This is not slipshod reporting or an aberration, or somehow ‘getting it wrong,’ but rather, just the latest examples of press/media complicity in subversion and the aggressive wars launched by the US and/or its ‘Western’ allies in Latin America, Africa, Southeast Asia, and the Middle East for the past two centuries.
Writing in the Washington Post on March 20 (‘How the US broke Iraq’), Ishaan Tharoor described the attack on Iraq in 2003 as a “generational mistake”. You would think that a BA from Yale University, Mr Tharoor’s alma mater, would be sufficient intellectual grounding for a graduate to see that the war was not any kind of mistake, but a carefully premeditated attack intended to destroy Iraq as a unified Arab country and pull it out of the Arab front against “Israel”.
But apparently not. The war as a ‘mistake’ is just another lie told, sold or replayed to exculpate the criminals who launched it, a long list beginning with George W. Bush and Tony Blair, and including the Zionist zealots in the White House, the State Department and the Pentagon.
The war was the second since 1990-1. In the first, Iraq was filleted like a fish, its entire civilian infrastructure devastated by US aerial firepower. The generation who watched it from afar, unlike Mr Tharoor, apparently too young, will remember the breathless excitement of news anchors as they described smart bombs finding their own way to targets like well-trained hounds, and stealth bombers flitting across the night sky like bats.
Having smashed Iraq to pieces, the US left Saddam in power, because, as long as he was, there would always be a reason to keep Iraq down. What followed was a decade of sanctions described by UN humanitarian aid coordinators as genocidal. The list of sanctioned materials included food, medicine, and the parts needed to repair sewage systems, water pumping stations, and oil and energy plants and pipelines. UNICEF estimates that 1.5 million Iraqis died as the result of these sanctions, passively ‘died’ when in fact they were killed by them.
The US Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright, in a notorious exchange, did not deny the figure of half a million dead children when it was put to her by a reporter. What she did say, somewhat nonchalantly, was the war was “worth it” despite this truly frightful statistic. Half a million dead American children and no doubt she would have taken it more seriously.
Over time, the murderous effects of the sanctions were so evident that many governments withdrew their support, but the US and the UK kept them going until they were ready for another war. By 2002 Iraq was slowly getting back on its feet, rebuilding, signing contracts for the repair of its broken network of oil refineries, pumping stations and pipelines (but not with US corporations) and talking of replacing the dollar with the euro as the prime item of foreign exchange. Iraq was on the brink of recovery, internally and as a unified front-line Arab state against “Israel”. For all the reasons given above, that could not be allowed.
Planning for the destruction of Iraq – and other Arab states – that went back to 9/11 was activated. The pretext was weapons of mass destruction, when UN inspectors had testified that all had been destroyed. Here it should be remembered that if Iraq did have the material to produce WMD, it was because it had been supplied to the government by the US and the UK and numerous European governments during the war with Iran in the 1980s.
The WMD pretext was an obvious lie from the beginning, but the media believed it (or pretended to believe it). There never was any evidence of WMDs, only the charade of Colin Powell holding up a vial of icing sugar or baby powder at the UN and claiming it was anthrax, which, if used by Iraq, would be sufficient to destroy all life in lower Manhattan. This was augmented by nonsense about missile launchers hidden in palm groves and graphics of non-existent underground bunkers and mobile WMD transports.
On this platform of lies, the war was launched. Iraq was again devastated. Hundreds of thousands of its citizens were killed or maimed. Close to three million were displaced inside Iraq, and at least another two million fled into surrounding countries. Tens of thousands sought sanctuary in countries like Australia, whose government had joined in the destruction of Iraq and now prevented its ‘boat people’ refugees from landing on its shores. As a unified country, Iraq was torn apart. Saddam was hanged, whereas George Bush continued to play golf and Tony Blair collected money for his faith foundation.
The new constitution imposed on Iraq created an embryonic Kurdish state in the north and gave the ‘right’ of autonomy to other ethno-religious groups if they wanted it. The contradiction in this formulation of US/Israeli interests beneath the veneer of a democratic Iraq was free elections. They would inevitably ensure the ascendancy of the numerically predominant Shia, bound to Iran and the Shia of southern Lebanon by centuries of religious and personal ties. The Shia of Iraq were never going to fall into line with US and Zionist interests and so it has turned out. It is extraordinary that with all its resources the US could not see an electoral result inimical to its interests.
The murder of Qasim Suleimani the moment he arrived in Baghdad in 2020 was the catalyst for an upsurge of Shia fury against the US. Not only had the US rampaged across their country, now it had murdered one of their most revered figures, struck down when he was on a mission of peace and reconciliation.
Nothing has worked out for the US. The embryonic Kurdish state in northern Iraq, a prime item in the US plan for a new Middle East, was blockaded by the Iraqi government, Turkey and Iran after the 2017 referendum and collapsed. Hezbollah humiliated “Israel” in the 2006 war. Muammar Qadhafi’s Libya was destroyed, if that can be called any kind of achievement.
The attempt to destroy the Syrian government failed, despite years of massive destruction by proxy terrorist forces to achieve this end. The strategic alliance between Iran, Hezbollah and Syria is not just intact but stronger than before, politically and militarily, as acknowledged by Saudi Arabia in its decision to restore diplomatic relations with Iran, through whose mediation it will no doubt be seeking a face-saving way out of the war on Yemen.
The Saudi decision must have come as a real shock in “Tel Aviv” and Washington, not just for its own sake but because of the lead it sets for other Gulf states and Arab governments dependent on Saudi support and money. In this recalibrated political environment, the governments that isolated Syria are now sending delegations to Damascus or receiving them in their own capitals.
Like a dog in the manger, the US still has troops in Syria, plundering Syria’s oil and wheat and trying to control the border with Iraq. Their presence serves Zionist interests, but does it serve US national interests? Very hard to see, and harder to see as time goes on.
In Turkey, elections will be held on May 14. Polls are predicting the defeat of the coalition led by the Justice and Development Party (AKP). If this happens, and Tayyip Erdogan is never to be ruled out, the opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) has pledged to withdraw Turkish troops from northwestern Syria, leaving Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (formerly Jabhat al Nusra) isolated and vulnerable in Idlib, and the US will be isolated in the northeast, as a boulder standing in the way of Syria’s recovery but with no clear mission that serves purely US national interests outside those of the settler state in Palestine.
In such rapidly changing circumstances across the region, especially in view of the focus on Ukraine and the high level of military and economic aid being given to the Zelensky regime in Kiev, it is surely only a question of time before common sense prevails in the US Congress and US troops will withdraw from Syria, followed – hopefully – by the winding-up or ending of sanctions.
To get back to the initial point in this article, the 2003 war on Iraq was not a ‘mistake’ but a premeditated and calculated operation. As for their role in supporting the war, the Washington Post’s columnist, Ishaan Tharoor, and the New York Times claimed afterwards that ‘we got it wrong’. No, they didn’t. They defaulted on their journalistic responsibility to get it right, because the lies being told were obvious from the start. They had a second and third chance to get it right when Libya and Syria were attacked but again, they peddled the lies told to justify these wars.
This is not slipshod reporting or an aberration, or somehow ‘getting it wrong,’ but rather, just the latest examples of press/media complicity in subversion and the aggressive wars launched by the US and/or its ‘Western’ allies in Latin America, Africa, Southeast Asia, and the Middle East for the past two centuries. Behind the drive for a multipolar world, what the rest of the world is saying to the ‘West’ is that ‘we have had enough.’