In Shock and Awe at the Horror of Imperialism

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There is a grim sense of poetic justice about the slow motion catastrophe engulfing the Bush administration and its Blairite poodle ('Wipe the Smiles Off Their Faces', May SR).

On every single point the Stop the War Coalition has been proved correct - over WMDs, over the war on 'terror' and over the way ordinary Iraqis would react to an occupation. Like some Hollywood remake of The Mummy's Curse, this 'foreign adventure' is beginning to destroy all who have been associated with it.

Much as the media has tried to pin the blame for the appalling scenes of torture on soldiers such as Lynndie England, what is clear is that the blame goes right to the top. Ever since 9/11 the Pentagon has been rehabilitating the notion and practice of torture as an instrument of US foreign policy. It was widely known since the Afghan war that these sorts of interrogations were taking place. But while the kidnapping and torture of isolated individuals or small groups plucked from their communities and transported halfway around the world can be hidden from public scrutiny, torture and abuse on the scale that was occurring in Iraq was harder to cover up. In fact, Iraqis have been aware of this for a long time. It is surely the knowledge of the atrocities and war crimes being committed which fuelled the resistance, and ensured that the fighters at Fallujah, Najaf and elsewhere were able to resist the US military with such audacity and resolve.

It is Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld (and Blair) who are the real subjects of these dark photos from the belly of the beast. They are responsible for this abuse, which seeks to dehumanise in order to destroy. In their arrogance they thought their 'shock and awe' would terrify the Iraqis into submission. They thought the US could fight several wars simultaneously, slimming down the workforce, utilising more powerful technologies and contracting out the work, that their vastly superior military technology would enable them to win wars using fewer soldiers. Well, they know differently now, being impaled upon these mistaken beliefs. The imperial adventure is in flames in Iraq. This crisis is not only a catastrophe for the neo-cons, it contains within it the potential for a wider unravelling. All anti-war activity, every vote for Respect, must be brought into play to make this outcome more likely.

Tim Evans