Beyond Empty Triumphalism

by B. J. Sabri

Dissident Voice

August 7, 2003


If an independent forensic team that has no connections, declared or undeclared, with the United States can convincingly confirm that those whom US occupying forces killed in Mosul were, in fact, the two vicious sons of the former dictator Saddam Hussein, then the publication and televised airing of their dead bodies is an issue worth studying. Aside from being an explicit hyper-imperialist flirtation with macabre rituals obviously performed and exploited for propagandistic purposes, the issue takes on different dimensions for one good reason: US military commanders like to believe that the grisly show would deter the occupied Iraqis from attacking their American occupiers! There is a serious problem with this deterministic reasoning: it depends on an unreliable and simplistic assumption, which holds that it is only the followers of the deposed regime that are fighting the American presence, while the rest of the population is now cowed and pacified.


The publication reveals two things. First: it backs the idea that an ideological affinity ties all expressions of planned violence be it fascist, fascist-like, totalitarian, democratic, or just hovering between all the preceding; accordingly, atrocities committed by dissimilar regimes could be different in background and justification, but are identical in the message those regimes want to convey. Second: the over-rated importance the US attributes to the killing confirms that the US is desperate to persuade us that with Uday and Qusay gone, and once the US kills or captures Saddam, the Iraqi resistance to its occupation will soon evaporate. It is not clear why potentates such as US hyper-imperialists think that they can translate mechanistic assumptions into factual realties, unless they are really facing an increasingly organized uprising that is shattering their sense of invulnerability, and may eventually end their Iraqi colonialist quest. Before we take this discussion further, let us see the display of killed adversaries in historical perspective. 


On February 8, 1963, Baathists in the military staged a coup d'état (organized and financed by the CIA) against the progressive regime of General Abdul-Kareem Qassem who led a revolt (1958) against the British-installed, non-Iraqi Hashemite monarchy and established what could have become a viable and peaceful republic had US and British imperialists not intervened to abort that experiment. The first act of the Baathist essential fascism played like this: to prove that they, effectively, killed Qassem (after a bogus trial lasting less than 45 minutes), the Iraqi television aired for four consecutive days the scenes of the bloodied and bullet-riddled bodies of Qassem and his closest aides. In its purest Hitlerico-fascist essence, the morbid show was clearly aimed at convincing as well as intimidating the population from resisting the new rulers. (Compare the Baathists behavior with Qassem, and the US behavior with Uday and Qusay!) The Baathist returned to their disgusting fascist methods in 1969 when they ordered the public execution of innocent Iraqis accused of espionage for Israel (1969), and left their bodies hanging for days. That, however, never stopped the popular resistance, passive or active, toward the Baathists in the past 30 years.   


On October 9, 1967 the Bolivian Army, backed by the US government and the CIA, killed the Argentinean revolutionary Che Guevara. CIA experts who identified the body of Guevara did not object to the Bolivian soldiers sexually abusing the corpse, and allowed photographs of his body perforated by bullets to circulate, so leftist Latin-American insurgents would desist from fighting right-wing regimes supported and financed by the United States. Contrary to US expectations, the death of Guevara and published photographs of his cadaver never stopped guerrilla warfare against local oligarchies.        


It must be noted that public exhibition of killed leaders or ordinary people is not confined to political structures with fascist mentalities. There were many other notorious displays of extreme post mortem cruelty made by people not associated with fascism but, on the contrary, fought against it. A strong example of this is the upside-down hanging (after anti-fascist Italian Partisans killed them on April 29, 1945) of Mussolini, his lover Clara Petacci, and top aids. Mortuary trophies are both propaganda and a tool of intimidation. US white supremacists used the same methods of intimidation against African-Americans when they hanged innocent individuals and left them dangling from trees. Political expediency and ideological expectation normally justify the psychological terrorization derived from the reaction to seeing killed people. At this point, here is the argument: if disparate factions have enacted this barbaric ritual before, then why do we point the finger to the US for doing the same? The answer is simple: despite their repeated foreign military interventions and homicidal policies that left hundreds of thousands of people dead or maimed, US ruling classes still pretend they are the ultimate keepers of unmatched ethics [sic].


