Iraqis are still Iraqis? What was this all about?

0426-02 "If extremists realize "some of the limitations that we have, that's a vulnerability they could use against us," a senior U.S. military intelligence official said. "The fact is that some of these are very politically sensitive targets" thought to be close to the Shiite-dominated Iraqi government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.

The new guidelines are a reflection of rising tensions between the two governments. Iraqi leaders increasingly see the agreement as an opportunity to show their citizens that they are now unequivocally in charge and that their dependence on the U.S. military is minimal and waning. "   WaPo


The US generals do not seem to understand yet that their presence and the presence of our forces are not desired in Iraq.  And this from the Shia dominated government that we "purple fingered" into existence and defended against the  Sunni Arab insurgents that we later brought over to our side and are now gradually abandoning.

Let's see—

They don't want our forces in the country.  They don't want to be "allied" to us an any meaningful way.

They still loathe the Israelis and would never, NEVER accept the idea of the US cooperating with Israel against Iran in any way that invloves their territory or facilities.

They pursue their age old pursuit of private gain at public expense.  Reform?  Sure, "why not?" they would say.

The OIL?  We can buy it at market prices like everyone else.

What did we gain in Iraq?  Tell me.  I am reminded of all the clever, self-serving people who told me six months or a year into this fiasco that whatever had been the narrative leading to the Iraq War, we were "in it now."  All you geniuses who said that, how do you feel about the narrative in Afghanistan?

PS  Oh, I forgot.  We killed some takfiri jihadis.

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35 Responses to Iraqis are still Iraqis? What was this all about?

  1. About transnational cosmopolitan-oligarchic circles using American power to “shape” the New World Order some would argue…???
    And to make the omelette one breaks some eggs say Iraq, then Iran, maybe Syria, Egypt, Sudan. After all, we are “shaping” as Zbig would say…
    Old news though it’s in Wesley Clark’s book:
    “In “A Time to Lead: For Duty, Honor and Country,” published by Palgrave Macmillan last month, the former four-star general recalls two visits to the Pentagon following the terrorist attacks of September 2001. On the first visit, less than two weeks after Sept. 11, he writes, a “senior general” told him, “We’re going to attack Iraq. The decision has basically been made.”
    Six weeks later, Clark returned to Washington to see the same general and inquired whether the plan to strike Iraq was still under consideration. The general’s response was stunning:
    “‘Oh, it’s worse than that,’ he said, holding up a memo on his desk. ‘Here’s the paper from the Office of the Secretary of Defense [then Donald Rumsfeld] outlining the strategy. We’re going to take out seven countries in five years.’ And he named them, starting with Iraq and Syria and ending with Iran.”
    While Clark doesn’t name the other four countries, he has mentioned in televised interviews that the hit list included Lebanon, Libya, Somalia and Sudan. Indeed, he has described this same conversation on a few occasions over the past year, including in a speech at the University of Alabama in October 2006, in an appearance on Amy Goodman’s “Democracy Now” broadcast last March, and most recently in an interview with CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer on “The Situation Room.” On “Democracy Now” he spoke about the meetings and the memo in slightly greater detail, saying that he had made the first Pentagon visit “on or about Sept. 20.”
    I am not sure the Iranians quite “get it” yet…Israeli strike, Iranian retaliation, US followup…
    Suez 1956…remember:
    1. Brit pro-war neoimperial politicians denounce Nasser as a new “Hitler” (oh yes they did)
    2. Brits and French let Israel get out front to help sell the war public relations wise. (“Good guys” going after Hitler and all that). A guy by the name of Shimon Peres was up to his eyeballs in the plot, now wasn’t he?
    3. Ike and Dulles go ballistic…but this is the last time a US president really opposes such shenanigans…
    The Iranians don’t seem to get it…

  2. Steve says:

    “What did we gain in Iraq?”
    Not a damn thing.

  3. Maureen Lang says:

    I am at a loss to say anything we have gained from the war in Iraq, but your accompanying photo surely shows what we have lost. Looking at the blowup of it brought an overwhelming sense not so much of grief, but anger.

