FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Iraq 3.0

by SHELDON RICHMAN

One gets the feeling that even the White House realizes the mess it’s made of Iraq. The other day the newspapers reported that the Bush administration has scaled back its objectives rather substantially. We might call it Iraq 3.0. First the plan was to create a democratic paradise which, domino-like, would spread freedom throughout the Middle East. When that didn’t work, the administration shifted to simply bringing some kind of order to Iraq, reconciling the three largest groups — Shi’a, Sunni, and Kurd.

That hasn’t gone too well either. The nearly two dozen political objectives that the military “surge” was intended to accomplish have largely gone unachieved. The violence level may have fallen (one never knows how temporary such things are), but there are many possible explanations for that. One horrifying explanation is that enough ethnic cleansing of neighborhoods and emigration have occurred that less violence is “necessary” in the eyes of the various militias. That presumably is not the sort of peace President Bush had in mind.

So now the strategists in Washington have retooled. The New York Times says, “The Bush administration has lowered its expectations of quickly achieving major steps toward unifying the country, including passage of a long-stymied plan to share oil revenue and holding regional elections. Instead, administration officials say they are focusing their immediate efforts on several more limited but achievable goals in the hope of convincing Iraqis, foreign governments and Americans that some progress is being made toward the political breakthroughs that the intensified military campaign of the past 10 months was supposed to promote.”

Stage magicians call this “misdirection.” If you can’t have the audience look here, you must do something to make them look over there. Voilà!

Apparently item No. 1 on the new and improved American agenda for Iraq is approval of that country’s $48 billion budget. You read that right. The U.S. government is maintaining an occupation of a foreign country to help its government pass the budget!

The Times says the Iraqis claim to be doing this already, but no matter. When that budget is passed, presumably the White House will be hanging “Mission Accomplished” signs again and declaring victory. I can see the ticker-tape parade down Wall Street already.

But that’s not all. Other goals include getting the UN to renew the mandate that countenances the occupation. Now this one takes some thought. An objective of the occupation is to reauthorize the occupation. The boys in the U.S. Department of Logic must have worked overtime on that one.

Finally, the 3.0 agenda aims to get a law passed to let Ba’ath Party members back into government jobs. “This last goal was described by a senior Bush administration official as largely symbolic, since rehirings have been quietly taking place already without a law,” the Times reports.

There you have it: an agenda that can be accomplished. Every American should be proud of this can-do attitude. Never mind that armed Americans are patrolling other people’s country, entering homes, stopping them at check points — and are ready to shoot to kill if they can’t divine the intentions of the persons approaching them. It’s for their own good.

The other shoe has already dropped. The White House itself admits it is not meeting its goals in Afghanistan. The U.S. military may be beating the resurgent Taliban in individual battles, but it is losing the larger war.

It’s amazing how little you can get for $10 billion (or more) a month.

And where is the allegedly anti-war party these days? Who knows? The Democratic leadership, which has the power to cut off money for this madness, refuses to do it. The likely Democratic presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, sees U.S. troops in Iraq far into the future. The American people want out, but the politicians don’t listen.

This is the system Bush wants to bring to Iraq and Afghanistan.

SHELDON RICHMAN is senior fellow at The Future of Freedom Foundation and editor of The Freeman magazine.

 

 

Sheldon Richman, author of the forthcoming America’s Counter-Revolution: The Constitution Revisited, keeps the blog Free Association and is a senior fellow and chair of the trustees of the Center for a Stateless Society, and a contributing editor at Antiwar.com

More articles by:
Weekend Edition
June 24, 2016
Friday - Sunday
John Pilger
A Blow for Peace and Democracy: Why the British Said No to Europe
Pepe Escobar
Goodbye to All That: Why the UK Left the EU
Michael Hudson
Revolts of the Debtors: From Socrates to Ibn Khaldun
Andrew Levine
Summer Spectaculars: Prelude to a Tea Party?
Kshama Sawant
Beyond Bernie: Still Not With Her
Mike Whitney
¡Basta Ya, Brussels! British Voters Reject EU Corporate Slavestate
Tariq Ali
Panic in the House: Brexit as Revolt Against the Political Establishment
Paul Street
Miranda, Obama, and Hamilton: an Orwellian Ménage à Trois for the Neoliberal Age
Ellen Brown
The War on Weed is Winding Down, But Will Monsanto Emerge the Winner?
Gary Leupp
Why God Created the Two-Party System
Conn Hallinan
Brexit Vote: a Very British Affair (But Spain May Rock the Continent)
Ruth Fowler
England, My England
Jeffrey St. Clair
Lines Written on the Occasion of Bernie Sanders’ Announcement of His Intention to Vote for Hillary Clinton
Norman Pollack
Fissures in World Capitalism: the British Vote
Paul Bentley
Mercenary Logic: 12 Dead in Kabul
Binoy Kampmark
Parting Is Such Sweet Joy: Brexit Prevails!
Elliot Sperber
Show Me Your Papers: Supreme Court Legalizes Arbitrary Searches
Jan Oberg
The Brexit Shock: Now It’s All Up in the Air
Nauman Sadiq
Brexit: a Victory for Britain’s Working Class
Brian Cloughley
Murder by Drone: Killing Taxi Drivers in the Name of Freedom
Ramzy Baroud
How Israel Uses Water as a Weapon of War
Brad Evans – Henry Giroux
The Violence of Forgetting
Ben Debney
Homophobia and the Conservative Victim Complex
Margaret Kimberley
The Orlando Massacre and US Foreign Policy
David Rosen
Americans Work Too Long for Too Little
Murray Dobbin
Do We Really Want a War With Russia?
Kathy Kelly
What’s at Stake
Louis Yako
I Have Nothing “Newsworthy” to Report this Week
Pete Dolack
Killing Ourselves With Technology
David Krieger
The 10 Worst Acts of the Nuclear Age
Lamont Lilly
Movement for Black Lives Yields New Targets of the State
Martha Rosenberg
A Hated Industry Fights Back
Robert Fantina
Hillary, Gloria and Jill: a Brief Look at Alternatives
Chris Doyle
No Fireworks: Bicentennial Summer and the Decline of American Ideals
Michael Doliner
Beyond Dangerous: the Politics of Climate
Colin Todhunter
Modi, Monsanto, Bayer and Cargill: Doing Business or Corporate Imperialism?
Steve Church
Brexit: a Rush for the Exits!
Matthew Koehler
Mega Corporation Gobbles Up Slightly Less-Mega Corporation; Chops Jobs to Increase Profits; Blames Enviros. Film at 11.
David Green
Rape Culture, The Hunting Ground, and Amy Goodman: a Critical Perspective
Ed Kemmick
Truckin’: Pro Driver Dispenses Wisdom, Rules of the Road
Alessandro Bianchi
“China Will React if Provoked Again: You Risk the War”: Interview with Andre Vltchek
Christy Rodgers
Biophilia as Extreme Sport
Missy Comley Beattie
At Liberty
Ron Jacobs
Is Everything Permitted?
Cesar Chelala
The Sad Truth About Messi
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail