"Over the past decade, American troops have made extraordinary sacrifices to give Iraqis an opportunity to claim their own future.... Obviously our troops and the American people and the American taxpayers made huge investments and sacrifices in order to give Iraqis the opportunity to chart a better course, a better destiny.” -- Barack Obama. He delivered his Friday remarks with obvious impatience and haste, Marine One ostentatiously revving up in the background. It sent the cynical message that he has better things to do.... like head off for a luxury vacation weekend in California, while the country that the US invaded is now indistinguishable from the last circle of Hell.
No mention at all from Obama of the extraordinary sacrifices that Iraqi civilians have made over the past eleven years. Instead, the dead, the maimed, and the dispossessed are blamed for being ingrates. From the Iraq Body Count website, here are statistics from just this month so far:
Friday 13 June: 34 killedMosul: 17 by gunfire.
Baghdad: 2 by IEDs.
Tarmiya: 3 by car bomb.
Baiji: 7 policemen by government shelling.
Tikrit: 3 policemen by government shelling.
Falluja: 2 poisoned after shelling of water plant.
JUNE CASUALTIES SO FAR: 758 CIVILIANS KILLED.
Thursday 12 June: 23 killedBaghdad: 4 by gunfire.
Falluja: 3 by shelling.
Diyala: 2 by gunfire.
Muqdadiya: 2 by gunfire, IED.
Kirkuk: 1 photographer in clashes.
Riyadh: 1 by IED.
Al Debes: 1 by IED.
Baiji: 1 child by gunfire.
Balad: 2 professors by gunfire.
Latifiya: 1 policeman in clashes.
Tikrit: 3 border guards, 2 bodies.
JUNE CASUALTIES SO FAR: 724 CIVILIANS KILLED.
The total Iraqi body count stemming from the US invasion in 2003 varies, with some estimates going as high as 200,000. This contrasts with 4,486 American deaths in the war.
But hey -- it's all about US:
“Iraq’s unraveling should come as no surprise. We and others predicted that would happen as a result of the President’s decision to prematurely withdraw all American forces from Iraq. As early as 2011, we said this decision would be a strategic victory for our enemies, and that is what it has become. The President and his national security team in Washington are responsible for this catastrophe, and he should bring in a new team with a proven track record of success in Iraq – leaders like General David Petraeus, General Jack Keane, General James Mattis, Ambassador Ryan Crocker, and others. --- Neocon Nincompoop John McCain, who never started a war he wanted to end, who forgot who started the war, who forgot that Petraeus is now diversifying his destruction by fracking up the millions for a shady private equity outfit. And, that it was George Bush who set the timetable for ending the war.
"Will the United States be destroyed?"-- Wolf Blitzer, fulfilling his destiny of drumming up mindless fear to prop up tanking CNN ratings and to contribute to the endless profit of his diverse destructive corporate sponsors.
"We now have two administrations in a row that committed their worst foreign policy blunders in Iraq. By withdrawing too quickly from Iraq, by failing to build on the surge, the Obama administration has made some similar mistakes made during the early administration of George W. Bush, except in reverse. The dangers of American underreach have been lavishly and horrifically displayed." -- David Brooks, one of the original New York Times armchair warriors, getting his perverted jollies by describing death and destruction in "Doctor Ruth" terms of sexual dysfunction.
And then there are the headlines of the major outlets, all framing the crisis around how it will affect the personal fortunes and legacies of self-seeking American politicians. Some examples:
Obama Finds He Can't Put Iraq Behind Him -- Peter Baker, NYT, twists logic on its ear in this piece:
He opposed the invasion as a state senator in Illinois, and many of his decisions as president have been measured against the lessons he took from Iraq. To him, the war proved that military intervention more often than not made things worse, not better.
When he agreed to send more troops to Afghanistan, he insisted on a timetable for pulling them out. When he decided to intervene in Libya, he used only air power and made sure that NATO allies took the lead. When the Syrian civil war broke out, he resisted calls to step in even with air power or, for a long time, arms for the rebels. The longer he has been in office, the more skeptical he seems to have grown about the utility of force as a means of changing the world for the better.Wow, what a relief. When Obama invades countries, he makes up a timetable. (just like Bush.) When Obama bombs countries, he makes sure only foreigners get killed. Baker conveniently forgets to mention that it was Obama who wanted to bomb the hell out of Syria, but was thwarted at the last minute by Putin's diplomatic intervention in getting Assad to remove his chemical weapon stockpile.
Moving on, how can we forget how badly Iraq has affected Hillary Clinton's grand roll-out of a book tour? The Hill, purveyor of all things insider-Beltway, has the cataclysmic scoop: Iraq Casts Shadow Over Clinton:
The growing crisis and threat of all-out civil war in Iraq has cast a cloud over Hillary Clinton’s book tour touting her accomplishments as secretary of State.
The release of “Hard Choices” was supposed to remind people of the foreign policy credentials she burnished in the Obama administration.
On Tuesday, White House spokesman Josh Earnest even said Clinton’s greatest accomplishments at the State Department included ending the war in Iraq and “decimating and destroying” al Qaeda.Well, it was only the Eve of Destruction and his name is Josh Earnest.And then The Hill quotes something truly bizarre that Hill said in 2011:
“Are the Iraqis all going to get along with each other for the foreseeable future? Well, let’s find out. We know that there will be continuing stresses and threats as we see in many of the countries that we work,” she said then. (bold is mine.)But let the narcissistic weirdness continue. As Iraq was exploding, Hillary was touring. And she is having the time of her life! From Buzzfeed's account of a staged Friday night interview with former aide and (current?) ghostwriter Lissa Muscatine:
“You’re traveling all over the place. You’re doing all these interviews. You’re keeping a pretty frenetic pace,” Muscatine said before an audience of 1,500. “I’m wondering, just as I’ve watched you, in these past four days — you’ve had some tough interviews — you seem like you’re having a really good time.”
“Well, Lissa, I am having a good time.”
“You’re really free to speak your mind these days,” Muscatine said.
“Maybe it’s just the wonderful wealth of experience that I now have,” Clinton went on. “Maybe it’s because I am truly done with, you know, being really careful about what to say because somebody might think this instead of that.”
“It just gets too exhausting and frustrating and it just seemed a whole lot easier to just put it out there and hope people get used to it. Whether you agree with it or not, you know exactly where I come from, what I think, what I feel.”
“It feels a little bit liberating, to be honest.”
“And it’s great to watch,” Muscatine said. “I have to say.”Can't you just hardly wait for the next decade or so of this vicarious freedom and liberation as Hillary works the countries of the globe? Stay tuned for the corporate media-rehabbed George's next self-portrait of his feet. Then thrill to the awarding of the location of Obama's legacy-burnishing shrine to himself.
Update: Chelsea Manning has written an op-ed for the NYT on the disconnect between the reality of the Iraq War and the USG-controlled media reporting of it. Journalists who are cozy with the military and report favorably on its activities are given special access. Others are shut out. Journalists in Iraq were even forced to sign something that sounds suspiciously like a "loyalty oath."