blue-tiled shrine of the Hidden Imam looms over the northern
Iraqi city of Samarra, reminding the now rather
decrepit and dusty-looking town of its former glory as the
seat of the Muslim Caliphate.
It was there, perhaps not too surprisingly, that the Iraqi
insurgency first raised its head and showed the recognizable
face of an enemy.
U.S. military is trumpeting the
battle of Samarra as a "significant victory,"
in which they claim to have killed 54 insurgents. There's
just one problem: no one can find
U.S. military said it believed 54 insurgents were killed in
intense exchanges in the northern Iraqi town of Samarra the
previous day but commanders admitted they had no bodies. The
only corpses at the city's hospital were those of ordinary
civilians, including two elderly Iranian pilgrims and a child."
American convoy escorting a shipment of freshly-printed dinars
to the local bank was ambushed by the largest force of insurgents
yet seen: a total of 60, who attacked in two groups, as another
four took on a separate convoy of engineers. The Washington
Post, while dutifully echoing the Pentagon's claims of
a "devastating defeat" inflicted on the Iraqis, also
reported that the insurgency seems to have reached a new
level of resistance:
described dozens of guerrillas in checkered head scarves brazenly
roaming the streets in the heat of battle, U.S. soldiers firing
randomly in crowded neighborhoods and civilian bystanders
taking up arms against U.S. forces once the fight got underway."
movements can only succeed, as
the Maoists used to put it, if they "swim in the sea of
the people." This strategy requires popular support, however,
which hardly fits the profile – really, a caricature – drawn
by this administration that depicts all resistance to the
occupation as emanating from "Baathist dead-enders" who pine
for the return of Saddam Hussein. MSNBC reports the sentiments
of 22-year-old Safa Hamad Hassan, whose cousin was wounded
when a tank shelled the area near his house:
is with the resistance. Saddam Hussein is finished. We are
protecting our honor and our land."
is no Baathist. He sounds more like an Iraqi patriot to me.
ABC News Online cites
Brigadier General Mark Kimmitt, deputy director of operations
in Iraq, backing away from an earlier claim that 11 insurgents
had been captured: the number has inexplicably shrunk to one.
The General, we learn,
sought to play down earlier reports that many of the attackers
wore the uniforms of the disbanded Saddam Fedayeen militia
of the ousted regime."
would guerrillas, no matter their politics, wear uniforms,
anyway? That part of the official story was never all that
believable to begin with, but, as it turns out, that's the
least of the lies we're being told about what happened in
residents of that city, for their part, tell a completely
different story, one that seems to have occurred in a separate
reality. As the Telegraph put
people and a hospital doctor reported only eight dead, who
they insisted were mainly civilians, including an Iranian
pilgrim. It was impossible to reconcile the two versions of
a mystery, as Agence France Presse reports:,
"which borders on solving a mathematics equation." We are
told that a total of 60 insurgents ambushed those convoys,
but if U.S. troops killed 54 and captured 1, that leaves 5
insurgents to carry away the bodies.
Everything about the Americans' account of the battle
– the number
and nature of the Iraqi casualties, and the circumstances
under which they occurred appears to be a lie. The pro-war
Telegraph reports the testimony of Iraqi witnesses
fired a round at workers from a drug factory as they left
work at 2.00pm. One woman was killed and 18 injured. A crater
from the shell and a pool of blood remained nearby. They said
four cars were also hit in the parking area of the hospital
and a nearby mosque was shelled, killing two."
Americans have done a lot of shooting," says Dr. Faleh Hassan
Asamara, who witnessed the battle of Samarra from his vantage
point at the hospital, "but I don't think the number of dead
they claimed were killed."
they were shooting at civilians. ABC Online reports:
Police Chief, Colonel Ismail Mohammed told reporters the attackers
had withdrawn before the Americans brought the full weight
of their firepower on the town. He said the Americans had
fired indiscriminately using all the weapons in their arsenal."
for a victory, the American occupiers are trying to spin their
"victory" in Samarra as evidence that they are taking the
offensive. But as their story unravels, what is being underscored
is their confusion and impotence in the face of a rising rebellion.
Frederick Rudesheim, commander of the 3rd Brigade Combat Team
stationed in Samarra, vows to take
the fight to the insurgents:
is the most significant contact we have had to date in the
city of Samarra. We are going to have to respond accordingly."
