Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Glimspes of Iraq

The Iraqi "government" has finally "expelled" private "security firm" Blackwater USA. The reason for the first set of quotes is obvious - Iraq doesn't really have a government. Public utilities are scant, its Army is fully recruited by Washington, its deputies can't leave the Green Zone, and the only military forces in the country that aren't effectively commanded from Washington are under the control of local militias, the largest and most active one being that of Muqtada Al-Sadr's faction, who've announced their intention to withdraw from the, what were we calling it, "government."

The second set of quotes is a result of the first. You want to expel Blackwater? You and which army? The American one whose soldiers have been taking orders from Blackwater employees? The "New Iraqi Army?" Good luck. It collapsed in the first assault on Fallujah, despite the fact that it was the Americans, with an overwhelming advantage, who were doing the bulk of the fighting, and in early 2005, only one of its 90 battalions had any mobility or heavy weaponry to speak of.

Blackwater isn't a security firm any more than Iraqi's recruited to fight for the US can be called an "Iraqi army." We aren't talking about mall guards here. The reason they are being asked to leave is a series of murders of Iraqis by heavily-armed Blackwater personnel, famous for their rampaging armoured vehicles and guns-blazing approach to rush hour traffic.

What never ceases to amaze me is the number of people who still cling to the notion that the American intention is to spread democracy. It is like a religious faith whose prophets sit in the White House, and whose priests are their intellectual apologists in academia and the media. Even the articles I've quoted here both contain some sort of assumption that the invasion was done for the sake of democracy, while the insurgents are fighting because they hate representative government. An examination of the region, however, makes it obvious that Uncle Sam hates democracy more than anyone else. His friends and enablers are Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, and the smaller oily Arab despotisms - each chock-full of American military bases, American military aid dollars, or both. The more democratic a Middle Eastern country was, the less likely it was to provide assistance with the invasion of Iraq.

And yet, even those opponents of the Bush administration still speak under the assumption that the intention was so noble, and all that was wrong was the plan. Why would the US government want to spread "democracy," against all its own interests, in the Middle East? The only evidence we have for that is that Bush said so. And we know that he never lies.

And speaking of American enemies who are shouldering the burden of the humanitarian crisis that the Americans themselves created, this is a sorrowful post from Baghdad burning, the blog of an Iraqi woman who, if you haven't been following, has be agonizing with the decision of whether or not to leave the country for Syria. While the blood and oil-soaked self-appointed royal families of the Arab world had no trouble stomaching the Iraq war, they're refusing to allow Iraqi refugess on their soil, leaving the last Baathist dictatorship and Arab foe of the Americans to pick up the pieces.

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