According to the Washington Post, those heady days of liberation in Iraq may be coming to a close. It seems that the US government is installing Baath party members at the helms of various governmental Ministries in Baghdad.
But doesn’t that contradict the revised “point” of the war? Having dispensed with the spiel about WMDs, folks like Don Rumsfeld then sold agitprop such as the toppling of the Saddam statue like it was important enough to strengthen the dollar. Perhaps it was just the antihistamines talking when I heard Sec Def on television, saying something along the lines of “we liberated them, man! They were so repressed, like, and we went in there and made them free from the Baathists.”
But the Iraqis aren’t free to do a damned thing. Not with an occupying force in country, who cut deals with regime higher-ups and massacred those troops who stood in their way, who reckoned that any death is better than American occupation. They can’t rally behind their religious leaders, men of scripture who understand that the US war machine serves no God recognizable to them. Clerics who call killers and invaders out for who they are bear no especial utility to the US in the current climate.
But the Washington Post says that it’s all good. “For U.S. administrators here, it is easier in many ways to interact with Baathist officials than the Shiite Muslim clerics and tribal sheiks who have sought to establish themselves as power brokers in postwar Iraq. The party’s founding ideology promoted secular, modern Arabism. Many of Iraq’s best-educated people were members. Many members speak English, dress in business suits and possess diplomas from Western universities.”
So now they tell us that there were people the oil men could do business with in Iraq all along. The Post even tells us that the only people ruled out from getting paid in Iraq are the folks on the “Deck Of Death”TM, and those with “blood on their hands”.
The wavering US commitment to de-Baathification rankles trusties like the INC’s Ahmed Chalabi, who still insists that Iraq must be “cleansed of Baathist ideas.” Of course, Chalabi cuts the figure of a corpse who will be freshly casketed sometime this summer. The Baathist police are back patrolling, this time with the blessing of the Americans, and the smart money holds that a sniper’s bullet finds Chalabi before US “back-to-school” sales. Indeed, the smart money says Saddam outlives Chalabi by years, not months.
ANTHONY GANCARSKI is a regular columnist for CounterPunch. He welcomes emails at Gancarski@Hotmail.Com.