by Jacob G. Hornberger
Neocons are attacking President Obama for his plan to end the U.S. occupation of Iraq by the end of December. Never mind that Obama is operating under the contractual agreement entered into between former President Bush and the Iraqi regime his invasion installed into power. And never mind that there will still be thousands of U.S. diplomats, military personnel, security people, contractors, and CIA spies and assassins in the vast Vatican-sized U.S. Embassy in Baghdad. What matters is that Obama had a moral duty, the neocons say, of continuing the U.S. occupation of Iraq indefinitely into the future.
Why do the neocons want to continue the U.S. occupation of Iraq? Because they know that 9 years of military invasion, war of aggression, undeclared war, and occupation have produced nothing but failure, and hope springs eternal. Neocons think that another 9 years of occupation, and perhaps another 9 years after that (a 9-9-9 plan for the occupation of Iraq) will finally produce an economic paradise, one with peace and stability, governed by a loyal member of the U.S. Empire.
Despite the deaths and injuries of more than million people, both Iraqi and American, Iraq is ruled by brutal, dictatorial regime that is no different than that of Saddam Hussein. Like Saddam’s regime, this U.S.-installed regime has killed a vast numbers of its own people, rounded up people without arrest warrants or trials, incarcerated them indefinitely in horrific prisons, tortured and abused them, and even executed them. Despite a brutal invasion and 9 years of brutal occupation, Iraq is a violence-wracked, impoverished nation ruled by a crooked, corrupt, dictatorial regime operating under Islamic Sharia law.
Deep down, neocons know all this, even if they can’t acknowledge it on a conscious level. They keep repeating, almost mindlessly, that Iraq is now “free and democratic.” And yet not one single neocon has taken his family to Iraq for summer vacation during the past 9 years. I wonder why.
Necons are also lamenting the fact that the U.S. withdrawal from Iraq will enable Iran to have greater “influence” in Iraq. Hey, they should have thought about that back when they were supporting Bush’s invasion in the first place. How could they forget that it was Saddam himself who had been fighting Iran throughout the 1980s, when the U.S. Empire was partnering with him and even furnishing him with those infamous WMDs that Saddam ended up destroying prior to Bush’s invasion? Couldn’t they figure out that ousting Saddam from power and installing an anti-Saddam regime was precisely what Iran desired? Duh!
If Iraq and Iran establish closer relations after the U.S. withdrawal from the country, which seems likely, no doubt the neocons will condemn the Iraqi people for being ungrateful for what the Empire has done for them. After all, it was the U.S. Empire, not Iran, that brought them democracy, at the cost of only a million dead and injured Iraqis and the destruction of the entire country. Why aren’t those people more grateful, the neocons will ask, for having had their children, parents, spouses, or friends involuntarily liquidated or maimed by a foreign Empire for the sake of democracy? So what if they didn’t give their approval to the invasion and occupation of their country. After all, neither did the U.S. Congress. They’re just a bunch of ingrates, the neocons will claim.
Unfortunately, even though Obama is withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq, he’s simply shifting them to nearby countries instead of bringing them home and discharging them. He, along with his army and his intelligence forces, just don’t get it (or maybe they do). The reason that there is so much anger and animosity against the United States in the Middle East is not just owing to the deadly and destructive U.S. occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan, but also to the U.S. Empire’s role in the Middle East, including the stationing of U.S. troops there as well as financial and military aid both to the Israeli government and the many U.S.-supported Arab and Islamic dictatorships in the region.
Americans have been born and raised in a militarist, national-security, warfare state. Therefore, it is difficult for many Americans to imagine life without what has deceptively come to be called a “Department of Defense.” But if we are ever to restore a normally functioning society to our land, it is necessary for Americans to challenge the paradigm of militarism, empire, the military-industrial-congressional complex, and the national-security state that has held our nation in its grip for so long.
If Americans choose to hold onto the neocon warfare-state paradigm, they had better accustom themselves to continuing to live in a society based on torture, assassination, support of dictatorial regimes, terrorist retaliation, infringements on civil liberties, out-of-control federal spending and debt, inflation, and ultimately bankruptcy.
If Americans, on the other hand, choose to embrace the paradigm of free markets and a limited-government constitutional republic, the United States will once again be a society of freedom, prosperity, harmony, peace, and normality.
Jacob Hornberger is founder and president of the Future of Freedom Foundation.
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