As the war phases into this new chapter, activists and protesters worldwide are shifting gears, and transitioning their approaches from “anti-war” to “anti-occupation.” Some say that what the U.S. government calls “liberation” is really an indefinite and severe “occupation.” Many others worry that what is being called “war” now will spread to other hostile nations of the world, such as North Korea, Syria, or Egypt, with the Americans leading the coalition by a leash.
Demonstrators in Washington plan to march by the office of Halliburton, an “energy services” company awarded billions of dollars worth of oil cleanup contracts in Iraq, and argue that the deal is proof the United States went to war over Iraq’s rich oil supply. Halliburton is an oil giant, that has donated $700,000 to the Republican Party in the past few years, and was once run by Vice President Dick Cheney. In one of those interesting twists that American logic assumes these days, a spokesperson for the company says the U.S. military has fought wars to give Americans, like those in D.C., the right to protest.
As has been said before in this space, this new millennium War of Nuances demands greater understanding of truth, misinformation, and public opinion, than any war ever before. It’s a war in shades of gray. According to a New York Times/CBS News survey, 42% of Americans believe that Saddam Hussein is directly responsible for the September 11th attacks. Moreover, an ABC News poll says that 55% of Americans believe Saddam Hussein directly supports Al-Qaeda. What percentage of students at UM believes these fabrications is anybody’s guess.
In addition, it appears the disease of allegation may spread to sentiments for Syria: U.S. lawmakers said they would propose legislation to hold Syria accountable for supporting terrorism and pursuing nuclear, biological and chemical weapons. “Now that Saddam Hussein’s regime is defeated, it is time for America to get serious about Syria,” Representative Eliot Engel of New York said in a statement. The “Syria Accountability Act of 2003,” sponsored by Engel and his colleague Ileana Ros-Lethinen of, yes, right here in Miami, would allow President Bush to impose sanctions if Damascus fails to meet U.S. demands.
Syria may prove to be the next target of what has become an indefinite American project aimed at democratization of the Gulf region, and possibly the acceptance of the State of Israel by the Arab world. In a clear sign of the spread of anti-American sentiment, Secretary general of the Arab League, Amr Moussa, was doubtful of the American project as an agent for democracy, if it cannot, with the same rhetoric, address the Palestinians’ cause.
Meanwhile, the International Red Cross revealed that Iraqi hospitals are so overwhelmed and overcrowded that the injured are lying bleeding in hallway floors awaiting treatment and care. Looting, as well, had become so unchecked and rampant in Iraq’s capital that local doctors begged U.S. Marines to stand guard outside local district hospitals and prevent armed brigands from stealing vital medical equipment. The Marines failed to comply, stating they had received no orders to help. The Ministry of Sport and Youth, formerly headed by Uday Hussein, burned for days, visible in the night sky. Nevertheless, CNN gives us pictures of toppling statues and a cheering populace. Now is when the real war begins.