In one form or another, the U.S. has been at war with Iraq since 1990, including a sort-of invasion in 1991 and a full-scale one in 2003. During that quarter-century, Washington imposed several changes of government, spent trillions of dollars, and was involved in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people. None of those efforts were a success by any conceivable definition of the term Washington has been capable of offering. Nonetheless, it’s the American Way to believe with all our hearts that every problem is ours to solve and every problem must have a solution, which simply must be found. As a result, the indispensable nation faces a new round of calls for ideas on what “we” should do next in Iraq. With that in mind, here are five possible “strategies” for that country on which only one thing is guaranteed: none of them will work. 1. Send in the Trainers In May, in the wake of the fall of the Sunni city of Ramadi to Islamic State (IS) fighters, President Obama announced a change of course in Iraq. After less than a year of not defeating, degrading, or destroying the Islamic State, the administration will now send
As the presidency of Barack Obama has evolved, or devolved, as it were, it’s become clearer to everyone that he is little more than an imperial caretaker committed to expanding the American empire. Those who expected a circumspect constitutional law professor to build a Hadrian’s Wall on the Iraqi border and declare the republic overextended, have been sorely disappointed. Instead, proving himself a true foot soldier of exceptionalism, Obama has continued two foreign policy initiatives, one pursued by George W. Bush, the other by Bill Clinton. Despite the puerility of one and cynicism of the other, Obama has followed both plotlines into the political abyss, cementing forever his role in the decline of the West. The Bush Legacy The purblind Bush administration was never capable of anticipating the predictable outcome of its desultory Iraq venture, namely that a Shia-led Iraq would instantly build ties with Tehran, further solidifying the Shia Crescent that the U.S. had been trying to undermine for years. Belatedly recognizing the ineptitude of their Iraqi enterprise, the administration settled on a “redirection,” as Seymour Hersh’s New Yorker 2007 article laid plain. The redirection was basically a plan to rollback the growing Iranian influence that dynamiting Iraq had initiated. The strategy was
There is a peculiar form of insanity in which a veneer of rationality distracts attention from the madness lurking just beneath the surface. When Alice dove down her rabbit hole to enter a place where smirking cats offered directions, ill-mannered caterpillars dispensed advice, and Mock Turtles constituted the principal ingredient in Mock Turtle soup, she experienced something of the sort. Yet, as the old adage goes, truth can be even stranger than fiction. For a real-life illustration of this phenomenon, one need look no further than Washington and its approach to national security policy. Viewed up close, it all seems to hang together. Peer out of the rabbit hole and the sheer lunacy quickly becomes apparent. Consider this recent headline: “U.S. to Ship 2,000 Anti-Tank Missiles To Iraq To Help Fight ISIS.” The accompanying article describes a Pentagon initiative to reinforce Iraq’s battered army with a rush order of AT-4s. A souped-up version of the old bazooka, the AT-4 is designed to punch holes through armored vehicles. Taken on its own terms, the decision makes considerable sense. Iraqi forces need something to counter a fearsome new tactic of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS): suicide bombers mounted in heavily armored wheeled
Iraq’s dismal health situation is testimony to the invasion of the country by foreign forces, including now the takeover of important parts of its territory by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). The Iraqi people have been the subject of mass executions, rape, torture and, in addition, the destruction of the country’s infrastructure. The international community has been mostly deaf to the needs of Iraqis, who have undergone difficulties much greater than during the regime of Saddam Hussein. Dr. Margaret Chan, the World Health Organization Director-General stated recently, “The situation is bad, really bad, and rapidly getting worse,” as she launched a new humanitarian plan for Iraq. If they don’t receive appropriate support, 84% of all health projects and centers run the risk of closure before the end of June. It is estimated that since January 2014, 2.9 million people have fled their homes, 6.9 million Iraqis need immediate access to essential health services, and 7.1 million need easier access to water, sanitation and hygiene assistance. Presently, 8.2 million people in Iraq need immediate humanitarian support. Women and children have not been spared the brutal consequences of the war. Survivors of gender-base violence and rape experience trauma
After a decade of waging long-distance war through their video screens, America’s drone operators are burning out, and the Air Force is being forced to cut back on the flights even as military and intelligence officials are demanding more of them over intensifying combat zones in Iraq, Syria and Yemen. The Air Force plans to trim the flights by the armed surveillance drones to 60 a day by October from a recent peak of 65 as it deals with the first serious exodus of the crew members who helped usher in the era of war by remote control. Air Force officials said that this year they would lose more drone pilots, who are worn down by the unique stresses of their work, than they can train. Read
Sundus Saleh, an Iraqi single mother, is suing members of the George W. Bush administration for their role in the war in Iraq. Saleh has assembled an international team of lawyers, who are requesting the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit hear her claim that the US-led Iraq war was illegal under laws formed from the Nuremberg trials in the wake of World War II. “The invasion resulted in the total destruction of a beautiful, peaceful country,” Saleh told Truthout. “The invasion didn’t destroy only the country’s infrastructure, buildings and heritage; it destroyed millions of families and their dreams.” Through her pro bono counsel, Comar Law in San Francisco, Saleh filed papers on May 27 urging the Ninth Circuit to review facts and statements made by high-ranking Bush administration officials – including former President George W. Bush, former Vice President Richard Cheney and former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld – during the lead-up to the Iraq war. Read
My car’s bumper sticker reads “I’m ready for Oligarchy: the choice is clear. There is none.” It’s a truism that under our system, no one can be nominated or can win the presidency who isn’t a shill for the billionaire class. Hillary Clinton, the presumptive Democratic nominee, will campaign as a populist in the primaries as Wall Street winks and says, “We totally understand the charade you need to perform to attain the White House. We’ll even act annoyed if that helps.” In the general election, she will move to the center and, after her likely coronation, govern from the right. Always cozy with the military-industrial complex, Clinton voted to authorize President George W. Bush’s criminal war in Iraq, which ended the lives of 4,000 U.S. service members, cost more than a trillion dollars, brought untold death and destruction to the Iraqi people and spawned the Islamic State. As Harvard professor Stephen Walt recently noted, “Blaming bad intelligence is a smokescreen the war’s architects and cheerleaders now employ to evade blame for the debacle.” And all evidence suggests Clinton cast that vote from conviction and subsequently pushed for U.S. escalation in Afghanistan, intervention in Syria and the destruction of Libya
The Global Research News Hour speaks to Sabah Al-Mukhtar, president of the london-based Arab Lawyers Association, and with Inder Comar, the legal representative of an Iraqi Woman suing the US government over the war crimes committed in Iraq. The two lawyers discuss the realistic prospects of former US President Bush and former UK Prome Minister actuall being brought to justice.
Though Iraq is less than 100 years old, it’s just about finished. Twenty Four year State Department veteran Peter Van Buren talks about what he sees as the last throes of what was never a real nation, with optimism for the future. And on part two, in addition to the push for a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United, there’s a movement to push Obama to issue an executive order to require disclosure of political spending by government contractors. It may yet happen.