The brewing cauldron that has been simmering for nearly a year is ready to blow its lid. The quagmire called Iraq is near civil war, anarchy and Balkanization. This witch?s brew concocted by the neocons, George W. Bush and his administration has reached its boiling point, its scorching steam ready to burn us all thanks to the nefarious errors of the delusional few at the top. Their inept mistake will scar America for years to come as the salts of Iraq are poured on our open wounds. Iraq is already one of the worst foreign policy blunders in US history, one that is clearly spiraling further down the sewer of neocon pipedreams into a toxic lake of cynicism, cronyism, corruption and pilferage.
In the end, the scourge of the neocons and Bush will dissipate, as all plagues eventually do, yet our nation will suffer the consequences of what has already happened and what is to come for many years into the future. Our leadership will pass to another but the incompetence of the Bush administration will linger in our minds, in our coming unnecessary sacrifices and in our forever-changed society with the carcasses left over by those vultures Bush has unleashed onto the world. Iraq is such a place.
What we are presently experiencing, for those able to escape the mirage of fabrications and distortions built by both corporate media and government propaganda, is the systemic undoing of the Iraqi nation that was started by the American invasion and furthered by an occupation that has unleashed forces that had lay dormant for decades. Now, the beast of Mesopotamia has awoken, its claws enveloping the western-imposed borders that have for years encaged diverse peoples, ethnicities and religions into the same land, its energies traversing through Iraq?s heterogeneous population that is spawning the rebirth of hatreds, animosities, revenge, differences, and grudges that had been quashed under the tyrannical rule of Saddam Hussein. The coming debacle is occurring right in front of our eyes. We are witnesses to a history that will not be pleasant to bear.
The ignorant and arrogant push for war against a weak, impotent and dilapidated state, under the guise of the so-called “war on terror” and manipulated into fruition by the horrors of 9/11 in order to control both fossil fuel resources and the geo-political structure of the globe has been not a victory but a failure. Control of the population and the state itself has yet to be achieved. Iraq?s infrastructure is still decimated. Reconstruction is but a fa?ade that has yielded neither hearts and minds, security nor stability. Rather, it is the pillaging of American taxpayer money by Bush/Cheney friends, cronies and contributors. Gulf War II was but a charade to enrich the Corporate Leviathan and Bush friends in particular, and our nation will suffer the consequences of such greed for a long time.
Five-hundred forty Americans have died, not to mention hundreds of “coalition” troops. Over ten thousand soldiers have been maimed and wounded. Some estimates state that approximately 200,000 Iraqis have been killed, maimed or wounded since the start of the war. Freedom, independence and democracy have not and will not be brought to the Iraqi people by American forces; it will, however, come from the Iraqi resistance now decimating occupiers and collaborators, soldiers and civilians.
Iraqis have a tradition of resistance to colonial exploitation that will only be further emboldened by the continued presence of the occupation force.
Merrily Bush declared victory prematurely, dressed as a GI Joe action figure, thinking himself Tom Cruise in Top Gun, a “Mission Accomplished” banner hanging over his shoulder. What has been accomplished in a year is hard to discern. Perhaps if the mission was the continued shedding of blood, both American and Iraqi, or the continued misery, poverty, unemployment and utter decay of Iraqi society or the splintering apart of the nation?s tribal, ethnic and religious groups then Bush?s war has been a success. If the mission was to bankrupt America?s treasure at the expense of every citizen, now and into the future, then Bush?s banner can hang majestically for posterity?s sake.
What the Bush administration has generated with its foray into Mesopotamia is a monument to ineptitude and bad leadership. Bush has dragged us through the dunes and sands, over the Tigris and Euphrates and into the scorching sun of the Fertile Crescent. We are trapped in quicksand, unable to leave as our loved ones continue to fall prey to the ghosts of ancient civilizations, their progeny and their vastly different ways of life and of seeing the world.
Our soldiers have out of necessity become peacemakers and police, becoming babysitters to a heterogeneous population on the brink of violent civil war. Our men and women are trapped in the middle of the coming storm created by our fickle leadership concerned more with politics at home than with the worldwide ramifications of chaos in Iraq. What our warmongering chickenhawks have done is to open the doors of revenge, hatred and violence to a population now free to pursue its individual interests while settling old scores and ripping off old wounds. Our “liberation” has unshackled a Pandora?s Box that we as American?s cannot even begin to understand or contemplate. Unfortunately, we are trapped, and must now suffer the consequences, hardships and eventual failure of what lies ahead.
