Mike Whitney: “The Color of Blood, the Color of Resistance, the Color of Iraq”


Richard Moore

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³The Color of Blood, the Color of Resistance, the Color of Iraq.²
Mike Whitney


"If I ever get married againŠ..I don't want any of this white dress business. I 
shall wear red.

Bright red.

The color of blood, the color of roaring, erupting volcanoes, the color of a 
dying sun, the color of passion, the color of Resistance...The color of Iraq".

Layla Anwar; Arab Woman Blues, "A Bed of Roses, A Bed of Thorns"

May 13, 2007

I wonder what goes through Cheney¹s mind when he visits Baghdad. Does he ever 
look out the window of his armor-plated limmo and see the wasteland he¹s 
created---the burned out buildings, the pock-marked streets, the wretched 
orphans sorting through the garbage for something to eat? Al Arabiya news says 
that there may be as many as 100,000 orphans in Baghdad now. These are Cheney¹s 
kids, aren¹t they--the Vice President¹s gift to the "New Middle East"? The next 
generation of terrorists?

What a horrible legacy. What a horrible man.

Iraq is in a shambles and it¹s mostly Cheney¹s doing. He was the chief architect
of invasion. It was Cheney who convinced his buddies in the banking and oil 
industries that Iraq would be "easy pickins". And, it was Cheney who figured out
that the American people could be duped into attacking a defenseless nation. And
he was right.

For 6 years, Cheney has worked the levers behind the scenes to keep the American
people in a constant state of fear. That gave him the time to move his armies 
into place and transform the government into a "one party" police state. For the
most part, things have gone smoothly‹the criminal activities of the state have 
been concealed behind the smokescreen of the "war on terror", the biggest public
relations swindle in history.

Nevertheless, the overall plan worked like a charm. The public ate it up, the 
congress caved in, and the United Nations looked the other way. Now, Iraq is in 
tatters---the schools are closed, the children are malnourished and traumatized,
unemployment is soaring, the lights are out, the water is toxic, and every day 
another 35 or 40 civilians are blown to bits in a conflict that seemingly has no

Every part of Cheney¹s plan has failed. Four years after "Mission Accomplished",
the "second most powerful man on earth" still has to slink into Iraq under the 
cover of darkness and be quickly whisked off to the safety of the Green Zone by 
a security-entourage the size of a small army.

There¹s no "progress" in Iraq and there¹s no security. The US military is trying
to impose its will on a civilian population through force of arms and the Iraqis
are flatly refusing. America is hated in Iraq and that won¹t change. That¹s why 
Cheney has to strap on a Kevlar vest and hunker down in the Green Zone whenever 
he comes to town. Americans are not welcome.

Cheney¹s "surprise" visit comes just one week after Condi Rice passed through 
the region trying to drum up support for an Iraqi security plan. What a joke. 
Iraqis won¹t have security until US troops are withdrawn and the political 
situation sorts itself out. That¹ll take years if not decades.

The (real) purpose of Condi¹s mission was to open a dialogue with Syria and Iran
to see if they¹d help to stabilize Iraq. Up to now, the Bush team has rejected 
the Baker Commission¹s advice to talk to the two countries. But that¹s all 
changed now. Bush has put aside his ego long enough to address the "grave and 
deteriorating" situation on the ground and see what can be salvaged of the 

Rice managed to corner the Syrian Foreign Minister and appears to have made some
progress diplomatically. But she got nowhere with Iran. In fact, Iranian Foreign
Minister Mottaki used the conference at Sharm al-Sheik to further humiliate the 
United States by blasting American foreign policy and the Bush administration¹s 
flaunting of international law. Mottaki¹s speech was another black-eye for 

But that makes no difference. What¹s important is that the administration is 
trying to talk directly with its enemies. That gives us some reason to hope. But
it also gives us some idea of how badly the war is going. After all, if Bush is 
talking to Syria, the situation must be really desperate. Perhaps, they¹re 
beginning to see that--as Harry Reid said‹ "the war is lost."

