Tuesday, January 03, 2006

The House of Cards

The final results of the Iraqi elections are not now going to be released this week as was previously expected. Hussein Hindawi, a member of the Independent Electoral Commission of Iraq has said today that the final results will not be declared until the international investigating team finishes its work. He has said that this may take a further two weeks.

In the meantime, life continues in Iraq. A comment I read* neatly sums up the current US "pro-war" meme:
They [Iraqis] are talking and listening instead of fighting.
And yet, they accuse liberals of being immune to the facts. Iraqi politicians are undeniably talking and most of them are probably listening too but instead of fighting?

Reuters AlertNet, 2nd January:
BAGHDAD - Gunmen on Baghdad's airport road fired on the convoy of the Turkish ambassador. Iraqi police said the envoy was slightly injured. Turkish officials said no one was hurt.
BAGHDAD - The bodies of eight people, bound and shot in the head, were found in a southern suburb of Baghdad, police said.
BAGHDAD - Two Iraqi policemen were killed in a clash with insurgents in western Baghdad, police said.
ISKANDARIYA - Police found three bodies with gunshot wounds on Sunday in Iskandariya, 40 km (25 miles) south of Baghdad, police said.
BAQUBA - Seven policemen were killed and 13 wounded near Baquba when a suicide car bomber rammed his car into a bus carrying 20 policemen heading to a Kurdish city in northern Iraq, medical and police sources said.
KIRKUK - Gunmen attacked a car carrying a family of four, killing two children and wounding the parents as they drove on the road between Tikrit and the northern oil city of Kirkuk, police said. The motive of the attack was not clear.
KIRKUK - Gunmen shot dead the driver of an ambulance in Kirkuk, police said.
KIRKUK - An Iraqi civilian was seriously wounded when a makeshift bomb targeting a U.S. patrol in Kirkuk exploded, police said.
That's one day and not a particularly unusual one. Twenty five people dead. According to many people, particularly in the US, none of this is actually happening. Perhaps Reuters justs makes this stuff up. They are evil liberal media types after all.

The reality is that the evil liberal media barely covers this sort of violence. Did you hear any mention of any of these incidents on yesterdays news? Not likely. Its not news because it happens every day.

As for the talking and listening, Informed Comment provides detailed coverage of the political machinations currently under way in Iraq. At the moment, it seems that the Shiite Islamic fundamentalists of the UIA might be prepared to cooperate to some extent with the Sunni Islamic parties who are now showing an apparent willingness to break their alliance with Allawi's secular coalition. (This coalition was formed to protest election fraud.) What is certain is that fundamentalist Islam will be the dominant force in the new government when it finally takes shape. This is another fact about the situation in Iraq which many, but certainly not all, "pro-war" supporters seem unable to recognise.

(At the time of writing, Harry's Place, for example, last wrote about Iraq on the 21st December and has gone silent since. (Well, apart from a quiz highlighting some of the idiots of the anti-war brigade in what appears to be an attempt to paint all "stoppers" in the same light.) I get the feeling they may have finally realised that it's all gone badly wrong. Perhaps I'm wrong but I suppose time will tell.)

It gives me no pleasure to relate any of this here. Quite the opposite in fact. This is, as I said the other day, about truth. Having studied US foreign policy, particularly since the Second World War, one of the most striking aspects is that it is often cloaked in myths created by the US government and their supporters. Some other examples of this phenomenon are likely to be the subject of a series of posts shortly. These myths have allowed the US government (of both parties) to follow policies which would otherwise have been vehemently opposed by the majority of Americans. The war in Iraq provides a perfect illustration of this process in action.

The invasion was built on a myth. Saddam, it was said, was an imminent threat to the United States and her allies and immediate military action was the only way to protect the security of the US and its people. This, any sensible person will, I think, now accept, was not true. Saddam was a despot and a tyrant but he was not a threat to the United States in any meaningful sense.

Now, nearly three years after the invasion, myths continue to be used to defend the invasion and occupation. "Iraqis are talking, not fighting." Not true. They are talking and fighting. The violence continues unabated. "Iraq is a democracy in which free and fair elections have been held." True in only the loosest possible sense. Iraq, a country racked by insecurity is controlled in large part by Islamist militia groups. Genuinely free and fair elections are not possible under these circumstances. Fundamentalist Islamists have taken control of large parts of the government apparatus of Iraq and are extremely unlikely to willingly give up that power in any forthcoming free and fair elections. These are the truths.

And yet the myths remain. They are vigorously defended. Those who question them, again particularly in the US, are attacked, smeared, and called traitors and fools. This, as I said, is far from unprecedented. It's extremely sad to see this great game continue in 2006.

On a slightly more positive side, it is becoming progressively harder for the US government to perpetuate these myths. The day when fictions of this sort become unsustainable is, I think, closer now than its ever been before.

* No link. Comments like "I know where you can stick yours. Should I shock you by telling you! Why Am I talking to this looser I didn't even have wine tonight!" do tend discourage sensible conversation. Both comments are from Iraq The Model and are from US pro-war types.

Tags: , ,

No comments: