a war goes badly wrong and its justifications are shown to be
lies, to insist that a "democratic" Iraq is visible on the horizon
and that "we must stay the course" becomes a total fantasy. What
is to be done?
the US a group of Foggy Bottom elders was wheeled in to prepare
a report. This admitted what the whole world (Downing Street excepted)
already knew: the occupation is a disaster and the situation gets
more hellish every day. After US citizens voted accordingly in
the mid-term elections, the White House sacrificed the Pentagon
warlord, Donald Rumsfeld.
warlord of Downing Street, however, is still at large, zombie-like
in his denials that anything serious is wrong in Baghdad or Kabul.
Everything, for him, can still be remedied by a dose of humanitarian
medicine (a poison so powerful and audacious that no resistance
is possible). His desperate attempts to play the statesman have
made him a laughing stock in friendly Arab capitals and Baghdad's
Green Zone. Iraq is the umbilical cord that ties him to his fate.
a war goes badly wrong and
its justifications are shown to be lies,
to insist that a "democratic" Iraq
is visible on the horizon and that
"we must stay the course"
becomes a total fantasy.
the old men in Washington recognise the scale of the disaster.
Their descriptions are strong, their prescriptions weak and pathetic:
"We agree with the goal of US policy in Iraq, as stated by the
president: an Iraq that can govern itself, sustain itself and
defend itself." Elsewhere they recommend a deal with Tehran and
Damascus to preserve post-withdrawal stability, implying that
Baghdad can never be independent again.
It was left to a military realist, Lieutenant-General William
Odom, to demand a complete withdrawal in the next few months,
a view backed by Iraqis (Shia and Sunni) in successive polls.
The occupation, Kofi Annan informs us, has created a much worse
situation than under Saddam.
different it was in the heady days that followed the capture of
Baghdad. Two lines of argument emerged in the victorious camp.
The Pentagon wanted a quick deal with Saddam's generals to establish
a new regime so that US and subsidiary troops could withdraw to
bases in northern Iraq and Kuwait to police the outcome. The state
department and its Downing Street auxiliary wanted the ruthless
application of "hard power" and a long occupation to establish
a new Iraq as a model of US "soft power" for the entire region.
occupation, Kofi Annan
informs us, has created a
much worse situation than
was never a serious option. It is the unconditional US support
for Israel that precludes any possibility of soft power in Iraq
or elsewhere. Using Fatah to promote civil conflict in Palestine
is unlikely to improve matters. Even the most pro-US Arab regimes
in the region - Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan and the Gulf states,
which do Washington's bidding - permit virulent denunciations
of western policies in the media to keep their own citizens at
of the scenarios being canvassed in Washington, including by the
Democrats, envisage a total US withdrawal. That is a defeat too
unbearable to contemplate, but the war has already been lost,
together with half a million Iraqi lives. Trying to delay the
defeat (as in Vietnam) by sending in a "surge" of troops is unlikely
is the unconditional US support
for Israel that precludes any possibility
of soft power in Iraq or elsewhere....
Trying to delay the defeat
(as in Vietnam) by sending in
a "surge" of troops is
unlikely to work.
parliament, even more supine than its US equivalent, voted against
any official inquiry (not even a Hutton) on British involvement
in the war, when they knew that a majority in the country was
opposed to a continuation of this conflict.
Blair's ideological zealotry has helped destroy Iraq, revive the
Taliban in Afghanistan, increase the threat of terror in Britain
and introduce repressive laws that were not enforced even in the
second world war. His own wretched party and the opposition have
acquiesced in these repellent measures. Time for a regime change
Tariq Ali's new book, Pirates Of The Caribbean: Axis Of Hope,
is published by Verso. He also wrote Rough Music: Blair,
Bombs, Baghdad, Terror, London (Verso); Street Fighting
Years (new edition) and, with David Barsamian,Speaking of
Empires & Resistance. He can be reached at [email protected]
here to order Tariq Ali books.
Other articles by Tariq Ali:
Venezuela And The Bolivarian Dream
A Bavarian Provocation
A Protracted Colonial War
On The Death Of Pramoedya Ananta Toer
Iraq's Destiny Still Rests Between God, Blood And Oil
A Despised Leader Suffers His First Loss
Pakistan Will Never Forget This Horror
The Logic Of Colonial Rule
A Viler Barbarism
The Price Of Occupation
The New Ultra-Imperialism Of The World
"They Think God Runs The IMF"
Imperial Delusions: "Domocracy Promotion" And Resistance
The New Model Of Imperialism: Saddam On Parade
The Importance Of Hugo Chavez: Why He Crushed The Oligarchs
Getting Away With Murder
The War Is Not Going Well For Bush