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Sun Jun 15, 2014, 12:18 AM

 

Enough of the Iraq Protection Racket

At my most cynical, it's hard not to feel like we're subject and victim to a perpetual protection racket where our nation's past military misadventures in the Mideast and Asia are primed and positioned to spark and erupt into sectarian violence in concert with each other, just to keep the U.S. military in the protection business; stirring up trouble and promising to protect hapless folks in the way of our reckless, opportunistic aggression from the effects and consequences of our own blundering militarism.

We saw an example of that lingering, reflexive paternalism this week as President Obama was considering whether the refusal of a sizable number of the Iraqi army to defend the government against an advancing armed resistance merited a U.S. military response.

To his credit, Pres. Obama immediately discounted the need for the return of ground troops to Iraq and declared that no military action or assistance to the Iraqi government forces would be forthcoming without a 'serious and sincere' effort by the government to resolve political differences that have fueled the sectarian violence.

". . . any action that we may take to provide assistance to Iraqi security forces has to be joined by a serious and sincere effort by Iraq’s leaders to set aside sectarian differences, to promote stability, and account for the legitimate interests of all of Iraq’s communities, and to continue to build the capacity of an effective security force. We can’t do it for them. And in the absence of this type of political effort, short-term military action, including any assistance we might provide, won’t succeed

Problem is, the political cards have been deliberately laid out in Iraq in a way that both compels our government to respond as both an ally and an adversary of Iraqis. What other possible reason could there have been for continuing to escalate the numbers of troops in Iraq at the outset of the invasion while they purged the Iraqi police and military forces of thousands of Baathists?

What possible reason could there have been for continuing to introduce new, materially unprepared and untrained American troops into the killing field surrounding the green zone of defense that surrounded the center of Bush's junta? The government in Iraq had fallen. All that remained was the appearance of democracy, much like Saddam's own rule; complete with a paper Parliament left to squabble over whatever scraps of their country that haven't been sullied, stepped on, and stolen by their arrogant invading overlords.

There was no government left to defend there; only the remnants of the new tyrants' reign, complete with enough chaos and mayhem to support the Bush regime's protection racket; a cynical racket that directed our forces to stir up enough resentment and unrest for the U.S. to continue to sit on their high horse and claim to be defending Iraqis (and the U.S.) against a new generation of 'terrorists' Bush's own National Security Estimate said his invasion and occupation had spawned and increased there.

Analogies to the Vietnam war were inevitable and predictable, especially in the face of the continuing deaths of our soldiers, and the escalation of the numbers of troops to Iraq in the face of their obvious failure to earn the trust and consent of those Bush claimed to be liberating in the name of whatever version of democracy they were willing to settle for.

As Saigon became Ho Chi Min City after the U.S. bugged out, Iraq's Baghdad was always destined to reflect the designs of those Bush had identified as our 'enemies' - more so than the captured, occupied, and overthrown capital city will ever resemble any of the grand designs that Bush hawked to the American people to get their initial approval to invade - more of a conundrum than anything akin to the democracy American troops are pledged to support and defend.

As the Iraqi prisons became more efficient torture chambers to crush the new junta's political opposition who they locked up indefinitely without charges or counsel; as the police forces re-assumed their duty as deadly enforcers with the summary judgment of their U.S. supported violence; as the military devolved into bands of death squad militias, complete with U.S. weapons and para-military training - as the government there drew closer to the main spoke of Bush's 'axis of evil', Iran - Iraq was set to rival any of our other purchased regimes in its brutality and oppression.

There is no country in the world who threatens democratic progress in Iraq more than the U.S.. Maliki's regime has been under siege from resistance forces in Iraq whose cause has been fostered, inflamed and aggravated by American military activity in the country.

Moreover, the invasion and occupation of Iraq which emboldened Bush to promote the agenda of his PNAC cronies (who had petitioned for years for the invasion and occupation of the spokes of their 'evil axis') to posture against Iran as a mortal enemy. Yet, it was also the consequence of that invasion and occupation that Iran was advantaged to expand their influence and presence in their former nemesis', U.S. sponsored, Shia-dominated regime in Iraq.

"If we were to leave before the job is done, if we were to fail in Iraq, Iran would be emboldened in its pursuit of nuclear weapons," Bush explained in 2007.

