from A World to Win News Service

Sharpening Resistance to U.S. Occupation

Revolutionary Worker #1203, June 15, 2003, posted at

We received the following from the A World to Win News Service:

2 June 2003. A World to Win News Service. "The war has not ended", a U.S. general had to admit to the press 29 May.

The ambush that opened the week Monday, 26 May was the most organized Iraqi military action since the occupation began almost seven weeks earlier. An eight-vehicle resupply convoy of the American 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment was hit on a motorway near the town of Haditha, 180 kilometers (110 miles) northwest of Baghdad. American military authorities said that Iraqi fighters equipped with automatic weapons and rocket-propelled grenades killed one U.S. soldier and wounded another. The authorities did not report capturing any Iraqis despite counterattacks by U.S. helicopters and other reinforcements. A few hours later, an explosion killed one soldier and wounded three in an American military vehicle in a convoy traveling to the U.S.-occupied international airport in Baghdad. A U.S. private told a New York Times reporter, "A man came running straight out of the road, and I engaged. He just sprang out of the bushes, and I perceived him as a threat, and I shot at him." Nevertheless, the man managed to throw a land mine into the path of one of the two armed Humvees, destroying it.

The following day two more U.S. forces from the 3rd regiment were killed and nine were wounded in a midnight assault on a U.S. checkpoint in Falluja, 50 kilometers (30 miles) west of Baghdad. This is the area where American troops had murdered 18 or 19 demonstrators in two separate incidents in late April. The attackers, who drove up in two trucks, were reportedly armed with small arms and a hand grenade. The U.S. military said that an army helicopter that landed during the fighting was damaged when another American vehicle ran into it during the confusion, but the Qatar-based television station Al Jazeera quoted witnesses in Falluja saying that the Iraqi attackers had shot it down. Later that same day a northwest Baghdad police station occupied by American forces came under RPG fire, injuring two. Several reporters, including the Independent 's Robert Fisk, mentioned an incident that day in which an Iraqi woman "approached American troops with a hand grenade in each hand, was shot before she could throw the first and then, as she tried to hurl her second grenade from the ground, was finally killed by the Americans."

On Wednesday, four U.S. soldiers were killed in what Al-Jazeera described as the "downing" of a U.S. helicopter near Hit, 150 kilometers (90 miles) northwest of Baghdad, up the Euphrates River from Falluja. The correspondent on the scene said that a crowd of local residents who were chanting in fury at American house-to-house searches (allegedly for weapons) told him that they had shot it down. He also said that another helicopter trying to evacuate wounded American troops was shot down too. An account in The New York Times said that an angry crowd surrounded a police compound with American soldiers and their flunky Iraqi police inside, throwing stones and a hand grenade. Later, they "rioted", forcing the soldiers to retreat and burning down the police station.

The correspondent wrote: "Until the past week, the war had passed over Hit. Many men threw their weapons into the waters of the Euphrates River three weeks ago and welcomed the Americans who showed up promising the return of economic life.... For many Iraqis, the shifting role of the U.S. troops has been a shock. Just eight weeks ago, they were rolling across the country passing out candy to children. Now they are kicking in doors and blocking traffic to seize the weapons that most Iraqis say they need for home defense. In Hit, the change of perception with respect to the American presence is palpable. Qusay Yself, a carpenter with four children, said, `having the Americans standing in the streets really provokes the people.' "

But the occupiers' treatment of civilians is no different from the way they fought their dirty war in the first place. A British soldier home on leave in England was arrested by local constables when employees at a photo shop looked at the film he had brought in to be developed. The media reported that it showed U.K. troops torturing captured Iraqi soldiers. Among other things, the roll of photos is said to show a bound and gagged prisoner suspended from a forklift truck and "sex scenes near captured Iraqis." In an unrelated incident, a British colonel who gave a highly publicized speech on the eve of the war reminding his men to treat captives well is now under investigation for torturing prisoners himself. Ironically, the British press says that the investigation was instigated by an American major angry that the UK officer had publicly criticized the Americans for their brutal treatment of Iraqis.

By the end of the week, the American government told "shocked" GIs of the Third Infantry Division, the backbone of the occupation forces, that most of them would not be going home this week as planned. The 160,000 American and British troops in Iraq and the 40,000 others involved in their logistical support in Kuwait will be kept there for the foreseeable future. Reporters say that a substantial number of the division may be sent to Falluja, others to the northeast, and the remainder kept in Baghdad. Fresh troops are being sent from the U.S. When before the war U.S. Army Chief of Staff Eric Shinseki predicted that the occupation would require 200,000 troops, he was publicly rebuked by Rumsfeld, who called the general "way off the mark."

"The enemy is different from the one we war-gamed against," another U.S. general, who was also slapped down by Rumsfeld, famously said during the Iraq war. The occupation of Iraq seems to be turning out even more contrary to American imperial expectations.

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