FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

The Charnel House of Baghdad

by MIKE WHITNEY

 

There are three things wrong with the current policy in Iraq.

Occupation, occupation and occupation.

Foreign occupation is the reason why over 90% of Iraqis want the Americans to leave their country. It is the reason why nearly 50% of Iraqis believe that it is justifiable to shoot American troops and why nearly 70% of attacks are on occupation forces. Representative John Murtha was correct when he said, “We are inciting the problem;” our presence is a lightening rod for violence.

Bush’s promise to establish security in Baghdad is foolish and doomed to failure. Security cannot be achieved under occupation because the foreign troops are perceived as the enemy. This is not hard to grasp. We need only to imagine how we would react if Iraqi soldiers were maintaining checkpoints or arresting our people on the streets of America.

There’s no point in recriminations. There will be plenty of time to examine what went wrong after American forces are withdrawn from the theater. But certainly there have been events which galvanized Iraqis against the occupation; the destruction of Falluja and the abuses at Abu Ghraib are perhaps on top on the list.

More important, we must recognize where we are now in a conflict that is progressively intensifying and will not let up until the occupation ends.

The security plan for Baghdad is short-sighted and will not succeed. We already know that many of the Iraqis feel threatened by foreign troops on their streets and that a considerable number of the resistance fighters live in Baghdad. They are Baghdadis, this is their home. They are not leaving.

Will we destroy the city to liberate it? How many doors will be kicked in? How many buildings will be reduced to rubble? How many innocent people will be dragged off to interrogation-centers and filthy prisons? How many tens of thousands of people will be killed?

This is not liberation; it is “pacification”.

Liberation is not living in fear for one’s life every minute of the day. Martial law is not democracy.

There is no “government” under occupation, just foreign-military rule. Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has no power and he governs nothing beyond the walls of America’s the Green Zone.

The Bush administration has begun to criticize al-Maliki for not stopping the sectarian violence, but no one is paying attention. Al Maliki follows in the long progression of American stooges; al-Allawi, al-Jaafari, al Maliki; none of them have any bearing on events, nor will they have any part to play in the final outcome. No one is fooled by the actions or pronouncements of Washington’s puppets. It is a public relations scam that has outlived its usefulness.

If we are serious about concluding the war in Iraq, we must deal directly with the leaders of the Iraqi resistance, many of whom were part of the former Ba’athist regime. There are rumors that talks are currently taking place in Amman, Jordan between representatives of the resistance and American officials, but there is no solid confirmation of this.

Negotiations between the warring parties will not succeed under the guidance of Donald Rumsfeld. Rumsfeld has shown repeatedly that he is incapable of understanding strategic or political objectives. Even now, he insists that we should stay the course and persist on the same disastrous path. The administration’s newly-adopted language; “timetable for benchmarks” is meaningless. It offers no quantifiable difference from the present policy.

We cannot expect to succeed by merely intensifying the violence while eliminating media coverage. Iraq is not the Gaza Strip. It is not possible to surround the entire country in concertina-wire and fire rockets at anyone who looks suspicious. This is not a serious approach.

Western elites are increasingly worried about the long-term effects that the Iraq war will have on America’s global-primacy. The US has sacrificed of its “soft power” and moral authority in an adventure that has produced no positive results.

The army is gravely overextended and morale has begun to plummet. Soldiers’ are tired of tour after tour with no end in sight and nothing to show for the risks they take every day.

Force-readiness has also begun to erode as vital military equipment is being devoured by harsh desert conditions. In a recent article by Andrew Bacevich, “On the Offense” the author says:

“The once crack Third Infantry Division, preparing for its third Iraq tour, has two of its four brigades without tanks or other heavy equipment. The Army’s chief of staff complains that army depots are clogged with 600 battle-damaged and worn-out Abrams tanks and 1,000 Bradley Fighting Vehicles awaiting repair. The army lacks the money to fix them”this despite the fact that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have now cost an estimated $500 billion”.

The army is steadily wearing down while Rumsfeld clings to the vain hope that he will snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. This unrealistic dream of victory is a phantom that is perpetuating the violence and putting Americans at risk.

As defense expert Harlan Ullman (the author of “shock and awe”) noted in the Washington Times, “our policies are failing or foundering and, unless we take new directions, events in East Asia could follow the disastrous trajectory of what is happening in the greater Middle East.”

This is what really concerns western elites who, up until a few months ago, fully supported the Bush agenda. The attention devoted to Iraq is loosening America’s grip on the rest of the empire, and our influence around the world is in sharp decline. As we become further mired in an unwinnable war; there is growing sense that we may have already turned the corner and are headed for an impending tragedy.

The criticism of the Bush’s Iraq policy is now coming from all sides of the “reality-based” community. Yesterday, Senator Lindsey Graham’s blasted away saying, “We’re on the verge of chaos, and the current plan is not working.” Just hours earlier, former Intelligence official Wayne White who said, “We are not winning. It’s getting worseThe effort cannot be sustained over the long-haul.”

