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Iraq: time to go? « Previous | |Next »
December 5, 2004

Nicholas D. Kristof in The New York Times says that the US should continue to stay in Iraq. The context of this debate is this report about malnutrition in The Washington Post, the earlier Lancet study on civilian causalities and the neo-con doctrine of empire:

Martin Rowson

Kristof's reason for the US staying the course is a Hobbesian one. Leviathan, in the form an imperial power is needed to prevent chaos, a bloodbath and anarchy; to prevent Iraq becoming a world where "there is a war of every man against every man, [with the] consequent; that nothing can be unjust [as the] notions of right and wrong, justice and injustice, have there no place." Kristof says:

"If U.S. troops leave Iraq too soon, the country will simply fall apart. The Kurdish areas in the north may muddle along, unless Turkey intervenes to protect the Turkman minority or to block the emergence of a Kurdish state. The Shiite areas in the south might establish an Iranian-backed theocratic statelet that would establish order. But the middle of the country would erupt in bloody civil war and turn into something like Somalia.

What would that mean? If Iraq were to sink to Somalia-level child mortality rates, one result by my calculation would be 203,000 children dying each year. If Iraq were to have maternal mortality rates as bad as Somalia's, that would be 9,900 Iraqi women dying each year in childbirth."

Hmm.What is ignored that the consequence of the US invasion is that a civil war already exists.

Now Kristof does acknowledge that the invasion of Iraq was a mistake and that the US has to pull out some time. However:

"....our mistaken invasion has left millions of Iraqis desperately vulnerable, and it would be inhumane to abandon them now. If we stay in Iraq, there is still some hope that Iraqis will come to enjoy security and better lives, but if we pull out we will be condemning Iraqis to anarchy, terrorism and starvation, costing the lives of hundreds of thousands of children over the next decade."

The US is responsible for the worsening life condition of Iraqi civilians. And the Australian Government is to be judged harshly for its pretence and spin that all is well in Iraq.

The neo-cons in both countries routinely assign their impassioned critics to the realm Hobbes famously called The Kingdom of Darkness. The unlearned critics dim the clear light of (imperial) reason through their obscurantism, errors and dark purposes. The political strategy of the frightened critics is to keep us in the dark.

Some critical and reasoned commentary can be found at Body and Soul ( here and here); and by Juan Cole.

My response to Kristof is that it is also inhumane for the US to stay the course and to solve a political problem of building democracy in Iraq with its military tactics of levelling Fullejah and the continual aerial bombardment of civilian neighborhoods.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 11:59 AM | | Comments (4)


I enjoy reading your entries, but there is no way to deep link them. I wanted to deep link to this entry in particular. Could you set up your blog so the title is a link, so that entry itself can be directly linked to?

cannot it be done like this:

If not then I do not know what a deep link is.

Ok, Thanks, I see where you got it from. Still it would be more intuitive if the heading was linked.

Strange indeed, after the claims of the untramelled success of the Falluja assault,and despite the continuation and intensification of the insurgency, that the US military is creating a police (even fascist) state. The model is being built for Fulluja at this time, but later it might be extended.

Democracy without civil rights is a curiosity perhaps only a military mind could conceive. Although claims were made to contrary, by the interim government foreign minister, it does not appear that the political means of negotiation and compromise have been employed, which suggests a failure to comprehend the circumstances in which the US is implicated.