Failing in Iraq


There is no longer any possibility of the United States achieving its objectives in Iraq.Whatever opportunity there might have been following the initial invasion has been swept away by the abusive treatment of detainees, the wanton slaughter of civilians, and the systematic destruction of Iraqi society.

The war has entered a period of retrenchment; with both sides, firmly committed to their own goals, doing whatever is within their power to succeed. This situation will undoubtedly persist for a number of years until the US is ultimately forced to withdraw.

The news from Iraq is invariably tragic. Civilian casualties are up dramatically since the elections and there’s no sign of them relenting anytime in the near future. Similarly, the militia violence has increased steadily as has the detention of Iraqi suspects, now estimated to be around 40,000 prisoners.Casualties among American servicemen have reached a new high at 1843 with the Marines taking the brunt of the losses. These figures are bound to swell given that the number of roadside bomb attacks has doubled to about 30 per week. Now, it is not unusual to see 5 or 6 American servicemen killed in a day; something that was extremely rare in the early months of the conflict.

The Army Surgeon General released a report two weeks ago confirming that 30% of the soldiers returning from Iraq are suffering from mental disorders. Also, the number of suicides among veterans is up markedly; a distressing omen of things to come. The US will harvest another generation of troubled veterans whose lives were ruined in a war of choice. The number of suicide bombers has peaked in post-election Iraq, with hundreds, if not thousands of young Jihadis swarming to Iraq to fight the American occupation. It has become the cause celebre among Arab nationalists and is fueling a resurgence in Muslim unity. This revival, though still in its infant stage, is bound to flourish as long as the United States occupies Iraq with combat troops and military bases.

Recent polls show that public support for the war is seriously weakening. In March 2004, 65 percent of Americans supported the decision to wage war in Iraq.In the latest Gallup poll, support has sagged to 44 percent. This downward spiral is reflected in every important area related to the war including George Bush’s personal popularity and trustworthiness. The numbers show that Americans are now feeling “Iraq fatigue” as well as a growing wariness with the Commander-in-chief.

The polls also verify that the public sees a connection between Iraq and the bombings in London. Since the subway attacks, many terror-experts have confirmed that the war in Iraq has become a rallying cry for Islamic fighters and has increased the probability of an attack at home. 57% of Americans now believe that they are “less safe” than they were before the war.The rhetoric from the White House has done little to relieve the fears of the average American.

It’s clear that the “clash of civilizations” that both Bin Laden and George Bush so devoutly sought appears to be materializing. America’s unholy war has created a breeding-ground for the next generation of terrorists and moved us all closer to a decades-long conflict and a reshaping of the geopolitical landscape.The incidents of violence against Muslims in England are up 600% since 2004, and the Blair government continues to feed the public fear of radical Islam.The Prime Minister is executing a strategy of victimizing Muslims to undermine long-held commitments to human rights.Blair’s assault on Islamic extremism is a carefully choreographed public relations scheme to eviscerate basic civil liberties provided under English law.

The Bush administration’s effort to cast Iraq as a part of the broader war on terror has proved to be hopelessly flawed. In last week’s press conference, Bush reiterated the themes that are now used exclusively to justify the occupation. In less than 30 minutes, Bush used the term “terrorist” 15 times, “hateful ideology” 3 times and “enemies of freedom” twice. “A free Iraq in the heart of the Middle East will deliver a serious blow to their hateful ideology” (We are fighting) “the enemies of freedom” “We’re also fighting the murderous ideology, the hateful ideology of the terrorists, and we’re doing so by spreading freedom,” Bush opined.

The precipitous decline in support for the war indicates that the Bush strategy of fear mongering is no longer working. Once the deceptions that underscore the war on terror begin to vanish, there’s little chance that the administration will be able to elicit the support needed to continue the conflict. Bush’s demagoguery has been further challenged by the recent video of bin Laden’s chief- lieutenant, Eyman al-Zawahiri.Al-Zawahiri’s statement was a straightforward explanation of Al Qaida’s objectives:”Our message to you is clear, strong and final: there will be no salvation until you withdraw from our land, stop stealing our oil, and end your support for our corrupt leaders”.

Regardless of al Zawahiri’s alleged connection to 9-11, his demands are reasonable and consistent with those of the vast majority of American’s who neither support occupation nor imperial adventurism. Al Zawahiri’s statement was just another body-blow to Washington’s propaganda campaign and to the illusion that Muslims are freedom-hating fanatics.

Despite the administration’s efforts, the conflict in Iraq will continue to unravel. The ever-shifting rationale for the war has been picked-apart by critics and summarily discredited. Similarly, public support is in irreversible decline and will inevitably cause greater disruptions at home. The occupation may persist for 10 years or so, but there is no longer any realistic expectation for an American victory.

