grassrootspeace.org

November 5, 2007: This website is an archive of the former website, traprockpeace.org, which was created 10 years ago by Charles Jenks. It became one of the most populace sites in the US, and an important resource on the antiwar movement, student activism, 'depleted' uranium and other topics. Jenks authored virtually all of its web pages and multimedia content (photographs, audio, video, and pdf files. As the author and registered owner of that site, his purpose here is to preserve an important slice of the history of the grassroots peace movement in the US over the past decade. He is maintaining this historical archive as a service to the greater peace movement, and to the many friends of Traprock Peace Center. Blogs have been consolidated and the calendar has been archived for security reasons; all other links remain the same, and virtually all blog content remains intact.

THIS SITE NO LONGER REFLECTS THE CURRENT AND ONGOING WORK OF TRAPROCK PEACE CENTER, which has reorganized its board and moved to Greenfield, Mass. To contact Traprock Peace Center, call 413-773-7427 or visit its site. Charles Jenks is posting new material to PeaceJournal.org, a multimedia blog and resource center.

War on Truth  From Warriors to Resisters
Books of the Month

The War on Truth

From Warriors to Resisters

Army of None

Iraq: the Logic of Withdrawal


See also Traprock's peace education campaign with Scott Ritter
and Sunny Miller's August 18, 2004 interview with Ritter

Squeezing jello in Iraq



Photo © 2004 Charlie Jenks

By Scott Ritter

11/09/04 "Aljazeera" -- The much-anticipated US-led offensive to seize the
Iraqi city of Falluja from anti-American Iraqi fighters has begun. Meeting
resistance that, while stiff at times, was much less than had been
anticipated, US Marines and soldiers, accompanied by Iraqi forces loyal to
the interim government of Iyad Allawi, have moved into the heart of Falluja.
Fighting is expected to continue for a few more days, but US commanders are
confident that Falluja will soon be under US control, paving the way for the
establishment of order necessary for nation-wide elections currently
scheduled for January 2005.

But will it? American military planners expected to face thousands of Iraqi
resistance fighters in the streets of Falluja, not the hundreds they are
currently fighting. They expected to roll up the network of Abu Musab
al-Zarqawi and his foreign Islamic militants, and yet to date have found no
top-tier leaders from that organization. As American forces surge into
Falluja, Iraqi fighters are mounting extensive attacks throughout the rest
of Iraq.

Far from facing off in a decisive battle against the resistance fighters, it
seems the more Americans squeeze Falluja, the more the violence explodes
elsewhere. It is exercises in futility, akin to squeezing jello. The more
you try to get a grasp on the problem, the more it slips through your
fingers.

This kind of war, while frustrating for the American soldiers and marines
who wage it, is exactly the struggle envisioned by the Iraqi resistance.
They know they cannot stand toe-to-toe with the world's most powerful
military and expect to win.

While the US military leadership struggles to get a grip on a situation in
Iraq that deteriorates each and every day, the anti-US occupation fighters
continue to execute a game plan that has been in position since day one.
President Bush prematurely declared "mission accomplished" back in May 2003.
For Americans, this meant that major combat operations in Iraq had come to
an end, that we had won the war. But for the Iraqis, it meant something
else. In Iraq, there never was a ?Missouri moment', where the government
formally surrendered. The fact is, Saddam Hussein's government never
surrendered, and still is very much in evidence in Iraq today in the form of
the anti-US resistance.

While we in America were declaring victory, the government of Saddam was
planning its war. The first battles were fought in March and April 2003.
Token resistance, no decisive engagement. The Iraqis fought just enough to
establish the principle of resistance, but not enough to squander their
resources.

Since May 2003, the resistance has grown in size and sophistication. Some
attribute this to the incompetence of the post-war occupation policies of
the United States. While this certainly was a factor in facilitating the
resistance, the fact remains that what is occurring today in Iraq is part of
a well-conceived plan the goal of which is to restore the Baath Party back
to power. And the policies of the Bush administration are playing right into
their hands.

The terror attacks carried out against the United Nations and other
international aid organizations succeeded in driving out of Iraq the
vestiges of foreign involvement the Bush administration relied upon to
present an international face to the US-led occupation. In the chaos and
anarchy that followed, the United States was compelled to use more and more
force in an attempt to restore order, creating a Catch-22 situation where
the more force we used, the more resistance we generated, requiring more
force in response.

The cycle of violence fed the resistance, destabilizing huge areas of Iraq
that are still outside the control of the Iraqi government and US military.
High profile operations in Najaf, Sadr City and Sammara did little to bring
these cities to bear.

Today, fighters in Iraq operate freely, continuing their orgy of death and
destruction in order to attract the inevitable heavy-handed US response.
Falluja is a prime case in point. While the US is unlikely to deliver a
fatal blow to the Iraqi resistance, it is succeeding in levelling huge areas
of Falluja, recalling the Vietnam-era lament that we had to destroy the
village in order to save it.

The images from Falluja will only fuel the anti-American sentiment in Iraq,
enabling the anti-US fighters to recruit ten new fighters for every
newly-minted 'martyr' it loses in the current battle against the Americans.
The battle for Falluja is supposed to be the proving ground of the new Iraq
Army. Instead, it may well prove to be a fatal pill. The reality is there is
no Iraqi Army. Of the tens of thousands recruited into its ranks, there is
today only one effective unit, the 36th Battalion.

This unit has fought side by side with the Americans in Falluja, Najaf, and
Samara. By all accounts, it has performed well. But this unit can only
prevail when it operates alongside overwhelming American military support.
Left to fend for itself, it would be slaughtered by the resistance fighters.
Worse, this unit which stands as a symbol of the ideal for the new Iraqi
Army is actually the antithesis of what the new Iraqi Army should be.
While the Bush administration has suppressed the formation of militia units
organized along ethnic and religious lines, the 36th Battalion should be
recognized for what it really is ? a Kurdish militia, retained by the US
military because the rest of the Iraqi Army is unwilling or unable to carry
the fight to the Iraqi resistance fighters.

The battle for Falluja has exposed not only the fallacy of the US military
strategy towards confronting the resistance in Iraq, but also the emptiness
of the interim government of Iyad Allawi, which is so far incapable of
building anything that resembles a viable Iraqi military capable of securing
its position in Iraq void of American military support.

Falluja is probably the beginning of a very long and bloody phase of the
Iraq war, one that pits an American military under orders from a rejuvenated
Bush administration to achieve victory at any cost against an Iraqi
resistance that is willing to allow Iraq to sink into a quagmire of death
and destruction in order to bog down and eventually expel the American
occupier.

It is a war the United States cannot win, and which the government of Iyad
Allawi cannot survive. Unfortunately, since recent polls show that some 70%
of the American people support the war in Iraq, it is a war that will rage
until the American domestic political dynamic changes, and the tide of
public opinion turns against the war.

Tragically, this means many more years of conflict in Iraq that will result
in thousands more killed on both sides, and incomprehensible suffering for
the people of Iraq, and unpredictable instability for the entire Middle
East.

Copyright: Aljazeera

November 11, 2004 - page created by Charlie Jenks