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(DV) Garcia: Selective De-Occupation







Selective De-Occupation: The Next Political Task?
by Manuel Garcia, Jr.
December 3, 2005

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A political observer from Planet Tralfamadore would probably conclude that for much of Planet Earth the purpose of government is to insulate capital from popular democracy. This extra-terrestrial would likely see the US political elite as today's equivalent to Pharaonic scribes and priests, those maintained for the purpose of devising the necessary illusions for the management of the public mind. 

Since John Murtha's call on 17 November from the floor of the House of Representatives for a de-occupation of Iraq by US troops (1), it has been obvious to all that the illusions needed to proceed with the Iraq War have completely evaporated. (2) 

Now, the political elite is very nervous because it has the delicate task of devising a new illusion that moves the public mind through an unavoidable policy transition in a controlled way. In doing this our elite politicians risk inadvertently jolting the public mind into an inconveniently clear awareness of other little-noticed mechanisms of political and economic control, and they also risk undoing their own political careers. 

The problem is severe: the military campaign is lost, it only produces death, destruction, dishonor and long-term resentment without useful political consequences (3); the corporate world (Pharaoh, if you will) finds the war to be an expense, a liability and an impediment (4); rhetoric that was commonplace among the throngs marching in protest on 15 and 16 February 2003 is now splashed across the pages of the New York Times (5); and politicians are withdrawing their support from the Bush Administration and breaking party ranks in their individual scrambles to find safe positions -- as yet illusory -- melding the requirements of their patrons with their own career goals and a favorable image to their constituents. (6) 

With the public, the military, the corporate establishment, the punditry, and the political elite openly revolting against the Iraq War, why does it still continue? 

There is really no physical or logistical impediment to a complete and rapid withdrawal of US troops and camp-following corporate entities. However, there is a psychological impediment: no political faction and economic interest wants to "take the fall" or "take a loss" that might result from a drastic and immediate change of policy. Once an arrangement can be reached on this issue then some "bipartisan" grand illusion will be projected to direct, divert and distract public attention as needed. Obviously, the necessary illusion cannot be produced quickly enough. 

Why not? 

Party politics runs deeper than national patriotism. The Republican Party will not use its control of the US Congress to implement any of the four actions demanded by law, conscience and circumstances: investigate, impeach, indict and imprison (where guilt is proved by trial) all members of the Bush Administration who foisted this false war on the country. Vigorous action along these lines would quickly bring control of the Iraq War into hands capable of terminating it. 

Party politicians have greater concern to protect the network of subsidy and patronage they are a part of. (7) Ralph Nader can well ask "what do the Democrats stand for?" after only three of them in the House would break ranks to vote in favor of a rapid troop withdrawal, despite the fact that the actual resolution House Republicans allowed for a vote was a debilitating distortion of Murtha's proposal. For the House Democrats, maintaining an aloof solidarity from a clearly dirty Republican trick was more important than having the balls to go public with a unanimous, pure, full-throated blast of "hell yes, out now!" (8) One must conclude that the Democrats did not have authorization from their sponsors (whose commissars headquarter at the DLC) to actually challenge the operation of existing policy. 

And this brings us to the necessary illusion. It must guide the American public mind through a transition of a US military withdrawal from Iraq, ending the occupation, and a return to diplomacy in dealing with Syria, Iran and the Middle East, without sparking the public's curiosity as to why the exact same solution cannot be applied for the exact same reasons in Palestine, with an end to the Israeli military occupation. 

The illusion will have to be a very good one to mask something so obvious. Successfully devising such an illusion could make a political career, say of a President Hillary Clinton in 2009. 

This all presumes that the continuation of the present US policy regarding Israel (to the detriment of Palestine) does not also fall victim in the re-think of mutual interests by the major centers of US power. (9) Once the US power elites reach a consensus to pull out of the Iraq (and Afghanistan) debacle, then why not start fresh all over the Middle East, and pull Israel out of Palestine as well? A politician who could shape a winning public illusion to sell such a dual withdrawal plan might prevail -- perhaps a President John McCain in 2009? -- with the reasoning that such a plan would: end terrorism by ending its motivation (revenge against military occupiers), drastically reduce government spending and debt (no spiraling war costs, and reduced liability to the national currency), and assure reliable access to Middle East oil because of the combination of US buying power (big consumer) and restored goodwill. 

If it is true that the Iraq War was orchestrated “for the benefit of Israel” by President George W. Bush, who is "wrapped around the little finger" of Ariel Sharon (in the words of General Brent Scowcroft, national security adviser to the first President Bush) then it is inevitable that the American public mind will focus a very critical eye on its previously unthinking support of Israel, after it has recovered from the humiliating realizations harvested from the Iraq War. 

And so, the questions twisting knots in the guts of our ambitious political elitists are: "what will Big Capital decide are really its interests in the Middle East?; how will it target its funding streams to signal “get out of Iraq now”?; and what illusion do I fabricate to guide the public mind through this as-yet undetermined change, both for the benefit of my sponsor and me?"

Manuel García, Jr. is a working physicist and amateur poet. He can be reached at:

Other Articles by Manuel Garcia, Jr.

* Iraq: To End The Occupation, End The Civil War
* Disasters Are Us?
* Industrialized Greed Produces Pandemics
* Fuel Conservation And Sustainable Mobility


[1] John P. Murtha, Congressman (D, Pennsylvania), "War in Iraq,” November 17, 2005. 

[2] Eric Margolis, "Americans Are Running Out Of Patience With Their 'War President',” 14 November 2005.  

[3] Cynthia McKinney, Congresswoman (D, Georgia), summarizes the military and political futility succinctly in her remarks on the 18 November debate over the "Murtha" withdrawal resolution. Jean-Pierre Perrin, "There's Already Civil War in Iraq!," Libération, 15 November 2005.

[4] Mark Engler, "Will Big Business Turn on Bush?" 5 November 2005.  

[5]  Frank Rich, "Dishonest, Reprehensible, Corrupt ...,New York Times, 27 November 2005. 

[6] Shailagh Murray and Jonathan Weisman, "Senate Presses for Concrete Steps toward Troop Withdrawal from Iraq,” Washington Post, 16 November 2005. Glenn Kessler, "Hagel Defends Criticisms of Iraq Policy," Washington Post, 16 November 2005. 

[7] Ralph Nader, "What Do The Democrats Stand For?," CounterPunch, 22 November 2005.

[8] Alexander Cockburn, "How the Democrats Undercut John Murtha," CounterPunch, 26 
November 2005.

[9] Michael Neumann, "The Palestinians and the Party Line," CounterPunch, 18 November 2005.