That was the argument from republicans responding to President Obama's announcement of the stepped-up withdrawal from Iraq of all U.S. troops. Most of the criticisms from republicans in and out of Congress centered, not on the success or failure of the Maliki regime, but on the curious notion that Iran is 'emboldened' by the U.S. move out of Iraq and would somehow force themselves on the U.S. advantaged Iraqi government.

Bush's most dangerous mischief (outside of the invasion and occupation) was, by far, his strident attempt to shift blame for the violent resistance to his consolidation of power in Iraq to the sovereign nation of Iran. Amazingly, Bush cited Iranian support for Shia "death squads" as a rationale for his accusations without any mention at all of his own role in the arming and training of these rogue elements - many of which began as militias under control of the new regime.

Bush made the accusation and rationalization that an al-Qaeda attack on the mosque in Samarra in early 2006 was the reason the Shia militias became independent execution squads, dispensing their barbaric brand of justice wherever and whenever they engage their Sunni rivals. "Al Qaeda terrorists and Sunni insurgents recognized the mortal danger that Iraq's elections posed for their cause," Bush claimed, "and they responded with outrageous acts of murder aimed at innocent Iraqis. They blew up one of the holiest shrines in Shia Islam - the Golden Mosque of Samarra - in a calculated effort to provoke Iraq's Shia population to retaliate. Their strategy worked." he said in a primetime address.

"Radical Shia elements, some supported by Iran, formed death squads," Bush said.

As Bush proposed an escalation of America's involvement in the middle of Iraq's civil war - including sending 4,000 of the 21,000 additional troops to the al-Anbar province to battle what he called "extremists" in the Sunni communities there - it should be remembered that it was our own forces who inflicted the first damage on a holy site in a siege in Najaf in 2004 when they were trying to dislodge al-Sadr and his Mahdi army who had taken refuge around the Imam Ali shrine. It should also be remembered that it was Sadr and his followers who joined with Shiite leader Sistani and enabled the new Iraqi regime, headed by Shiite and Sadr ally, Maliki, to assume power.

In Iraq, under the pretext of fighting al-Qaeda, Bush intended for our troops to re-enter strongholds like Najaf and Samarra, and they inevitably confronted the anti-American Shia forces who reside there. Bush challenged Maliki to act against his Shiite allies and provide him with Iraqi troops to help with his escalation, or take the blame for whatever chaos and unrest the bolstered U.S. force stirred up with their attacks on population centers.

After sacrificing the strained resources and humanity of our nation's defenses for almost four years to install and establish, to fight and defend a Shiite-dominated regime who had openly curried the favor of the very Iranian government Bush was now demonizing, Bush wanted that same Iran-friendly regime to provide forces to attack and suppress the heart and soul of their very existence in Iraq and in the region. It was the Maliki regime who, earlier in 2007, made a very public trip to Iran to meet and bond with Bush's Iranian nemesis.



It was more than remarkable for conservatives and republicans to complain about Iranian influence among the Shias in Iraq after their party's president (with their full and vocal support) removed the only existing wedge in the region against Iranian influence when Saddam's puppet dictatorship was taken down.

It was all the more amazing to hear Bush accuse Iran of sponsoring Shiite death squads when it was our own military who initially armed and trained them as recruits for Iraq's army and police forces, and who tolerated them for months and months -before, during, and after the staged elections - as they terrorized their Sunni rivals and those factions opposed to the new Shiite-dominated regime.

Iran wasn't occupying Iraq; the U.S. was. Iran hadn't armed and trained the individuals who made up the bulk of the Shia death squads; the U.S. had. Iran wasn't threatening anyone outside of their own borders; it was Bush who, in fact, threatened Iran with our military forces amassed next door.

There was nothing more empowering of 'extremists' in Iraq than the reflexive response of the residents of the Middle East to U.S. military activity and action across sovereign borders. Nothing has encouraged support in the region for extremists bent on harming Americas and our interests more than Bush's strident, imperious coup in Iraq. Whatever political atmosphere now exists in Iraq was first sparked by all of Bush's saber-rattling and threats against his 'axis of evil'. If Bush and his conservative acolytes wanted a stable Iraq, they clearly didn't take the influence of their own pernicious militarism into account.