The propaganda that America has been made safer with Saddam Hussein locked up is but a hollow fantasy espoused by those leaches roaming freely in Washington that would have us think that the Iraq war was a great victory. Just ask Howard Dean, who spoke the truth and got torched by the burning Bush and the corrupt two party system that is enabling the further rotting of the country. Just ask the 540 dead soldiers and over 10,000 wounded and maimed men and women hidden from the public?s view. An impotent Saddam was inconsequential to the guerilla war, being nothing more than a shell of his former self, contained inside his box while in power, not even a threat to his weak neighbors. The case of the missing and still unfound WMDs lends credence to this fact.
Iraq was once one of the most technologically advanced, powerful, and wealthy countries in the region. Sanctions reduced it to third world status.
We as a nation and a people have been made less safe, not more. Our incursion into the Middle East has poured salt onto bitter wounds, creating millions of enemies and making of us prisoners trapped inside our own shores. Thanks to Bush, we are now hated entities not welcomed favorably by most of the world. The US is now seen as a pariah, a rogue state, the ultimate terrorist nation. The Iraq debacle taking place today has spawned more danger onto our world as an entire Arab and Muslim world sees the true intentions of the occupiers; invading and pillaging, colonizing and humiliating. Tens of thousands of dead and injured along with daily humiliations and continued subjugation have only spawned more ill-will within Iraq and throughout the Arab world. And the President proudly states the wars we have created are making us safer, that he has made us safer and more secure, and that as a result, we should re-elect him. Just another in a long and growing list of Orwellian lies that continue to be spewed out of the mouths of dishonorable men and women loyal not to the American citizen but to the almighty dollar.
As bad as Saddam was ? one of dozens of despicable tyrants worldwide ? what enabled him to remain in power for so long was his stabilizing presence in a nation split by tribes, ethnicities and religions. To the US, he was a dictator that kept the peace, a necessary evil that for decades kept Iraq free from civil war and unrest that today seems more and more likely as the country falls deeper into anarchy. It was for this reason that the powers that be, namely the US, kept Saddam in power, even after the first Gulf War. It was the reason the US supplied him with military hardware, WMD technology and lucrative financial assistance. It was the reason the US government turned a blind eye when he gassed Iranians (with US spy satellite photo assistance), Kurds and massacred entire insurrections that had at one point been supported and later abandoned by America. He kept Iraq together, albeit with an iron fist, preventing the Balkanization of the country that now seems likely, just as the US government wanted. Saddam was a dictator tolerated and supported by the US in the great geopolitical chess match, until he invaded Kuwait. Every massacre, every ethnic cleansing and every act of human rights violations fostered by Saddam was ignored by America because it helped keep Iraq and its voluminous oil reserves from exploding. Saddam was the needle that kept a searing nation intact.
Iraq seems destined for a civil war. Occupation will only strengthen the process. Fake democracy will merely formalise it.
Today, with Saddam no longer in power, Iraq is slowly but surely tearing apart at the seams. The fear once engendered and peace kept by the totalitarian regime no longer exists, giving rise to new movements of freedom and aspirations towards unhindered autonomy while unhinging old and modern hatreds, vendettas and revenge among the tens of millions of Iraqis. Iraq?s major groups, Kurds, Shi?a and Sunnis, are vying for power within Iraq, some even seeking independent states and more freedoms for their respective populations. Influential religious mullahs are seeking what is in the best interests for their followers and this oftentimes clashes what is in the best interests of the US. These mullahs yield great power and so far refuse to budge to US demands.
Iraq is chaos waiting to explode, thanks to our sojourn into empire building. Demonstrations and protests are increasing, patience is running low, unemployment hovers near 65 percent and Iraq?s infrastructure remains in shambles. The occupying army continues to humiliate and dehumanize, it continues to kill and wound innocent civilians. It is unable to squash the growing resistance, now a clandestine army that is well armed and getting more sophisticated by the hour. Its members are evolving, spreading like a giant spider web interconnected throughout the country with one pure cause in mind: kicking out the Ali Baba occupiers from Iraq.
As a result, the population is sympathetic to the resistance, collaborators are through intimidation leaving their jobs and chaos slowly creeps its shadowy presence into a growing number of cities. Car bombings seem to be a daily occurrence, dozens seem to die weekly and animosity and fear continue to grow. And, all the while overlooking this growing anarchy is the United States, trapped in the quicksand that is the Fertile Crescent, watching helplessly as our loved ones continue to die and lose mind and body and as our treasure continues to be pilfered by those espousing crony capitalism and debauched democracy.