In his brief stay, Cheney never poked his nose beyond the 18 inch cement walls 
of the Green Zone. If he had, he might have seen "the hell that is Iraq". As 
Patrick Cockburn said in his latest article, "A Small War Guaranteed to Damage a

"The extent of the military failure over the previous three-and-a-half years is 
extraordinary. The foreign media never quite made clear how little territory the
U.S. and the Iraqi army fully controlled ­ even in the heart of Baghdad."

Cockburn makes an important point that¹s normally papered-over in the media--- 
that after 4 years the US still doesn¹t control ANY ground beyond the Green 
Zone. And, now, even the Green Zone is increasingly coming under fire.

Cockburn also adds this:

"America blithely invaded Iraq to overthrow Saddam Hussein to show its great 
political and military strength. Instead it demonstrated its weakness. The 
vastly expensive U.S. war machine failed to defeat a limited number of Sunni 
Arab guerrillas."

How true. Big military, but nothing to show for it. Just a long, protracted 
bloodbath and the looming prospect of defeat.

Cheney¹s plan for a "New American Century" depends heavily on the $500 billion 
US war machine. But the military has flopped in Iraq. Bombs don¹t produce 
political solutions and the use of excessive force has only alienated the public
and strengthened the resistance. The army is ineffective in urban warfare. Its 
advantages in weaponry and firepower are lost in an environment where guerillas 
can strike at will and then vanish without a trace.

Still, Cheney and Company "soldier-on" impervious to the lessons of the last 4 
years and unwilling to change their basic strategy. If the definition of 
insanity is: Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different 
results---then, the Vice President should be institutionalized.

The occupation has just been one dismal blunder after the other; like Abu Ghraib
and Falluja. Both suggest the moral superiority of the resistance, and both have
been used to enlist new recruits.

Falluja was a particularly stupid error. The siege was an extension of the same 
muddled thinking that produced "Shock and Awe". The Bush Team appeared to 
believe that Iraqi fighters would cower at the first sign of American firepower 
and simply throw down their weapons. What nonsense. Instead, it rallied the 
resistance and intensified the fighting.

Fulluja was attacked on November 8, 2004 in Operation Phantom Fury. The city of 
300,000 was surrounded by concertina wire and a 6 ft high mound of dirt. The 
townspeople were forced to evacuate without food, water or shelter. Many still 
haven¹t returned to their homes three years later.

The city was leveled. The Dresden-type bombing continued week after 
week---hospitals, schools and mosques were destroyed, civilians who left their 
homes for food or water were shot by snipers, bodies were left to rot on the 
streets, and corpses were deposited in makeshift graves in the local soccer 
field. From beginning to end, Falluja was a war crime---illegal incendiary bombs
and other "unidentified" chemical ordinance was dropped on civilians. The BBC 
reported that 65 to 70% of the city was in ruins.

Falluja was a turning point in Cheney¹s war. It should be regarded as the 
milestone for when the war was lost. The resistance has steadily grown in 
strength ever since. The Iraqis now understand that there can be no negotiations
with people who are willing to flatten entire cities to achieve their imperial 

To fully understand what happened in Falluja we refer to a statement made by 
Vietnamese General Tran Quang Co who met with ex-Defense Secretary Robert 
MacNamara in the 1990s. Co was trying to explain to MacNamara when exactly he 
knew that America would lose the war in Vietnam. He said:

"When the US bombed the North and brought its troops into the South, well, of 
course, to us these were very negative moves. However, with regard to Vietnam, 
US aggression did have its positive use. Never before did the people of Vietnam,
from top to bottom, unite as they did during the years that the US was bombing 
us. Never before had Chairman Ho Chi Minh¹s appeal---that there is nothing more 
precious than freedom and independence‹go straight to the hearts and minds of 
the Vietnamese people as at the end of 1966"

Falluja united the Iraqis against American occupation. This fact is evident in 
all the surveys that have been conducted since the time of the siege. The 
overwhelming majority of Shiites and Sunnis now want the US to leave. Public 
support for the resistance continues to mushroom. The neocon plan to "teach the 
Iraqis a lesson" by creating a humanitarian catastrophe has backfired 

After Falluja, a political solution is no longer possible. The US must either 
"pacify" the population by increasing the level of violence or withdrawal. The 
middle ground has been cut away.