As I mentioned before, in the Uday/Qusay episode, the single factor that is making the US come out of its fascist closet is its hope that by publishing the photographs, it would stop the so-called Saddam loyalists from attacking its forces. This requires a statement of principle: First, even if Saddam loyalists are those who are attacking US forces, and since these “loyalists” are Iraqis, they are fully entitled under the aegis of international, national, and natural laws to fight the invaders of their homeland. Second, the US has no jurisdiction, none whatsoever, to capture or kill any Iraqi, even the most criminal among them; as this is purely an internal Iraqi matter, and not a subject for hypocritical powers using multiple standards while they are in an occupation mode. Seen from all these angles, the belief that the printed images of killed adversaries may inhibit their followers and induce other people to renounce resistance is a delusional whim that distinguishes all occupiers, invaders, and conquerors.    


While US hyper-imperialists indulge in explaining an event as if they understand its inner mechanism, they, on the other hand, can barely comprehend the intricate evolution of the event itself. The following is an example of a single US view in connection with the presumed killing of Uday and Qusay. Neil MacFarquhar of the New York Times reports, “[A] spokesman for the occupying authority said many Iraqis remained so nervous about a comeback by the Hussein dynasty that they believed any conspiracy theory to that effect”.  It is redundant to state that hyper-imperialists are amateurs when they delve into the realm of serious psychoanalysis. First, the spokesman had no way to gauge subjective nervousness, its pertinent origins, and its psychosomatic manifestation. Second, by implying the fear of Saddam’s comeback, he 1) generalized and exploited understandable fear for occupation purposes; 2) implied that US forces are there only to impede a comeback; and 3) immediately dubs the Iraqis as emotionally unstable by implying that they may believe in any conspiracy theory to that effect.


The spokesman continues with his hyper-imperialist monologue, “We obviously have to take steps to reassure them, to make the point that we have always made, that these people are never coming back. We need to balance the standards and expectations of a civilized society, which is what we represent, and the understandable demands by people to have the last doubts quelled.” [1] Let us dissect the arcane babble of this supremacist disciple of hyper-imperialism.


First, he qualified US occupiers as superior beings whose noble aim is to reassure the emotionally traumatized Iraqis (which is partly true consequent to dictatorship, hardship, and wars) that “these people” [Saddam and his men] are not coming back. This implies that the US invaded Iraq because of Saddam and his son’s brutality, and not because of oil, Zionists, and hegemony, and that US forces are still there only to impede Saddam from returning to power! Furthermore, he implied that US invaders, who destroyed the country for the second time in a decade, are now considering the killing and the display of bodies as the balm that heals the wounds of a land still cratered and ruined by their missiles and depleted uranium shells. Consequently, they [the invaders] consider themselves as indispensable instruments to the psychological serenity of the Iraqis who are still recovering from the aftermath of massive aerial bombardment lasting 3 weeks. Second, in his pedantic psychoanalysis, the spokesman skipped the definition of the “steps” he was pondering; are we supposed to guess them? Third, he uncovered his loathsome supremacist cards by announcing that he “represents a civilized society”, meaning: he, as a superior being, can understand the demands of inferior frightened people. Let us comment on that passage.  


It is sinisterly comical that US hyper-imperialists, who have just inflicted immense destruction on Iraq, its institutions, its infrastructures, and killing in the process around 10,000 civilians and an undisclosed number of men in uniform that some sources put around or over 30,000, are now bragging about their “civilized society”. Classical Hitlerico-fascist sadism and hyper-imperialistic sadism are made from the same ideological dough although differ in formal description and national provenance. Further, we would like to know what are these standards and expectations that the spokesman wants to balance as a representative of a “civilized society”. Is he talking about the same society whose government and armed forces have virtually became messengers of death, going from country to country killing people and destroying property, history, cultural heritage, and plain human feelings? In addition, we may be able to understand what “civilized society” means, but can we resolve the mystery of these “standards and expectations”? If US hyper-imperialists have standards, these, certainly, would be the exclusive self-giving right to destroy nations, as if they have received an authorization to do so from some sort of a higher hyper-imperialist divinity, or maybe they feel that they are divine themselves. Based on US record in Iraq and in the world, it is difficult not to notice that the US standards are no different in methods, philosophical outlook, and results from all other organized historical movements that built their supremacy on inflicting immeasurable death and destruction on weaker nations for colonialistic gains.


