Wednesday, September 1, 2010

'We came in naive...'

"Stability is an unworthy American mission, and a misleading concept to boot. We do not want stability in Iran, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, and even Saudi Arabia; we want things to change. The real issue is not whether, but how to destabilize." Michael Ledeen (The Wall Street Journal, 9/4/02)

In his report on the "American drawdown" in Iraq, the Sydney Morning Herald's Paul McGeough has cited some truly gob-smacking stuff:

"In a pre-departure interview with The New York Times, the commander of US forces in Iraq, General Ray Odierno, tapped into these [gloomy] assessments [by Iraqi civilians (quoted earlier in McGeough's report)]. 'We came in naive about what the problems were in Iraq. I don't think we understood what I call the societal devastation', he said, alluding to the Iran-Iraq War, the Gulf War and international sanctions which, from 1990-2003, decimated the middle classes. 'And then we attacked to overthrow the government'."

We came in naive, did we? No we didn't. We knew exactly what we were doing: we invaded Iraq not for any of the specious reasons given at the time (WMDs etc), and not even for regime change as such, but to destroy it root and branch, both as a nation and a society. (See my 3/12/09 post Revolted)

We didn't understand the societal devastation resulting from the Iran-Iraq War? Yet without our propping up of Saddam in that war, including providing the ingredients for his chemical and biological weapons arsenal, the Iranians would have finished him off in the 80s.

We didn't understand the societal devastation resulting from the Gulf War? Really? Didn't our ambassador tell Saddam in April 1990 that "we have no opinion on the Arab-Arab conflicts, like your disagreement with Kuwait," giving him a virtual green light to invade? Didn't we allow Israel to attack and occupy its neighbours and get away with it, thus suggesting to Saddam that he could do the same? And didn't we subject Iraq's civilian infrastructure to saturation bombing?

We didn't understand the societal devastation of international sanctions? Yet we were responsible for using the UN to starve and degrade Iraqi society from 1990 to 2003, resulting in the deaths of over 500,000 Iraqi children.

And we came in naive after all that?

"Acknowledging America's failure to understand Iraq's ethnic and sectarian divisions, the commander was surprisingly frank when asked if the invasion and its aftermath had exacerbated them: 'I don't know... all these issues that we didn't understand and that we had to work our way through. And did that cause it to get worse? Maybe'."


"These Iraqi and American sentiments and their implications for the future were reflected in the judgment of a Western diplomat. 'There are a lot of really good people here', he said in the air-conditioned comfort of his blast wall-protected office. 'But a lot have left and won't come back. You think they have all this resource wealth and a history of education and expertise, and you wonder, how could they get it wrong. But looking at their history, sometimes it's Iraqis who are most pessimistic. They see 1,000 years of violence and they say it won't change'." (Seven years, 100,000 lives, $700b, 31/8/10)

How could they - the Iraqis - get it wrong?!

And last, but by no means least, here's the ultimate in stomach-churning sentences from Bushama's stomach-churning Address on Iraq: "[Those Americans who died/served in Iraq] stared into the darkest of human creations - war - and helped the Iraqi people seek the light of peace." (


Anonymous said...

From the movie Conspiracy Theory...on stability/instability:
'from Conspiracy theory...on Stability:
There are all kinds of groups, all
kinds of initials. But they're
all part of two warring factions.
One: families that have held
wealth for centuries.
They want one thing. Stability.
Group Two: the boat rockers.
Eisenhower's military industrial
complex. They want instability.
It's a trillion dollar a year
business. When there isn't a hot
war, they make a cold one.'


Anonymous said...

Its a common tactic when things go bad, for the sociopaths to claim it was all a 'mistake', a 'error' opr whatever. Better than to admit : 'yes, we committed crimes and atrocities'..
After all what are the victims gonna do about it?!


Syd Walker said...

Very nicely assembled expose of the type of commentary that makes me ashamed of what's become of western civilization.

One of these days, the leaders of the 'Angloshere' will find the decency to make a formal apology to the Iraqi people. It will be a very long apology.

Incidentally, did you notice Tom Switzer's article on The Drum, entitled "Iraq and the collapse of neo-con illusions"?

Here's my (as of now unpublished) comment, submitted some 24 hours ago:

It's beyond me how anyone could write an article about the Iraq debacle, with specific reference to the influence of the neo-cons, without even mentioning the work of John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt.

Here's a link from 2006 that may help round out Tom's analysis:

The Israel Lobby

To quote one paragraph:

"Pressure from Israel and the Lobby was not the only factor behind the decision to attack Iraq in March 2003, but it was critical. Some Americans believe that this was a war for oil, but there is hardly any direct evidence to support this claim. Instead, the war was motivated in good part by a desire to make Israel more secure. According to Philip Zelikow, a former member of the president’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board, the executive director of the 9/11 Commission, and now a counsellor to Condoleezza Rice, the ‘real threat’ from Iraq was not a threat to the United States. The ‘unstated threat’ was the ‘threat against Israel’, Zelikow told an audience at the University of Virginia in September 2002. ‘The American government,’ he added, ‘doesn’t want to lean too hard on it rhetorically, because it is not a popular sell.’"