Now, President Obama is considering calls from republicans defend their tarnished regime in Baghdad prize with yet another destabilizing display of military force, much like Bush's cordoned last stand in defense of Baghdad after the rest of the country divided into warring sects.

In June 2006, the military launched what they thought would be a strengthening of the new center of Iraq's fledgling government by combining Iraqi forces with U.S. troops. In early May, 2006, the Pentagon had sent their first signal since the after the elections that they wanted to reduce the U.S. forces. The Baghdad mission was a firming-up of the Maliki regime before a gradual exit. Over 3,500 U.S. active duty soldiers who were set to deploy to Iraq were delayed indefinitely. Holding the troops back set off speculation that a drawdown was imminent.

That drawdown never materialized. Instead, later that month, the U.S. force in Iraq was increased by 2,000 troops from Kuwait to bolster the force of about 40,000 combined Iraq/U.S. troops deployed to Baghdad. So, the DoD accounting of 133,000 troops stationed in Iraq at that time was escalated just to retake Baghdad.

Well into August, Operation Forward had no more secured Baghdad than the previous mission dubbed 'Operation Lightning' did in 2005 where Iraqi militias and U.S. troops waged a campaign of repression against the resisting Sunni populations. The mission was more of the same with U.S. forces knocking down doors, kidnapping whoever they choose, and holding them indefinitely in one their prisons without charges, basically terrorizing the residents into submission as they painted a target on the military occupied towns.

Bush's equation for troops in Iraq went like this: More violence = need for more troops. With that prescription, we would leave Iraq by . . . never. Iraq's forces will always be challenged by some militarized resistance, even more so as they remain aligned with our aggravating military presence.

President Obama will never be able to encircle Baghdad with enough air power to effect the type of crushing oppression needed to cow the resistance to the Maliki rule. The best he could hope for as he lobbed missiles or lead against what he identifies as the insurgency is an artificial prop of an unpopular junta. So why bother?

Possibly, the answer lies in the political pressure from his opponents to 'do something'. The chickenhawk-infested republican majority have meshed the sacrifices of our soldiers into their 'smear and fear' campaigns to make themselves look like they're the ones defending our security, and Democrats like the ones preventing them from 'winning' in Iraq. It's a cynical mission, a shameful one.

What republican critics fail to understand and acknowledge is that U.S. military activity in Iraq greatly heightened the violence instead of reducing it. It's ludicrous to expect that more bombings, and the introduction of more weapons into Iraq will bring about any different result, no matter which Iraqis we identify and attack as enemies of our compromised and threatened junta.

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Arrow 6 replies Author Time Post
Reply Enough of the Iraq Protection Racket (Original post)
bigtree Jun 2014 OP
msongs Jun 2014 #1
bigtree Jun 2014 #2
DAMANgoldberg Jun 2014 #3
bigtree Jun 2014 #5
bigtree Jun 2014 #4
bigtree Jun 2014 #6

Response to bigtree (Original post)

Sun Jun 15, 2014, 12:21 AM

1. not much upside to breaking up a family values fight between 2 similar religious sects nt

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Response to msongs (Reply #1)

Sun Jun 15, 2014, 01:10 AM

2. not really

 

. . . but what President Obama is considering isn't some brokering between combatants, he's considering using force against just one element of the civil conflict - he'd be following in the footsteps of the previous administration.

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Response to bigtree (Reply #2)

Sun Jun 15, 2014, 01:52 AM

3. Obama doesn't have to worry about re-election...

so it stands to reason that he does not have to give in to the RW who want perpetual war. The only reason I can see that he does anything significant in Iraq is that he is being forced to by TPTB above him, some outside force that is really running the US. He has nothing to gain and everything to lose by jumping in that soup again and could ruin Hillary's next presidency in the process.

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Response to DAMANgoldberg (Reply #3)

Sun Jun 15, 2014, 10:45 AM

5. he does defer a great deal to his generals

 

. . . but he's been more independent lately. I'm hoping for something from the President that comports with his fine words about the political outweighing the military.

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Response to bigtree (Original post)

Sun Jun 15, 2014, 06:51 AM

4. kick

 

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Response to bigtree (Original post)

Sun Jun 15, 2014, 01:26 PM

6. »

 

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