Iraq Elections And The Liberal Elites : A Response To Noam Chomsky
By Ghali Hassan
10 March, 2005
In a recent opinion piece, Naom Chomsky writes, "In Iraq, the January elections were successful and praiseworthy. However, the main success is being reported only marginally : The United States was compelled to allow them to take place. That is a real triumph, not of the bomb-throwers, but of non-violent resistance by the people, secular as well as Islamist, for whom Grand Ayatollah Al Sistani is a symbol" (Khaleej Times Online, 4 March 2005). Mr. Chomsky is either completely out of touch with reality in Iraq, or simply ignorant of the legitimate rights of the Iraqi people to self-determination.
Firstly, the elections were a farce. The majority of the 14 million eligible Iraqis to vote have boycotted the elections. Since the invasion and Occupation of Iraq, Iraqis have protested and requested immediate free and fair elections, however, the Bush administration ’stifled, delayed, manipulated and otherwise thwarted the democratic aspiration of the Iraqi people’. The US administration turned down the idea of elections, claiming that technical problems would permit elections in two years at the earliest. Prominent Iraqi politicians and patriots, and UN officials who are familiar with the conditions there immediately refuted this argument. (See note  for detail). According to Joachim Guilliard of German Campaign against the Embargo on Iraq, "Another important element of the US strategy was that the elections took place under the ’Transitional Administrative Law (TAL)’" drawn up by pro-Israel US jurists, such as the 32-year old pro-Israel Noah Feldman of New York University.
The TAL is destined to serve as a blueprint for a permanent constitution. When asked about the influence of the US administration on the selection of a government candidates, Kofi Annan’s special envoy, Lakthar Brahimi, that examined the possibilities of elections in Iraq pointed out that Paul Bremer, US Proconsul in Baghdad, was the ruler in Iraq. "Bremer is the dictator of Iraq", he said. Earlier Bremer insisted that elections should be done "in a way that takes care of our concerns", not the Iraqi people concerns . "If Lebanon cannot have free elections while under [Syrian] occupation, how, asks the rest of the world, does Iraq have free elections when it is under US military occupation ?", writes Paul Craig Roberts, former Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan administration.
Furthermore, to allow the US to continue the Occupation and violence, Al-Sistani backed down from his position to early elections and handover plan, and accepted US proposition for late elections (to coincide with Bush inauguration and his tour of Europe) on US terms and agenda. Al-Sistani is now part of the Iraqi Interim Government (IIG). Al-Sistani list, the Iraqi United Alliance (IUA), includes Ahmed Chelabi and his gang of criminals. Further, there is evidence that Al-Sistani supported the US attack on and the destruction of the vibrant city of Fallujah. His illness and travel to London (accompanied by Ahmed Chelabi) were timed to coincide with the slaughter of thousands of Iraqis. Al-Sistani is a religious recluse, surrounded by pro-US Occupation expatriates or quislings, and he has no idea what is going on outside his quarter. The Iraqi people have no affinity with these expatriates. They only see them on TV from the fortified privilege of the "green zone".
The few million Iraqis who voted had little choice. People have been paid bribes and trucked by US forces to voting stations to be greeted by waiting mainstream media. In addition to Al-Sistani religious decree to Iraqis that the "elections are a religious duty", voting was linked with receipt of food rations, several voters told Dahr Jamail of The NewStandard after the Sunday poll (www.dahrjamailiraq.com). On the day of voting, people had two choices, lose your card (Saddam’s old food-distribution cards) and starve, or go out and vote in these fraudulent elections. ’It was hard to describe the vote as legitimate, when whole portions of the country can’t vote and doesn’t vote’, Democrat Senator John Kerry warned. It is important remembering that Mr. Chomsky encouraged Americans to vote for John Kerry in the last US elections, which Mr. Chomsky himself described as "undemocratic" and not "praiseworthy".
Secondly, to describe the Iraqi people resisting this violent and illegal Occupation of their nation as simply "bomb-throwers" is to ignore the gross atrocities committed against the Iraqi people by US forces. This is like saying that, the Iraqi Resistance is responsible for all the violence and destruction in Iraq, and ignoring the violence of the Occupation and the many criminal elements working with the Occupation against the principle aim of the Iraqi people. The violence is brought by the Occupation, not by the people fighting to end it. Everywhere, violent resistance arises from a violent foreign military occupation. No word about the trigger-happy US soldiers and mercenaries, who not only enjoy immunity from criminal prosecution for their crimes against the Iraqi people, but also the support of the mainstream media, and the protection of the "new Iraqi army". Those who obliged to kill to defend their country and people are called "terrorists" ; those who kill en masss, using napalm, chemical and nuclear weapons, to enforce their tyranny of domination are the noble (wo)men of Western "civilisation".
According to UN Charter and numerous UN resolutions, international law guarantees people’s right to resist an illegal occupation by "all necessary means at their disposal" to end the occupation of their nation. Resistant groups "are entitled to seek and receive support".
Thirdly, Mr. Chomsky writes ; "Hastening a US-UK withdrawal depends not only on Iraqis but also on the willingness of the American and British electorates to compel their governments to accept Iraqi sovereignty". I am not sure if Chomsky really believes in this statement or it is just the norms of liberal elites to have some right in the struggle of oppressed people against Western tyrannies. We have seen the "feel good" demonstration against the war and its outcome. The American electorates have just handed Bush and his gang of warmongers a "mandate" for unending war. Soon we will witness the generosity of British electorates to Mr. Blair and his gang of warmongers.
Chomsky is the darling of the left and right. He is an icon for many people, and sometime provides useful information on US foreign policy. Mr. Chomsky has every right to his views, but he does not have the right to distort what the Iraqi people struggling for. The Iraqi people have legitimate right to resist the Occupation. The US and its allies will not leave Iraq ; they have to be forced to leave. Armed resistance to the occupation of Iraq will continue until the foreign occupiers withdraw their armies.
Ghali Hassan lives in Perth, Western Australia. He can be contacted on : G.Hassan@exchange.curtin.edu.au
 Joachim Guilliard, (in German). "Im Treibsand Iraks : Von ’Auftrag erfüllt’ zur unerfüllbaren Mission" ? (In the quicksand of Iraq : From ’mission accomplished’ to mission impossible)  Herbert Docena, "In Iraq, the show must go on"