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Boogieman's Death Won't End Iraqi Resistance

By Dennis S. Boatwright,
Dec. 3, 2006

The targeted killing of Jordanian-born guerrilla leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was celebrated by the Bush administration as evidence of the success of US military operations in Iraq. This celebration occured when conditions in
Iraq were spiralling out of control, and George Bush's approval ratings
hovered at a dismal 33%. Defense spokespersons insisted that Zarqawi's death
delivered a major blow to the morale of Iraqi resistance fighters.

Iraqi resistance is frustrating US imperial designs and revealing the folly of foreign policy. The Bush strategy has been to present snapshot accounts of conditions in Iraq that minimize the chaotic situation in the country, while magnifying trivial events that will presumably be interpreted favourably by American citizens.

The assassination of Zarqawi was a political windfall for Bush and the Republican Party at a time when polls showed growing dissatisfaction among Americans regarding how Bush was running the country, particularly his handling of Iraq. Prior to the announcement of Zarqawi's death, the Bush administration was beleaguered by mounting criticism for the NSA's domestic spying program and for the savage massacre of 24 unarmed Iraqi civilians by US marines in the town of Haditha. No high-ranking official has since been held accountable for those shocking murders. The entire Bush administration has been tight-lipped regarding accountability for those horrendous killings. Since the news of Zarqawi's killing, members of Bush's cabinet have taken every opportunity to hold news conferences -- standing next to repulsive post-mortem posters of Zarqawi -- to take some credit for the resistance fighter's death.

In spite of the White House's exuberance, Iraqi resistance will continue.
Zarqawi's importance was inflated by the Pentagon and the media, to project
him as a bigger, more formidable threat than he actually was. Because the US
has been unable to capture its real target, Usama Bin Laden, Zarqawi was offered as his equivalent. Iraqi resistance and attacks that the Pentagon linked to Bin Laden in the past were suddenly now said to be Zarqawi-inspired. There are reasons for this.

The US strategy is to present Iraqi resistance as a small, marginal group of
criminals and not a country-wide popular uprising. In fact, the US Defense
Department frequently changes the personalities it claims are fuelling Iraqi
resistance, as it changes its many false pretexts for invading Iraq.
Initially, the Pentagon attributed the uprising to disgruntled, unemployed Ba'ath members. Once the absurdity of this claim became obvious they attributed the rebellion to Sadaam Hussein loyalists. Since that time they have randomly attributed the resistance to Muqtada al-Sadr, Iran, Sunni Militia and al-Qaeda affiliates. In addition to personalities, the Department of Defense has framed Iraqi resistance as a localized phenomenon.
At the beginning of the invasion they tried to isolate the resistance to the 'Sunni Triangle', thereupon Fallujah, and eventually to Sadaam Hussein's hometown of Tikrit. If Americans were to view the resistance as a popular uprising, the Pentagon would not be able to portray US soldiers as welcomed heroes in Iraq.

On the contrary, polls indicate that more than 80% of Iraqis want US forces to immediately withdraw. Consistent with that percentage, studies reveal that the current Iraqi resistance consists of average Iraqi citizens. Only a negligible amount consists of foreign jihadists or al-Qaeda. The US's exaggeration of Zarqawi's role has always been questioned by critical observers. Many see Zarqawi as another boogieman created by the Department of Defense to justify continuing the occupation in Iraq. U.S. intelligence indicates there was no sign of al-Qaeda or Zarqawi activities in Iraq prior to the US invasion.

To be sure, the Iraqis do not need Zarqawi or Bin Laden for inspiration. The
US occupation itself provides more than enough motivation. Zarqawi is now
dead. U.S. officials, however, wasted no time replacing him with another prefab boogieman--Abu Hamza al-Mujaher. If Al-Mujaher is killed or captured the US will find someone else to replace him, and they will continue to do this as long as they remain in Iraq, which means as long as Iraq has oil and serves geopolitical value to US national interests. If these new boogiemen are not terrifying enough, then the Pentagon can use ghosts of Zarqawi or Bin Laden to explain Iraqi guerrilla attacks.

The US will continue to downplay popular support of the resistance and claim
some mystical person or opaque terrorist group is responsible for the unrest. Circumscribing the resistance to specific areas or a lone Islamic personality will not mitigate the attacks against US forces. The resistance will only end--as it ended in Vietnam--when the US withdraws its troops. The newly US-installed puppet government in Iraq is viewed as illegitimate and will never be able to quell the uprising if US forces withdraw. What is obvious is that the US presence in Iraq has created many angry Zarqawi-like fighters that are lined up to fulfill the vacancy of the next assassinated boogieman.

Dennis Boatwright is a 36-year old, self-taught Detroit native who has been
in prison since 1989. His academic interests include economics and political
science, with a strong focus on International Relations and Pan-African
politics. He is multi-lingual and is an avid learner. He is being held at a
maximum-security prison, where he is held in his cell for 23 hours per day.
He enjoys being challenged to the best of his abilities and describes
himself as open-minded, yet serious about life and the causes he represents.

If you are the editor of a progressive publication, Dennis Boatright would
like to hear from you. This talented prisoner is seeking opportunities to
publish his work as a contributing writer. He looking for pen pals and would
appreciate receiving copies of political journals and books (publications
must be mailed directly from a publisher or bookstore). To contact Dennis
Boatwright you may write to him at the address listed below.
The following link offers tips for writing to prisoners:

You may write to Dennis at:
Dennis Boatwright, #206715
Alger Maximum Correctional Facility
P.O. Box 600
Munising, Michigan 49862


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