Beyond the Cusp

June 24, 2014

Where Did Iraq and the Rest of the Middle East Go Wrong?

With the rapid unraveling of Iraq before the rapid murderous advance ISIS is executing through the central Sunni areas and advancing towards Baghdad and the Shiite south leaving slaughtered bodies and a ruined country in their wake has left a number of those who originally supported removing Saddam Hussein when President George W. Bush first proposed it expressing second guesses that perhaps their support was misplaced. Possibly the sole bright spot has been the fact that the Kurdish semiautonomous government intact and thus far mostly avoided and unmolested and that the Kurdish militias even have liberated Kirkuk from the clutches of ISIS after it had been subsumed falling as just another domino falling before the charging forces of Sharia. There have been some who have stuck with their original support of the war in Iraq such as Senators Graham and McCain who are now calling for yet another intervention to save Iraq, or maybe their aim is to try and not lose face and have to explain what was gained by the thousands of American young men and women who died or suffered horrendous injuries with too many having to live with permanent physical and/or psychological handicaps and disabilities or explain why so much treasure, taxpayers’ hard earned monies were invested just to have everything go up in smoke before the assault by ISIS. At least those who supported the original mission in Iraq and are now claiming that the United States is obliged to return to protect any gains which may have been won are being consistent in their positions, something that cannot be said for those who are now making excuses and asking forgiveness for their initial support and once again proving that hindsight is not as blind as the initial vision one initially had at the beginning. Yes, Iraq looks a whole lot different now than it did back when those supporting removing Saddam Hussein as an initial step towards changing the face of the Middle East. So, was the initial theory and concept really such a disaster or did things go awry at some point further down the line and if so, where and what was the point where things went sideways.

 

Let us first try and disassemble the early days and remember some of the initial ideas and concepts which were discussed and the plans which were discussed and proposed when the subject was first debated before the United States and their allies first entered Iraq. The idea was to introduce democracy and a more modern industrial and societal based society into the Middle East replacing the existing clan, tribal and sectarian based society. The thought was by removing Saddam Hussein who was thought to have WMD (weapons of mass destruction) and was known to be supporting terrorism as he was proud of his giving every family of a suicide bomber who detonated themselves within Israel with $25,000 reward recognizing the esteem the sacrifice of their family had garnered. There had been some mention that after liberating Iraq from Saddam Hussein that the next target would necessarily be Iran and the overthrow of the Ayatollahs. It was believed that Iraq and Iran were both causing much of the unrest, terrorism and discord in the Middle East. The ideas promised that by establishing functioning democracies along with introducing a multicultural based society in these two key countries that this would in turn be the first step of a spreading of modernism and Western style society throughout the Middle East and beyond which would make for a safer and more stable society. The one misconception which seemed evident from the start was this transformation would be easily established with minimal prolonged troops stationed in Iraq and Iran and that these concepts would be accepted quickly and without much resistance from the peoples. These ideas flew in the face of all previous evidence much of which we gained after World War II with the deNazification of Germany, the replacing of fascism in Italy and the installation of modern democratic governance replacing the Emperor in Japan. These efforts took somewhat longer than the few years that we were told would be needed to establish similar changes in governance in the Middle East. The United States kept troops in Germany and Italy for decades before being able to reduce the numbers necessary despite the fact that both were Western nations with histories and religious establishments which paralleled the United States and the allied Western powers. Even after that, the United States kept significant numbers of troops in Germany and Italy right on into the new century. In Japan there was a provincial government which was overseen by the United States for a significant number of years and the new Japanese Constitution was mostly written by the commanding American General Douglas MacArthur who also acted as a military governor. The occupation was codenamed Operation Blacklist and continued into early September 1951. There are still sizeable contingents of American troops stationed in Japan to this day. After World War II, in order to establish nonthreatening, effective, democratic governance in the Axis Power nations required decades of intense and invasive monitoring before the warring nations were changed into friendly and allied nations willing to cooperate and work towards supportive and compatible governance which could be trusted sufficiently along with the peoples themselves not to revert to their aggressive recent past. Somehow the brain-trust in the administration of President George W. Bush thought and tried to sell the idea that the transformation of the Middle East could be accomplished in a matter of a couple of years. All one can say looking back is what were they thinking? Maybe a better question would ask if they were actually thinking.

 

Now we can easily observe that everything in Iraq has collapsed in upon itself and the end of what was initially described as the coming of a dream for the Middle East has become a horrifying nightmare. There are reports of indescribable violence, murdering of entire groups who are dumped in mass graves, crucifixions and other horrors almost beyond belief. There was a report that thousands of individuals thought to be Iraqi military troops who had stripped off their uniforms, disposed of their equipment and weapons in place and attempted to flee into the population being gathered and executed wholesale. ISIS has taken possession of large amounts of United States equipment including heavy arms, armored vehicles and large caches of automatic assault weapons some of which are already on their way back to Syria for use there. Iran has sent their elite core units from the al-Quds force to assist and protect their investment which is the al-Malaki government which the United States supported when it was initially elected and there has been some discussion in Washington DC that perhaps the United States should support Iran in fighting and hopefully defeating ISIS. The problem with this concept is why support one horror which desires the downfall and defeat of the United States to defeat another horror which desires the downfall and defeat of the United States. Iran has stated repeatedly their hatred and revulsion of everything concerning the United States and its culture and ISIS has expressed their willingness to murder everything and everyone who does not believe in their exact version of Islam and are so vehement and violently determined to fulfill that promise that even the hierarchy of al-Qaeda has divorced themselves from them. Sometimes when two of your enemies are set on destroying one another, the best path is to permit them their conflict and watch and only making a move when the entirety of the violence has been resolved and then, if any action is truly necessary, and only then do you offer to provide the innocent people of Iraq an alternative. Of course if they show even the slightest hesitation then the offer must be withdrawn as such doubt signifies a people not yet tired with the horrors which currently are plaguing much of the Middle East and especially Iraq and until they are done with the insanity there is nothing the United States or anybody else can offer. The mistake was made when the plans for transforming the Middle East was presented as a quick and easy fix. The mistake was compounded when the transformation which was voted into the White House was the intention to transform the United States which changed the direction and complete ideas of who were friend and who were foe in the Middle East leading to the removal of American influence in much of the Middle East and where the influence remained, it was now contrary to all previous efforts over the last three or more decades. The Middle East is going to need to sort itself out without any interference from the United States or Europe and that may prove to be a blessing and an end to the curse of always having efforts turn into disasters as soon as one turns their attention aside for even an instant. The one coming horrific threat out of the Middle East is something which is an established reality that has simply not been announced but has been perceived followed by conscious dissidence allowing for the Western nations to pretend that their nuclear negotiations with Iran are actually meaningful and have the potential to prevent Iran from manufacturing nuclear weapons, something long accomplished and already an established fact. But why should the negotiations with Iran be founded in something any closer to reality than any of the Middle East policy of the United States at any time in this new century?

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

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