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Tuesday, 17 June 2014 07:14

The Iraq War Was Launched to Own the Country, Not to Liberate It

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anarmyAn Army of occupation, not liberation. (Photo: US Army)

You can start with the profoundly tragic irony that the Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld Iraq War of 2003 created a terrorist threat instead of ending one. That point was made yesterday in a BuzzFlash commentary by Steve Jonas, "Real Goal of Iraq War in 2003: Oil and Inciting Terrorism to Create Permanent Conflict.""Real Goal of Iraq War in 2003: Oil and Inciting Terrorism to Create Permanent Conflict."

The devastating implications of how the invasion of Iraq ignited an al Qaeda offshoot uprising are also emphasized by Peter Bergen, CNN's security analyst:

From where did ISIS spring? One of George W. Bush's most toxic legacies is the introduction of al Qaeda into Iraq, which is the ISIS mother ship.

If this wasn't so tragic it would be supremely ironic, because before the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, top Bush officials were insisting that there was an al Qaeda-Iraq axis of evil. Their claims that Saddam Hussein's men were training members of al Qaeda how to make weapons of mass destruction seemed to be one of the most compelling rationales for the impending war. After the fall of Hussein's regime, no documents were unearthed in Iraq proving the Hussein-al Qaeda axis despite the fact that, like other totalitarian regimes, Hussein's government kept massive and meticulous records

The U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency had by 2006 translated 34 million pages of documents from Hussein's Iraq and found there was nothing to substantiate a "partnership" between Hussein and al Qaeda.

Two years later the Pentagon's own internal think tank, the Institute for Defense Analyses, concluded after examining 600,000 Hussein-era documents and several thousand hours of his regime's audio- and videotapes that there was no "smoking gun (i.e. direct connection between Hussein's Iraq and al Qaeda.)"

When Sen. Lindsey Graham (R - SC) argues that the US needs to recommence warfare in Iraq because another 9/11 might occur, he is one of the senators who bears the responsibility for this hypothetical occurrence, given that he was a captain of the cheerleading squad for the Iraq War when it was launched on the basis of lies.

In a revealing 2007 Atlantic interview with former Secretary of State Colin Powell (he of the infamous mendacious UN speech warning of the horrors of Saddam Hussein's virtually nonexistent chemical warfare capabilities), David Samuels asked:

You were famously quoted as saying “if you break it, you own it” about the consequences of an American invasion of Iraq. So do we own it? And, as a practical matter, is it possible for the United States to declare at this late date that we don’t take part in other people’s Civil Wars, and to withdraw our troops?

To which Powell replied, tacitly admitting that the cynical narrative of bringing democracy to Iraq was a cover story:

The famous expression, if you break it you own it—which is not a Pottery Barn expression, by the way—was a simple statement of the fact that when you take out a regime and you bring down a government, you become the government. 

In what fashion other than ownership of the nation can the invasion be considered a success, as Steve Jonas argues, when the launching of the war against Iraq produced the very threats that it was supposed to eliminate - threats that did not exist at the time in 2003?

In the period when European colonization, about 200-400 years ago, reached its zenith, it was accepted - in the name of advancing "civilization" -  that the non-white conquered populations could be killed off in massacres and enslaved, and that their lands could be seized. By the 21st Century, it became more politically correct to accomplish the goals of expanding empire and meeting its resource needs by seizing control of nations through puppet governments in the name of "liberating" populations and embedding "democracy." Of course, liberation and democracy as applied to nations such as Iraq - which are in the geopolitical center of a region that is literally crucial to fueling US empire - are euphemisms for modern colonial ownership through military power and financial pressure through organizations such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.

One of the practical obstacles to empire in Iraq, all along, is that it is a nation state that is similar to the former Yugoslavia in many ways.  It's possible that only a tyrannical leader could hold together its diverse factions, most notably Sunnis, Shi'ites and Kurds. Once the US invaded, the embers of a full scale civil war began to glow red hot and eventually broke out into a raging firestorm.

As other commentators have pointed out, al Qaeda (now represented by its offshoot ISIS in Iraq) was considered a threat by Saddam Hussein. With the power vaccum opened up by the US overthrow of Hussein, the groups labeled as terrorists started amassing in Iraq in the absence of a centralized government outside of the US military.  To own a nation in such chaos, one torn apart by a civil war that broke out and festered after the US invasion, would - as the European colonizers discovered in the 1600s and 1700s - require an occupying army for the duration of colonization.

This is what the neocon advocates of massive US military intervention advocate. They believe that the US owns Iraq and that, therefore, we should battle for it as if it were a US state.

European nations (like the Roman Empire) found out the limits of the overextension of military forces during the twilight of armed colonization - and eventually were defeated by their colonies or withdrew their forces due to political pressure and the financial constraint of supporting armies stationed at such great distances. 

If there is another 9/11, as Graham forecasts, it is because of the false narrative and war crimes that he and others promoted at the behest of the Bush administration. The terrorist threat did not exist in Iraq until Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld decided to try to own it - and in doing so, broke it.

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