On June 15th, the NYT lead story on Iraq began this way:
As President Obama weighs airstrikes against marauding militants in Iraq, he has concluded that any American military action must be conditioned on a political plan to try to heal Iraq’s sectarian rifts, a senior administration official said on Sunday.
While Mr. Obama has ordered unmanned surveillance flights over Iraq to gather intelligence for possible strikes on militant positions, the official said, the White House’s emphasis, when Mr. Obama returns to Washington on Monday from a weekend in Southern California, will be on prodding Iraq’s leaders to form a new national unity government.
The United States, this official said, has asked Iraq’s prime minister, Nuri Kamal al-Maliki, a Shiite, to work with the Kurds, to seek to persuade the disaffected Sunni minority that the next government will be an “ally not an adversary” and to overhaul Iraq’s routed army. All three groups must be adequately represented in Baghdad, he said.
Obama, in other words, is trying to persuade the people who he is planning to bomb, the Sunni jihadists of ISIL, that they should accept the status of “ally not … adversary” and not violently seek to overthrow the al-Maliki Shiite government … by bombing them if they do not operate non-violently.
How do you get someone – in this case the Sunnis – to cooperate rather than fight when they have been systematically persecuted by the Shiite al-Maliki regime? How do you expect the Sunnis to agree to participate in a “national unity government” if they are being bombed by those who they are supposed to come together in unity with?
I am sure that after Obama’s prior spectacularly unsuccessful efforts at getting al-Maliki to embrace, rather than exclude Sunnis, the caliphate dreams-driven ISIL (aka ISIS) will have faith that Obama can do what he has previously been unable to do.
The US government is caught between Iraq and a hard place. The sectarian violence that has escalated dramatically, with the ISIL taking Mosul, Iraq’s second-largest city, and now setting its sights on Baghdad, was both provoked and spectacularly intensified by the US invasion and occupation.
US imperialist domination produces its mirror opposite in jihad.
US efforts to confer legitimacy upon its puppet regimes such as al-Maliki in Iraq and Karzai in Afghanistan are so laughable they would make great satirical pieces on Saturday Night Live if they did not exist in real life. Those of us in the US are supposed to take this all deadly seriously, however, in the belief that a) our political leaders are doing the legal and moral thing by twice invading a sovereign nation that did not threaten and had not attacked us (thus committing the supreme international war crime), b) that airstrikes will bring peace and tranquility to a region that the US has been destroying by its very presence, and c) that the sectarian divisions and violence intensified by the Christian led, foreign power infidels can be healed by injunctions from said infidels.
In my last article on this matter I ended by pointing to the feet of clay that the US empire is displaying before the world. Here is a grand mess created by our grand leaders who pontificate in expensive suits about peace and cooperation while they move aircraft carriers into place to launch death from above.
Even on their own publicly stated terms, their ambitions of bringing “democracy” and “liberty” and “tranquility” to a region are spectacular failures because they are operating at counter-purposes. You cannot give people rights if you do not really want them to actually exercise those rights. You cannot give people rights in the first place because rights cannot be conferred, they have to be won by those who are struggling for those rights. You cannot preach peace if everything you do is wage violent warfare and employ barbaric techniques such as kidnapping, torture, anti-personnel weapons that kill indiscriminately, and assassination by drones and by Special Ops teams. You cannot win “hearts and minds” of people who you think nothing of running over with your armored personnel carriers and who you ridicule as sub-human.
The chickens are coming home to roost: the results of Bush, Clinton, Bush, and Obama’s plans to impose Pax Americana by violent means cannot do anything but make things extraordinarily worse. This is how empires operate and this is why empires do not last forever. They go against the basic human need to be regarded with dignity and autonomy. It is not merely a matter of our government’s leaders stopping their hypocrisy of words and deeds. They are stuck and unable to extricate themselves from this nightmare of their own creation. You cannot exploit others and deprive them of basic human rights without forcing them to submit to this treatment with vile threats and overt violence and you cannot carry this out without shamelessly lying about what you’re doing and why you’re doing it.
It’s like a vampire who wakes up (since it’s a vampire it has to be waking up during the day) having a nightmare that it’s turning people into vampires by killing them and drinking their blood. The vampire breaks out into a cold sweat and is horrified at the thought until he realizes that he is, in fact, a vamire and that vampires drink people’s blood. It’s not a nightmare at all. It’s a dream about what is real. The vampire then goes back to peaceful sleep, only to be woken by a riotous crowd outside his castle coming to drive a stake through his heart because he has been terrifying and victimizing the village for so long.
About the author: Dennis Loo is Professor of Sociology at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona. He is a Harvard honors graduate in Government and received his Ph.D. from the University of California, Santa Cruz. He is the author of “Globalization and the Demolition of Society” and Co-Editor/Author of “Impeach the President: the Case Against Bush and Cheney.” Website: Dr. Dennis Loo