  4. Alex_no says:

    I’m glad to see you put this idea that the Iraqis simply don’t want the US; I’ve been saying it for a year now, but I was ridiculed, or told that things are more complicated than that (not by you).
    My view of the politics of Iraq is that Maliki is reassembling a traditional centralist Iraqi state, based on that detestation of the US.
    The US forces have become irrelevant.
    The remaining problem is the Kurds. But even there, the question is turning into the traditional one of Arab Iraq vs the Kurds, as for example under Saddam.

  5. Doris Lessing, that ex-Communist with a long memory, once wrote that America was subject to fevers. She was speaking of the McCarthy era; when she made this observation, 9/11/01 was yet to come.
    I do think our country has been through a seven-year long fever and we are now beginning to come to our senses. The damage done to our own body politic and that of the Iraqis, the Lebanese, the Palestinians and the Afghanis is quite considerable. I fear we still have no idea how much suffering our fever caused others around the world, and how much hatred we have sown for our children to reap.

  6. Homer says:

    PL: “What did we gain in Iraq? Tell me.”
    We gained a disgraceful monument to the horrific attacks of 9/11.
    We gained a mountain of dead bodies, disconnected body parts, etc.
    We gained a huge and ever growing population of severely traumatized souls.
    We gained several hundred billion dollars of debt.
    We gained an enemy that will soon expulse us after having completely drained the Great Satan of `oceans of blood and treasure’.
    You did a heckuva job Bushies!!!

  7. N. M. Salamon says:

    I hope there are some grown-ups in the Administration in case Israel attacks IRan, and tell the Zioniost idiots, that you are on your own. We shed enough blood in ME to last us for a few generations!

  8. Bobo says:

    Gain – About the value of all the pee in China
    Lose- The only individual who seemed to be able to keep Iran in check, as detestable as he was.
    Loss- More American Blood than I care to think of at this moment,as my rage is still boiling.

  9. The OIL? We can buy it at market prices like everyone else.
    I’m no expert on this subject, but I understand that the war has significantly degraded the technical capacity to extract Iraqi oil.
    Which, in turn, would mean that neither we nor anyone else could purchase the amount diminished at any price.

  10. Fred says:

    The article refers to comments by aj. Gen. Daniel P. Bolger, commander of the Baghdad division:
    He said U.S. troops intend to engage in combat operations in urban areas …, with or without help from the Iraqis…. “We’ll do that, preferably partnered.”
    “Maybe something was ‘lost in translation,’ ” I’m sorry the Iraqi politicians lied/dissembled/spun”
    I believe the Constitution is still in English; the general should read it some time before he decides to set US foreign policy. Just where is that yellow cake and the 9-11 connection? Oh, right, those were “American” politicians (Tony Blair’s crew excepted). On a bright note Obama’s stimulus plan is finally going to work – looks like they will soon be a job for a new Major General. If were especially lucky Fox will create another job for a new ‘military analyst’.
    One note on the Post’s reporters, if Emesto and Karen can’t do some simple questioning to find out why ‘American Officials” continue to equate al-Qaeda in Iraq to Sunnis and Shiite ‘extremists’ to Iran then perhaps the Washington Post should just hire the fine reporter Jeff Gannon of Talon News.
    What did we gain in Iraq? 5,000 honored dead and a new generation soon to believe ‘we was robbed’ by those ‘soft on terror’ Democrats.
    Duncan, China has plenty of money (ours) to fix all of Iraq’s oil infrastructure and to pay for long term exclusive export contracts. The market price for oil? There are still plenty of un-regulated hedge funds to manipulate that. Good thing they have all those tax loop holes. (But don’t plan on reading any investigative reports about them in the WAPO.)

  11. Jackie says:

    What a sad, pathetic tale. Too bad it’s all true. To think in ’02 and ’03 when I would attend anti-war rallies, we got the bird.
    I can’t believe Bush, that huge f-u was reelected. Frankly, I don’t think he won in 2000 or 2004. Talk about a Manchurian candidate.

