Thursday, May 10, 2007

Patrick Cockburn Reviews the Iraq Disaster

TomDispatch - Tomgram: Patrick Cockburn, Iraq Dismantled:
There was a central lesson of four years of war which Bush and Tony Blair never seemed to take on board, though it was obvious to anybody living in Iraq: the occupation was unpopular and becoming more so by the day....

It is this lack of political support that has so far doomed all U.S. political and military actions in Iraq. It makes the country very different from Afghanistan where foreign troops are far more welcome. Opinion polls consistently show this trend. A comprehensive Iraqi survey has been conducted by ABC News, USAToday, the BBC, and ARD annually over the last three years. Its findings illuminate the most important trends in Iraqi politics. They show that, by March 2007, no less than 78% of Iraqis opposed the presence of U.S. forces, compared to 65% in November 2005 and 51% in February 2004. In the latter year, only 17% of the population thought that violence against U.S. forces was acceptable, while by 2007 the figure had risen to 51%. This pool of people sympathetic to Sunni insurgents and Shia militias was so large as to make it difficult to control and impossible to eliminate them....

Again and again, assassinations and bombs showed that the Iraqi army and police were thoroughly infiltrated by militants from all sides.... Some American soldiers see that the problem is not about a few infiltrators. "Any Iraqi officer who hasn't been assassinated or targeted for assassination is giving information or support to the insurgents," one US marine was quoted as saying. "Any Iraqi officer who isn't in bed with the insurgents is already dead."

Time to give up, Cheney. Your attempt to seize by force Middle East oil reserves has failed.

The nightmare for Washington was to find that it had conquered Iraq only to install black-turbaned clerics in power in Baghdad, as they already were in Tehran. At first, the U.S. tried to postpone elections, claiming that a census had to be held. It was only on the insistence of the Shia Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani that two elections were held in 2005, in which the Shia religious parties triumphed.

A point often overlooked: the great proponent of 'democracy' held elections in Iraq only when forced to by indigenous clerical forces.

The poll cited above showed that by Spring 2007 only 34% of Iraqis thought their country was being run by their own government; 59% believed the U.S. was in control. The Iraqi government had been robbed of legitimacy in the eyes of its own people.

Good god now, we're not really serious about democracy. As Chomsky has said, its hard to understand "how anybody can talk about democracy promotion by the United States with a straight face." That's the power of propaganda. 'Democracy' is ritually incanted to such an extent that for the unwary it is literally a form of brainwashing, and so it can come as a surprise that the promotion of democracy in reality is not actually done, rather the opposite.

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