Has there ever been a bigger disconnect between myth and reality than the outcome of the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq?
On the one hand we have Operation Iraqi Freedom. U.S. officials tell us that their invasion and occupation of Iraq was a tremendous success because it brought freedom to the Iraqi people. That’s why Americans are exhorted to thank the troops for their service in Iraq — because of the sacrifices that the troops made to bring a free society to Iraq.
That’s the myth part.
The reality is that Iraq is nothing but a hellhole, one that is now run by a regime that is every bit as brutal as the Saddam Hussein regime.
Arbitrary arrests, state kidnappings, forced disappearances, torture, executions, assassinations, and socialism. They were all part and parcel of the Saddam regime. They are also all part and parcel of the current regime in Iraq.
The only difference between the two regimes is the religious affiliation of the victims. Under Saddam, the Shiites were the victims. Under the Shiites, the Sunnis are the victims.
There is something else to consider: The real objective of the U.S. invasion of Iraq was regime change, one in which Saddam Hussein would be ousted from power and replaced by a pro-U.S. regime.
Yet, by ousting Saddam and installing a Shiite regime into power, the U.S. government succeeded in installing a pro-Iranian regime, rather than a pro-U.S. regime, into power.
Why is that important?
Well, because right now Iran is the biggest official enemy of the U.S. Empire, with the possible exception of Russia. So, we have the spectacle of thanking the troops for their service in Iraq notwithstanding the fact that such service succeeded in replacing one tyrannical regime with another and, even worse, with the new regime aligned with Iran, America’s big official enemy, rather than the United States.
Consider this excerpt from a New York Times article entitled “Iran Gains Influence in Iraq as Shiite Forces Fight ISIS”:
The road from Baghdad to Tikrit is dotted with security checkpoints, many festooned with posters of Iran’s supreme leader and other Shiite figures. They stretch as far north as the village of Awja, the birthplace of Saddam Hussein, on the edge of Tikrit, within sight of the hulking palaces of the former ruler who ruthlessly crushed Shiite dissent.
Imagine that. Not one single poster of George W. Bush, who still prides himself as being the great liberator of Iraq. In fact, notice that in the last eight years, Bush has not made one single visit to Iraq, the country he supposedly liberated. And when he did visit Iraq when he was president, he would fly in and fly out, not daring to spend the night there. The same goes for Obama.
That’s because neither Bush nor Obama, unlike officials from Iran, considers it safe to stay in Iraq overnight. For that matter, not one single U.S. official, including the members of Congress, has taken his family to Iraq for vacation. How sad is that for a country that 5,000 troops gave their lives to “liberate”?
Oh, that’s not all. According to an article in the Christian Science Monitor,
The Iranian military is reportedly playing a significant role in Iraq’s latest push to retake the city of Tikrit from the self-described Islamic State.
Unnamed US officials told the Wall Street Journal that Iran is supplying artillery, rockets, and aerial drones for the offensive. A commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards is also taking part.
Iran and Iraq have grown close since the the US-led 2003 overthrow of Saddam Hussein. While Saddam was a staunch enemy of the Islamic Republic, many of the Shiite politicians who came to power in the wake of the invasion were financed and protected by Tehran while living in exile. Military cooperation, both formal and informal in the guise of the country’s major Shiite militias, has deepened over the past decade, a process that’s accelerated since IS captured the northern city of Mosul last June.
The Economic Times of India reports that the close relationship between Iraq and Iran has the chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Martin Dempsey, extremely concerned. He said he would “raise his concerns about Iran’s influence in talks with Iraq’s leaders.”
Good luck with that! Anyone who thinks that Iraq and Iran are going to dissolve their close relationship because U.S. officials are concerned about it is living in the land of myth. While Iraq will continue using the U.S. government, including its bombing of ISIS, for its own ends, there is very little possibility that the Shiite regime in Iraq is ever going to end its close relationship with the Shiite regime in Iran.
And let’s not forget something important here: In the 1980s, the U.S. government was partnering with and supporting Saddam Hussein in his war against Iran. That’s why the United States delivered those infamous WMDs to Saddam — so that he could kill Iranians with them.
By ousting Saddam from power and installing a Shiite regime into power, the U.S. Empire gave Iran what it wanted and couldn’t do on its own during its 1980s war against Iraq. Ironically, Americans continue to thank the troops for their service in the U.S. war against Iraq from 2003-2011, notwithstanding the fact that Iran ended up winning the war.