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The Iraq Occupation


Typically, military occupations are quite successful, even by the most horrendous conquerors.

Take, say, Hitler’s occupation of Western Europe and Russia’s postwar occupation of Eastern Europe. In both cases, the countries were run by collaborators, security forces and civilian, with the troops of the conqueror in the background. There was courageous partisan resistance under Hitler, but without extensive foreign support, it would have been wiped out. In Eastern Europe, the US tried to support resistance (inside Russia as well) until the early 1950s, and of course Russia was in confrontation with the world dominant superpower. There are many other examples.

Consider, in contrast, the invasion of Iraq. It eliminated two monstrous regimes, one of which we are allowed to talk about, the other not. The first was the rule of the tyrant. The second was the US-UK imposed sanctions regime, which killed 100s of thousands of people, devastated the society, strengthened the tyrant, and compelled the population to rely on him survival — probably saving him from the fate of other gangsters supported by the current incumbents in Washington, all overthrown from within; that was a plausible surmise before the war, and is even more so in the light of postwar discoveries about the fragility of Saddam’s rule. The ending of both regimes was certainly welcome to the population. The US had enormous resources to reconstruct the ruins. Resistance had virtually no outside support, and in fact developed within largely in response to violence and brutality of the invaders. It took real talent to fail.

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