Iraq — ‘Near Future is Dark’

December 1, 2013


(Illustration: A little Iraqi girl contemplates horror, Basra, Iraq, March 30, 2003, found here).

Pushed further and further back in current history, the nightmare that’s Iraq is way-off the anywhere-near mainstream news cycle these days — a mention, maybe, if the death toll of some bomb blast is more-than-normally excessive. Amongst a shitload of frustrations, is the pissed-vexation at George Jr. and his boys not ever, and will never, face any prosecution for their deliberate, criminal activity in all things having to do with Iraq.
Don Rumsfeld should be open to any/all legal liabilities for those injured or suffered from this heartless, and cruel answer to a question of life and death: “As you know, you go to war with the army you have, not the army you might want or wish to have at a later time…”
Obvious incriminating bullshit like that bloats the entire period of George Jr’s. terms in office.

The current horror is a direct result of the US invasion.

One of my most-favorite, interesting characters to arise out of the Iraqi debacle is Muqtada al-Sadr, the Shia religious leader, and to me, has always in his public appearances, looked like Jack Black playing a mullah — and, though, he’s still a power-source in Iraqi politics, his Mehdi Army did give US troops a hard-ass time in 2004, especially in the fight for the town of Najaf.

And in that self-same town last week, one of the best journalists in deciphering the Middle East, Patrick Cockburn at the UK’s Independent, held ‘the first interview Mr Sadr has given face-to-face with a Western journalist for almost 10 years – he expressed pessimism about the immediate prospects for Iraq, saying: “The near future is dark.”’
No shit, Sherlock. Some more insights:

Speaking of Mr Maliki, with whom his relations are increasingly sour, Mr Sadr said that “maybe he is not the only person responsible for what is happening in Iraq, but he is the person in charge”.
Asked if he expected Mr Maliki to continue as Prime Minister, he said: “I expect he is going to run for a third term, but I don’t want him to.”
Mr Sadr said he and other Iraqi leaders had tried to replace him in the past, but Mr Maliki had survived in office because of his support from foreign powers, notably the US and Iran.
“What is really surprising is that America and Iran should decide on one person,” he said.
“Maliki is strong because he is supported by the United States, Britain and Iran.”

A main theme of Mr Sadr’s approach is to bolster Iraq as an independent nation state, able to make decisions in its own interests.
Hence his abiding hostility to the American and British occupation, holding this responsible for many of Iraq’s present ills.
To this day, neither he nor anybody from his movement will meet American or British officials.
But he is equally hostile to intervention by Iran in Iraqi affairs saying: “We refuse all kinds of interventions from external forces, whether such an intervention was in the interests of Iraqis or against their interests. The destiny of Iraqis should be decided by Iraqis themselves.”
This is a change of stance for a man who was once demonised by the US and Britain as a pawn of Iran.
The strength of the Sadrist movement under Mr Sadr and his father – and its ability to withstand powerful enemies and shattering defeats – owes much to the fact it that it blends Shia revivalism with social activism and Iraqi nationalism.

At the end of the interview Mr Sadr asked me if I was not frightened of interviewing him and would not this make the British Government consider me a terrorist?
Secondly, he wondered if the British Government still considered that it had liberated the Iraqi people, and wondered if he should sue the Government on behalf of the casualties caused by the British occupation.

Despite it all, I always appreciated ‘Mr. Sadr‘ in the context of ruling Iraq by Iraqis, as in ‘…it blends Shia revivalism with social activism and Iraqi nationalism.’ But that still don’t change the catastrophe that was the US invasion.