The War Drags On

Cheney¹s trip coincides with a number of stories that are being suppressed in 
the western media. Currently, the Iraqi city of Samarra is under siege‹a cordon 
surrounds the city, the entrances have been blocked and food, water and medical 
supplies have been cut off. Similar to Falluja, the media has been banned and 
the city¹s people are left to left to survive as prisoners in there own country.

Also, there are reports that the US is building another Guantanamo-type facility
in southern Iraq in Dhi-Qar province. It¹s clear that the crimes perpetrated at 
Abu Ghraib have not deterred the authors of the war from continuing the 
brutalizing of Iraqi prisoners.

Also, author and activist Sarah Meyer has also reproduced a map showing the 
location of permanent" US bases in Iraq---all of them conveniently located in 
the main oil fields. ("The Iraq Oil Crunch: Index Timeline") It¹s a useful 
primer for those who care to grasp the real objectives of the war.

There¹s also a new report from the child¹s advocacy group Save the Children that
confirming that "The infant mortality rate in Iraq has increased by a shocking 
150 percent since 1990‹the highest such increase recorded for any country in the
worldŠAccording to the report, one in eight Iraqi children‹122,000 in all‹died 
before reaching their fifth birthday. More than half of these deaths were 
recorded among new-born infants, with pneumonia and diarrhea claiming the 
greatest toll among Iraqi babies". Save the Children¹s report comes on the heels
of earlier surveys which show that Baghdad orphanages are teeming with 100,000 
orphans of the conflict most of whom are severely traumatized by the increasing 
levels of violence.

Finally, there¹s the tragic story of the young Marine who was involved in the 
massacre of Iraqi civilians at Haditha---and who expressed his rage by urinating
on their corpses as they lay in a pool of blood on the street.

This is the "democracy" Cheney has brought to Iraq.

In an impromptu press conference, Cheney casually dismissed the suffering of the
Iraqi people by saying that Baghdad is still "a dangerous place". This is about 
as close to an admission of guilt as the V.P. will ever get. That¹s why he 
adroitly shifted the topic to the failings of the al-Maliki 
government--America¹s new stooge in Baghdad. Al Maliki has become the convenient
scapegoat for everything that has gone wrong in Iraq.

After his short visit to Baghdad; Cheney zoomed off to the Gulf where he 
delivered a predictably threatening speech on board the aircraft carrier U.S.S. 
John C. Stennis. He said:

"With two carrier strike groups in the gulf, we¹re sending clear messages to 
friends and adversaries alike. We¹ll keep the sea lanes open. We¹ll stand with 
our friends in opposing extremism and strategic threats. We¹ll disrupt attacks 
on our own forces. We¹ll continue bringing relief to those who suffer, and 
delivering justice to the enemies of freedom. And we¹ll stand with others to 
prevent Iran from gaining nuclear weapons and dominating this region."

Cheney¹s fiery rhetoric was mainly intended to soothe the Saudi Royal family, 
which are increasingly nervous about the rise of a Shiite-dominated Middle East 
with Iran as the de facto superpower. Still, Cheney¹s shameless saber rattling 
cannot be entirely ignored. There are signs that the more-hawkish members of the
administration are still considering an unprovoked attack on Iran. Such an 
attack would ensure that the entire region would be consumed in a decades-long 

The administration has upset the fragile balance of power in the region by 
toppling the largely secular Sunni regime in Baghdad. The unintended consequence
of this is that Islamic fundamentalism is progressively on the rise and bound to
be a major factor in Iraq¹s political evolution.

Lt. General William Odom cautioned that invading and occupying Iraq would not 
serve America¹s strategic interests. He said, "We cannot win a war that serves 
our enemies interests and not our own. Continuing to pursue the illusion of 
victory in Iraq makes no sense. We can now see that it never did."