  12. Walter says:

    If the war cost close to $1Trillion, the people/corporations that earned the $1Trillion benefited from this war. I regard this war as a financial boondoggle for a narrow group of defense contractors, oil companies, and other businesses politically connected to the Bush clique.
    I believe it was also a conscious decision to secure access to a HUGE amount of oil. I do not buy the argument that “…The OIL? We can buy it at market prices like everyone else…” this war had as a goal to install a USA-friendly government sitting on top of trillions of $$ of oil.
    I agree that many of the goals will not be met, but the evilness of the original intention and the callous disregard for human life is what offends me.

  13. Grimgrin says:

    Bobo: All the piss in china? Urea fertilizer is worth ~$250 per ton, for a 46% concentration of Urea.
    Assuming 4% Urea concentration as normal for human urine and 1L per person per day, at Urea’s density of 1.43 g/cm3 this gives us a production of roughly 160 thousand short tons.
    So… all the piss in china is worth roughly 38 million dollars. Probably more if you include the value of micronutrients such as potassium and phosphorous that are also found in human urine.
    The point of this fanciful pedantry? To say we’ve gained the value of all the pee in china, is to significantly overstate the gain that has been made by the US as a result of it’s involvement in Iraq.

  14. Patrick Lang says:

    Rubbish about the oil. Some marxist professor taught you to spout such things as a reflex. pl

  15. Regarding urea and fertilizer – look we may still be converting to compost toilets sooner rather than later. Humanity may not be able to pee into its clean drinking water for the foreseeable future. Think about it. It takes petroleum to make artificial fertilizer, plus all kinds of other elements which must be extracted and processed.
    THis costs money. The fertilizer used runs off into the oceans, creating algae blossoms and dead zones.
    Meanwhile, we put great effort and expense into cleaning up our drinking water so that we can use huge quantities of it to flush away our body wastes? and then we treat the effluent, retaining concentrated toxic gunk, and dumping the still dirty water into our rivers and oceans?
    Whether or not the Colonel is right about the oil lasting a long while, clean water is in short supply. We will need all that pee to grow crops, and we won’t want it going into our water supply.
    Just saying. Look at my wacky Oakland neighbor’s pee-pee-ponics project. WIth a tubing system wired up to a home urinal, he turned a load of wood chips into rich dirt within months.
    Sorry to go on about piss, but he started it.

  16. Patrick Lang says:

    I didn’t say that. I said that current prices do not reflect real shortages. pl

  17. Cloned Poster says:

    Why does the Colonel have a blind spot about oil and the US folly in the ME and all places closely located?
    The region around the Caspians is stuffed with oil (and Gas).
    Israel was a Balfour declaration for the Brits. The US stepped in when the Brits lost the run of themselves in Suez (with France btw, nukes to Israel and Iraq at a later timescale).
    I agree that the US are sitting on and trying to control the tinderbox of black gold.
    Problem is, the US Govt is infiltrated by many agents, lots of those agents are black gold merchants.

  18. Grimgrin says:

    It’s never struck me as particularly unreasonable that the Bush administration would want to ensure that the profits from maintaining and developing Iraq’s oilfields would go to American companies. This isn’t the same as saying ‘we invaded to control the oil’, rather that the invasion was an opportunity to shift what were seen as some very lucrative deals towards well connected American firms.
    That may have been the goal, but it’s been, like most of the stated objectives of the Iraq war a rather miserable failure.
    Iraq seems to be in no hurry to let American companies take over running the oil fields, nor do they seem to be in any hurry to provide sweetheart deals for the oil companies. Good for them.
    Lelia: Thanks for providing that link and the additional information. I could go on a fairly long rant about the state of the oceans and what happens when we run out of easily accessible mineral sources of Phosphorous, but that would be driving the thread even further off topic.

