Occupation Unraveling: Iraqi soldier kills two US troops

The strength of the Iraqi resistance and the level of anti-U.S. anger within the Iraqi army asserted itself in December when at least one Iraqi soldier purposefully shot and killed two U.S. soldiers during a joint patrol in the city of Mosul.

Resistance fighters stationed inside nearby buildings had fired on the patrol as soldiers attempted to set up combat outposts. The ambush appeared to be a well planned and coordinated attack and may have involved the cooperation of Iraqi soldiers on duty. An Iraqi soldier in the puppet army shot dead two U.S. soldiers who were beating a pregnant Iraqi woman.

Iraqi army commanders Brig. Gen. Mutaa Habib al-Khazraji and Brig. Gen. Noor al-Din Hussein have claimed that the shooting was deliberate and the Iraqi soldier has ties to the resistance. A second Iraqi soldier is also being held in the incident. The involvement of at least two soldiers suggests that the degree of sympathy and collaboration with the resistance in Iraq’s army may be more widespread than the Pentagon has previously acknowledged.

If the official story coming out of Iraq regarding the soldier’s ties to the insurgency is not true, U.S. and Iraqi armed forces could be attempting to cover up what they consider an even more alarming detail. It would mean that the length and severity of the occupation has worn the patience of average Iraqis to such an extent that it has spread throughout Iraq’s armed forces and U.S. soldiers may at times find themselves battling their counterparts in the Iraqi military.

The December shootings mark the first time since the occupying forces invaded in 2003 that the U.S. media has reported that a soldier in Iraq’s current army has intentionally killed U.S. service members. According to the Arab Times, a similar incident occurred in 2004 when Iraqi civil defense officers killed two U.S. soldiers on patrol with them. The Iraqi Civil Defense Corps was a precursor to today’s Iraqi army.

Bush ordered an additional 21,500 troops into combat at the beginning of 2006 in an attempt to establish a level of corporate-defined stability in Iraq. The December incident underlines the failure of this “surge” in U.S. forces to provide the necessary conditions for continued occupation and maximum exploitation of the Iraqi people’s oil resources.

Just as importantly, the killing of U.S. soldiers by members of the Iraqi puppet government’s army illustrates the fact that the popular resistance in Iraq cannot be defeated regardless of U.S. technical superiority in arms or the number of troops it sends into Iraq.

The U.S. military intentionally recruits among the nationally oppressed and the poorest sections of the working class at home to provide fodder for the ruling class’ war games abroad.

Put the blame where it belongs While it is understandable if rank-and-file U.S. soldiers mourn the deaths of their fellow soldiers shot in December, it is important to put the blame where it belongs. The U.S. government sent soldiers into Iraq based on a lie, and ordered them to occupy and bomb its people into submission.

When a U.S. soldier dies in Iraq it is not the fault of Iraqi freedom fighters inside or outside of Iraq’s armed forces. The blame for those deaths belongs squarely at the feet of the U.S. government’s civilian and military leadership which sent these young men and women off to die in an imperialist war of conquest.

The task of the anti-war movement inside the U.S. is to help U.S. soldiers to join the struggle against the war and to understand the just struggle of the Iraqi resistance. In the process these soldiers can assert their humanity and dignity by refusing to let themselves continue to be pawns for the U.S. military command.

During the U.S. occupation of Vietnam, when there was a strong and active anti-imperialist movement among civilians inside the U.S., U.S. troops in Vietnam expressed their resistance in many ways. Troops deserted while on leave, units refused to go on patrols and in hundreds of cases troops “fragged” or used fragmentation grenades to kill commissioned and non-commissioned officers who were racist or who were ordering them to patrol.

The existence of anti-occupation forces even among the so-called Iraqi allies—that is, the puppet army—will certainly add to the growing demoralization of U.S. troops forced to remain in Iraq. Whatever opportunities and methods for resistance become available to U.S. troops are legitimate in a situation where they have been sent to oppress a sovereign nation with no justification.

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