Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Iraq and the US's "Liberation" Yardstick

This morning's news reports are full of accounts of the coordinated bombings that have killed at least 56 people in and around Baghdad, as well as in the southern city of Hilla and in Balad, north of the capital.  Some of those killed were police trainees; the majority were Shii pilgrims participating in the commemoration of the death of the 8th-century Imam Musa al-Khadim.

Obviously, the latent sectarian tensions that were stirred up by Curious Boy George's Iraq Adventure continue to tear at that country's social and political fabric, even as Sunni fighters from Iraq move across the border to fight Mr. Assad's forces in Syria and Syrian Kurds stream into the Kurdish area of Iraq.  Even with its ramped-up oil production and the promise of vast revenues to the central government in Baghdad, Iraq teeters at the edge of failed state-dom.  It government may be the most corrupt on the planet.  The old principles of patronage and first taking care of one's own, as opposed to the interests of the Iraqi "nation" (however that may be constituted, if ever), are deeply rooted - no more so that in the office of the prime minister, where Mr. al-Maliki has surrounded himself with a security apparatus that might have made Saddam Hussein proud.

Yet many experts seem to view Iraq as in a kind of holding pattern that will inevitably be able to land in happier times.  Why?  This morning's report at Foreign Policy recites the explanatory mantra: 

But, the country is not expected to return to the levels of violence that occurred between 2006 and 2007.

Therefore, not to worry.  Iraq's really OK.  We've liberated them.  (Hey, didn't Rummy tell us in 2003: freedom is messy.) Such bloodshed is simply Iraq's new normal.  We don't need to care.

At Salon, Glenn Greenwald writes about how Obama's never-ending drone campaign may be hastening the day of another 9-11 attack in the US.  Perhaps we ought to add the wall-paperization of Iraq's sectarian violence to the reasons why so many of "them" might still hate "us."

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