  19. LeaNder says:

    I haven’t paid to Helana Cobban the attention she deserves, it seems. Here her take on WaPo’s article, it feels she supports the Colonel from her perspective.
    The more I read from or about the neocons the less convincing I found the “blood for oil” scenario. Oil was only relevant in this context: “Dry out the money sources” and “regime change”.
    But I have read really often sentences like: “‘The Arabs’ sit on oil from sheer dumb luck. Oil in this context is only relevant as an afterthought. It means money and money means power.
    I’ll pick one at radom:
    Does the dumb luck of the Arabs having plopped onto the Earth atop the largest known pools of oil – Allahu Akhbar? – serve to further (over)leverage Arab political power within a world in which the leading populations (in terms of creativity and productivity) are desperate to believe that signed contracts are tantamount to actions; that mere written law is automatically (relatively fairly) enforced law? [bold: my emphasis]
    Didn’t Wolfowitz suggest the Iraqi oil could pay for the whole war? (…?) Strictly I can imagine oil was an issue, a lure for a hesitant, and somehow they did try to get a share of the oil cake for some US companies, no? Only failed But yes, it was secondary, from a neocon point of view. But I am sure “the regime change mindset” would love to get some of the revenues out of “the Arab’s” hand.

  20. Okay here is another take on the benefits from invasion of Iraq? Remember you heard it here first. I know nothing but think that over time some of these “benefits” may be revealed. First, disruption of Iraqi oil supply to the world (Iraq has second largest proven reserves in the world although what is “proven” is more disputed than ever–just ask the Majors?). If you look at it this way been brilliant success for the NOCs (National Oil Companies) and the Majors. Except for a recent dip which probably won’t last the period of time since Iraq invaded is the best time ever for oil profits for all concerned.
    Second, the expansion of DOD and its contractors into becoming the dominant sector of the US economy. I could argue that the Clinton era one real accomplishment was demobilization of troops and industry and its conversion to a peace time economy post-Cold War. Others would differ of course. Since 9/11 the largest growth of DOD and its related industry like VA and DOE in US history as percentage of GDP! An argument could be made that the volunteer army’s including NG actual deployment for warfighting accomplished two major objectives. Destroyed many small business activities run and owned by Reservists and NG members and assisted in decline of small town US economy. Together with the roll-ups like Wal-Mart and Home Depot. The FIRE sector did a nice job of providing cover while the military-industrial-academic complex reoriented the US economy to corporate capitalism and militarism. Hey you get what you pay for.
    Third, we helped drive out of Iraq and semblance of an Iraqi middle class or educated elite that might have actually used the oil asset to promote the welfare of the general population and not the politicians and generals. Fourth, we have trained and provided examples to the military of Iraq so that now when oil does get going they really will know how to fight and not Soviet style as did Saddam Hussein’s legions. Oh! And finally we allowed the Iraqi to demonstrate with the death of Sadaam that might makes right. Secular rule is dead in Iraq for all but the areas held by the Kurds. So this is an additonal benefit.
    Who should worry about all these “benefits”? An neighbor of Iraq that does not have its skills, resources, and other intangible assets! Why remember how the Saudi’s quivered when it looked like Saddam will keep rolling. How will the Saudi’s do this time. And against a potential Shia Iran bolstered by Iraqi assets. And Israel that so desperately tried to ensure that Saddam was knocked off?
    My understand is that for the first time numbers of residents leaving Israel outnumbers new arrivals. Hey the Winds of War? But I am sure there are many other benefits–oh yes just look at honest dead and wounded statistics for vets. And by the way why did we not physically disarm the Iraqis like we did Japan and Germany? In fact I am told that provided many civiilians with AK-47s. I guess this was a benefit? Who will really try and tell the whole story? Thanks again to the FIRE sector for camoflaging the Iraqi withdrawals implications for US future. And yes, going to war is the most important decision a US President can make! Funny how it takes two sides to make a war, or in the case of Iraq perhaps dozens.

  21. Patrick Lang says:

    We did not disarm the Iraqis because there were too many firearms in the hands of ordinary Iraqis to make that a practicable task. Saddam, unlike the German and Japanese governments had systematically armed everyone who would take a gun. He was afraid of Iranian invasion. pl

  22. zanzibar says:

    “He was afraid of Iranian invasion. pl”
    Precisely! That’s exactly what he told US interrogators after his capture and absolutely makes the most sense.
    In fact Bush/Cheney and their neocon “strategists” took out the most natural competitor to Iran.

