Thursday, December 3, 2009


Nothing much shocks me anymore when I read the howling nonsense (and worse) written on the Middle East in the corporate press, but the brazen neoconservative cheerleading of the following letter in yesterday's Sydney Morning Herald revolted me to the core:

"Caroline Rae (Letters, December 1) says the truth about the Iraq war 'has not been pretty'. War is always ugly, but most of the time the outcome has been worth it. Despite the gruesome stories in the initial stages of the war and the number of deaths (most inflicted by insurgents on their own population), Iraq has emerged as a country standing up on its own feet, hungry for democracy and prosperity. Iraq today has countless newspapers scrutinising its government. It has minority groups lobbying for more power in parliament, something unheard of in most Arab nations. And an Iraqi minister has been charged with corruption. Ever had that happen in this great democracy of ours." (Alice Khatchigian Ryde)

What inspires someone (presumably neither in the pay of Rupert Murdoch nor one of the Zionist faithful) to sit down, compose and actively seek to publish such crap? From what unfathomable depth of blissful ignorance and/or ideological blindness did it emerge? Normally I suppose I would have just dismissed it with a curse on the head of the letters editor for giving the bloody thing oxygen. However, I just happen to be reading one of those books about the ongoing gang rape of Iraq (by the Coalition of the Willies) which makes you realise that it is worse - far worse - than you ever expected. The back cover blurb for Cultural Cleansing in Iraq: Why Museums Were Looted, Libraries Burned & Academics Murdered (edited by Raymond W Baker, Shereen T Ismael & Tariq Y Ismael, 2010) gives you the gist:

"Why did the invasion of Iraq result in cultural destruction and the killing of intellectuals? Conventional wisdom portrays these events as the resut of poor planning and accidents of war in a campaign to liberate Iraqis. However, the authors of this book argue that the reality is very different. The authors reveal that the invasion aimed to dismantle the Iraqi state in order to remake it as a client regime. The post-invasion chaos was not an accident but a deliberate aim of the invasion, creating conditions under which the cultural foundations of the state could be undermined. The authors painstakingly account for the willful inaction of the occupying forces, which led to the ravaging of one of the world's oldest recorded cultures. In addition to the destruction of unprotected museums and libraries, they document the targeted assassination of over 400 academics, widespread kidnapping and the forced flight of thousands of doctors, lawyers, artists and other intellectuals. All in all, they show that Iraq suffered a comprehensive cultural cleansing which was part of a deliberate attempt to weaken and ultimately to end the Iraqi state. This important book lays to rest claims that the invasion aimed to free an educated population to develop its own culture of democracy."

And here's part of the introduction: "The consequences in human and cultural terms of the destruction of the Iraqi state have been enormous: notably the deaths of over 1 million civilians; the degradation in social infrastructure, including electricity, potable water, and sewage systems; the targeted assassination of over 400 academics and professionals and the displacement of approximately 4 million refugees and internally displaced people. All of these terrible losses are compounded by unprecedented levels of cultural devastation, attacks on national archives and monuments that represent the historical identity of the Iraqi people. Rampant chaos and violence hamper efforts at reconstruction, leaving the foundations of the Iraqi state in ruins. The majority of Western journalists, academics, and political figures have refused to recognize the loss of life on such a massive scale and the cultural destruction that accompanied it as the fully predictable consequences of American occupation policy. The very idea is considered unthinkable, despite the openness with which this objective was pursued. It is time to think the unthinkable. The American-led assault on Iraq forces us to consider the meaning and consequences of state-destruction as a policy objective. The architects of the Iraq policy never made explicit what decontructing and reconstructing the Iraqi state would entail; their actions, however, make the meaning clear. From those actions in Iraq, a fairly precise definition of state-ending can now be read. The campaign to destroy the state in Iraq involved first the removal and execution of Saddam Hussein and the capture of Ba'ath Party figures. However, state destruction went beyond regime change. It also entailed the purposeful dismantling of major state institutions and the launching of a prolonged process of political reshaping. Contemporary Iraq represents a fragmented pastiche of sectarian forces with the formal trappings of liberal democracy and neo-liberal economic structures. Students of history will recognize in the occupation of Iraq the time-honoured technique of imperial divide et imperia (divide and rule), used to fracture and subdue culturally cohesive regions. The regime installed by occupation forces in Iraq reshaped the country along divisive sectarian lines, dissolving the hard-won unity of a long state-building project. The so-called sovereign Iraqi government, the Iraqi Governing Council (IGC), established by the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA), was founded as a sectarian ruling body, with a system of quotas for ethnic and professional groupings. This formula decisively established the sectarian parameters of the 'new Iraq'." (pp 4-5)

I thought I'd google Khatchigian and see what came up. I found the following letter to the editor, again on the subject of Iraq: "Robert Krochmalik is being too kind in his letter about the diminished Jewish communities in Arab nations being merely 'forced to leave'. My father, who was a young boy in Baghdad in 1948, recalls how Jews were dragged through the streets with ropes around their necks to be hung on lampposts, and dragged out of their homes and beaten almost to death as onlookers cheered." (, 11/8/09) No source I've read on the subject (and I can highly recommend Iraqi Jews: A History of Mass Exodus, Abbas Shiblak, 1986/2005) comes anywhere near corroborating Khatchigian's shocking allegation. I can only conclude that it's black propaganda.

PS: I note that our 'expert' de jour on Iraq continues to peddle her neoconservative cliches. The following appeared in the Sydney Morning Herald of 4/12/09: "If Steven Prentice expects a definition of 'worth it' in regards to the Iraq war, it is this: that any number of deaths in war is tragic, but this is and always has been the price we pay for freedom. Is freedom not worth fighting for?"

Unfortunately, the mainstream press being what it is, I expect this isn't the last we'll be hearing from this insufferable creature.


Anonymous said...

It is not just the obscure, twisted writers who are to blame. Like you and many others, no doubt, I have attempted repeatedly to publish on Iraq and Palestine in letters to the SMH and all are just totally ignored. It is the gatekeepers who "edit" the letters pages who promote this shit that are really to blame, and we never get to know true public opinion. For this and other reasons I have cancelled and stopped reading the SMH and, most certainly, would never again read the letters. Don't waste your valuable time giving such drivel the benefit of your analysis.

Anonymous said...

hear hear MERC, the intention was always to criple Iraq as a "threat" to guess who,Israel.This was a long term strategic goal and can be traced through a series of papers to both the Zionist government and the Zionised US government. Dr. Stephen J. Sniegowski exposed the criminal lunacy of it all in the Swiss publication "Current","War on Iraq, Concieved in Israel".Why do the MSM keep pretending ignorance?

MERC said...

Sniegowski's definitely on the money here - see my 22/12/08 post 'Absent-Minded Professors Inadvertently Set Iraq Ablaze'. Moreover, 'Cultural Cleansing in Iraq' cites Israel's state destruction in Palestine as another example of the practice.