to be persuaded – they can only be defeated.

That's why the left needs to learn the lessons of the Vietnam War

Anything less will lead to a repeat of the failure of last year's anti-war movement and open the door for new US wars all over the globe.
The heroic American GI resistance to the US invasion of southeast Asia was massive, albeit covered up by the US media. For example, in 1972, dissident sailors took five US aircraft carriers out of the war through sabotage. As a primer on this topic, I recommend chapter three in Vietnam and Other American Fantasies by H. Bruce Franklin, an ex-US air force officer. You can read a review of the book by Christian Parenti here.

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