But Cheney doesn¹t heed the advice of the experts. He knows everything about 
war---except how to win. Now, he¹s trying to mollify the allies in the Gulf by 
assuring them that the chaos in Iraq won¹t spill over into other countries and 
set the whole region ablaze. But how would Cheney know? He¹s been wrong about 
everything so far; so, why would anyone trust his judgment now? With 2 million 
Iraqis refugees in Jordan and Syria (Many of them wealthy Ba¹athists) the 
prospect of a larger regional conflict is certain. In fact, the real prize for 
the Iraqi resistance is not Baghdad at all, but Riyadh. If fighting breaks out 
in Saudi Arabia, then oil futures will shoot through the roof and wreak havoc 
with energy supplies across the planet. It¹s the quickest way to bring the 
industrial world to its knees---and don¹t think these groups don¹t know it! 
That¹s probably why the Saudis rounded up 172 "terror suspects" without any 
evidence of wrongdoing just last week. The Saudis know that their widely-reviled
regime is now squarely in the crosshairs of terrorist organizations.

Is this the war that Cheney wants? If so, he¹s crazy!

This conflict is perfect-fit for decentralized guerilla cells that can 
independently carry out operations on vital pipelines, tankers and oil 
facilities. It's a "no-win" situation for the rest of us. There¹s just no way to
protect sensitive infrastructure or resource transport in a free market. 
Suppression of the population alone will not work.

Just look at Nigeria, Somalia, Afghanistan, of course, Iraq. This is not a war 
that can be won by military means. We must look for political solutions and stop
the recriminations and violence.

Iraq has been the biggest mistake in American history. Bush kicked open 
Pandora¹s Box and now we¹re all going to pay the price. If the war spreads 
beyond Iraq; the era of cheap oil will come to a swift and decisive end. Our job
now is to force the administration to rethink their strategy, change directions 
and work for "regional stability". The present course will end in catastrophe 
for the entire world.

The world is changing quickly and America will soon be on the outside looking 
in. Its benign-sounding institutions (the World Bank, IMF, UN) are already in 
trouble and new alliances in Latin America and Asia are crystallizing into 
power-centers for the new century. America¹s "soft power" and moral authority 
have been discarded and coercive diplomacy is no longer working. America is 
treading on quicksand while the Chinese Phoenix continues to rise in the East.

The exorbitant cost of the war, the ballooning deficits and the falling dollar 
have all contributed to the steady wearing away of American power. These 
long-term problems are only exacerbated by the fanatical dependence on 

Victory was never possible in Iraq. It was just the fantasy of armchair warriors
who never served in battle and never understood the realities of war. Wars are 
not won by superior firepower alone. Cheney never understood this simple point.

Did he really believe that we could put a Christian army of occupation in the 
center of the Muslim world? What arrogance. The plan was doomed from the very 

Countless thousands of Iraqi civilians have been killed or maimed in Cheney¹s 
war---innocent victims shot down or bombed in their own cities, on their own 
streets or in their own homes! Iraq has become the greatest humanitarian 
disaster of our time---and its a long way from over.

America¹s reputation is in ruins. The good faith we received after 9-11 has 
dried-up and been replaced with suspicion and rage. As former National Security 
Advisor, Zbigniew Brzezinski says in his new book, "Second Chance":

"Barely fifteen years after the wall came down, the once proud and globally 
admired America was widely viewed around the world with intense hostility, its 
legitimacy and credibility in tatters, its military bogged downŠ. its formerly 
devoted allies distancing themselves, and world-wide public opinion polls 
documenting widespread hostility toward the United StatesŠ The Middle East is 
fragmenting and on the brink of explosion. The world of Islam is inflamed by 
rising religious passion and anti-imperialist nationalisms. Throughout the 
world, public opinion polls show that U.S. policy is widely feared and even 

America is headed for a fall. Everywhere we look we see the telltale signs of 
U.S. aggression---the partial remains of bombed-out buildings, the scattered 
piles of wreckage and debris, the bloated corpses of dead victims being eaten by

This is Cheney¹s dark vision of the future‹a "through the looking glass" world 
where people are slaughtered without cause and entire nations are pounded into 
dust. This nightmare-scenario threatens to swallow up the entire planet if a 
global resistance doesn¹t quickly materialize.

If Cheney is stopped, millions of people will die. That's a fact.

Painting: Iraqi artist, Hashim Hannoon

:: Article nr. 32841 sent on 13-may-2007 12:14 ECT


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