The intentional murder of Uday and Qusay leaves many questions unanswered. If the US gave them a primary importance worth 30 million dollars of combined bounty, why then kill them instead of capturing them, even if that would take days of military siege? Further, why did the US completely demolish and remove the entire villa already destroyed by bombardment? What was there to cover up? There are multiple answers. 1) The US wanted to kill them, so a great part of the chapter of US-Saddam relations will no longer exist, especially if the US already knows that Saddam is dead despite all tapes attributed to him! 2) The killing came at a moment of continuous scandals and revelations about the lies that led to US-UK-Israel war against Iraq. 3) However, the most interesting thing to note is that US hyper-imperialists are using the murder of the brothers to change the reasons for the US aggression and occupation of Iraq. WMD are no longer the rational, but the eradication of the Saddam dynasty is the one and only reason.


However, the story of the killing, aside from its illegality, cannot make us forget the tragic realities besieging Iraq. Indeed, while US media are entertaining the beatified and unconcerned American people with talks about US heroism in the murder of Uday and Qusay, the larger picture – the fascist hyper-imperialist rape of Iraq – remains obscured as if it is a secondary plot in a trivial game played in an unknown theater. As American companies are proceeding to reap astronomic profits from Iraq’s “re-construction”, and while the US is planning to mortgage Iraqi oil to pay for “re-construction” and the cost of occupation and war, US politicians sardonically believe they can mesmerize the audience with stories about Iraq’s giant strides on the road to recovery! Let us read with Eric Schmitt of the New York Times about how the US envisions this recovery and these magnificent re-construction projects: “[T]he top American civilian administrator in Iraq is to announce on Wednesday a 60-day plan for that nation, including restoring power to prewar levels, resuming criminal courts, awarding mobile-telephones licenses, and distributing revised textbooks to new opened schools”.  [Italics added]. [2] Let us analyze this declaration of intent.


While Iraqis are living under the yoke of vicious military occupation whose undeclared objective is the permanent conquest of their land, while tanks and military convoys are roaming their streets around the clock, while large urban areas have been transformed into barb wired forbidden zones protecting encamping forces, while national freedom, electricity, clean water, personal safety are missing, while the sewers are overflowing with waste maters, while citizens are crushed by US military edicts and regulations, while US forces are killing civilians by the scores with impunity, while Iraq is still contaminated with depleted uranium, and while most Iraqis are now unemployed because of society’s collapse due to US war and ideologically motivated colonialist domestic policy, and while all landline telephone exchanges are crippled, US capitalists are planning to sell expensive as much as unnecessary, under the current conditions, wireless telephone systems which imperialist planners deem re-construction!


Further, based on what parameters does Mr. Bremer consider resuming criminal courts, reconstruction! If Bremer feels he can prosecute the crimes of Saddam and his regime, can he then suggest who will prosecute the monumental crimes of the United States! Are these courts going to sanction the colonialist conquest of Iraq as punishment for the crimes of the past regime? In addition, if restoring power to pre-war level means reconstruction, then the implication is that Bremer wants only to match Saddam’s record in providing electricity. If that is the case, then why did US forces bombard the electric grids as if they were practice targets? Moreover, why does Bremer consider revising schoolbooks as re-construction? Besides, what are these revised textbooks supposed to indoctrinate now? That the United States invaded Iraq, not because of WMD, but because Saddam is a tyrant and that the US is determined to covert the country to an indirect US colony! Maybe they would indoctrinate that Israel existed before supernova and the forming of galaxies! Are they going to revise history and indoctrinate that the US did not kill hundred of thousands of Iraqis through previous wars and 12 years of sanctions? Is the US going to tell the Iraqis that they did not invade Iraq for its oil? Is the US going to tell the same Iraqis, it intends to sell their national oil industry to American companies and to transform their land into military bases?