The job of keeping the peace and preventing Iraq from falling into disarray has now passed to the occupying force. America now finds itself in a balancing act of trying to satisfy all major groups and a population of over twenty-five million while keeping the major groups from unleashing violence onto each other. All interests must be satisfied; an entire nation devastated by years of tyranny, sanctions, market colonialism, economic genocide and American invasion and war must be brought back to its feet. This is present day Iraq, a cesspool of devastation made more so by our invasion and subsequent occupation. When you combine incompetent leadership in Washington that is incapable of making any decision that is not political and self-serving you have the ingredients for the coming chaos we see in Iraq today.
Civil war in Iraq is a growing reality as the violence continues to increase, even after the capture of Saddam. Every week finds more attacks on American forces and collaborators, more disarray and anarchy. Security inside Iraq has not been made better. Rather, it has become worse as the resistance grows in strength and sophistication, as it evolves to the methods and maneuvers of the occupying army. And, contrary to Pentagon and corporate media propaganda, only a small fraction of the resistance is from foreign “terrorists.” Most are Iraqi nationalists and patriots, freedom fighters struggling to liberate their lands from the occupying army of the Great Satan that has come to colonize, rape and pillage. Propaganda cannot erase this fact from the books of history.
As long as the United States remains in Iraq our men and women will continue returning in “transfer tubes” and with lost limbs and minds. Yesterday it was 250 dead, today it is 540, tomorrow it will be 1500. The number of dead, wounded and maimed will continue to climb, the blood will continue to spill and the resentment against America will only get worse, rising like a phoenix from the ashes of war and occupation to further drain us of both our loved ones and our treasure. Bush got us into a mess we did not want, and now we must pay the price for the self-proclaimed “war president?s” ignorant blunder.
A war and an occupation based on blatant lies, distortions and deceptions, America?s escapade into imperial domination of Arab peoples and their resources will in the next few months explode and unearth the putrid seeds of the Bush administration?s fantasies and delusions that market “bringing freedom and democracy” to Iraq as an altruistic excuse for invasion. True democracy is near impossible in the next few months, contrary to what Bush and Cheney say. Debauched democracy, on the other hand, is another matter.
Indeed, democracy beneficial to America will not work in Iraq as the Shi?a majority refuses to allow the US to impose non-elected representatives, otherwise known as puppets, as part of a new government. If true democracy is allowed, a society detrimental to the Bush administration would most likely emerge, along with the Balkanization of Iraq into three separate states. A religious government or one not subservient to the US might arise. The Administration will not allow this to happen, which is why debauched democracy will be imposed, even at the barrel of a gun and with the continued subjugation and exploitation of Iraq?s citizens.
Bush?s failure to understand history, the region, its society, the people, reality and common sense has forced upon this nation a military presence in Iraq for decades to come. Whether we like it or not, the Bush debacle will scar us for many years into the future. His mistake will be our perpetual rug burn, never healing and stinging us with each death of our soldiers and maiming of our loved ones. We have condemned ourselves to a much more dangerous world, thanks to our government?s greed, arrogance and ignorance. Bush has created many new enemies, much more animosity and resentment. The self-proclaimed war president?s legacy will be one of death, killing, violence, cronyism and failure. It will be a legacy of fear and insecurity, of drained resources and bankrupt morality. Bush?s quest towards war and its terrible ramifications will take decades to rectify.
The debacle that is today our Iraqipation will only get worse. We are stuck in an occupation of a foreign nation on the brink of civil war and Balkanization. The experiment will fail, the quagmire will implode, and the legacy of our generation will eerily be compared to that of Vietnam?s. Meanwhile, Bush will disappear into the sunset to his Crawford ranch, followed by the vultures he unleashed, leaving us with his mess, his debacle and his failed presidency to clean up and hide in the coffers of embarrassment and forgetfulness, gathering dust and cobwebs, only to be brought out into the light for future generations to learn from history?s mistakes.
Submitted to the World Crisis Web by the author. Article courtesy of the Axis of Logic
Manuel Valenzuela is social critic and commentator, activist, writer and author of Echoes in the Wind, a novel to be published in Spring of 2004. He welcomes comments and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org