  23. PL! Really or was it just that no one wanted to take on the example of disarmament of personal weapons! I have been told that after being allowed to turn in weapons there came a time when in both Germany and Japan shoot on sight for those carrying weapons. This was clearly announced and not sure if effective in Germany although certainly worked in the Russian sector. But hey maybe you are right but interesting to see your documentation and the actual statistics of personal weaponary in Iraq as of March 2003!

  24. Patrick Lang says:

    “Documentation?” I will not document events that I have personal knowledge of. The Russian zone? They ran things very differently. My father was an official of the occupation government of the American Zone in Germany. I lived there from 1946-1949. There was absolutely no fear of weapons in the hand of the Germans. There was also no fear of the Germans. They surrendered, unlike the Iraqis in 2003. The Germans abided by the terms of the surrender. As an occupation officer my father was the sponsor of a joint American-German Boy Scout troop of which I was a member. We used to go camping in the Taunus Mountains near Frankfurt am Main. The troop leader was a former Wehrmacht infantry officer. I learned a lot of field craft from him. The German military surrendered or dumped their weapons at the end of the war in 1945. Behind our houses in Bremen (in the Bremen Enclave)my little friends and I found a German infantry company’s weapons; individual, crew served, ammunition, stick grenades, etc. dumped in a little creek. Being army kids we dragged it all out on the bank, inventoried it and then got the MPs to come and take it away. I wish I had kept one of the Walther pistols.
    With regard to Iraq, I was the main DoD person for knowing what they had and was in Iraq a lot in the time of the period of the cooperation between the US and Iraq during the Iran-Iraq War. I know exactly what the situation was. I am a primary source for this. Would you like to interview me? Many have. I have spoken to many veterans of the present Iraq campaign. they have all confirmed to me the saturation of Iraqi society with smal arms. pl

  25. Colonel – I’m sorry, I haven’t been following closely enough on the oil price discussions. I think I concluded that you’re not worried about “Peak Oil.” S’OK. I am an agnostic about the topic.
    Re: pee – I’m not the only one talking about it. Today we were having lunch at a nice BBQ/butcher joint in Benicia, CA, former state Capitol then gritty waterfront town now hoping for tourists. Some fellas at the outdoor table next to us were talking about which jobs would offer most opportunity; they seemed to be in construction and related trades, and one fellow counseled that water treatment systems would get government funding for a long while. “That’s where the opportunities are,” he said.
    I am a writer so I eavesdrop. This same guy later said “have you heard about graywater systems? People are piping their showers, tubs, washing machines and stuff out to water the yard.” I thought hmmmm, it’s not just the wacky hippies anymore. The guys in the trades with the neat goatees and the big, beautifully maintained pickup trucks are talking about graywater.
    You mark my words, compost toilets will be the next big thing.

  26. I do realize that compost toilets and gray water are off topic to this thread. THe anecdotes from post-war Germany are fascinating. Forgive me for wandering off the point. I’m a little obsessed on the subject of water systems. It’s connected to oil I’m sure, and Iraqis are worried about water shortages but yes, indeed, I have strayed from the subject. Sorry.
    In Lebanon people have long believed that Israeli incursions and wars upon the country have always been about trying to secure more water. They planted flags on the Litani in ’06 but couldn’t keep them. Oil makes our industry go but without water we are goners.

  27. J says:

    Everything points to Israel the ‘next time’ that they come with an excuse to invade Lebanon, intend to ‘occupy/control’ the Litani for a ‘permanent’ period. Israel’s water situation is becoming more dire, especially as they steal more land from the Palestinians acre by acre.

  28. BillD says:

    I do not know what we “won” in Iraq but I think I recently saw at least a symbol of what we lost there. I was at an MOPH Chapter meeting last month. While waiting for the meeting to begin a young lady entered the meeting room. Our Sargeant-At-Arms introduced himself and asked her to sign in. He then asked her if she was in the Auxiliary. She very politely told him that she was a new member and a life member at that. I guess I’m getting maudlin in my old age but this saddened me greatly.

