The occupation of Iraq feeds right into Bin Laden’s own rhetoric that the United States has imperial and selfish reasons for reconstructing the Middle East. If US military presence in Saudi Arabia has inflamed fundamentalists like Bin Laden, how will this ongoing occupation not do the same -- only on a much larger scale?
2. As an Occupying Power the United States is violating international law.
Just like the unilateral attack on Iraq, the United States is once again violating international codes of conduct. By not providing for the security of Iraq’s museums, market places, water supplies, and roadways, Bush and company have broken treaties and other international statutes. Also, Bush will not make a formal declaration that the war has officially ended -- which would obligate the United States to provide humanitarian relief and take immediate responsibility for the 25 million citizens of Iraq. Instead President Bush has heroically claimed victory as the death toll on both sides continues to mount.
3. Iraqis don’t want the presence of US military.
With the massive uprising in Falluja, it is clear that Iraqis do not want a US military presence in their country. The majority of the resistance forces are not former Saddam loyalists, but regular Iraqis pleading for freedom from colonial rule. And as the use of violence against occupation forces increases, the US will find itself in an unwinnable situation as rival Shia and Sunni factions come together to oppose their occupiers. If Iraq has been liberated why are they still living under an occupying power they didn't ask for?
4. Occupation only hinders relief efforts.
Military operations in Iraq make humanitarian efforts more difficult by increasing tension and spurring Iraqi rebellions. American and allied forces have encountered numerous barriers while attempting to provide aid to Iraqis. Many Iraqis are not willing to allow their occupier the freedom needed to supply aid simply because the US is still a threat to Iraqi's sovereignty.
5. Iraqi Security should become number one.
It is pertinent for Iraqi security that electricity gets back up and rolling again -- as well as all hospitals and communication portals. One year since the US took control of Baghdad, electricity in the city is sporadic at best, only running an average of 12 hours a day. Also, over 40% of Iraqis were employed under Saddam’s government and none have been paid since the war began. These are the security issues that need to be addressed first in order for Iraq to begin rebuilding its devastated economy.
6. Funding for the environment, education and healthcare are already being cut in the US in order to pay for Iraq’s current occupation.
Defense Department officials have announced that Bush’s $60 billion dollar estimate for the war in Iraq is actually looking more like $90-100 billion -- this without the added costs of Iraq’s occupation and rebuilding. At the same time the Bush administration projects a $300 billion dollar deficit over the next two years. With an average of over 65,000 US jobs lost a month over the past year, it is clear that federal spending could be focused elsewhere.
7. Arab countries are becoming even more critical of United State’s plans to govern postwar Iraq.
US military presence is not welcome in the Middle East -- with Palestine, Syria, Iran, Egypt, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Libya as well as “liberated” Afghanistan -- showing their anger at Iraq’s occupiers through protests and religious/political rallies. Anti-US sentiment is on the rise with every passing day of the colonial occupation.
8. Occupation will not breed democracy.
For true democracy to unfold, Iraq must be allowed to develop its own government, with no oversight from imperial powers. However, neoconservatives in Washington are not willing to allow such a democracy to take shape. They are most likely fearful a regime with animosity towards Israel and the US will gain massive support. But just like this war not being about Weapons of Mass Destruction, it is also not about democracy -- at least not the democracy Bush claims to be spreading.
9. It’s time for US troops to come home.
As of April 25, 2004 over 715 American service people have died for Bush’s illegal invasion. American troops are no longer wanted nor welcomed in Iraq. Let this not become a shadow of the Israeli/Palestinian struggle -- a conflict with no peaceful end in sight.
10. There are other options to Bush’s plan.
The United States should exit all troops in Iraq now. The international court should condemn this illegal and unjust war by prosecuting those that were involved in its planning and execution. Also, foreign companies and investors should return all profits they have made as a result of their reconstruction contracts. Finally, if Bush wants a friendly and liberated Iraq -- then the billions of dollars that are being spent on Iraq’s occupation should be swapped for humanitarian efforts.
According to several Iraqi civilian death counts, well over 10,000 innocents have perished as a result of the US led war and occupation. This atrocity must end at once. Unfortunately those looking to send a message to the Bush administration by supporting John Kerry in November may be in for a surprise. Kerry and Bush are virtually indistinguishable on the issue of Iraq's future. In fact, Kerry promises to put more troops in Afghanistan as well as Iraq.
We should all ask both these proclaimed Christians if Jesus would support their military occupation of Babylon. Their answers would undoubtedly be as consonant as their Skull and Bones kinship.
Josh Frank is author of a forthcoming book on the Left and the 2004 election. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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