Socialist Worker

Lies that lurk behind the ‘handover’ of power in Iraq

Issue No. 1909

IRAQ IS “sovereign and free”, declared the BBC’s Matt Frei on 28 July. The staged “handover” was dubbed an “enormously significant day for Iraq”.

The Hutton inquiry has driven the BBC to accept every lie pumped out by supporters of Bush and Blair.

But the “handover” of power was a fraud. The country’s new puppet government was hand-picked by US officials.

And the occupation is not at an end—some 160,000 foreign troops are still in the country.

But you wouldn’t know that from the mainstream media.

The BBC and ITV faithfully recycled the lie that the superficial changes somehow amount to real freedom for Iraq.

Iraq’s new puppet government is anything but sovereign and free.

It has no power to change laws previously imposed by the coalition.

It has no authority over the thousands of troops and mercenaries still occupying the country.

The US has ordered that foreign “civilian contractors” should be immune from Iraqi law.

Even if mercenaries shoot Iraqis dead, they still can’t be taken to court in the country.

Iraq’s economy is also firmly in the grip of Washington. The coalition forced through a host of neo-liberal “reforms” last year, including a flat income tax rate of 15 percent for individuals and corporations.

Strikes are banned. Reconstruction work has been contracted out. State-owned companies are being sold off.

Even Iraq’s traffic regulations have been set in stone by Paul Bremer, the departed coalition overlord.

The coverage of Saddam’s court appearance last week underlines how mainstream news sources just parrot the White House line.

Saddam has not been “handed over” to Iraqis in any physical sense. He remains in American custody.

And he is not being “tried by the Iraqi people”.

His “courtroom” and “judge” were picked by the US.

The videos of the hearing released to the media were marked “cleared by the US military”.

American army officers confiscated the original tapes.

All that has happened in Iraq is a series of cosmetic changes.

The country’s real overlord is John Negroponte, the US ambassador now sitting in Paul Bremer’s office in Baghdad’s so called “international zone”.

The media should be reporting this reality and confronting the ugly truth about the US’s intentions. Instead, reporters and editors prattle on about a fantasy “transition to democracy”.

This reflects the patronising and racist view that “democracy” is a gift that the benevolent, civilised West must impose on a savage Arab world.

The puppet government is thus presented as Iraq’s “only hope”.

But real democracy can only come through mass movements of ordinary people, not by the orders of imperial rulers and their stooges.

Iraq’s real hope lies in resisting the occupation.

Accepting and apologising for Bush and Blair’s brutal imperial games will only prolong the country’s agony.


‘My son was a bit of meat to them’

“HE SHOULDN’T have been there—none of our boys should be there.”

This was the response of Rose Gentle, whose soldier son, 19 year old Gordon Gentle, was killed on Monday of last week in Iraq, the day of the supposed handover of power.

“Why don’t Tony Blair and Geoff Hoon send their own families out to Iraq? My son was a just a bit of meat to them, just a number. They don’t care about him—all they care about is the next election.”

Gordon was sent out to Iraq just after he had completed his basic training.

A number of soldiers have been sent to Iraq without undergoing training designed to help them deal with the danger they will face in Iraq.

The Gentles are from the Pollok area of Glasgow.

Tommy Sheridan, the Scottish Socialist MSP and family friend, told Socialist Worker, “Gordon’s life has been cut tragically short by the war in Iraq. His mother, Rose, feels her son has been used as no more than a ‘piece of meat’ by Blair and Hoon. I endorse 100 percent Rose’s opinion that this has been nothing more than a war for oil that has nothing to do with ordinary people.”


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Article information

Features
Sat 10 Jul 2004, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 1909
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