  29. confusedponderer says:

    We did not disarm the Iraqis because there were too many firearms in the hands of ordinary Iraqis to make that a practicable task. Saddam, unlike the German and Japanese governments had systematically armed everyone who would take a gun. He was afraid of Iranian invasion. pl

    Saddam arming his people suggests that Saddam the despised tyrant was at least much less concerned about his own people than about the Iranians.
    That should give all those who think that civilian firearms possession (i.e. the NRA mantra on the necessity of ‘a well armed militia’) is an effective safeguard against (a modern, technologically superior and well organised) tyranny some pause. It also invites to think about the extent to which Saddam was in fact popular in Iraq – and/or the extent to which he felt he could handle the opposition (which he couldn’t do on his own either). It speaks of the objective capability and success of Saddam’s armed forces and his secret police against Iraq’s domestic enemies.
    Apparently the two, tyranny and civilian arms ownership, can go with each other.
    To me that brings up the question to which extent civilian gun ownership really yields a ‘leverage for freedom’.
    The Iraqi campaign against the Shia uprising of 1991 in Iraq comes to mind. The Shiites lost. Or think about the Kurds before. Then there is the example of the Sunni resistance to the new Shiite government of Iraq. They, too, lost, and wouldn’t it have been for US help, they’d have lost worse.
    Interesting questions IMO, but I digress.

  30. Brett J says:

    What we (some) gained through Iraq is a few years of clarity regarding overextending ourselves and the tragedy of not thinking through the variables that affect something like this.

  31. LeaNder says:

    I don’t know if this works. Google translation of Schloss Moyland/Castle Moyland. Look at the history, residents and owners.
    In Wikipedia there is even a gap from 1766 to 1990. Here the German version.
    Schloss Moyland hold the Beuys collection of the brothers van der Grinten. They were early friends of Beuys. Beuys of course had his own war story.

  32. remarksdc says:

    “What did we gain in Iraq?”
    My expectation is that we would have at least gained some on-going intelligence. The US installed a Shi’ite controlled government and expended significant amounts of blood and treasure to maintain it in power. Very many officials in the current Iraq government either were in exile in Iran or have ties to Iran. Surely, we now have some significant information about what is happening among the elites in Iran. My sense is that US policy is informed by that information. If our extensive involvement in Iraq isn’t yielding information, then the past administration is even a more dismal failure than we thought and the current administration’s restraint is necessitated by that failure.

  33. Homer says:

    remarksdc: The US installed a Shi’ite controlled government and expended significant amounts of blood and treasure to maintain it in power.
    Al-Dawa and the Supreme Council for the Islamic revolution in Iraq, which have been pro-extremist-Iranian for the past few decades, could not have been installed by the US on account of their long standing anti-American stances which Cheney must have been well aware of.
    Prior to the first election in 2005, the Bush admin strangely and laughably thought that their man in Baghdad, viz., Chalabi, would be elected: It turns out that Chalabi only got 0.36 percent of the votes.
    If the US was going to install, they would have installed Chalabi or Allawi, not Jaafari, Maliki, Hakim, et al. who are affiliated with religious fanatical groups based in Iran.
    So … I am quite sure you are wrong about that.
    You are also wildly and greatly overestimating the US’ power over events in Iraq as evidenced by the total absence of the enactment of pro-American legislation and initiatives (e.g.; no Re-Baathification, hydro-carbon law, etc).

  34. Patrick Lang says:

    Of course we “installed” a Shiite religiously oriented government. we made it impossible for anyone else to compete successfully. Have you forgotten the lengths we went to in past years to proscribe anyone we did not want. That meant all the supporters of the past regime. Secular Shia? They are vastly outnumbered.
    “You are also wildly and greatly overestimating the US’ power over events in Iraq” You are hysterical. I have said exactly the opposite.
    What are you? Another hasbara provocateur ot just an idiot? pl

  35. Homer says:

    PL” “Of course we “installed” a Shiite religiously oriented government …. What are you? Another hasbara provocateur ot just an idiot?”
    If the US was able to actually “install” a pro-American govt in Iraq, why would it spend the resources to install a group of men with a long history of being loyal to extremists in Iran, rather than Chalabi?
    It appears that the Bush admin experiment with democracy in Iraq has ended with irony, that is, it inadvertently caused the
    birth of a democratically elected Islamic fundamentalist republic.
    Looking fwd to your response.

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