Thursday, June 19, 2014

Why You Should Put Quotation Marks around "Iraq" for Dummies (this includes you, W)

Obama is being blamed by the Republicans for losing "Iraq". They're the ones  who insisted on invading "Iraq" in 2003 with no basis and without paying the slightest bit of attention to what "Iraq" was and what would happen after the first days of "shock and awe." Not only was there no Plan A, there was no Plan B.  So they got rid of Saddam Hussein, banned his supporters from the new "government," and handed "Iraq" over to Shia Muslims and the bastion of Shia Islam, Iran.

The idea--propagated most recently by the GOP's leading college dropout and draft dodger, Dick Cheney--that Iraq was "won" by the Americans after the surge is so ridiculous that it should not have to be rebutted. 

Here's what you need to know. It's a little more complicated than this, but this is post-doctorate scholarship compared to the bilge that W and Co. had the US swallow.

1."Iraq" was created after World War I by the British and the French from the remnants of the Ottoman Empire (France got "Syria" and Britain got "Iraq"). Borders were drawn arbitrarily and without any recognition of who was located within the borders of "Iraq" or what would be the consequences of drawing the lines.

2. "Iraq" is not and never has been a nation-state. There is not and never has been any nationalistic loyalty or dedication to a unified state. There is no and never has been any self-identification as "Iraqis" by any of the three major population groups. 

3. "Iraq" is composed of three principal groups. According to the CIAMuslims make up about 75% of "Iraqis," of whom about 2/3 are Shia and the remainder Sunni. About 20% (all in the North) are Kurdish. The remainder are Turkoman, Assyrian, Christians, etc. 

4. The Shia hate the Sunnis, the Sunni hate the Shia, and neither group get along with the Kurds, who are massed in the north. Yes, Shia and Sunni are fellow Muslims. But their split goes back to the death of Mohammed. By God, that's over 500 years before the Magna Carta.

Iran is a Shia nation. Anyone with half a noodle understood that by our getting rid of Saddam, who was a Sunni, the main gainers would be the Shia within Iraq, and that, thereafter, the Shia, having been kept down by Saddam (and by his predecessor Sunni rulers), would ally with our enemy, Iran, and put their boot on the Sunnis' neck. And that the only real hope was a decentralized Iraq with each region consisting of and governed by one of the three main groups. (That's what's happened with the Kurds.)

Here's what Obama did wrong: instead of exposing the US to the truth--that the invasion of Iraq was stupid, stupid, stupid, and that unless the American people wanted to be exposed to the never-ending tribal strife within "Iraq," the only sensible thing to do would be to exit, stage left, and let "the market" take over--he mumbled meaningless bromides, expressed his "support for the troops," and crossed his fingers, all to avoid crossing the right wing. (Has Bob Shrum been hiding in the Rose Garden all these years?)  True, the American electorate hate to face up to the fact that sometimes there are no good choices. American "exceptionalism" creates a false sense that we never have to make choices if we don't like either option. Obama has lacked the guts to tell people the truth. Just like every other politician. Now it's his war. What a dummy.

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