And which still doesn’t damper the killings in Iraq, now so bad coffee-shop and cafe owners must include an extra chore in operating a business — how to stop a suicide bomber:

Shootings and bombings have struck all manner of targets in Baghdad and elsewhere, but cafes – where football-mad Iraqis often gather to watch the latest European games – have been badly hit.
Nearly 50 cafes have been bombed nationwide since unrest surged in April – 25 in Baghdad alone. The most recent – a suicide bombing in the southwestern neighbourhood of Bayaa – killed 15 people on November 21.
“The security situation faced by cafes means they should appoint one or two guards and close all but one entrance to control the flow of people and stop terrorists who wear explosives belts and want to kill people in cold blood,” said Major General Saad Jaafar, deputy chief of Baghdad’s security command centre.
One suggestion from security officials was roundly rejected — that cafe owners close at 8 pm to prevent increasingly frequent evening attacks that have rocked the capital.
“After the terrorist attacks on cafes, the security forces in our neighbourhood asked us to close, especially when Real Madrid is playing Barcelona and the cafes are packed,” said Abdelaziz Youssif, whose cafe is in the Jamiyah district.
He was referring to the fierce following that any clash between the Spanish football rivals, known as the Clasico, engenders in Iraq.
“Is there any cafe in the world that closes its doors when Real Madrid and Barcelona are playing?” Mr Youssif asked incredulously.

Sad and horrible, but most of those ‘any cafe in the world,’ ain’t in downtown Baghdad.
And George Jr. just eases right along — on Jay Leno’s show a couple of weeks ago, and along with that smug mug of ‘oops‘-me:

As he has often in the past, Bush said that history will judge his legacy.
But he didn’t appear concerned.
Historians are still preoccupied with George Washington, he said.
“If they’re still writing biographies of the first guy, the 43rd guy doesn’t need to worry.”

Indeed. As President Obama’s crap-us, no-looking back bullshit, of course, creates/re-enforces George Jr.’s no-worries attitude. Despite the US Senate in June 2008: “But, there is a fundamental difference between relying on incorrect intelligence and deliberately painting a picture to the American people that you know is not fully accurate.”

Simon Jenkins at the Guardian a couple of weeks ago, a look at the UK’s legacy on three shit-turd wars in the past decade — and the US as ringleader in all of them:

In each case – Libya, Iraq and Afghanistan – it was easy to see evil in the prevailing regime.
These are bad guys that we need to go after, said the Americans.
Yet the removal of law and order from a nation is devastating, however cruel that order may have been.
Iraqis today repeat that, whatever the ills of Saddam Hussein, under his rule most ordinary citizens and their families could walk the streets at night without fear of murder or kidnap.
Religious differences were tolerated.
Iraq should have been an oil-rich modern state.
Even the Kurds, scourged by Saddam in the past, enjoyed autonomy and relative peace.
In each of these cases Britain and its allies, chiefly America, intervened to overthrow the army, disband government, dismantle the judiciary and leave militias to run riot.
Little or no attempt was made to replace anarchy with a new order.
“Nation building” was a fiasco.
The British bombs that flattened government buildings in Kabul, Baghdad and Tripoli did not replace them, or those who worked in them.
Those who dropped them congratulated themselves on their work and went home.

And in the US, home has been torturous — last June, Daniel Somers, an Iraq war veteran, committed suicide due to his sense of participating in war crimes. He left a note:

You must not blame yourself.
The simple truth is this: During my first deployment, I was made to participate in things, the enormity of which is hard to describe.
War crimes, crimes against humanity.
Though I did not participate willingly, and made what I thought was my best effort to stop these events, there are some things that a person simply can not come back from.
I take some pride in that, actually, as to move on in life after being part of such a thing would be the mark of a sociopath in my mind.
These things go far beyond what most are even aware of.
To force me to do these things and then participate in the ensuing coverup is more than any government has the right to demand.
Then, the same government has turned around and abandoned me.
They offer no help, and actively block the pursuit of gaining outside help via their corrupt agents at the DEA.
Any blame rests with them.

Indeed, again. The Somers story is way-tragic, but unfortunately, just a terrible one among thousands and thousands.
Nearly incomprehensible this ‘dark future‘ as George Jr.’s endowment to history.

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