FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Give Iraq Back to the Arabs

by MICHAEL S. LADAH

What has transpired in Iraq since the military invasion by the US and British allied troops had been predicted by many honest and informed observers. It is true that we have eliminated the regime of Saddam Hussein, but we have not accomplished much else.

We have replaced the tyrannical rule of Saddam with the rule of anarchy and fear; we have destroyed the country’s infrastructure, its institutions, its heritage and its security, and we have replaced poverty under Saddam with more poverty-and-impoverishment under our military rule. We haven’t liberated the Iraqis nor have we given them freedom or our style of democracy. Instead, we have given them a foreign military governor on top of an Iraqi council headed by a criminal convicted in, and wanted by, at least one Arab country for bank fraud and embezzlement.

Since the “victory” of the allied forces in Iraq, we haven’t been able to start a reconstruction program nor provide the basic elements of a normal life: water, power, medicine, communications and, above all, security. And, we haven’t been able to find those weapons of mass destruction that were our compelling reason for going to war and which seem to have vanished, making our argument for the war look simply stupid. Above all, terrorist threats against our country and our interests, which we allegedly went to war with Iraq to reduce, may have increased as a result of our presence in Iraq and no one knows whether they might increase even further from their present level.

Today, there are many who have called for deeper involvement, either by appealing to other prominent members of the Security Council to help us “internationalize” our occupation or by sending more US troops to Iraq. Such actions, if implemented, will result in certain failure; legitimizing the occupation in the eyes of the western world, through involvement of the UN, will not legitimize it for the Iraqis, for the Arabs or for the Moslems of the world. Increasing the level of our troops will only further antagonize those who are opposed to our presence in Iraq; the objections by those whom we have alienated and whom we have chosen to ignore will change only too little, if any, to make any difference in their antagonism toward us.

There are also those who have called for ending our involvement in Iraq and called for our immediate withdrawal. These calls are just as irresponsible because we can not simply abandon Iraq after impoverishing it; we are responsible for destroying the Iraqi society and its means of survival and must correct what we have done to Iraq and its people in terms of physical damage and moral transgression before we call for withdrawal.

We are told by our leaders that we have met our stated objective from invading Iraq, by removing Saddam Hussein and eliminating his threat of weapons of mass destruction. Our leaders have also rationalized that the only reason we are there now is to help the Iraqi people build their government, institutions and infrastructure. If that is the true reason, then the most obvious solution to this quagmire, which may result in saving our face with the rest of the world, has been eluding us.

The Iraqis do not want us or any other foreign force on their soil. The Arab world does not want us in Iraq nor do they want their old European occupiers who colonized their land for over half a century. The Moslem world can not withstand the sight of western imperialists dictating what goes on in the Moslem world and our European allies continue to believe that we shouldn’t be there in the first place. That, we can change by turning over what we are planning for Iraq to powers that the Arabs and the Moslems can trust and with whom the Iraqis can cooperate. Through a smooth quick transition, the physical and political reconstruction of Iraq can be turned over to the people of Iraq under the guidance of, and commitment from, the Arab League. Member states of the Arab League have so far not come forward to aid Iraq in any responsible way and it is about time they took some action to salvage their standings with their respective peoples. They have the means and the manpower, but they lack the will and the guts to tell us that now is the time for them to take over in Iraq and for us to leave it in their hands. They have not taken the initiative only because of our intimidation and their concern about alienating us.

The allied troops can be replaced by Arab forces; this will assure the Iraqis, the Arab world and the Moslem world that we have no ambitions in Iraq, as our politicians have repeatedly stated. It will assure them that it had not been our intention all along, as the Arab masses suspected, that we force Iraq first, then other Arab and Moslem countries next, to acquiesce to the western imperialist ambitions and the Zionist transgressions, and accept Israel with its current expansionist policies as occupier of Arab land and oppressor of Arab people. The Jordanian police force and their al Badiyah troops can train the Iraqi police and help train their armed forces. The Saudis and the Kuwaitis can manage the reconstruction effort throughout Iraq as the Saudis did with their successful industrial development in the 1970s and 1980s and as the Kuwaitis did after the destruction of Kuwait by the evil forces of Saddam Hussein in 1990. The Egyptians can provide the labor force for the reconstruction and other Arabs can provide troops to maintain law and order, expel zealots of al-Qaida and control allies of the defunct regime.

