MARK KARLIN, EDITOR OF BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
If you are a US family who lost a son or daughter, brother or sister, niece or nephew in the Iraq War, the searing pain of loss can only be compounded by the current implosion of the nation into a failed state of factional warring chaos.
If you are an Iraqi who lost a son or daughter, brother or sister, niece or nephew in the Iraq War, the devastating grief is now compounded by the realization that the loss was not only due to the vain and imperious assertion of empire, but the abominable slaughter of a civil war is returning to Iraq at this very moment.
Mission accomplished, George W. Bush swaggeringly declared on the stage set of an aircraft carrier those many years ago. It was supposed to be the shining moment of neocon triumph, the ultimate assertion of United States hegemony and military power as an empire.
Instead, it was the beginning of a bloody and unnecessary conflict that resulted in more than 100,000 Iraqis killed (and that is probably a conservative estimate), more than 5000 US service men and women killed (and countless wounded or returned to the states with PTSD). Although the waste of money pales in comparison to the loss of human life, hundreds of billions of tax dollars were spent on destroying the homes and businesses of Iraqis and the infrastructure of a nation.
It was an unconscionable war of choice with an unspeakable toll and now it is unraveling into factional chaos that will bring untold misery and bloodshed to a people already devastated by a savage US-launched conflict.
The acceleration of Iraq into a failed-state in which civilians are once again collateral damage on a large scale may not merit the mainstream media coverage of Hillary Clinton getting testy with NPR host Terry Gross, but it should be blaring from every television set, radio and on the front page of every newspaper and news web site in the nation.
As Professor Daniel Drezner, professor of international politics, writes today in the Washington Post:
So… things in Iraq are not going well for anyone living there except ISIS. The Sunnis in the country, while fully recognizing that ISIS is so radical that they got kicked out of al-Qaeda, have nevertheless decided that they prefer the militants to the Maliki government. Which leaves open the possibility that the most radical group in the Middle East will now control territory and cities and wealth in the heart of the Middle East.
My WaPo colleague Marc Lynch has already provided a useful explainer for current events:
U.S. officials, along with most Iraq analysts, have spent the last half-decade urging Maliki to seek a real political accord, but he had little interest in their advice. I’ve long argued that the only thing that would force Maliki to change his ways would be his perception that his survival depended on it. When U.S. troops were fighting his war and securing his rule, he consistently refused to make the political accommodations that his U.S. advisers pushed upon him. After U.S. troops left, he enjoyed sufficient political strength and military security to strike the kind of political deal that could have consolidated a legitimate Iraqi order. Instead, he moved to consolidate his personal power and punish Sunni political opponents….
Maliki wants U.S. military aid, from helicopters to airstrikes, to fight the ISIS advance. Many in Washington will want to offer assistance to save Iraq from complete collapse.
CNN reports that for the moment, the Obama administration is not considering sending US ground troops back in, but will consider other military options.
The situation has deteriorated so badly in Iraq, and a radical fundamentalist is - by some accounts - on the verge of seizing Baghdad, that Iran and the US are discussing cooperating to prevent the seizure of Baghdad. As Reuters reports, " Shi'te Muslim Iran is so alarmed by Sunni insurgent gains in Iraq that it may be willing to cooperate with Washington in helping Baghdad fight back, a senior Iranian official told Reuters."
Obama, as noted above and as stated in his news conference, appears to be tipping toward re-entering the war without sending soldiers, for now. That is a mistake built upon a mistake whose very foundation is a blunder of monstrous and devastating proportions.
You know that the US is showing its hand when Secretary of State John Kerry argues that the US should militarily support Iraq based on the fact that it had militarily supported Iraq for the past decade. Say what? According to the Associated Press:
The U.S. is citing its years of fighting in Iraq as a reason for considering new military action to battle a growing insurgency there but not in neighboring Syria’s civil war.
Secretary of State John Kerry on Friday also said Iraq has a legitimate government that has asked the U.S. for help as part of a longtime partnership....
Kerry said the Sunni insurgency is a threat not only to Iraq’s majority Shiite population but also to U.S. interests and the Mideast.
He said the U.S. is laser focused on helping Iraq.
Kerry's statement confirms that DC is afflicted by a bi-partisan pathology of failed assertion of empire, no matter what the human cost.
No doubt, the coverage of the disintegration of Iraq and the threat of an al Qaeda offshot taking control of Baghdad will be covered in geo-political terms. Meanwhile, in DC the talk of the town is the tea party Ayn Randian who dethroned a prince, Eric Cantor, and "Chelsea Clinton Is Rocking Her Pregnancy In Leather Pants" in the Huffington Post.
Yet, not a peep has been reported from the diabolical Dick Cheney, the master of the unknowns Donald Rumsfeld or mission accomplished himself George W. Bush. They are responsible for misery beyond our comprehension as we monitor our smart phones for the latest text message.
This much we know, as the people of Iraq appear to be facing a nightmarish future of torment, loss and emotional pain that is like a shard of glass impaled into one's heart, their stories will go largely unreported as the media focuses on the battles of armed factions.
As the Republicans continue to yammer on about Benghazi, the neocons responsible for war crimes go unprosecuted - and the horror unleashed on the Iraqi people is once again opened, like an infected wound that never has healed.
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