This was entirely predictable
As we sit her looking at the third year of our colonial adventure in Iraq, as the Shia decide they want to run the country and will kill anyone who objects and the Kurds plot their independence, it's time to remind people that this was entirely predictable.
Because it happened to the British in 1920-22. Except they had an Army of Indians to get killed in places like Kut and Basra, so people didn't bitch at the casuality figures.
Kos and I wrote about how this would turn out three years ago this weekend. We were right, not because we were clairvoyant, but because we're literate. There was so much bullshit floating around at the time. About how hated Sadaam was and how the Iraqis were waiting for us.
Oh, they wanted him gone, but not replaced by us.
I don't think I was ever more disappointed to see Josh Marshall swallow the "we can save them" line of horseshit. It just proved he should have studied more than Colonial America (he's a PhD holder in the field from Brown). Because the mark of failure in Iraq was preordained.
I came to this realization on a trip to Barnes and Noble where I found a book on Middle East Armies and the wars they fought. The Iraqis were fighting the Kurds in 1964-65. I'm reading this book and thinking "holy shit, this isn't going to go anything like the way these people think".
What I think turned his head was Ken Pollack's pile of shite "The Threatening Storm". I'm surprised that a trained historian didn't see what a crock of shit it was, but people take things outside their field a lot more seriously than they should at times.
That horrid book lacked everything it needed, like a serious look at Iraqi history and politics and most importantly, what a post-Saddam Iraq would really look like. The Washington insider crowd wanted to believe their brown people would carry the day, even though that was a fantasy. No one was waiting for exiles to save them. They tried to kill Chalabi within days.
The fact was that history shows exiles do not win the day, Garibaldi and Charles DeGaulle were exceptions, because they lead armies against the invader. But who is modern France's national hero?
Jean Moulin. Who was murdered by the Nazis, because he stayed and fought.
So why did anyone think Chalabi, a fat crook of a banker, was going to be greeted as some kind of hero, especially when he waqs talking about selling oil to Israel. That shit sold at cocktail parties for the gullible, but for the Iraqi man in the street, the Sadr family was his heroes. Sure, the Hakims have their cult, and everybody respects Sistani, The Sadrs were the heroes of the Iraqi shia poor. They opposed Sadaam, they were killed by him, Moqtada the last man standing.
So, when picking a leader, would you want a puppet of the CIA, someone who tortured Iraqi Shia POW's, or someone who suffered with you?
But no one wanted to hear it, not the liberal hawks, not the neo-cons, not the chickenhawks. The whole war could only end up giving influence to Iran.
Josh at least admits he made a mistake in his early support of the war. Peter Beinart turned into PNAC's bitch.
But the fact was that as long as someone else was doing the dying, the war was popular. As long as there was a never ending supply of Jessica Lynchs, young, eager for an education and willing to escape small-town America via the Army, the war was alright. But when the neo cons were asked to send their kids, the bullshit flew like hornets from a busted nest.
So what exactly were the flawed assumptions leading to the current disaster which is now Iraq?
1) That the Shia would share power.
If you were 60 percent of a country, had done most of the dying and got little credit for it in the last big war, and were treated like shit, would you share power?
Fuck no. Which is the problem the US is now facing. The Shia have died for the right to run Iraq, no matter what we think. They died in Iran, they died against the US and they died fighting Saddam in 1991. The idea that we're going to convince them to share power is comical.
2) We could build bases in Iraq and keep them.
The British did this and the Iraqis were so pissed, they joined the Nazis in 1941. The minute the British left in 1958, there was a revolution. Foriegn occupied bases are a no-go. Sure, we can hunker down in Taji or Anaconda, but one day the mortars will turn into 122mm shells. Because no Iraqi government can survive an occupying power. Abizaid can say what he wants, but as long as Americans occupy Iraq, they will die in Iraq.
3) The Kurds are our allies
The Kurds want a country. The only problem is that no one else wants them to. Peter Galbraith can say Iraq is three countries all he wants, but that isn't going to happen. They're trying to buy the Turks and the Shia, but they won't succeed, because the Shia want to run all of Iraq, even if they have to kill Kurds and Shia to do so. The Kurds want protection and they expect the US to provide it, even when we have stabbed them in the back in the past.
The sad reality is that we stay in Iraq only because they let us stay and if there is a real civil war, both sides will soon turn on the US, via the Iraqi Army. They say they're loyal, but Saddam had a 12,000 man personal bodyguard for a reason. When they decide we must go, it will be the troops we trained who will deliver the message.
The fact that Iraqis smile in our faces gives little to no indication of their real feelings or intentions. The government dithers because it is really in a holding pattern for the people who will really run the country and there won't be an election involved. The US listened to the exiles who, while remaining safe at home, wanted to make a democracy they could run. Only problem, people resented them for missing eight years of Iranian child human wave attacks. and SCIRI torture sessions in the POW camps. So they couldn't run shit.
The collapse of US forces in Iraq as civil war sweeps the country, or more accurately the great uprising against the occupation to be followed by a secterian civil war, is coming soon. That is also totally predictable.
posted by Steve @ 6:47:00 PM