One might be forgiven for thinking that the catastrophic war in Iraq was designed to bring democracy and sovereignty to that nation after a brutal, foul dictatorship. That, after all, was what we were told from the get-go, along with the alleged threat of non-existent weapons of mass destruction. Many service-members died to bring that democracy about; almost 200,000 Iraqis died in the bloody transition. And they elected a prime minister; and re-elected him in fair elections. And yet now, courtesy of the CIA’s unofficial spokesman, David Ignatius, we hear that Maliki is nonetheless going to be deposed by the US:
President Obama sensibly appears to be leaning toward an alternative policy that would replace Maliki with a less sectarian and polarizing prime minister — and then begin using U.S. military power on behalf of this more broadly based government. The White House is already mulling a list of alternative prime ministers.
So the whole pretext of Iraqi democracy was a sham, and we now know this without a shadow of a doubt. The next leader of Iraq will be picked in Washington, and not by the people of that country. And the right of an elected government to choose its own policies and direct its own governance – for good or ill – has been effectively rendered null and void. There’s never any welfare reform with imperial welfare. They are to be dependents for ever. And, of course, the CIA’s previous regime changes in the Middle East – Iran, anyone? – do not even merit a mention. Just because they have screwed it up every single time doesn’t mean they don’t have the absolute right to screw it up again. Because the residue of their own disasters can be used to justify yet more ones. Just ask Fred Hiatt.
As with most imperial projects – and what other word can be used to describe the embedded assumptions in Ignatius’s column? - Washington will use local power-brokers to implement its designs. Ignatius is perfectly candid about the rawness of the imperialism involved:
The people who will pull the plug on Maliki are Kurdish leader Massoud Barzani and other Iraqi kingmakers. The United States should push them to signal unmistakably that Maliki is finished. And they must do so in coordination with Iran, which will effectively have a veto on the next Iraqi prime minister, whether we like it or not.
Notice the lack of any subjunctive. The Kurdish leader will do what he is told; the Sunni tribes must cooperate with Iran. This is the mindset of the CIA, a beyond-the-rule-of-law organization that has done more damage to this country’s interests and values than any other organ of state. The contempt of these imperialists (who brought torture into the American bloodstream) for the autonomy of any other country is a striking as their contempt for American values.
So Ignatius admits that this illegal intervention needs “political cover”from other interested parties in the region (all of whom have ulterior motives and almost all of whom have contributed to this burgeoning sectarian warfare). And the goal now is to intervene simultaneously in Syria’s civil war, to the tune of training up to 10,000 “Syrian moderates” (try not to laugh out loud or burst simultaneously into tears).
And the entire point of this exercise is to get another war up and running – and soon – in Syria and Iraq:
Targeting ISIS perhaps could begin with its safe havens and infiltration routes along the Syria-Iraq border, where there’s less chance of hitting Sunni tribesmen. “We know where their base camps and training camps are, which is where we can start — and it’s important to start,” says U.S. Central Command adviser Derek Harvey.
Yes, “it’s important to start”. Sure, we don’t know where any of this could lead – but the one thing we have learned this past decade and a half is to launch a war first and figure out those questions later. Intervening in two sectarian countries just adds to the challenge, I guess. It’s so good to know someone advising Central Command has absorbed the lessons of the past so well.
I’m distressed by the news out of DC and alarmed by Obama’s presser, but I haven’t given up on the president yet.