Washington’s strategy in Iraq is in shambles, but not just because America’s spanker-in-chief is really a wimp at heart. The problem is far more generic. To wit, the geographic territory of Iraq is not a nation; it is an arbitrary series of lines on a map drawn 100 years ago by dandies in the foreign offices of two fading empires (the British and the French) – – which lines encircled numerous tribes, ethnicities and religious confessions that had no interest in sharing a common statehood.
In the subsequent century, the warring peoples corralled within the Sykes-Picot boundaries were ram-rodded into a tenuous co-existence by a series of brutal monarchs, generals and dictators, backed up by British and American occupiers. But then the neo-con geniuses in the George W. Bush Administration hung the last dictator and the poll readers in the Obama White House had the good sense to adhere to their campaign pledge and bug out.
They left behind $25 billion in military training and state-of-the-art warfare equipment, but neither a dictator nor a nation. Indeed, under the latter heading they had endeavored to build a nation where there had been none, but ended up liquidating the machinery – – the Republican Guards and the Baathist political party – that in the most recent era had enforced co-existence with machine guns and poison gas canisters.
Foolishly claiming America’s job was done at the end of 2011 when the last GIs boarded transports out of Bagdad, Barrack Obama was actually opening the gates of hell without a clue as to the furies that would soon come swarming through. Well, they are all here now with blood soaked hands grasping their weapons and agitated tongues issuing the spittle of revenge and historic enmities.
This post was published at David Stockmans Contra Corner on September 2, 2014.