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April 04, 2004

Iraq Resistance is Not Just Saddam/Bin Laden

A lot of conservatives try to legitimate the US Occupation by picturing all resistance as coming from illegitimate sources, such as ex-henchmen of Hussein or allies of Al Qaeda.

But as the debate on the new Iraq Constitution has made clear, the US Occupation is opposed by broad parts of the population of Iraq. Many may have hated Hussein, but they hate the US as well:

Thousands of supporters of a virulently anti-American Shiite cleric, Moktada al-Sadr, marched through the streets of Baghdad on Saturday. Many were members of Mr. Sadr's militia, the Mahdi Army...A senior military official in Baghdad has estimated the number of the Mahdi Army in the "high hundreds to thousands" and said its antioccupation stand "concerns us greatly."
Here you have a massive force opposed to the US that is backed by a swath of the Iraqi population.

And the US has to resort to classic dictatorial methods to maintain its Occupation:

Last Sunday, the American-led authorities closed down a newspaper that is considered Mr. Sadr's mouthpiece, accusing it of inciting violence. His supporters have held several major protests since then.
The US is running a dictatorship. It may be more humane-- at the moment-- than that run by Saddam Hussein. But it is a dictatorship.

And you can't justify a dictatorship, however staffed by puppet allies, by just claiming it's better than the previous dictatorship.

Until there are real elections, something the Bush administration has worked to delay and delay -- with very likely the goal of having puppet allies never implement -- everything the US does is illegitimate in controlling Iraq.

Posted by Nathan at April 4, 2004 08:24 AM