We don’t get it. We really don’t….
The government we essentially installed chose Iran as an ally and business partner. The permanent bases we built to the tune of billions of dollars are now largely looted ghost towns. The reconstruction of the country that we promoted proved worse than farcical, as former State Department official Peter Van Buren, author of the already classic book We Meant Well: How I Helped Lose the Battle for the Hearts and Minds of the Iraqi People, reminds us. And an outfit proudly carrying the al-Qaeda brand name, which did not exist in Iraq before our invasion, is now thriving in a still destabilized country… >continue<
- Engelhardt introducing Van Buren’s "Mission Unaccomplished" wherein we witness an account of a Potemkin Chicken Factory.
The task of nation building, once we were past the tragic point of no return, was never seriously engaged. The Republicans had long become accustomed to using that phrase, “nation building”, as a sneer term in anti-Clinton polemics. Can we really be surprised by the irony that a faith in spontaneous goodness jumping out of a market hat should run aground upon the shoals of history?
Juan Cole | Informed Comment »
An important problem with the narrative line of “Zero Dark Thirty,” Kathryn Bigelow’s film about the Central Intelligence Agency’s quest for Usama Bin Laden, is not just that it comes across as pro-torture but that it ignores the elephant in the room: Bad intelligence elicited by torture almost derailed that quest to put down al-Qaeda by diverting most resources to Iraq.
…The film is misleading precisely because it does what the Bush administration did not do. It stays with Afghanistan, Pakistan and al-Qaeda. At one point a CIA official complains that there are no other working groups concentrating on al-Qaeda, that it is just the handful of field officers around the table. But he does not say that the Bush administration ran off to Iraq and closed down the Bin Laden desk at the CIA. Nor do any of the characters admit that bad intelligence, including that gathered by torture, helped send the United States off on the Great Iraq Wild Goose Chase. >continue<
Joost Hiltermann | ICG »
Although Ankara has long supported Iraq’s territorial unity as a barrier against Iranian influence and as a check against secessionist impulses among its own Kurdish population, the government of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has recently begun to shift strategies. Since 2008, it has forged a close economic bond with the KRG by opening its border and encouraging Turkish investments in the Kurdish region, and its relations with Baghdad have deteriorated… >continue<
In a move that almost defies belief, is so brazen and hypocritical many will not believe it no matter how many State Department officials confirm it, the US has been guarding a terrorist training camp inside Iraq with US troops and is planning to relocated them, possibly in a freshly abandoned US military base in Iraq while D.C. lobbyists work feverishly to have them de-listed, armed, and sent to conduct terrorist operations in Iran.
Foreign Policy Magazine has reported in their article, “State Department scrambling to move the MEK — to a former U.S. military base?" fully admits that Mujahedeen e-Khalq (MEK) is a terrorist organization used by Saddam Hussein to attack Iran in the 80’s and was responsible for the death of US military personnel and civilians. Foreign Policy reports that efforts by the Iraqi Army to evict MEK has resulted in armed clashes.
Foreign Policy then reports the United Nations “Assistance Mission in Iraq” (UNAMI) is working with the US State Department to relocate the terrorists within Iraq and possibly at a US military base near Baghdad’s airport. >continue<
The dissolution of Iraq into chaos, perhaps alongside and in sync with Syria, threatens to plunge the Middle East into a humanitarian and political nightmare. If a fear of this fate conjured prudence for the first Bush Administration in its decision not to advance on Baghdad, serious labours for the sake of a viable government in Iraq seemed oddly absent in the minds of the invaders of 2003. This lapse, more than anything else, best underscores the contempt observers felt upon witnessing George W. Bush’s “Mission Accomplished” theatre.
Rather than seriously confront the fears of 1991, the younger Bush went into Iraq stoked with a contempt for nation building. The State Department was marginalized as appointments and duties, ostensibly for the sake of rebuilding Iraq, were made on the basis of loyalty and graft. A government, as in Afghanistan, was allowed to come to be on the basis of religious and ethnic fault lines, motivated seemingly by the dreamy notion that stable democracy is a phenomenon that jumps fully fledged like a rabbit out of history’s magic hat. >continue<