Thursday, October 2, 2014

All I need to know about Iraq

Cullen Murphy's 2007 book entitled 'The New Rome - The fall of an empire and the fate of America' includes some challenging observations about the behaviour of Americans in the Iraqi Green Zone after the US-led invasion in 2003.

"Bureaucrats and civilian experts representing scores of government agencies, oblivious to culture or history,  were brought in to create an embryonic version of American government for the Iraqis to adopt as their own.  Americans were enlisted to help draft a new constitution.  They drew up scores of new American-inspired laws to address even the least urgent matters, such as patents and copyrights and other kinds of intellectual property.  They created shadow ministries of agriculture, education, electricity, human rights, oil, trade, youth and sports, and more.  Monday night seminars were held to teach prominent Iraqis the basics of a free-market economy..."

One department, Murphy writes, sought to impose a 15% flat tax - "this in a nation where taxes had neither been levied nor paid."...

Cullen Murphy gives other examples of what is portrayed as a disrespectful subjugation of the Iraqi people.  He warns about the phenomenon of 'blowback' that was likely to arise years hence from the American attempt to "create a preconceived template on an evolving reality".

I wonder whether the Iraqi people will want to maintain the pretense of participation in this western-imposed experiment.  Or will America's empire fracture into autonomous regions and fall like that of the ancient Roman version - as "an imaginative experiment that got a little out of hand". [*]

*  Walter Goffart quote.


Myrtle Blackwood said...

The Australian Prime Minister on TV this morning. Yes, he says, we are committing combat forces to Iraq. It is a military combat action. However, Abbott says it is also a humanitarian mission for the people of Iraq and it is done at the request of the Iraqi government.

He then emphasised "we don't seek to impose a culture on Iraq." The Iraqi people, Abbott says, will be the ones that decide what sort of government they have...etc.

A reporter asked him whether, in the light of what is happening today, whether Australia should have committed its troops to Iraq in the US-led invasion in 2003. Abbott said that he does not wish to revisit history, or look backwards....(words to that effect). Essentially he avoided this question.

"......“They are two very different situations, in 2003 there was a campaign in Iraq against the will of the Iraqi government. What’s happening now is a humanitarian involvement, it is at the request of the Americans with the support of the Iraqi government,”
1st September 2014

There has been no debate in the Australian parliament on this issue of commitment of military combat operations (strike missions, advise and assist missions) inside Iraq.

Myrtle Blackwood said...

"..Rumsfeld's own advisory think tank, the Defense Science Board, took a long look at this issue [of the Iraq invasion in 2003] last year [2004] and concluded that the architects of the Iraq war -- led by Rumsfeld -- lacked necessary knowledge of Iraq and its people, and that they failed to factor in well-known lessons of history.
"It is clear that Americans who waged the war and who have attempted to mold the aftermath have had no clear idea of the framework that has molded the personalities and attitudes of Iraqis," the board declared in a report bearing the official seal of the Department of Defense. "It might help if Americans and their leaders were to show less arrogance and more understanding of themselves and their place in history. Perhaps more than any other people, Americans display a consistent amnesia concerning their own past, as well as the history of those around them."
SUN NOV 13, 2005 AT 01:28 PM PST
Rumsfeld: the Brownie of the Iraq War

Myrtle Blackwood said...

Australian Greens Leader, Christine Milne, said the Australian PM was already talking about the deployment of Australian forces before the Iraqi government had ever been consulted. Tony Abbott was determined to be right there with the US regardless.

The super hornets are already over there and retrospectively doing the paperwork. "There is no strategic plan for Australia..."

There are even worse and just as malicious groups, apart from ISIL, operating in Syria. It's a quagmire says Milne. Australia should join the rest of the world in terms of shutting off the flow of money and weapons to ISIL. Turkey should close its borders to ISIL fighters going across its borders.

We should be looking at what the complications of military strikes are likely to be, says Milne.

Myrtle Blackwood said...

Super hornets are expected to begin airstrikes in the next few days.

Bill Shorten is holding a press conference right now. He said 2 hours ago the Au PM informed him that Australia will begin military action in Iraq. Shorten said Labor is supporting this decision. " the enemy of all of us"...I understand...the security of Iraq often depends on the government of Iraq and the people of Iraq..[However]...Australia does ...have a role to play in the global response... [Shorten doesn't explain why the predicament can't be left for Iraq to tackle on its own.]

Shorten: "We will continue to put the national security of our nation ahead of politics." [He doesn't explain how Australia's national security is threatened.]

6 FA18 hornets will be sent into the skies above Iraq "to help defeat the ISIL menace."

Shorten: "Our Australian troops are risking their lives to .. fight against religious intolerance..prejudice...fight injustice..." Shorten doesn't explain exactly how air strikes over Iraq are going to do this nor the manner in which our access to justice (etc) is threatened.

"There are over a million refugees from this conflict..."

"We see overseas national security above partisan politics..." Shorten doesn't explain how our international national security is threatened.

Myrtle Blackwood said...

Dr Adam Lockyer, and Dr Shanahan (from Lowey Institute) interviewed.

The aim of the military action is described as "to reduce the operational capabilities of ISIL."

"ISIL wants a Sunni vs Shia civil war."

The interviewer states: "We keep hearing that ISIL/ISIS/Islamic State is very strong in Syria."

Shanahan responds: "... it's unlikely that we're going to destroy the ideology behind Islamic State."

Timeframe? Years. (...But politically you can never say 'years' upfront).
ISIS will fracture...but they're not just going to go away. They're going to have allegiances to other political centres...

Islamic state fighters are being paid about $400/month...Like all coalitions, it they are put under pressure of various sorts you can fracture that coalition...