Sunset War Zone — Debacle of Iraq

December 12, 2008


(Illustration — ‘Baghdad Sunset‘ — can be found here).

Wikipedia has a good-as-any overall summation of the Iraqi war and can be found here, but there’s a shitload of other case studies of Decider George’s horror tale, just Google ‘Iraq War’ then sit back.
In the last few months, however, the story has narrowed down to a Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) with Iraq, a pact pushing US troops out of the country, and presumably, across the mountains and into the valleys of Afghanistan within three years.
One has to wonder at the unmitigated failure of Decider George’s adventure into Middle East entanglements — except at the oil.
The original draft of the US version of the SOFA looked like a Iraq would become a colony — US GIs would still rule the land, working out of some 50 bases and US soldiers/civilians immune from Iraqi law — but shit hit the fan, and Decider George’s big wacky deal was whittled down to create a looming end to catastrophic US involvement in the land of Babylon.
Hand-in-hand with SOFA was the so-called Oil Agreement in 2007 — like it’s SOFA counterpart, the oil deal would leave real power over Iraqi resources in the hands of a few Western companies — and just as SOFA was percolating into more public view, an oil deal popped up with those self-same companies.
As SOFA is a US ‘get ya shit and git’ military boost out of Iraq, so it was China, not some big-powered Western firm, that was awarded the first commercial oil contract — to the tune of $3 billion.
Legacy or not, Iraq was stupid, and even the basic tenets of the invasion have ended in shame.

Patrick Cockburn, who might be the best journalist covering Iraq and its hitherlands, notes the SOFA agreement does kick out the US military, but leaving in its wake a ruined country.

  • The Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA), signed after eight months of rancorous negotiations, is categorical and unconditional. America’s bid to act as the world’s only super-power and to establish quasi-colonial control of Iraq, an attempt which began with the invasion of 2003, has ended in failure. There will be a national referendum on the new agreement next July, but the accord is to be implemented immediately so the poll will be largely irrelevant.

    The occupation has always been unpopular in Iraq.
    Foreign observers and some Iraqis are often misled by the hatred with which different Iraqi communities regard each other into underestimating the strength of Iraqi nationalism.
    Once Maliki came to believe that he could survive without US military support then he was able to spurn US proposals until an unconditional withdrawal was conceded.

    Iraq is still one of the most dangerous places in the world.
    On December 1, the day I started writing this article, two suicide bombers killed 33 people and wounded dozens more in Baghdad and Mosul.

    Iraq is full of signs of the gap between the rulers and the ruled. The few planes using Baghdad international airport are full foreign contractors and Iraqi government officials.
    Talking to people on the streets in Baghdad in October many of them brought up fear of cholera which had just started to spread from Hilla province south of Baghdad.
    Forty percent of people in the capital do not have access to clean drinking water.
    The origin of the epidemic was the purchase of out of date chemicals for water purification from Iran by corrupt officials.
    Everybody talked about the cholera except in the Green Zone where people had scarcely heard of the epidemic.

Read Cockburn’s piece at

Decider George blubbered another speech Tuesday at West Point and kept the hammer down on his horrific pre-emptive war bullshit doctrine, claiming Iraq as a starter-gun event: “If we wait for threats to fully materialize, we will have waited too long.
And what does a local newspaper in the Hudson Valley, NY, — location of West Point — have to say about Decider George’s visit and those “talking points” — taking the fight to the enemy overseas; strengthening our counterterrorism partners; holding hostile regimes and state sponsors of terror to account; and discrediting the ideology of extremists by supporting an alternative of freedom and reform.

  • “Wow,” said U.S. Rep. Maurice Hinchey, (D-Hurley), on Monday, after reviewing the president’s list of talking points. “That’s a lot of nonsense.”
    Hinchey, who sits on West Point’s oversight board, called the war in Iraq a “military occupation” and the president’s visit a “public relations” stunt.
    “The effectiveness of the military has not been improved during this administration,” she said. “It’s been quite the contrary.”

Even those with more-than-just-common brains can see the sunset in the eyes of Pax Americana, gone with the wind the last near-eight years.
Peter W.Galbraith , the writer and former diplomat, says the catastrophic failure of the Iraqi war (along with all that war’s tributary events) is the fault of the commander-in-chief.
Galbraith’s new book, Unintended Consequences: How War in Iraq Strengthened America’s Enemies , claims the war was lost from the beginning.
From an International Herald Tribune review:

  • As Galbraith sees it, critics of the war are wrong to focus on matters like the dismissal of the Iraqi army or the draconian de-Baathification decree, issued by L. Paul Bremer III, because such missteps, important as they are, obscure “the larger failure that was the product of incompetence, partisanship and an obsession with ideology over pragmatism.”
    The root of the problem, he says, was “the absence of presidential decision making”: “The self-styled decider never decided the most critical questions about the future of Iraq” — like how to provide security in Baghdad when U.S. forces took it over or how a post-Hussein Iraq would be governed — “and worse, never knew there were critical matters that needed deciding.”

Decider George failed at deciding.

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