Iraq: “Diplomatic Solutions” and Brute Violence
By Dennis Loo (6/16/14)
In today’s NYT, the lead story on Iraq begins this way:
As President Obama weighs airstrikes against marauding militants in Iraq, he has concluded that any American military action must be conditioned on a political plan to try to heal Iraq’s sectarian rifts, a senior administration official said on Sunday.
While Mr. Obama has ordered unmanned surveillance flights over Iraq to gather intelligence for possible strikes on militant positions, the official said, the White House’s emphasis, when Mr. Obama returns to Washington on Monday from a weekend in Southern California, will be on prodding Iraq’s leaders to form a new national unity government.
The United States, this official said, has asked Iraq’s prime minister, Nuri Kamal al-Maliki, a Shiite, to work with the Kurds, to seek to persuade the disaffected Sunni minority that the next government will be an “ally not an adversary” and to overhaul Iraq’s routed army. All three groups must be adequately represented in Baghdad, he said.
Obama, in other words, is trying to persuade the people who he is planning to bomb, the Sunni jihadists of ISIL, that they should accept the status of “ally not … adversary” and not violently seek to overthrow the al-Maliki Shiite government … by bombing them if they do not operate non-violently.
How do you get someone - in this case the Sunnis - to cooperate rather than fight when they have been systematically persecuted by the Shiite al-Maliki regime? How do you expect the Sunnis to agree to participate in a "national unity government" if they are being bombed by those who they are supposed to come together in unity with?
I am sure that after Obama’s prior spectacularly unsuccessful efforts at getting al-Maliki to embrace, rather than exclude Sunnis, the caliphate dreams driven ISIL (aka ISIS) will have faith that Obama can do what he has previously been unable to do.
The US government is caught between Iraq and a hard place. The sectarian violence that has escalated dramatically, with the ISIL taking Mosul, Iraq’s second-largest city, and now setting its sights on Baghdad, was both provoked and spectacularly intensified by the US invasion and occupation.
US imperialist domination produces its mirror opposite in jihad.
US efforts to confer legitimacy upon its puppet regimes such as al-Maliki in Iraq and Karzai in Afghanistan are so laughable they would make great satirical pieces on Saturday Night Live if they did not exist in real life. Those of us in the US are supposed to take this all deadly seriously, however, in the belief that a) our political leaders are doing the legal and moral thing by twice invading a sovereign nation that did not threaten and had not attacked us (thus committing the supreme international war crime), b) that airstrikes will bring peace and tranquility to a region that the US has been destroying by its very presence, and c) that the sectarian divisions and violence intensified by the Christian led, foreign power infidels can be healed by injunctions from said infidels.
In my last article on this matter I ended by pointing to the feet of clay that the US empire is displaying before the world. Here is a grand mess created by our grand leaders who pontificate in expensive suits about peace and cooperation while they move aircraft carriers into place to launch death from above.
Even on their own publicly stated terms, their ambitions of bringing “democracy” and “liberty” and “tranquility” to a region are spectacular failures because they are operating at counter-purposes. You cannot give people rights if you do not really want them to actually exercise those rights. You cannot give people rights in the first place because rights cannot be conferred, they have to be won by those who are struggling for those rights. You cannot preach peace if everything you do is wage violent warfare and employ barbaric techniques such as kidnapping, torture, anti-personnel weapons that kill indiscriminately, and assassination by drones and by Special Ops teams. You cannot win “hearts and minds” of people who you think nothing of running over with your armored personnel carriers and who you ridicule as sub-human.
The chickens are coming home to roost: the results of Bush, Clinton, Bush, and Obama’s plans to impose Pax Americana by violent means cannot do anything but make things extraordinarily worse. This is how empires operate and this is why empires do not last forever. They go against the basic human need to be regarded with dignity and autonomy. It is not merely a matter of our government's leaders stopping their hypocrisy of words and deeds. They are stuck and unable to extricate themselves from this nightmare of their own creation. You cannot exploit others and deprive them of basic human rights without forcing them to submit to this treatment with vile threats and overt violence and you cannot carry this out without shamelessly lying about what you're doing and why you're doing it.
It's like a vampire who wakes up (since it's a vampire it has to be waking up during the day) having a nightmare that it's turning people into vampires by killing them and drinking their blood. The vampire breaks out into a cold sweat and is horrified at the thought until he realizes that he is, in fact, a vamire and that vampires drink people's blood. It's not a nightmare at all. It's a dream about what is real. The vampire then goes back to peaceful sleep, only to be woken by a riotous crowd outside his castle coming to drive a stake through his heart because he has been terrifying and victimizing the village for so long.
This site aims to accomplish two related goals. First, it complements Dennis Loo's book Globalization and the Demolition of Society so that people reading the book can get more deeply into it. (See navigation bar above, labeled "GDS Book Annotations"). We believe that his book is a landmark, providing a solid foundation for politics of a new path. Taking such a path is critical to humanity and the planet's future. As his book's dust jacket states:
[F]ree market fundamentalism - also known as neoliberalism - makes us not more secure or prosperous: it tears the social fabric and undermines security, leading inevitably to disasters on the individual, regional, and global levels.
Neoliberalism is based on the mantra that market forces should run everything. It aims to eliminate job and income security, the social safety net (including welfare and other social guarantees), unions, pensions, public services, and the governmental regulation of corporations. It consequently undermines the basis for people to voluntarily cooperate with authority as almost everyone is increasingly left by themselves to face gargantuan private interests, with governmental and corporate authority ever more indifferent to the public’s welfare.
Those in charge of our collective fates in government and business personify a heartless system based on profit and plunder. They have been relentlessly instituting profoundly immoral and unjust policies even while they insist that they are doing the opposite. We, on the other hand, stand for and are fighting for a radically different system and set of values than this.
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Defeating the empire is not something that occurs only on the literal battlefield. It is also something that is determined throughout the continuum of battles over many issues, including: ideas; philosophy; forms of organization and leadership in economy, politics, and other realms; ways of arguing; ways of responding to and respecting empirical data; interest in truth as opposed to expedience; how people and the environment should be treated; the nature of relations among people (e.g., between women and men, different races and ethnicities, rich and poor countries, etc.); ways of responding to criticism and ideas that are not your own; ways of handling one’s own errors and those of others; and more, all the way up through how warfare is carried out. The contrast between the methods and goals of the neoliberals and those of us who seek an entirely different world is stark. (Globalization and the Demolition of Society, Pp. 326-7)