FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Our Iraq Legacy May be Chaos and Anarchy

by RAY CLOSE

former CIA analyst

Apologists for the disasters now facing America in Iraq have been, with astonishing consistency, afraid to go back to square one and admit that the idea was stupid and ill-advised in the first place. What they should be doing is taking Dick Cheney, Don Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle and that whole gang and raking them over the coals for incredibly poor judgment — and for arrogantly ignoring the warnings of hundreds (yes, hundreds) of capable and experienced foreign policy (and military) experts who told them that they were out of their minds to believe that simply removing Saddam Hussein from power would make the world safer for “freedom”.

In a discussion last night on Jim Lehrer, former disarmament “emminence” Kenneth Adelman offered the absurd excuse that “problems have arisen since the liberation of Iraq that no one ever anticipated”. No one? Ever? We should not let that pompous ass get away with a breathtaking falsehood as brazen as that!

Particularly galling is the pious statement, so often made by apologists (of both parties) that “at least the Iraqi people are better off today than they were when Saddam was in power”. That glib assertion should be treated as the canard that it really is. Besides all the many obvious factors already recorded on the debit side of the ledger is the grim reality that the final accounting is very far from complete. There are many more heavy liabilities to be settled by both Americans and Iraqis, which I have no doubt will exceed the terrible costs in lives and treasure that have already been incurred by everyone concerned — particularly the most innocent. I’m becoming more convinced every day that anarchy and chaos may be the only legacies we leave behind when we depart Iraq with our tails between our legs, and history may well describe this as one of the greatest foreign policy disasters for America in anyone’s memory.

I wish John Kerry had the courage to say that now. But I suppose that brutal honesty today would only be portrayed as another “switcheroo” by a wishy-washy liberal. Joining the chorus of those defiantly declaring that we are going to stay the course until we achieve “victory” is dangerously short-sighted, and will limit his options to get us out of the whole mess after he is elected. I doubt that the Europeans will be very generous in helping Kerry just for the sake of venting their resentment of Bush’s past arrogance towards them. America will have to pay the piper all alone, I believe, and so Kerry should be preparing to deal with that reality instead of continually explaining, simplistically, that if he were president he would “internationalize” the problem. He’s at least two years behind the curve, unfortunately.

I was beginning to develop some serious admiration for Richard Holbrooke, Kerry’s chief foreign policy adviser, mainly because he has used his sharp tongue so effectively to cut down contemptible mischief-makers like Richard Perle. However, in the same Jim Lehrer program on Thursday evening, when challenged to explain how his patron would resolve the region’s problems, Holbrooke declared that Kerry would begin by confirming America’s full support for Israel and “putting more pressure on the Palestinians”. Here’s someone else, apparently, whose intellectual convictions (and ethnic prejudice) make it impossible for him to comprehend how Israeli occupation of Palestine and American occupation of Iraq strike the same chord in Arab emotions, and are regarded equally as violations of their national sovereignty, the dignity and sanctity of their cultural and religious heritage and their personal self-esteem. It’s not necessarily easy for all Americans to understand those subtle but vitally important realities, but Holbrooke should know better. (We can excuse Bush, I suppose. For him, the whole Middle East falls into the broad category of “nuance”, which is not for real men.)

The Chalabi fiasco today is absolutely ludicrous. How much credibility can we expect to earn when we tell transparent lies in public? The following paragraphs caught my attention in the lead article in today’s NYTimes:

“American officials scrambled to portray the raid (on Chalabis home and office) as having been initiated and directed by the Iraqis alone. Mr. Bremer’s chief spokesman, Dan Senor, deflected questions about the raid, saying all questions should be directed to the Iraqi police. “We really don’t have anything to do with the investigation or the arrests,” Mr. Senor told reporters. He said Mr. Bremer had referred the case to the Iraqi Central Criminal Court for investigation several months ago. But he said Mr. Bremer had not been informed of the raid beforehand. “As to what he knew about the actual operation, he was notified today by an aide, who was notified–I think someone from the Governing Council notified one of his aides to let him know that this operation had occurred–and that’s when Ambassador Bremer learned of it,” Mr. Senor said. “He was notified after the fact.”

