Thursday, March 21, 2013

Iraq: Ten Years Later

Iraq: Ten Years Later
P. Schultz
March 21, 2013

            Well, I fell into “it,” again. That is, I bought into the story line being aired and published about Iraq at the ten year anniversary of the start of that war.

            That story line is something like this: We did get rid of Saddam Hussein but at a considerable cost, especially to Iraq and its people. In fact, that cost was so high that the Bush/Cheney war in Iraq could – and to a lot of people does – look like failure. We meant well but were unprepared, not for the war itself, but for the “follow up,” where we were expecting to greeted as liberators but were not. We made mistakes and that is obvious to almost everyone now. We seem to be even somewhat humbled by our “experience.”

            So much for the story line being propagated broadly, even by some critics of the Iraq war. But what if it is all wrong? What if what we have today in Iraq is pretty much or even exactly what was planned? That is, what if the goal all along was to decimate Iraq, leave it floundering, its people mired in difficult circumstances, and its government, well, pretty much non-existent especially when it comes to security? More summarily put, what if what we see today is actually “success” and that those “mistakes” that we made were not mistakes at all but part of the plan?

            Of course, it would be impossible for any one to actually argue that the goal, the primary goal, was to decimate Iraq without seeming to be and actually being inhuman and cruel in a way that would be unjustifiable. So, it is necessary to disguise our intentions, saying although not quite actually believing or taking steps sufficient to make it happen, as building “democracy” in Iraq and, eventually, in the Middle East. And when that building isn’t successfully erected, we can talk about our “mistakes” as well as the failing of the Iraqis, pretending that we are concerned with our “failures” there.

            This take on Iraq and our strategy there would help to explain why, as some like to argue, “no one has been held accountable for the fiasco in Iraq.” Well, that’s true, but then you don’t hold people accountable for what are successes, and especially not for successes that are disguised to look like “failure.” It would also help to explain why Dick Cheney feels he has nothing to be sorry for: Why would he feel sorry for a success? And it would make sense of the rather implausible conclusion, made by both supporters and opponents of the Bush war in Iraq, that the administration, through an “oversight,” was unprepared for the aftermath of the invasion and overthrow. They were unprepared because they didn’t care if “it all went south.” As illustrated by Rumsfeld’s well known remark about the insurgency,
“Stuff happens,” it can even be said that the administration got exactly what it wanted: The decimation of Iraq.  

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