Rudesheim was singing a far different tune in those heady
halcyon days of April, when Samarra, freshly "liberated,"
was supposedly filled with supporters of the U.S. invasion,
and our troops were "forging alliances" with them, according
to the Denver Post:
as soon as soldiers with the brigade's 1-12 Infantry Battalion
had cleared the Baathist compound, taking nine men into custody
as possible regime sympathizers, Rudesheim found himself to
be a popular man in Samarra. All day long, men came, each
quickly they turn.
about this war is turning out to be a lie: its provenance
and its execution. This isn't "the fog of war"
– it's more like the self-protective effusions of a cornered
squid. "Weapons of mass destruction" are transmuted into a frustrated
desire to procure such weapons: a pitched battle in which
the insurgents are supposedly soundly defeated somehow becomes
the occasion for American tanks firing at a kindergarten:
we evacuated the children five minutes before we came under
attack,' said Ibrahim Jassim, a 40-year-old guard at the kindergarten.
'Why did they attack randomly? Why did they shoot a kindergarten
with tank shells?'"
questions. Does George W. Bush have any good answers? If not,
he'd better forget about rallying the public around his agenda
of perpetual war in the Middle East. Because there are going
to be a lot more bombed kindergartens, and a lot more enraged
Hassans who will join the insurgency in droves. Previously
localized cells will metastasize into a nationwide resistance
capable of coordinating far more than two attacks.
key evidence that we are headed for disaster in Iraq is how
the Coalition Provisional Authority is dealing with the recent
by the Grand Ayatollah Sistani, spiritual leader of the Shi'ite
majority, that direct
elections be held as soon as possible to form a new government.
The Americans had come up with some complicated formula, whereby
"caucuses" would choose the candidates thereby ensuring
that the future government would essentially consist of their
handpicked Chalabi clones.
Forget the insurgents: their AK-47s are mere twigs to the
Grand Ayatollah's lethal fatwa, which flatly demanded
direct national and municipal elections without any ifs, ands,
Americans then ordered their handpicked "Iraqi Governing Council"
on the caucus system, setting up a confrontation with
Sistani and the Shi'ite majority. So much for anyone in the
Middle East deluded enough to take seriously all that militant
pro-democracy malarkey emanating from the White House. That,
too, is a lie.
so much for the hope of a quick exit strategy. Not that the
neocons, and their allies in the Democratic party – who are
Bush for trying to get out too soon – would ever
have allowed that to happen.
is a moderate Shi'ite: there are other Shi'ite leaders, however,
who might take to the battlefield.
The Shi'ite Muslims are already organized into a military
force, the Badr Brigade,
which was armed and trained in Iran for many years, and crossed
into Iraq with the fall of the Ba'athists. If a radicalized
Shi'ite populace hooks up with Sunni-led insurgents, the U.S.
occupation is in major trouble.
rumblings of an underground Shi'ite insurgency in the
relatively peaceful south: the coming clash with Sistani could
ignite a nationwide uprising that would not end until the
occupation is ended. As the forces unleashed by American arms
and imperious arrogance collide head on with Washington's
illusions, what happened in Samarra will look like a minor
skirmish compared to what's coming.
IN THE MARGIN
told my new book, The
Terror Enigma: 9/11 and the Israeli Connection, is
doing quite well, and that's gratifying to know.
just now got my own copies in the mail, and in reading the
Introduction I'm struck by the clarity of the case I made
for some significant degree of Israeli foreknowledge of the
9/11 terrorist plot. I don't think anyone with the least amount
of objectivity can deny the thoroughness and extensive documentation
of this book. No matter what your politics are, or your attitude
toward Israel, you're bound to come away from The Terror
Enigma convinced that, with all the smoke, there's bound
to be fire.
you're having any trouble ordering the book from iUniverse
online, just call: 877-288-4737.
there I was, wasting time while waiting for that little elf
Jeremy to post this column, surfing around until I wandered
over to Matt Drudge,
and clicked on a story headlined:
DRUDGE SURPASSES MAJOR NEWS OUTLETS IN WEB TRAFFIC...
took me to Alexa, the popular site-rating service, and sure
enough there was good old Matt at number 8, just below Google.com
and ahead of the Washington Post. Way to go, Matt!
I looked down the rest of the list: USA Today, CBS
News, the Guardian, the Los Angeles Times, the
New York Post, until my gaze fixed on number 36 – Antiwar.com!
just below the Chicago Tribune, beating out Time
magazine, Newsday, the Associated Press, National
Geographic, the Minneapolis Star Tribune, and the Houston
Chronicle, among others.
I'm impressed, and believe it or not humbled.
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