July 22, 2006

The Death of a Nation: "It's All Over"

I recently offered some excerpts from Robert Dreyfuss's important book, Devil's Game: How the United States Helped Unleash Fundamentalist Islam, and I emphasized again how Dreyfuss's theme demonstrates the futility and immense destructiveness of aggressive foreign interventionism.

Here is Dreyfuss on Iraq:
Iraq is engaged in a full-fledged civil war. For those remaining defenders of the U.S. occupation of Iraq, who argue that the United States needs to stay put in order to prevent civil war, it’s too late. It’s here, in all of its brutality and ugliness.

The violence is not only engulfing Baghdad—home to approximately one-fifth of Iraq’s population—but Basra, Iraq’s second city and its only port. ...

What is unfolding in Iraq is a staggering tragedy. An entire nation is dying, right in front of us. And the worst part of it is: It may be too late to do anything to stop it.

The toll among ordinary Iraqis is immeasurable. Iraqis are dying in ones and twos, in a wave of rampant murders, kidnappings, and assassinations throughout the country. They are dying in fives and tens, through roadside bombs, car bombs, and sectarian violence. And they are dying in large numbers, in scores, as organized armies carry out atrocity after atrocity in brazen, public attacks.


What’s shocking—especially if you’ve been paying more attention to the destruction of Lebanon by the Israeli armed forces and missed it—is that things in Iraq ha[ve] gotten qualitatively worse in July. In June, Iraqis died at the rate of nearly 1,000 per week. In July, we can only speculate—but it’s not impossible that the toll is at least twice that, 2,000 per week. The word genocide comes to mind.


The blame for this carnage must be laid squarely at the feet of George W. Bush. The U.S. invasion of Iraq was ordered against the advice of the CIA, the State Department and most U.S. military officers, and in defiance of the United Nations, America’s allies, and the Arab world. The United States attacked and destroyed a nation that had never attacked the United States, which had no weapons of mass destruction and which had no connection to al-Qaida.
Here is a story from Baghdad, dated yesterday:
BAGHDAD, July 21 (Reuters) - Iraqi leaders have all but given up on holding the country together and, just two months after forming a national unity government, talk in private of "black days" of civil war ahead.

Signalling a dramatic abandonment of the U.S.-backed project for Iraq, there is even talk among them of pre-empting the worst bloodshed by agreeing to an east-west division of Baghdad into Shi'ite and Sunni Muslim zones, senior officials told Reuters.

Tens of thousands have already fled homes on either side.

"Iraq as a political project is finished," one senior government official said -- anonymously because the coalition under Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki remains committed in public to the U.S.-sponsored constitution that preserves Iraq's unity.

One highly placed source even spoke of busying himself on government projects, despite a sense of their futility, only as a way to fight his growing depression over his nation's future.

"The parties have moved to Plan B," the senior official said, saying Sunni, ethnic Kurdish and majority Shi'ite blocs were looking at ways to divide power and resources and to solve the conundrum of Baghdad's mixed population of seven million.

"There is serious talk of Baghdad being divided into east and west," he said. "We are extremely worried."


Maliki meets Prime Minister Tony Blair in London on Monday before seeing Bush at the White House on Tuesday. Both leaders, penalised in polls since the 2003 invasion, will expect him to tell U.S. and British voters of his hopes for a new Iraq.

He may focus on Saturday's meeting of the Reconciliation Commission, expected to feature loud public calls for unity.

In private, however, one of his top officials confided earnestly: "To be honest, it's all over. I'm just still doing this job because it's the only way to fight my depression."
Get. Out. Now.

Also see: The Death of a City, and the Destruction of a Country.