Amidst all the hoopla over whether the surge in Iraq has been a success, Americans might have missed the latest development in the Iraq mess — Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s historic and much-acclaimed visit to Iraq, one in which the presidents of Iraq and Iran even held hands.
That’s right — I said, Iraq … and Iran. Iraq, as in the country that the U.S. government invaded six years ago and has occupied ever since. And Iran, as in the country that the U.S. government might yet invade before President Bush leaves office.
As some of us have long been pointing out, the real winner of the Iraq War was Iran, not the United States. The U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq succeeded in installing a radical, Islamic, Shiite regime in Iraq, one that aligned itself with Iran, a country that President Bush and Vice President Cheney are sanctioning and still might even bomb.
Now, if that’s not a perverse outcome of an invasion of a country that never attacked the United States and which has killed hundreds of thousands of people, I don’t know what is. It means that U.S. troops have killed and died for the sake of an Islamic regime — one that they continue to kill and die for as part of their indefinite occupation of Iraq.
One irony, of course, in this perversity is that many supporters of the invasion and occupation still justify the intervention on the grounds that Islam presents a dire threat to the United States. Well, what in the world do they think is the guiding religion of the regime that now governs Iraq? It was Saddam Hussein’s regime that was secular, not the regime that the U.S. invasion and occupation ended up installing in Iraq. Fortunately, the anti-Islamic neo-con crowd here in the United States hasn’t yet started calling for the bombing of the radical Islamic regime that now governs Iraq and that has aligned itself with Iran.
My hunch is that this discomforting fact — i.e., the partnership between Iraq and Iran — has still not settled into the consciousness and conscience of the American people, in large part because they generally don’t like to hear or read bad news about Iraq.
Think about it: 4,000 American troops dead. Thousands more wounded. A million Iraqis dead. Countless more wounded. The entire country destroyed. Museums ransacked. Suicide bombers. Millions of Iraqis fleeing the country. Torture. Gangs. Arbitrary searches, seizures, and arrests. Indefinite incarcerations.
And all for what?
So that a brutal pro-Iran regime could rule Iraq rather than Saddam Hussein.
In case you missed it, here’s a link to Reuter’s account of Ahmadinejad’s visit to Bhagdad:
“Pomp and ceremony greeted Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on his arrival in Iraq on Sunday, the fanfare a stark contrast to the rushed and secretive visits of his bitter rival U.S. President George W. Bush. Ahmadinejad held hands with Iraqi President Jalal Talabani as they walked down a red carpet to the tune of their countries’ national anthems, his visit the first by an Iranian president since the two neighbours fought a ruinous war in the 1980s. His warm reception, in which he was hugged and kissed by Iraqi officials and presented with flowers by children, was Iraq’s first full state welcome for any leader since the U.S.-led invasion to topple Saddam Hussein in 2003. His visit not only marks the cementing in ties between the neighbours, both run by Shi’ite majorities, but is seen as a show of support for the Iraqi government and an act of defiance against Iran’s longtime enemy, the United States, which has over 150,000 troops Iraq. A line of senior Iraqi political leaders welcomed Ahmadinejad when he arrived at Talabani’s palatial home.”
According to the Chicago Tribune, Ahmadinejad promised a $1 billion loan to Iraq and “the two countries negotiated seven deals on economic and cultural cooperation.”
Oh well, faced with an indefinite occupation of Iraq, a continually crashing dollar, ever-rising prices, and devalued homes, Americans can console themselves with, “At least we’re rebuilding Iraq!”
Let’s just hope that President Bush doesn’t try to save his legacy by starting a war against Iran before he leaves office because there’s little doubt that Iraq would align itself with Iran in such a war, leaving American troops to fight enemies in front, in back, and in the middle of them. And think how much time, money, and lives it would take to rebuild Iraq again!