Bremer, whom the NYT calls “Iraq’s overseer” as if he is a supernatural being, and other pundits love to call him “proconsul” as if he just came out of a fresh election by the Roman Senate, is a sophisticated liar. Let us see why. Schmitt on Bremer: “[H]e said most of the damage to Iraq’s power grid, water system, ministries, and other infrastructure was from three decades of neglect under Saddam Hussein, and  not the three-week war” [2]. Well. Who can beat a liar like this one? Let us dissect his lie and deception. 1) Although ruled by dictatorship, Iraq under Saddam has become, as per authoritative sources including the UN, a reasonably developed and advanced-like industrialized Middle Eastern country by the many standards of successful industrialization. This is, obviously, not because of Saddam’s investments, but also because the Iraqis are industrious and resourceful. 2) Bremer the liar skipped the Gulf war that destroyed almost all of Iraq’s infrastructures, as he also magically skipped 12 years of crippling US sanctions that impeded reconstruction, as if they never happened. In addition, he skipped the destruction and the killing of a sizable swath of Iraq’s human capital needed for reconstruction, as well as the immigration of 3 million Iraqis because of terrible economic conditions caused by US sanctions. 3) The talk about three decades of neglect is another Bremer lie to shift the blame only to Saddam, thus sparing the US from its role in the pitiful status of Iraq today. On top of all that, he minimized operation “Iraqi Freedom” by talking only about its duration, and not the destruction it wrought on the capital city in particular. Nor did he, a hypocrite hyper-imperialist, mention the subsequent destruction and looting, when the US allowed the pillage of Baghdad after its capture. In the end, Bremer may be able to convince gullible individuals about the benefits of US imperialist aggressions, but he cannot deceive our vigilant memory.


To conclude, it is preposterous to think that the life and death of Uday, Qusay, or Saddam would have any bearing on the Iraqi resistance to US invasion, occupation, and prospect of conquest. In addition, the Bush Administration’s strategy of consecrating its hyper-imperialistic drive in Iraq and in the world cannot survive beyond the eventual collapse of the dual-tactic of using Saddam as boogieman to scare the Iraqis, and the specter of terrorism to scare the American people. In the end, the Iraqi people have never requested from Wolfowitz, Perle, Armitage, Rumsfeld, Bremer, Bush to destroy and occupy their country, so they can own cellular telephones, change their schoolbooks, or to do anything else. US hyper-imperialists are either slow in understanding Iraq’s rejection of colonialism, or do not understand something fundamental about people under occupation: they always fight the occupiers!   


B. J. Sabri is an Iraqi-American antiwar activist. Email: bjsabri@yahoo.com




[1] www.nytimes.com/2003/07/25/international/worldspecial/25IRAQ.html      


[2] www.nytimes.com/2003/07/23/international/middleeast/23BREM.html         


Other Articles by B. J. Sabri


* The Hyper-Imperialist Paradigm, Part One

* The Hyper-Imperialist Paradigm, Part Two

* The Hyper-Imperialist Paradigm, Part Three

* The Hyper-Imperialist Paradigm, Part Four

* Reporting from the Colonialist Side of the Brain

* Thomas Friedman: The Insidious Prophet of Petty Fascism

* Nomen Nudum, Or, Hyper-Imperialists On a Rampage

* Which Prototype is Bush Following: Nero, Holagu, Malthus, Hitler, or Sharon?

* From Guernica to Baghdad Via Dresden and Hiroshima

* Barbaric Era, Year 2003

* When Hercules is Intoxicated, Furious, and Unchained

* War on Iraq and the Pregnant Chads Factor

* Nuclear Blues and the Iraqi Question




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