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Iraq:--a Pandora's box « Previous | |Next »
March 14, 2006

More violence in Iraq, which is aimed at provoking sectarian warfare and forcing the US out, is reported in the media. Words, such as "victory" and "mission accomplished", are yesterdays words and are no longer being used, even in Australia.

Today's talk from Washington is about encouraging a broad-based government of national unity that can win trust with participation by Sunni Arabs, Shiite Muslims and Kurds; and transferring security responsibility to the new Iraqi army and police to that government. Bush's vision is that of a freely selected permanent government asserting its sovereignty over the country, building an administrative infrastructure, and rising to the challenge of governing an unruly and often violent constituency.

Nick Anderson

The background context is a looming civil war. It is a consequence of regime change by the US to establish a pro-American regime in Iraq, with Australia tagging along to support the US foothold in the Middle East. It is a looming iivil war with the Iraqi government lacking the capacity for exercising sovereignty.

Hugh White, writing in The Age, comments that:

The failure in Iraq is not a failure of execution; it's a failure of conception. The occupation and political reconstruction of Iraq was not a good idea badly implemented. It was a bad idea that no amount of administrative skill, political savvy, cultural sensitivity or military firepower could have made work.

Iraq's National Security Minister, Abdul Karim al-Enzy, is critical of Washington for interfering in Iraq's domestic affairs. He says:

The truth is the Americans don't want us to reach the levels of courage and competence needed to deal with the insurgency because they want to stay here. They came for their own strategic interests. A lot of the world's oil is in this region and they want to use Iraq as a battlefield in the war on terror because they believe they can contain the terrorism in Iraq. We don't want to be a part of international problems - the US has a problem with Iran, but as an Iraqi government, we don't. We are not a part of the Israel-Palestine problem, but the deployment of foreign forces in Iraq puts pressure on that issue."
So when are the neo-conservatives going to say that they are wrong? Or that the American objective in Iraq has failed. Or acknowledge that the invasion and occupation of Iraq has opened a Pandora's box to reveal the gates of hell, with the reverberations from the Iraq conflict rippling across the Middle East?
| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 9:38 AM | | Comments (2)


A retired US general stated last year that in his opinion Iraq was the worst foreign policy disaster in American history. It’s also a foreign policy disaster for Britain and Australia. American leaders have great difficulty in admitting failure. Admitting failure would be a major setback for the empire and lower American credibly and standing in the world.

Whatever happens from here, the EU’s international standing has been bolstered with Britain likely to seek closer ties with the EU when the war eventually ends. To borrow a phase from Mike Moore, Bush, Blair and Howard are three stupid white men not willing to admit failure, searching endlessly for some way to extract themselves from Iraq without losing face.

Had a liberal as apposed to a conservative Govt been in power in Australia it would have first consulted with the UN, EU and Canada before making any commitments to the Americans on Iraq. Our standing in the world has been damaged by our involvement in this shameful war, particularly in Asia. I don’t understand what John Howard is on about when he talks about ‘not wanting to cut and run’ - when your in a hole better to stop digging.

The Washington Post is carrying a story about President Bush setting timelines for the US withdrawal. It states:

Bush, who until now has resisted concrete timelines as the Iraq war dragged on longer than he expected, outlined the target in the first of a series of speeches intended to lay out his strategy for victory. While acknowledging grim developments on the ground, Bush declared "real progress" in standing up Iraqi forces capable of defending their nation.

If the Americans sought to establish the legitimacy of the occupation by using their military to crush early signs of Sunni resistance---eg., Falluja--- then that effort by the American military to pacify the Sunni towns
has, in the end, only helped convince Iraqis of the illegitimacy of the American presence.

A good account of this can be found here