• Talking Points for Explaining Chaos in Iraq

    January 30, 2012 // 2 Comments »


    To: All Media, Commentators and Pundits

    From: The Secretary

    Subject: Talking Points for Explaining Chaos in Iraq

    Thank you all for your patience since January 1, when PM Maliki turned 180 degrees from us/US and began unraveling Iraq. We were of course caught by surprise over these events, most of my staff being detailed away to host holiday parties, then Bill took my Blackberry to Davos by accident, and we switched to Chrome in the office and the printer wouldn’t work at first, but we now have your talking points formulated.

    I want also to thank Ambassador Chris Hill, who was in Baghdad 2009-2010 and oversaw our standing by dumb-founded while the Iranians put together the coalition we couldn’t that finally concluded the March 2010 elections in December. Chris was kind enough to give these new talking points a trial run a week ago in his barely published Op-Ed. Chris, thank you for your service.

    So here is the meme I expect all of you (bloggers too, not just MSM, we know who you are) to follow:

    The US did a great job under the Occupation, thanks to our troops, who cannot be criticized, but basically everything that happens after January 1 is the Iraqis’ own damn fault and most certainly not connected in any way with what the US did or failed to do in the preceding nine years.

    If you need the elevator speech version (I’m calling you out Fox!), just say: It is all the Iraqis’ fault.

    This line of reasoning has worked for us in the past, so it should be smooth sailing. For example, throughout the somnolent reconstruction period, whenever someone complained about how we did not restore the electrical grid, we showed some slides saying power generation was good, it was just that demand was up, blaming the Iraqis for the whole thing because they wanted to use refrigerators and lights.

    In addition to Chris’ effort, I have already started the ball rolling. On January 26, I noted that US ambassador to Iraq James Jeffrey has taken the lead in urging Iraqi politicians to settle their differences peacefully. I said “He is constantly… reaching out, meeting with, cajoling, pushing the players, starting with Prime Minister Maliki, not to blow this opportunity.”

    I told everyone that despite the downfall of Saddam Hussein which we freaking nailed, Iraqis’ “minds are not yet fully open to the potential for what this new opportunity can mean to them. At the end of the day, Iraq is now a democracy but they need to act like one.”

    Speaking of Ambassador Jeffrey, he also has this memo. Just the other day he told Gulf News “Iraq is a sovereign democratic country. We have no role as outsiders in the democratic process other than to observe and, if asked our opinion, we provide our opinion… We believe that Iraq remains the most democratic country in the Middle East.”

    Good, right? And you all need to be sure to work this line from Amb. Jeffrey into your pieces: “The attacks [in Iraq] are not a result of the political crisis as they are planned months in advance; they are very carefully put together by al Qaeda.”

    That’s pretty clear, yes? Despite 10 years, despite killing bin Laden and 74 al Qaeda No. 3’s, all violence is due to al Qaeda. As for the rest, we did our part by getting rid of Saddam, fast-forward past nine years of failed Occupation, Reconciliation and Reconstruction and then BANG! Iraq has to do it, not our problem. Like it never even happened, babies.

    I simply do not care to see any articles such as this. I specifically request that none of the following ever be spoken of again:

    –The oft-stated US major accomplishment of getting rid of Saddam was all over in 2003. We called it regime “change” but in reality it was just regime “destruction,” only the first half of the change thing.

    –The US invasion and failure of the reconstruction left Iraq in horrific condition, setting the stage for additional years of suffering. Such suffering fuels insurgency and lack of support for any central government. It is a poor legacy.

    –The utter lack of US planning for postwar occupation unleashed sectarian violence and enabled sectarian conflict that is playing out long after the US went home. The US is responsible for letting the genie out of the bottle.

    My thanks in advance to all of you for your work promoting this meme over the coming months. It would be especially helpful if your blogs and Op-Eds could be timed to publish right after massive suicide bombings in Iraq. Don’t worry if you miss one; like buses, there is always another one coming soon.

    Oh, and my staff promises we’ll have your talking points about how all world evil is caused by Iran out soon. Until then, either hold your stories or just blame things on Somali pirates.

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    Posted in Democracy, Embassy/State, Iran, Iraq