Das überdehnte Imperium

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905 US-Soldaten sind bisher im Irak gestorben. Nach dem von Bush triumphal verkündeten "Ende der Kampfhandlungen" sind fast sieben mal soviele Soldaten umgekommen wie während des Angriffs auf den Irak. Und im Juli, also nach der "Regierungsübergabe", sind bereits jetzt mehr US-Soldaten getötet worden, als im Monat zuvor.


Verglichen mit dem Vietnam-Krieg heißt das, dass die Todesrate der US-Armee im Irak höher ist als jene zu Beginn des Vietnam-Kriegs:
The parallel which drives the US ruling class to distraction - that of the Vietnam War - is also prompted by the military death toll, which reached 324 within seven months in Iraq. It took two years of official ‘engagement’ for the figure to reach that in Vietnam, and that discounts the time spent building up ‘advisers’ to the South Vietnamese Diem regime.
Mit anderen Worten: Die Zahl der Todesopfer auf Seiten der US-Armee ist bereits jetzt fast drei mal so hoch wie sie erst nach zwei Jahren in Vietnam war.

Der Widerstand der Iraker stellt das US-Imperium vor ernsthafte Probleme. Die New York Times berichtet heute, dass die US-Armee nun Rekruten schon früher einberufen will:

In what critics say is another sign of increasing stress on the military, the Army has been forced to bring more new recruits immediately into the ranks to meet recruiting goals for 2004, instead of allowing them to defer entry until the next accounting year, which starts in October."
Army officials say that they have been unable to defer as many enlistments as in the past because 4,500 more recruits were needed at midyear to help meet a temporary increase of 30,000 soldiers in the active duty force, which is to grow to 512,000 by 2006. The increases are largely driven by the missions in Iraq and Afghanistan.  (..)

"The Army is stretched dangerously thin," Representative Ike Skelton of Missouri, the ranking Democrat on the House Armed Services Committee, told Gen. Peter J. Schoomaker, the Army chief of staff, in a hearing on Wednesday.
"We are growing the Army as fast as we can," General Schoomaker said later in the hearing.
In interviews with recruiting officials, as well as in internal memos and e-mail messages obtained by The New York Times, this pressure to meet recruiting goals is evident.
"Guys the mission is at risk!" Col. Peter M. Vangjel, a deputy commander of the Army Recruiting Command, wrote to battalion commanders and top enlisted soldiers in an April 21 e-mail message. "We can NOT miss this mission. I need your full support." (..)
Army officials disclosed Wednesday that none of the Army's five recruiting brigades met their missions between March and July, forcing the service to tap into its bank of recruits to make up the difference.

Die zerbröckelnde Koalition

Die Probleme für die Us-Armee scheinen sich dadurch zu zuspitzen, dass die "Koalition der Willigen" am zerbröckeln ist. Eine Zusammenfassung:

The "coalition," always more symbolically than militarily significant, is largely unraveling. The impact is felt more at the political than military level, with the Bush administration's claim that it is "leading an international coalition" in Iraq increasingly indefensible.

The unraveling began with the withdrawal of Spain's 1300 troops after the defeat of the Bush-backing Aznar government. Spain's pull-out led Honduras and the Dominican Republic to recall their small contingents soon after. The latest premature withdrawal, that of the entire Philippines contingent to prevent the execution of a captured Filipino contract worker, is only the most visible. Hostage-taking and execution of nationals of countries with military troops in Iraq has continued, with the seizures of citizens of Japan, Poland, Bulgaria, South Korea, the Philippines and the U.S. The effect has been to increase political pressure on governments to end their military's unpopular deployments.

Earlier this month Norway pulled out 140 of its 155 troops. New Zealand and Thailand have both announced plans to pull out their troops by September. The Netherlands and Poland will reportedly leave before the middle of next year. While eastern European and former Soviet countries remain the most committed to the U.S. war, even Estonia has announced pull-out plans. Other countries have reduced their already tiny contingents; Singapore left only 33 soldiers in Iraq out of 191, and Moldova, already the smallest group with 42 soldiers, is now down to 12.

Afghanistan-Déjà-Vue: Die US-Armee bzw. die "irakische Regierung" kontrolliert inzwischen nur noch Bagdad selbst, besser gesagt: einige "grüne Zonen" in Bagdad, in denen sich die ausländischen Journalisten und Verwaltungsbeamte aufhalten. Nochmal Phyllis Bennis:

US forces are under so many daily guerrilla attacks that they cannot move by daylight along Highway 8 or, indeed, west of Baghdad through Falujah or Ramadi. Across Iraq, their helicopters can fly no higher than 100 metres for fear of rocket attack. Save for a solitary A1M1 Abrams tank on a motorway bridge in the Baghdad suburbs, I saw only one other US vehicle on the road yesterday: a solitary Humvee driving along a patrol road in Najaf agreed by the Mehdi Army. Three faraway Apache helicopters were hedge-hopping their way towards the Euphrates.

Zur Glaubwürdigkeit der Allawi-Reguierung ist folgende Aussage von Als-Sadres rechter Hand Sheikh Ali Smaisin durchaus aufschlußreich:

"What we see in the occupation is American force with a British brain," he says. "This is just the same as the British occupation of Basra in 1914 and Baghdad in 1917. Our movement cannot be overcome because we are patriotic and Islamic, just like the forces opposing the occupation in the Sunni areas of Iraq. The westerners want to set up a sectarian government but we don't accept this. Now they have an insurrection from Fao in the south to Kirkuk in the north. Shia and Sunni are together. And any government that is not elected in free and honest elections - well, there's a problem there."

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