The goal of establishing an American colony in the Middle East has fallen on hard-times exposing the nation to the possibility of ruin in the process. For Washington powerbrokers and policy-makers even the thought of failure in Iraq is too grim to contemplate. The withdrawal of combat troops would put the second largest supply of oil in the world in the hands of an Islamic government which would quickly grow into a major player in the region and compete openly with rival Israel. Withdrawal would also hasten the expected switch in currencies from dollars to petro-euros; a change that would signal the end of America’s economic dominance through control of the world’s reserve currency.

The US would be forced to face the $8 trillion debt that currently underwrites the “greenback” and deal with the economy-busting hyper-inflation that would quickly ensue. If creditor nations suddenly decided to dump their US currency and bonds and move to oil-backed assets, the US economy would go into freefall. It is impossible to calculate the magnitude of the catastrophe for the American people.

This suggests that the Bush administration will carry on for as long as possible; trying to cobble together a strategy that will allow them to stay in Iraq controlling both the oil and the political process. But as the Iraqi resistance grows in strength and daring, and as public support continues to erode, there’s little chance that the administration will be able to avoid the looming disaster.

The American Century is now looking like it may be abbreviated to 10 or 15 years at the most. The New World Order, built on the rubble of Falluja and on the tortured victims of Abu Ghraib, is being progressively dismantled by the grit and resolve of the Iraqi resistance fighting to restore their nation’s sovereignty and independence. It appears increasingly likely that their struggle will succeed.

MIKE WHITNEY can be reached at: fergiewhitney@msn.com


















More articles by:

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.

September 16, 2019
Sam Husseini
Biden Taking Iraq Lies to the Max
Paul Street
Joe Biden’s Answer to Slavery’s Legacy: Phonographs for the Poor
Paul Atwood
Why Mattis is No Hero
Jonathan Cook
Brexit Reveals Jeremy Corbyn to be the True Moderate
Jeff Mackler
Trump, Trade and China
Robert Hunziker
Fukushima’s Radioactive Water Crisis
Evaggelos Vallianatos
The Democrats and the Climate Crisis
Michael Doliner
Hot Stuff on the Afghan Peace Deal Snafu
Nyla Ali Khan
Spectacles of the Demolition of the Babri Masjid in Uttar Pradesh and the Revocation of the Autonomous Status of Kashmir
Stansfield Smith
Celebrating 50 Years of Venceremos Brigade solidarity with the Cuban Revolution
Tim Butterworth
Socialism Made America Great
Nick Licata
Profiles in Courage: the Tories Have It, the Republicans Don’t
Abel Prieto
Cubanness and Cuban Identity: the Importance of Fernando Ortiz
Robert Koehler
Altruists of the World Unite!
Mel Gurtov
Farewell, John Bolton
Weekend Edition
September 13, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Paul Street
The Age of Constitutional Coups
Rob Urie
Bernie Sanders and the Realignment of the American Left
Anthony DiMaggio
Teaching the “War on Terror”: Lessons for Contemporary Politics
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: They Are the Walrus
T.J. Coles
Jeremy Corbyn: Electoral “Chicken” or Political Mastermind?
Joseph Natoli
The Vox Populi
Sasan Fayazmanesh
The Pirates of Gibraltar
John Feffer
Hong Kong and the Future of China
David Rosen
The Likely End to Roe v. Wade?
Ishmael Reed
When You Mess With Creation Myths, the Knives Come Out
Michael Hudson
Break Up the Democratic Party?
Paul Tritschler
What If This is as Good as It Gets?
Jonah Raskin
Uncensored Tony Serra: Consummate Criminal Defense Lawyer
Ryan Gunderson
Here’s to the Last Philosophes, the Frankfurt School
Michael T. Klare
The Pompeo Doctrine: How to Seize the Arctic’s Resources, Now Accessible Due to Climate Change (Just Don’t Mention Those Words!)
Luke O'Neil
I Would Want To Drink Their Blood: God Will Punish Them
Louis Proyect
The Intellectual Development of Karl Marx
Tom Clifford
How China Sees the World
Kelsey Hawkins-Johnson – Negin Owliaei
Who’s Burning the Amazon?
Yasin Khan
Rideshare Drivers are Employees, Not Contractors
Ralph Nader
Big Business Lies Taught a Watchful Donald Trump
Binoy Kampmark
The Sacking of John Bolton
Andrea Maki
Wild Love Preserve Founder: Our Path Forward
Jeremy Kuzmarov
The War in Eastern Ukraine May be Coming to an End But Do Any Americans Care?
Tim Davis – Stan Grier
Protect the Sacred Grizzly Bear, Follow Those Who Know Grandmother Earth
Clark T. Scott
Super-Delegated and Relegated
Jim Britell
Lessons From America’s Greatest Grassroots Campaigns 
Howie Hawkins
Workers Need More Rights and Economic Democracy
Ramzy Baroud
‘Justice is Indivisible’: Screams of Israa Ghrayeb Should Be Our Wake-up Call
Jill Richardson
It’s Not About Your Straws and Your Light Bulbs