Declaring victory

One of Australia’s major Murdoch commentators offers his insights into Iraq:

There is a reason Iraq has almost disappeared as an election issue.

Here it is: The battle is actually over. Iraq has been won.

I know this will seem to many of you an insane claim. Ridiculous!

After all, haven’t you read countless stories that Iraq is a “disaster”, turned by a “civil war” into a “killing field”?

Didn’t Labor leader Kevin Rudd, in one of his few campaign references to Iraq, say it was the “greatest … national security policy disaster that our country has seen since Vietnam”?

It’s only the Left, Andrew Bolt argues, who is misleading the public about progress in Iraq (though, if true progress is occurring, should it be celebrated?)

The fallacy of this argument is breathtaking. War boosters care little for the Iraqi victims of the war, it’s a small price to pay for Western “victory.” No price is too high in this equation. There is, of course, no mention of the millions of displaced Iraqi refugees both inside and outside the country. Over four million of them have been forced to leave their home due to the violence. Ethnic cleansing has destroyed the country. The Independent’s Patrick Cockburn reported in May:

The sectarian warfare in Baghdad is sparsely reported but the provinces around the capital are now so dangerous for reporters that they seldom, if ever, go there, except as embeds with US troops. Two months ago in Mosul, I met an Iraqi army captain from Diyala who said Sunni and Shia were slaughtering each other in his home province. “Whoever is in a minority runs,” he said. “If forces are more equal they fight it out.”

It was impossible to travel to Baquba, the capital of Diyala, from Baghdad without extreme danger of being killed on the road. But I thought that if I took the road from Kurdistan leading south, kept close to the Iranian border and stayed in Kurdish-controlled territory I could reach Khanaqin, a town of 75,000 people in eastern Diyala. If what the army captain said about the killings and mass flight was true then there were bound to be refugees who had reached there.

And now, with Iraq “won”, Iran is the next target.

The mainstream media can still barely move around Iraq, so the reality on the ground is essentially unreported. We, the West, have created a catastrophe of massive proportions in Iraq, and a Murdoch war cheer-leader can simply mouth statistics given by the US government. No questions asked or motives challenged. It is simply presumed that America has the right to invade and occupy a nation anywhere in the world. And it is equally taken as a given that Iran should be similarly “liberated.”

The fact that there is a 180,000-strong shadow corporate army in Iraq is nothing but an inconvenient truth.

Text and images ©2024 Antony Loewenstein. All rights reserved.

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