Sectarian Flames

It was just last month when President Bush assured the world that the situation in Iraq was dramatically improving. Sectarian tensions were going to relax as a result of Zarqawi’s overly publicized death. As Bush put it bluntly, the death of Zarqawi served as “an opportunity for Iraq’s new government to turn the tide in this struggle.” But it’s becoming painfully evident that Zarqawi, like Saddam’s illusive WMDs, was just another creation of the US propaganda machine.

There were other times the White House attempted to paint the chaos in Iraq in a positive light. Remember when US armed forces annihilated Saddam’s wretched sons Oday and Qusay? Or how about when they captured Saddam and promised things were starting to look up? At best these token events only served as minor diversions for most of the US media, not unlike the alleged thwarting of a terrorist attack on the Holland Tunnel in New York did late last week.

Over the weekend, Sunni and Shi’ite militias were said to be responsible for the deaths of more than 60 Iraqi civilians while injuring dozens more. Just another tranquil weekend in the streets of Baghdad. Rarely do we hear reports of what’s going on outside the Green Zone, where the ethnically driven civil war is believed to even worse.

On June 6, shortly before Zarqawi’s death, the infamous blogger behind “Baghdad Burning” reported; “There’s an ethnic cleansing in progress and it’s impossible to deny. People are being killed according to their ID card … We hear about Shia being killed in the ‘Sunni triangle’ and corpses of Sunnis named ‘Omar’ (a Sunni name) arriving by the dozen at the Baghdad morgue. I never thought I’d actually miss the car bombs. At least a car bomb is indiscriminate. It doesn’t seek you out because you’re Sunni or Shia.”

Unfortunately, political opposition to the war is weak here in the United States. Washington supports an ongoing occupation, if it can even be called such a thing these days. Dissent is all but dead in DC, where candidates so-often flex their foreign policy muscle in fear that they’ll be looked at as soft on terror.

But how could anyone reasonably argue that things were worse with Saddam at the helm? Iraq under US control is far more violent and malicious. Not that the US has any sort of legitimate control over the large country. In fact, the US is now just one of many armed militias in Iraq, truly unable to contain the exponentially increasing sectarian warfare. Every reservation critics of the war put on the table before the invasion is now coming true. Iraq is unwinnable, and the bloodshed is only being exacerbated by the presence of US military.

No matter how many troops the US and its allies shovel at the ever-growing sectarian flames, the fighting is sure to spread. The US military is only fueling the fire. And if there were ever a reason why the troops should be brought home immediately, this would be it.

JOSHUA FRANK is the author of Left Out! How Liberals Helped Reelect George W. Bush and edits http://www.BrickBurner.org



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JOSHUA FRANK is managing editor of CounterPunch. His most recent book is Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion, co-edited with Jeffrey St. Clair and published by AK Press. He can be reached at joshua@counterpunch.org. You can troll him on Twitter @joshua__frank

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