Posted on 21-03-2013
Filed Under (Foreign Policy) by Rashtrakut

The ten year anniversary of the commencement of the Iraq quagmire passed this week. I have been reading the assorted mea culpas of various stenographers journalists with some satisfaction and some dissapointment. Americans are famously ignorant of foreign affairs, but on Iraq so many journalists who should have known better blindly accepted the Bush administration’s bullshit.

I was not blogging at the time but and arguments at the time were made primarily on the ultra-conservative Texas A&M message boards. But I do remember the gist of my points.

First the rationale for the war had an element of “lets throw as much shit as we can and some of it will stick” quality to it. Saddam was a monster (no argument there, but hardly an argument for war), he is funding terrorists and Al Queda, he is about to get WMDs, taking him out will magically make Iraq an oasis of democracy in the region and (chuckle) an ally of Israel. This is about the same time George W. Bush gave his silly “Axis of Evil” speech. An axis implies cooperation…but tossing Saddam’s Iraq with the Ayatollahs’ Iran was always a joke. Worse that speech knee capped the moderate Iranian President Khatami who had been cooperating with America over Afghanistan.

The Al Queda links were always tenous and as we are finding out this week pretty much non-existent. The arguments that a foreign invasion would magically turn the Arab Yugoslavia into a beacon of democracy (not to mention a buddy of Israel) fundamentally misread the nature of the region and the effects of a foreign occupation. Many commentators at the time noted that while Iraqis may welcome the toppling of Saddam, a proud people would never stand for an indefinite occupation let along American military bases. And it is this element of the administration’s war chatter that bothered me even more.

I harbored no fondness for Saddam. Removing him in the right circumstances would have been a highly desirable act. Yet Bush Jr. ignored why Bush Sr. hit pause in 1991. An occupation of Iraq was always going to be an extremely difficult venture. Yet people like Condoleeza Rice were touting the successful reconstruction of relative homogenous and war exhausted Germany and Japan after World War II (with far more troops on the ground) as examples of how it could be done. Even the Bosnian peace happened after the combatants had exhausted themselves in their attempts to kill each other. And much smaller Bosnia had as many troops as the administration was proposing for Iraq.

Many American allies knew this was bullshit and unlike Bush’s poodle in London refused to play along. Their reward was to be tagged as “Old Europe” and “Cheese eating surrender monkeys.”

The worst part of Iraq was that we did not finish the job in Afghanistan. Afghan reconstruction faltered under the venal and incompetent Karzai. Bin Laden escaped to his Pakistani hideout. Pakistan merrily continued its two faced strategy in the region. Afghanistan will probably never be a stable country, but a genuine opportunity to harness the war weariness of the Afghan people in true nation building was lost.

Sadly the perpetrators of this disaster have somehow not recieved the full amount of derision they desrve. Messers. Cheney, Rumsfeld, Krauthammer, Bolton, Kristol, McCain etc. still pontificate on national media as if their views have any credibility and still beat the war drums for Syria. The corporate media still plays the role of stenographer over journalist. Small, broke and weak countries like Iran are still touted as existential risks. People who forget history are doomed to repeat it.

Sadly the perpetrators of this disaster have somehow not recieved the full amount of derision they desrve. Messers. Cheney, Rumsfeld, Krauthammer, Bolton, Kristol, McCain etc. still pontificate on national media as if their views have any credibility and still beat the war drums for Syria. The corporate media still plays the role of stenographer over journalist. Small, broke and weak countries like Iran are still touted as existential risks. People who forget history are doomed to repeat it.

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