As the criticism continues to mount, the administration gets more embattled and mistrustful. Bush equates pigheadedness with steely-resolve, and remains impervious to reason. He is still in the clutches of his key advisors, Cheney and Rumsfeld who refuse to entertain the notion of early withdrawal. They have already indicated that the recommendations of the James Baker “Iraq Survey Group” will be ignored. There stubbornness paves the way for an even greater tragedy in the very near future.

What happens when the war is lost but the fighting continues?

We are about to find out.

There are now 650,000 reasons for withdrawing from Iraq and for allowing events to take their course. Iraq’s militias are presently locked in mortal combat to determine the ultimate political make-up of the future Iraq. We should stand down and let that process unfold. The belief that we need to supervise the transition is just more paternalistic claptrap intended to support the ongoing occupation. The Iraqis want us out of their affairs and out of their country.

We’ve turned Iraq into a charnel house; unleashing the full-force of the world’s most powerful military on a small country that never posed a threat to our national security. That’s enough. It’s time to end the occupation and bring the troops home.

MIKE WHITNEY lives in Washington state. He can be reached at: fergiewhitney@msn.com

 

 

 

MIKE WHITNEY lives in Washington state. He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press). Hopeless is also available in a Kindle edition. He can be reached at fergiewhitney@msn.com.

February 09, 2016
Andrew Levine
Hillary Says the Darndest Things
Paul Street
Kill King Capital
Ben Burgis
Lesser Evil Voting and Hillary Clinton’s War on the Poor
Paul Craig Roberts
Are the Payroll Jobs Reports Merely Propaganda Statements?
Fran Quigley
How Corporations Killed Medicine
Ted Rall
How Bernie Can Pay for His Agenda: Slash the Military
Kristin Kolb
The Greatest Bear Rainforest Agreement? A Love Affair, Deferred
Joseph Natoli
Politics and Techno-Consciousness
Hrishikesh Joshi
Selective Attention to Diversity: the Case of Cruz and Rubio
Stavros Mavroudeas
Why Syriza is Sinking in Greece
David Macaray
Attention Peyton Manning: Leave Football and Concentrate on Pizza
Arvin Paranjpe
Opening Your Heart
Kathleen Wallace
Boys, Hell, and the Politics of Vagina Voting
Brian Foley
Interview With a Bernie Broad: We Need to Start Focusing on Positions and Stop Relying on Sexism
February 08, 2016
Paul Craig Roberts – Michael Hudson
Privatization: the Atlanticist Tactic to Attack Russia
Mumia Abu-Jamal
Water War Against the Poor: Flint and the Crimes of Capital
John V. Walsh
Did Hillary’s Machine Rig Iowa? The Highly Improbable Iowa Coin Tosses
Vincent Emanuele
The Curse and Failure of Identity Politics
Eliza A. Webb
Hillary Clinton’s Populist Charade
Uri Avnery
Optimism of the Will
Roy Eidelson Trudy Bond, Stephen Soldz, Steven Reisner, Jean Maria Arrigo, Brad Olson, and Bryant Welch
Preserve Do-No-Harm for Military Psychologists: Coalition Responds to Department of Defense Letter to the APA
Patrick Cockburn
Oil Prices and ISIS Ruin Kurdish Dreams of Riches
Binoy Kampmark
Julian Assange, the UN and Meanings of Arbitrary Detention
Shamus Cooke
The Labor Movement’s Pearl Harbor Moment
W. T. Whitney
Cuba, War and Ana Belen Montes
Jim Goodman
Congress Must Kill the Trans Pacific Partnership
Peter White
Meeting John Ross
Colin Todhunter
Organic Agriculture, Capitalism and the Parallel World of the Pro-GMO Evangelist
Ralph Nader
They’re Just Not Answering!
Cesar Chelala
Beware of the Harm on Eyes Digital Devices Can Cause
Weekend Edition
February 5-7, 2016
Jeffrey St. Clair
When Chivalry Fails: St. Bernard and the Machine
Leonard Peltier
My 40 Years in Prison
John Pilger
Freeing Julian Assange: the Final Chapter
Garry Leech
Terrifying Ted and His Ultra-Conservative Vision for America
Andrew Levine
Smash Clintonism: Why Democrats, Not Republicans, are the Problem
William Blum
Is Bernie Sanders a “Socialist”?
Daniel Raventós - Julie Wark
We Can’t Afford These Billionaires
Enrique C. Ochoa
Super Bowl 50: American Inequality on Display
Jonathan Cook
The Liberal Hounding of Julian Assange: From Alex Gibney to The Guardian
George Wuerthner
How the Bundy Gang Won
Mike Whitney
Peace Talks “Paused” After Putin’s Triumph in Aleppo 
Ted Rall
Hillary Clinton: the Good, the Bad and the Ugly
Gary Leupp
Is a “Socialist” Really Unelectable? The Potential Significance of the Sanders Campaign
Vijay Prashad
The Fault Line of Race in America
Eoin Higgins
Please Clap: the Jeb Bush Campaign Pre-Mortem
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail