• Don’t Get Fooled Again

    January 5, 2012

    Tags: , , ,
    Posted in: Democracy, Embassy/State, Iran, Iraq

    State Department Undersecretary for Management guy Pat Kennedy said this recently on NPR, justifying the $3.5 billion a year maintaining the World’s Largest Embassy in Baghdad (c) costs:

    This is a democracy in the Middle East. Is it perfect? No. A lot of people think our system isn’t perfect either. But this is a major oil producer, a friend of the United States, a potential market for American goods and now, I think, a very important symbol in the Middle East of what democracy in the Middle East could be.

    Meanwhile, the US ambassador to Iraq James Jeffrey said that an investigation into allegations against Iraq’s vice president appears to be proceeding fairly despite claims that Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is pursuing a political vendetta against a rival.

    This statement was made despite the fact that Hashemi is so confident in the fairness of the judicial system that he sought sanctuary in semi-autonomous Kurdistan. The charges against him are based in large part on “confessions” by his bodyguards made after their “interrogations” by security forces loyal to Maliki. Hashemi’s alleged crimes, uncovered by Maliki the very day US forces withdrew in 2011, took place in 2006. Just never got around to investigating them earlier I guess.

    Meanwhile, in our universe:

    A roadside bomb targeting Shia pilgrims killed 30 people on the outskirts of the southern city of Nasiriyah on Thursday. A total of 30 people were killed and 72 wounded in the attack, which occurred just west of Nasiriyah as pilgrims were walking to the holy shrine city of Karbala for Arbaeen commemorations.

    The attack came on the same day two Shia neighbourhoods in Baghdad were targeted in bombings that left at least 23 people dead.

    At least nine civilians have been killed and 35 others injured in two successive explosions and a motorbike blast in east Baghdad’s Sadr city on Thursday morning.

    A female child has been killed and six civilians injured in five successive explosions in the city of Baaquba, the center of northeast Iraq’s Diala Province, on Wednesday morning.

    A group of unknown armed men have killed two Iraqi soldiers in southern Mosul, the center of Ninewa Province, late Tuesday night.


    We’ll assume officials like Kennedy and Jeffrey are not ignorant or uninformed. That leaves then the question as to why they would keep saying ridiculous things about Iraq, claiming it is a democracy somehow comparable to our own system, or that Maliki’s blatant power plays are following the rule of law.

    “What we’re seeing is a new era in post-Saddam politics,” said Ramzy Mardini, an analyst at the Institute for the Study of War. “Iraq’s stability is on really weak foundation. Maliki has gone too far in his campaign against political rivals, his only option is to keep going.”

    So who are people like Kennedy and Jeffreys trying to fool?

    Either themselves, or you. The Iraqis certainly know what is going on in their own country, watching 60 of their countrypeople blown up on a single all-too-typical Thursday. Maliki and Hashemi understand the game being played out. So the disingenuous statements by State Department officials are designed either to convince themselves that they are doing a robust job, or, to convince you that after all these years, all those lives and all that money, the US invasion and occupation of Iraq was still somehow worth it.

    As the war drums beat over Iran, you decide, but don’t get fooled again.



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