The United States can turn over these responsibilities within a few months and bring our troops home with honor and dignity starting within six months. But, to implement such a plan, we must first change our course charted for us by those whose agenda has been in conflict with the interests of this country. We must apologize to the Iraqis for the death that we caused and for the destruction of their institutions and their infrastructure; we must pledge to pay the Iraqis the costs of reconstructing what we destroyed in Iraq. Such costs are probably a fraction of what could otherwise be the cost of maintaining a large U.S force in Iraq at the current or higher level for an indefinite period, an alternative which will soon become unacceptable to the American people. After all, the danger to our national interest that we went to Iraq to eliminate turned out not to be there.

Above all, those who got us in Iraq must be dealt with, with extreme measures; they must be fired for getting us in this potential black hole and for their intransigence in the aftermath of the military invasion. They must apologize to the American people for their deceit, for the lives that were lost, and for the costs that propelled our budget deficit to historical levels, all for a cause which is still being debated and which is still unclear to most of us.

MICHAEL S. LADAH is an Arab American who lived and worked in various parts of the Middle East. He is the author of “Quicksand, Oil and Dreams: The story of one of five million dispossessed Palestinians.” Visit his website: http://www.ladah.org

 

 

More articles by:
May 30, 2016
Ron Jacobs
The State of the Left: Many Movements, Too Many Goals?
James Abourezk
The Intricacies of Language
Porfirio Quintano
Hillary, Honduras, and the Murder of My Friend Berta
Patrick Cockburn
Airstrikes on ISIS are Reducing Their Cities to Ruins
Uri Avnery
The Center Doesn’t Hold
Raouf Halaby
The Sailors of the USS Liberty: They, Too, Deserve to Be Honored
Rodrigue Tremblay
Barack Obama’s Legacy: What Happened?
Matt Peppe
Just the Facts: The Speech Obama Should Have Given at Hiroshima
Deborah James
Trade Pacts and Deregulation: Latest Leaks Reveal Core Problem with TISA
Michael Donnelly
Still Wavy After All These Years: Flower Geezer Turns 80
Ralph Nader
The Funny Business of Farm Credit
Paul Craig Roberts
Memorial Day and the Glorification of Past Wars
Colin Todhunter
From Albrecht to Monsanto: A System Not Run for the Public Good Can Never Serve the Public Good
Rivera Sun
White Rose Begins Leaflet Campaigns June 1942
Tom H. Hastings
Field Report from the Dick Cheney Hunting Instruction Manual
Weekend Edition
May 27, 2016
Friday - Sunday
John Pilger
Silencing America as It Prepares for War
Rob Urie
By the Numbers: Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are Fringe Candidates
Paul Street
Feel the Hate
Daniel Raventós - Julie Wark
Basic Income Gathers Steam Across Europe
Andrew Levine
Hillary’s Gun Gambit
Jeffrey St. Clair
Hand Jobs: Heidegger, Hitler and Trump
S. Brian Willson
Remembering All the Deaths From All of Our Wars
Dave Lindorff
With Clinton’s Nixonian Email Scandal Deepening, Sanders Must Demand Answers
Pete Dolack
Millions for the Boss, Cuts for You!
Gunnar Westberg
Close Calls: We Were Much Closer to Nuclear Annihilation Than We Ever Knew
Peter Lee
To Hell and Back: Hiroshima and Nagasaki
Karl Grossman
Long Island as a Nuclear Park
Binoy Kampmark
Sweden’s Assange Problem: The District Court Ruling
Robert Fisk
Why the US Dropped Its Demand That Assad Must Go
Martha Rosenberg – Ronnie Cummins
Bayer and Monsanto: a Marriage Made in Hell
Brian Cloughley
Pivoting to War
Stavros Mavroudeas
Blatant Hypocrisy: the Latest Late-Night Bailout of Greece
Arun Gupta
A War of All Against All
Dan Kovalik
NPR, Yemen & the Downplaying of U.S. War Crimes
Randy Blazak
Thugs, Bullies, and Donald J. Trump: The Perils of Wounded Masculinity
Murray Dobbin
Are We Witnessing the Beginning of the End of Globalization?
Daniel Falcone
Urban Injustice: How Ghettos Happen, an Interview with David Hilfiker
Gloria Jimenez
In Honduras, USAID Was in Bed with Berta Cáceres’ Accused Killers
Kent Paterson
The Old Braceros Fight On
Lawrence Reichard
The Seemingly Endless Indignities of Air Travel: Report from the Losing Side of Class Warfare
Peter Berllios
Bernie and Utopia
Stan Cox – Paul Cox
Indonesia’s Unnatural Mud Disaster Turns Ten
Linda Pentz Gunter
Obama in Hiroshima: Time to Say “Sorry” and “Ban the Bomb”
George Souvlis
How the West Came to Rule: an Interview with Alexander Anievas
Julian Vigo
The Government and Your i-Phone: the Latest Threat to Privacy
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail