Transfer real sovereignty with reparations to Iraq

by Noam Chomsky

Transfer real sovereignty with reparations to Iraq
May 12, 2004
Noam Chomsky: Transfer real sovereignty

Occupying armies have responsibilities, not rights. Their primary
responsibility is to withdraw as quickly and expeditiously as possible,
in a manner determined by the occupied population.

It follows that the orders issued by Proconsul Bremer are illegitimate
and should be rescinded, including those designed to place the economy
effectively in the hands of western (mostly US) banks and multinational
companies, and the 15% flat tax which, apart from its injustice, bars
the way to desperately needed social spending and reconstruction.

Without economic sovereignty, prospects for healthy development are
slight, and political independence verges on formality.

It also follows that Washington should end the machinations to ensure
its long-term military presence and control of Iraqi security forces in
defiance of the will of Iraqis, who call for Iraqis to control security,
according to western-run polls.

These record only minuscule support for the occupying military forces
and their civil counterparts (the CPA) or the US-appointed governing

With a decision, however reluctant, to transfer authentic sovereignty to
Iraqis - not just the traditional facade for Great Power domination -
there will be no justification for the huge diplomatic mission,
apparently the world's largest, announced by the occupiers.

Such steps entail abandonment of plans to establish the first secure
military bases in a client state at the heart of the world's major
energy reserves - a powerful lever of world control, as has been
understood for 60 years, a means to subordinate the region more fully to
US interests and the prime motive for the invasion, according to western
polls in Baghdad.

Some of those polled agreed with articulate western opinion that the
goal was to establish democracy (1%) or to help Iraqis (5%).

A large majority of Americans believe that the UN, not the US, should
take the lead in working with Iraqis to transfer authentic sovereignty
as well as in economic reconstruction and maintaining civic order.

That is a sensible stand, if Iraqis agree, as seems likely, though the
general assembly, less directly controlled by the invaders, is
preferable to the security council as the responsible transitional

Reconstruction should be in the hands of Iraqis, not delayed as a means
of controlling them, as Washington has indicated.

Reparations - not just aid - should be provided by those responsible for
devastating Iraqi civilian society by cruel sanctions and military
actions, and - together with other criminal states - for supporting
Saddam Hussein through his worst atrocities and beyond. That is the
minimum that honesty requires.