Sunday, July 24, 2005



1777 was so long ago. I mean they had those long funny guns that took forever to reload and were pretty inaccurate to boot. And how many weeks did it take to get a message from the battlefield to headquarters? But some of the lessons those of us paying attention in junior high history classes learned about the Revolutionary War actually are relevant to George's (the Bush one) war in Iraq. The first time I started thinking about the comparison between the U.S. War of Independence and the Iraqi insurgency was when I started seeing the stories on CNN about the "U.S. civilian contractors" hanging under a bridge. It didn't take me too long to figure out that the "civilian contractors" weren't engineers and architects building driveways and new hospitals, but mercenaries, paid killers from all over the world operating outside of the U.S. military's rules and codes of behavior (ie- "What Geneva Conventions?"). And what did we learn about the Revolution and mercenaries? The Hessians were hated-- and rightfully so-- and people fighting for their homes and families will put up a very bloody, costly struggle against mercenaries.

In the late 1700s Great Britain was the world's military superpower. The disorganized, squabbling 13 colonies, a full third of whose citizens were pro-Britain (there were times when more citizens of the colonies were joining the British Army than Washington's U.S. Army!), were no match, on paper, for the might and power of George III's military. But what did our Junior High American History teachers tell us about defending one's homes from foreigners, especially from foreigners with very long supply lines? Washington's genius was not for winning battles-- he almost never did-- but for managing to retreat and keep his forces alive and slowly wear the British out.

Although George II (the U.S. one) probably paid no attention-- whether by inability or inclination-- to his school teachers, there was also a bit they taught about morality and who was "right," who has Justice on their side. The prevaricators and propagandists in the Bush Regime are technologically sophisticated and spend an awful lot of time and money spinning the Iraq story but the whole world (outside of the most backward parts of the Old Confederacy and the other parts of America where the concept of a theocracy is attractive) feels the side of Right is with the Iraqis, not with the Americans and their Iraqi collaborators. Wherever you go in the world, The Americans are seen as the bad guys in this war, not as liberators or freedom fighters but as jack-booted fascists trying to impose its will on another country.

Today the New York Times ran a story on how the Iraqi insurrgency keeps getting stronger, "Defying U.S. Efforts, Guerrillas in Iraq Refocus and Strengthen." Right from the beginning, it sounds bad for the pro-war Bush Regime. Despite the constant barrage of lies from Cheney and Rumsfeld and the other fanatics inside the government and from all the paid shills working full time at brainwashing the public-- be it the Times' own Judith Miller (a Cheney sipher) or the entire Fox "News" operation or individual right-wing propagandists like Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh, Bill O'Reilly, etc-- outside the government, that the Iraqi "terrorists" (just what George III called the American patriots) were failing "the guerrillas and terrorists battling the American-backed enterprise here appear to be growing more violent, more resilient and more sophisticated than ever."

The Iraqi collaborators and their American patrons are not winning the war. "American commanders say the number of attacks against American and Iraqi forces has held steady over the last year, averaging about 65 a day. But the Americans concede the growing sophistication of insurgent attacks and the insurgents' ability to replenish their ranks as fast as they are killed."

"'We are capturing or killing a lot of insurgents,' said a senior Army intelligence officer, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to make his assessments public. 'But they're being replaced quicker than we can interdict their operations. There is always another insurgent ready to step up and take charge.'" That sounds like 1770s America too.


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