Iraqi resistance sets back Bush’s ‘plan for victory’
By John Catalinotto
Published Dec 8, 2005 4:06 AM
 http://www.workers.org/2005/world/iraq-1215/

What will George W. Bush’s “Plan for Victory” speech and his promise to stay in Iraq mean? Iraqi resistance forces have given their answer. On Dec. 2, they set off a roadside bomb that killed 10 Marines on foot patrol near Falluja, the city U.S. forces virtually destroyed in November 2004 with troops, aerial bombs and heavy artillery.

One Marine corporal commented, “Sometimes it seems there is no point anymore.... If we were to stay till we’re finished, we’d probably never leave.” (New York Times, Dec. 3)

The next day, Dec. 3, Iraqi resistance fighters ambushed a unit of the puppet Iraqi army, the one Bush claims will take over control of the country as U.S. troops leave. Nineteen Iraqi army soldiers were killed as the resistance unit exploded a roadside bomb to trap an army convoy northeast of Baghdad and then opened fire on the patrol, according to police in the area. The media described this as a “carefully coordinated attack.”

Rumsfeld attacks media

Following a weekend that contradicted Bush’s confident words, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld focused a Dec. 5 talk at Johns Hopkins University on criticizing the media—for reporting only battles and bombings instead of alleged U.S. “progress” in Iraq. He wanted more positive reporting, perhaps of the kind the U.S. is getting in the puppet Iraqi media when the Pentagon pays to have articles published there.

Rumsfeld was probably trying to coun ter the report by Rep. Jack Murtha, who said on Nov. 17 that “the number of attacks in Iraq has increased from 150 a week to more than 700 a week in the past year.” Murtha, a Democrat from Penn sylvania who is close to the Pentagon, had asked for a plan to rapidly withdraw U.S. forces from Iraq in order to save the Army from disintegration.

Many from the anti-war movement would agree that the establishment media has gaps in its reporting. Unlike Rums feld, however, they would be thinking of what really gets underreported: the jailing and assassination of Iraqi intellectuals, the increased use of U.S. air power to back up assaults on Iraqi towns, the torture of Iraqi captives.

Rumsfeld also claimed that Iraqi security forces were improving and that 214,000 Iraqis have been “trained and equipped.” Other U.S. and Iraqi analysts disputed this assessment. Iraqi Vice Pre sident Ghazi al-Yawer told the Associated Press on the same day that the training of Iraqi security forces has “suffered a big setback in the past six months, and that the security forces increasingly are being used to settle old scores and make political gains.”

Rumsfeld used his talk to warn that sinister al-Qaeda-like forces were poised to set up a “super-caliphate” of Islamic countries, should the U.S. leave Iraq. This particular outcome, something nobody even mentioned as a remote possibility before the illegal U.S. invasion of Iraq, has now become Rumsfeld’s main excuse for continuing the war.

The “weapons of mass destruction” excuse has been completely discredited, and “democracy in the Middle East” is quickly losing credibility. Rumsfeld is scraping the bottom of the oil barrel, which is probably a good place to look for the real reasons the Bush gang insists on keeping U.S. troops in Iraq.

Rumsfeld completely misrepresented his earlier opinions on the expected outcome of the U.S. invasion of Iraq. “There is no question there were people who believed that they would be met as liberators,” he said in response to a question, “but anyone who had an optimistic view, I think has confronted reality. And it is clearly not easy. War is never easy. And you never heard a word like that out of my mouth, I don’t believe.”

Rumsfeld had championed the “shock and awe” strategy that was supposed to bring a quick military capture of Bagh dad—which it did—and lead to Iraqis there greeting the U.S. troops as liberators—which they didn’t.

Coalition grows unwilling

The U.S. troops are not only hated by the Iraqis but are being abandoned by their alleged allies. Fewer armies remain in the “coalition of the willing,” and fewer troops are with each of these armies. At one point, the U.S., relying especially on arm-twisted client countries like Poland and South Korea, had troops from 38 countries in Iraq. Now there are under 24,000 mostly non-combat personnel from 27 nations.

Last spring, the Netherlands had 1,400 troops in Iraq. Now there are 19. Ukraine as of November had 876 troops in Iraq, but these are due home by Dec. 31. Even the U.S.-backed president there, Viktor Yushchenko, has to promise a pullout to his population. Bulgaria is set to pull out its 380 troops after Dec. 15 parliamentary elections in Iraq. The coalition grows increasingly unwilling.

There are still 160,000 U.S. troops in Iraq, many for their third tour. Many of these troops are reservists who had no idea when they joined up years ago that they would be expected to subdue an extensive uprising of a population fighting for the sovereignty of their nation. New recruits for both active and reserve military units, especially in the U.S. Army, still number way under quotas.

Meanwhile, students are trying to keep military recruiters off their campuses and away from high schools across the country.

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