03 June 2006
Penultimate period in Iraq.
The American war against Iraq may have entered its penultimate stage. First we had the actual invasion, a period which ended in May 2003 when the Chimp challenged the Iraqis to "Bring 'em on". They took him at his word and stage two kicked off almost immediately: a guerrilla war that took everyone by surprise with it speed and ferocity.
We are now at stage three, which is the massacre period. The occupation forces are sick and tired of the sights and smells of Iraq, and want to terrorise the population into a mindless submission. The events at Haditha, Ishaqi and Abu Sifa are of a different order to the casual brutality of earlier days. These massacres seem to show that the army has been given license to terrorise. Well trained, well equipped troops do not do things like this unless someone tells them that it is acceptable. In other words, these massacres are the result of a green light that can only have come from Washington.
Over the course of the next few weeks and months, we can expect to see more and more of these atrocities as American troops and locally recruited death squads try to force the Iraqis to submit. The massacre strategy will fail because the only way it can ever work is if the Americans are willing to kill every living thing in the country. Anything less than that and it only cheeses people off.
If this theory is correct - and colonial wars do tend to follow this pattern, then the final stage will be either a withdrawal after handing over power to whatever local puppet is willing to take the reins, or a mad dash for the helicopters as everyone piles in against the occupiers.