June, 21, 2014

NEW YORK – One would think the neoconservatives who engineered the Iraq War – the worst disaster for the United States since Vietnam – would never emerge from hiding.

Not so. With dazzling chutzpah, former Vice President Dick Cheney, the real power in the Bush administration, just claimed President Barack Obama was responsible for the growing mess in Iraq.

Obama is a wimp allowing America’s foes to run rampant across the Mideast and Eastern Europe, growled Cheney. He wants US troops to reoccupy Iraq, and maybe Syria. Cheney’s blustering was applauded by another over-the-hill dotard, Republican party leader Sen. John McCain.

Out from the Washington woodwork crept a swarm of neoconservatives. They joined Cheney in blasting Obama over Iraq and calling for more wars against the Muslim world.

It’s a pity Americans don’t call these war-drum beaters by their proper name. In Britain, they would be known as Imperialists and Empire Loyalists. The Republican Party has in effect become the American Imperialist Party allied to the ardently pro-Israel neoconservatives.

Both parties want to see the American Global Empire enforced and expanded. So wrote Dick Cheney in a op-ed piece trumpeted by the house organ of the hard right, the Wall Street Journal, a violent diatribe against Obama that would have made Mussolini blush.

Now, President Obama faces a grave decision. As Baghdad’s army wavers before Sunni assaults, he is deploying limited US airpower and 300 US troops to blunt the jihadist/Ba’athist advance. Besides killing many civilians, air attacks will outrage Saudi Arabia and much of the Sunni Muslim world. Obama knows that America must not be seen as the champion of Iraq’s Shia against the Sunni minority.

The Saudis are openly warning Obama not to intervene in Iraq. Meanwhile, Iran is beginning to send ground forces into Iraq, to the fury of Saudi Arabia and Israel. Cooperation between Washington and Tehran over Iraq is likely to have a positive effect on US-Iranian nuclear negotiations.

So Obama is hedging his bets by sending the token 300 US Special Forces to Baghdad as ‘advisors,’ as if Iraq, which had been at war since 1980, needed more training or advice. Air and/or drone strikes are due any minutes.

What Obama is really doing is sending ‘white’ officers to stiffen the spines of wavering native troops.

Interestingly, Obama finds himself in the same type of imperial dilemma faced by Britain’s PM Gladstone in 1885. In that year, Britain’s imperial general Charles ‘Chinese’ Gordon went to Khartoum, Sudan, to lead the fight against Islamic jihadists known as Dervishes. Their leader, Mohammed Ahmed, aka the Mahdi, became a paramount Victorian villain akin to our era’s Osama bin Laden.

Gordon was trying to shame Gladstone into sending a British Army up the Nile to relieve Khartoum. Like Obama, Gladstone wanted to avoid imperial adventures but was eventually forced by jingoistic public outcry to send an army to Sudan, though not before Gordon was killed and became a Victorian Christian martyr. The fall of Khartoum to the Dervishes was the 9/11 of the Victorian Age.

What’s really at stake here is oil. Some 8,000 jihadists and resurgent Ba’ath Party militants are no threat to the US, as Obama claims. They are, however, a dire threat to Big Oil.

Saddam Hussein nationalized Iraq’s oil and kicked out its foreign owners. As soon as he was deposed, the US and other foreign oil firms moved back in to pump Iraq’s black gold. As Dick Cheney said, Iraq was invaded for the sake of “Israel and oil.”

Meanwhile, the White House is fast yanking the carpet out from under the wretched Nouri al-Maliki’s feet, all but warning him to quit or else. Shia generals are already planning how to redecorate Maliki’s office. Fresh from picking a new government in Kiev, the US is now deep into Iraqi king-making.

Remember Henry Kissinger’s pithy quip, “it’s more dangerous being America’s ally than its enemy.”

Maliki will be the next useless puppet to be swept aside by Uncle Sam. Whichever CIA “asset” that takes power in Kabul will face a similar threat. Both Iraq’s and Afghanistan’s armies are paid to wear uniforms, not to actually fight.

Meanwhile, few Americans are yet aware that the Iraq War cost over $1 trillion – financed by loans from China and Japan. – that our grandchildren will be paying.

Those neocons baying for war have not so far offered to make personal contributions to a greater war effort. Few will recall that Vietnam began with small numbers of US “advisors.”

copyright Eric S. Margolis

This post is in: Iraq, Mideast, Oil, USA

8 Responses to “BACK TO BAGHDAD!”

  1. “So Obama is hedging his bets by sending the token 300 US Special Forces to Baghdad as ‘advisors,’ as if Iraq, which had been at war since 1980, needed more training or advice. Air and/or drone strikes are due any minutes”

    From the Guardian UK, “It brings the number of US military personnel flowing into Iraq to 750, up from 100 barely two weeks ago.

    The Pentagon has already revealed that some of the drones flying up to 35 daily missions above Isis-controlled territory are armed, ostensibly to protect the new “advisers” in Baghdad.”
    Looks like you were correct on both items… and this is just the beginning. Unless the Americans have made a secret agreement with ISIS regarding Iraq oil in exchange for the American assistance in Syria, they have a good chance of losing Iraq oil completely as well as their new embassy.


  2. Conscript their children.

  3. philmar says:

    “Those neocons baying for war have not so far offered to make personal contributions to a greater war effort. ”

    Many of the neo-cons that started the Iraq debacle were of draft age during the Vietnam war. Many were able to avoid the draft because their parents had connections or were well off enough to keep them in university where they could defer entry in to the draft. They will forever be known as ‘chickenhawks’ since they never made any personal sacrifice towards a war effort. A chickenhawk has the shriek of a hawk but the backbone of a chicken. Sen. McCain was the exception. W Bush avoided serving in Vietnam by using Daddy’s connections to get accepted to a cushy position on the Texas Air National Guard from which he was largely AWOL.

  4. I have always said the best way to make a war drum beater break his drum sticks is to pass a law saying anyone who wants a war can do so by joining the army and volunteering to be the first one into battle.

    • solum temptare possumus says:

      Et ne inducas nos in illis quae sequuntur; apud nos si filii tui;
      “Lead the charge and we will follow; if your sons are beside us!
      ad iudicium

  5. More dangerous than being America`s enemy is being it`s friend, according to Henry Kissinger and we can take him as an authority on that.
    Iran had better be very careful about going into Iraq, because that might just weaken her enough for her enemies to attack her.
    Hopefully her rulers also know about Kissinger`s warning.
    With Putin wanting to help al Maliki`s regime and the US covertly helping the Sunni` faction in Iraq, it is really becoming a very complicated chess game, that can blow up in either face.
    ‘Divide and rule’ has been so successfully applied ever since Julius Caesar came up with that idea, that that has been the main method of conquest and rule by every empire since. With the military power of the US and the financial power of Israel`s bankers, it will be a tough nut to crack for the rest of the world, but maybe some day Obama will say “Et tu Benjamin?”

  6. Steve_M. says:

    Great article, as usual. Margolis really hit the nail on the head with this piece. Many of the people calling for the US to re-occupy Iraq have never been closer to battle than fights with their wives or dinner-time spats between their parents. (I attribute this comment to Eric for something he once said about one of his critics.)

    It’s always easier for those who advocate war against anyone to hold the coats for someone else’s husbands or wives, fathers or mothers, sons or daughters – as long as it’s not someone from their own family who’s sent away into violent conflicts. Cheney, Bush and many others who have never seen one of their family members sent off to war probably think that it’s not such a big deal when other people’s loved ones get killed or maimed in the course of battle.

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