The Spook In Baghdad

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(Sam Greenlee, who needs no introduction, right).

Baghdad, Iraq, July 14, 1958. The sound of the tanks woke me up. 

I was sleeping on the roof, Baghdad-style, of my tiny rented house during my first tour of duty as a Foreign Service Officer of the United States Information Agency. I checked my watch; it was about four A. M.  I’d celebrated my twenty-eighth birthday earlier with Iraqi friends and was asleep about one. I carried a chair to the edge of the roof and watched them as they passed. It took only minutes before my military training kicked in: the vehicles were
combat ready! 

Two tank companies moved past, then a company of infantry in big, pug-nosed British lorries and it looked as if I was watching the vanguard of a full battalion of armored infantry, the canvas was off the top of the trucks and the troops were in full battle dress. As the last unit moved past, I lay down and went back to sleep.
The gunfire woke me just before dawn, from across the Tigris River in the direction of the royal palace, rifle fire, punctuated by the clatter of heavy machine guns, the lighter chatter of Sten guns and Bren guns, the
bigger bang of cannons and the thud of grenades. 

In the direction of the sound of fire, I could see in the growing light, the muzzle flashes. I watched the flash of the gunfire for a while and thought the Revolution against the American-backed regime had begun. The almost bloodless coup was complete by noon and the Iraqis were dancing in the streets. The above, excerpt from my second novel, “Baghdad Blues,� describes my personal observation of the military coup of 1958 that overthrew the vicious American-backed dictatorship in Iraq. 

Despite the pious pap emanating from the White House Gang that the imperialist invasion of Iraq is to save the Iraqis from a despot; the truth is that the United States has supported almost every right-wing dictatorship in the world over the last century; in Korea, Philippines, Brazil, Portugal, Spain, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Peru, Chile, Iran, Cuba, Haiti, Paraguay and other nations too numerous to mention. America loves dictators as long as they do what they
are told.          

During the eight years of my Foreign Service career, I witnessed the abortive support of the Nuri Said government in Iraq; was in East Pakistan when Ayub Khan carried out his CIA-backed military coup and in Greece when the CIA supported the fascistic colonels coup of 1967. The US had no problem with Saddam when he was engaged in an eight-year war with Iran and it was not until he invaded Kuwait and threatened the supply of oil that he became anathema. All of the lies, excuses and rationalizations coming from the White House and repeated without opposition from the American puppet media that Iraq poses a military threat to America are intended to obscure one fact: the US imperialist invasion is primarily intended to put an uppity Arab in his place!

Sam Greenlee, who lives in Chicago, is the author of The Spook Who Sat By The Door.

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