Many Iraqis said they found it implausible that Iraqi law enforcement officers, who work for the American occupation authorities in the absence of any sovereign government, would have initiated such an operation on their own. “Of course they knew,” said Adnan Pachachi, a member of the Iraqi Governing Council.

God save us from ourselves!

RAY CLOSE was a top CIA analyst in the Near East Division. He is now a member of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity. He can be reached at close@counterpunch.org

More articles by:
November 22, 2017
Jonathan Cook
Syria, ‘Experts’ and George Monbiot
William Kaufman
The Great American Sex Panic of 2017
Richard Moser
Young Patriots, Black Panthers and the Rainbow Coalition
Robert Hunziker
Fukushima Darkness
Lee Artz
Cuba Libre, 2017
Mark Weisbrot
Mass Starvation and an Unconstitutional War: US / Saudi Crimes in Yemen
Frank Stricker
Republican Tax Cuts: You’re Right, They’re Not About Economic Growth or Lifting Working-Class Incomes
Edward Hunt
Reconciling With Extremists in Afghanistan
Dave Lindorff
Remembering Media Critic Ed Herman
Nick Pemberton
What to do About Al Franken?
November 21, 2017
Gregory Elich
What is Behind the Military Coup in Zimbabwe?
Louisa Willcox
Rising Grizzly Bear Deaths Raise Red Flag About Delisting
David Macaray
My Encounter With Charles Manson
Patrick Cockburn
The Greatest Threats to the Middle East are Jared Kushner and Mohammed bin Salman
Stephen Corry
OECD Fails to Recognize WWF Conservation Abuses
James Rothenberg
We All Know the Rich Don’t Need Tax Cuts
Elizabeth Keyes
Let There be a Benign Reason For Someone to be Crawling Through My Window at 3AM!
L. Ali Khan
The Merchant of Weapons
Thomas Knapp
How to Stop a Rogue President From Ordering a Nuclear First Strike
Lee Ballinger
Trump v. Marshawn Lynch
Michael Eisenscher
Donald Trump, Congress, and War with North Korea
Tom H. Hastings
Reckless
Franklin Lamb
Will Lebanon’s Economy Be Crippled?
Linn Washington Jr.
Forced Anthem Adherence Antithetical to Justice
Nicolas J S Davies
Why Do Civilians Become Combatants In Wars Against America?
November 20, 2017
T.J. Coles
Doomsday Scenarios: the UK’s Hair-Raising Admissions About the Prospect of Nuclear War and Accident
Peter Linebaugh
On the 800th Anniversary of the Charter of the Forest
Patrick Bond
Zimbabwe Witnessing an Elite Transition as Economic Meltdown Looms
Sheldon Richman
Assertions, Facts and CNN
Ben Debney
Plebiscites: Why Stop at One?
LV Filson
Yemen’s Collective Starvation: Where Money Can’t Buy Food, Water or Medicine
Thomas Knapp
Impeachment Theater, 2017 Edition
Binoy Kampmark
Trump in Asia
Curtis FJ Doebbler
COP23: Truth Without Consequences?
Louisa Willcox
Obesity in Bears: Vital and Beautiful
Deborah James
E-Commerce and the WTO
Ann Garrison
Burundi Defies the Imperial Criminal Court: an Interview with John Philpot
Robert Koehler
Trapped in ‘a Man’s World’
Stephen Cooper
Wiping the Stain of Capital Punishment Clean
Weekend Edition
November 17, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Paul Street
Thank an Anti-War Veteran
Andrew Levine
What’s Wrong With Bible Thumpers Nowadays?
Jeffrey St. Clair - Alexander Cockburn
The CIA’s House of Horrors: the Abominable Dr. Gottlieb
Wendy Wolfson – Ken Levy
Why We Need to Take Animal Cruelty Much More Seriously
Mike Whitney
Brennan and Clapper: Elder Statesmen or Serial Fabricators?
David Rosen
Of Sex Abusers and Sex Offenders
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail