FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

The Future of Iraq and the US Occupation

Editors’ Note: The following is an except from a presentation by NOAM CHOMSKY on January 26th at a forum sponsored by the Lannan Foundation in Santa Fe, NM to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the International Relations Center (IRC), online at Chomsky is a member of the IRC’s board of directors. AC / JSC

Let’s just imagine what the policies might be of an independent, sovereign Iraq, let’s say more or less democratic, what are the policies likely to be?

Well there’s going to be a Shiite majority, so they’ll have some significant influence over policy. The first thing they’ll do is reestablish relations with Iran. Now they don’t particularly like Iran, but they don’t want to go to war with them so they’ll move toward what was happening already even under Saddam, that is, restoring some sort of friendly relations with Iran.

That’s the last thing the United States wants. It has worked very hard to try to isolate Iran. The next thing that might happen is that a Shiite-controlled, more or less democratic Iraq might stir up feelings in the Shiite areas of Saudi Arabia, which happen to be right nearby and which happen to be where all the oil is. So you might find what in Washington must be the ultimate nightmare–a Shiite region which controls most of the world’s oil and is independent. Furthermore, it is very likely that an independent, sovereign Iraq would try to take its natural place as a leading state in the Arab world, maybe the leading state. And you know that’s something that goes back to biblical times.

What does that mean? Well it means rearming, first of all. They have to confront the regional enemy. Now the regional enemy, overpowering enemy, is Israel. They’re going to have to rearm to confront Israel–which means probably developing weapons of mass destruction, just as a deterrent. So here’s the picture of what they must be dreaming about in Washington–and probably 10 Downing street in London–that here you might get a substantial Shiite majority rearming, developing weapons of mass destruction, to try to get rid of the U.S. outposts that are there to try to make sure that the U.S. controls most of the oil reserves of the world. Is Washington going to sit there and allow that? That’s kind of next to inconceivable.

What I’ve just read from the business press the last couple of days probably reflects the thinking in Washington and London: “Uh, well, okay, we’ll let them have a government, but we’re not going to pay any attention to what they say.” In fact the Pentagon announced at the same time two days ago: we’re keeping 120,000 troops there into at least 2007, even if they call for withdrawal tomorrow.

And the propaganda is very evident right in these articles. You can even write the commentary now: We just have to do it because we have to accomplish our mission of bringing democracy to Iraq. If they have an elected government that doesn’t understand that, well, what can we do with these dumb Arabs, you know? Actually that’s very common because look, after all, the U.S. has overthrown democracy after democracy, because the people don’t understand. They follow the wrong course. So therefore, following the mission of establishing democracy, we’ve got to overthrow their governments.

I think that conscription is going to be a last resort. The reason is the Vietnam experience. The Vietnam experience, I think, is the first time in the history of European imperialism that an imperial power tried to fight a colonial war with a citizen’s army. I mean the British didn’t do it, and the French had the Foreign Legion In colonial wars, civilians are just no good at. Colonial wars are too brutal and vicious and murderous. You just can’t take kids off the street and have them fight that kind of war. You need trained killers, like the French Foreign Legion.

In fact you could see it happening in Vietnam. To its credit, the U.S. army fell apart. It took too long, but finally the army essentially fell apart. Soldiers were on drugs, they were fragging officers, not following orders, and so on and the top brass wanted them out. If you look back at the military journals in the late Sixties, they were writing about how we gotta get this army out of here or the army’s going to collapse–much like the head of the Army reserves said two or three days ago. He said this is becoming a broken force.

More articles by:
September 19, 2018
Bruce E. Levine
When Bernie Sold Out His Hero, Anti-Authoritarians Paid
Lawrence Davidson
Political Fragmentation on the Homefront
George Ochenski
How’s That “Chinese Hoax” Treating You, Mr. President?
Cesar Chelala
The Afghan Morass
Chris Wright
Three Cheers for the Decline of the Middle Class
Howard Lisnoff
The Beat Goes On Against Protest in Saudi Arabia
Nomi Prins 
The Donald in Wonderland: Down the Financial Rabbit Hole With Trump
Jack Rasmus
On the 10th Anniversary of Lehman Brothers 2008: Can ‘IT’ Happen Again?
Richard Schuberth
Make Them Suffer Too
Geoff Beckman
Kavanaugh in Extremis
Jonathan Engel
Rather Than Mining in Irreplaceable Wilderness, Why Can’t We Mine Landfills?
Binoy Kampmark
Needled Strawberries: Food Terrorism Down Under
Michael McCaffrey
A Curious Case of Mysterious Attacks, Microwave Weapons and Media Manipulation
Elliot Sperber
Eating the Constitution
September 18, 2018
Conn Hallinan
Britain: the Anti-Semitism Debate
Tamara Pearson
Why Mexico’s Next President is No Friend of Migrants
Richard Moser
Both the Commune and Revolution
Nick Pemberton
Serena 15, Tennis Love
Binoy Kampmark
Inconvenient Realities: Climate Change and the South Pacific
Martin Billheimer
La Grand’Route: Waiting for the Bus
John Kendall Hawkins
Seymour Hersh: a Life of Adversarial Democracy at Work
Faisal Khan
Is Israel a Democracy?
John Feffer
The GOP Wants Trumpism…Without Trump
Kim Ives
The Roots of Haiti’s Movement for PetroCaribe Transparency
Dave Lindorff
We Already Have a Fake Billionaire President; Why Would We want a Real One Running in 2020?
Gerry Brown
Is China Springing Debt Traps or Throwing a Lifeline to Countries in Distress?
Pete Tucker
The Washington Post Really Wants to Stop Ben Jealous
Dean Baker
Getting It Wrong Again: Consumer Spending and the Great Recession
September 17, 2018
Melvin Goodman
What is to be Done?
Rob Urie
American Fascism
Patrick Cockburn
The Adults in the White House Trying to Save the US From Trump Are Just as Dangerous as He Is
Jeffrey St. Clair - Alexander Cockburn
The Long Fall of Bob Woodward: From Nixon’s Nemesis to Cheney’s Savior
Mairead Maguire
Demonization of Russia in a New Cold War Era
Dean Baker
The Bank Bailout of 2008 was Unnecessary
Wim Laven
Hurricane Trump, Season 2
Yves Engler
Smearing Dimitri Lascaris
Ron Jacobs
From ROTC to Revolution and Beyond
Clark T. Scott
The Cannibals of Horsepower
Binoy Kampmark
A Traditional Right: Jimmie Åkesson and the Sweden Democrats
Laura Flanders
History Markers
Weekend Edition
September 14, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Carl Boggs
Obama’s Imperial Presidency
Joshua Frank
From CO2 to Methane, Trump’s Hurricane of Destruction
Jeffrey St. Clair
Maria’s Missing Dead
Andrew Levine
A Bulwark Against the Idiocy of Conservatives Like Brett Kavanaugh
T.J. Coles
Neil deGrasse Tyson: A Celebrity Salesman for the Military-Industrial-Complex
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail