By BART GRUZALSKI
July 7 / 8, 2007
On July 4th, 2007, President Bush compared the U.S. struggle in Iraq with the American Revolution. He reminded his audience of West Virginia Air National Guard personnel and their families that the first July 4th celebration in 1777 took place in the midst of “a bloody and difficult struggle that would not end for six more years before America finally secured her freedom.” Although “it is hard [today] to imagine the Revolutionary War coming out any other way,” he said, “at the time, America’s victory was far from certain.” He then turned to the war in Iraq. “You’re the successors of those brave men,” he told the crowd. “Like those early patriots, you’re fighting a new and unprecedented war.” He commended them for “showing that the courage which won our independence more than two centuries ago is alive and well here in West Virginia.”
What makes the American Revolution an inspirational example to people everywhere is that the first Americans were, like the Iraqis today, trying to end an occupation. Bush never got it, even though he pointed out that in 1777 “we were a small band of freedom-loving patriots taking on the most powerful empire in the world.” Today it is the Iraqis who are “taking on the most powerful empire in the world” and our own military that constitutes the occupation. This is the stark and obvious analogy between the American Revolution and the Iraq occupation and it does not bode well for U.S. military success.
The American Revolution jettisoned foreign rule and subjection to the English throne. It should not be surprising to Americans that other peoples want to free themselves from occupation and foreign rule. Being a colony and suffering foreign troops on our soil infuriated our ancestors and would infuriate most of us today. The U.S. currently has over 160 thousand military personnel occupying Iraq, yet Iraq is a country with less than 10% of the population of the U.S. If a proportionally equal number of foreign troops were occupying our nation, more than 1,600,000 foreign troops would be in our cities, on our streets, and in our neighborhoods. There is no question about what would happen-we would create an insurgency of unprecedented ferocity that would drive the foreigners out. This is precisely what the Iraqi insurgents are trying to do today.
It is difficult to believe that some of the strategists in Washington D.C. are not fully aware that the occupation itself creates the Iraq insurgency. Even President Bush in his April 2004 press conference acknowledged that the Iraqis are Anot happy they’re occupied” and added that AI wouldn’t be happy if I were occupied either.What is shameless is that Bush used the example of our own American Revolution against a foreign occupation to pump up an audience of National Guard and their families as he told them to be ready for even “more sacrifice” (the euphemism for casualties) in our war of occupation.
Bart Gruzalski is Professor Emeritus at Northeastern University. His most recent book is “On Gandhi.”
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