by Jacob G. Hornberger
After those bogus WMDs failed to materialize in Iraq, the U.S. government changed its rational for invading and occupying the country to one purportedly intended to bring freedom and democracy to Iraq. Countless Iraqis have been killed, maimed, tortured, and incarcerated without trial during the past 9 years of occupation, and the entire country has been destroyed, but U.S. officials say that it’s all worth it because freedom and democracy have been brought to Iraq.
Catch the following headline at CNN.com:
No, the article is not an old one referring to Saddam Hussein. It’s dated December 13, 2011, and is referring to Iraq’s current prime minister, Nuri al-Maliki.
According to the article, Deputy Prime Minister Saleh al-Mutlaq said that “Washington is leaving Iraq ‘with a dictator’ who has ignored a power-sharing agreement, kept control of the country’s security forces and rounded up hundreds of people in recent weeks.”
Even worse, from the standpoint of U.S. officials who consider Iran to be an arch-enemy of the U.S. Empire, “Neighboring Iran views al-Maliki as its man in Baghdad and has dictated the shape of the current government,” al-Mutlaq said.
Al-Mutlaq concluded that U.S. officials “don’t know anything in Iraq and they don’t know what is happening in Iraq, or because they don’t want to admit the reality in Iraq, the failure in Iraq, the failure of this political process that they set in Iraq.”
Meanwhile, on December 12, the New York Times reported that al-Malaki is “rounding up hundreds of former Baath Party members and evicting Western companies from the heavily fortified Green Zone.”
Evicting Western companies? Aren’t those companies from the nation that brought freedom and democracy to Iraq? Isn’t that an odd way to express gratitude?
The Times also says of al-Maliki: “And as a Shiite leader who some say owes his position to Iran’s backing, he has not made clear if Washington, or Tehran, will wield more influence.”
Moreover, it seems that al-Maliki is taking a page out of the standard war-on-terrorism playbook: “The scale and secrecy of the arrests in October and November, of 600 former Baathists, have raised new tensions in Iraq’s suspicious political atmosphere. They have fanned fears that Mr. Maliki will use the threat of terrorism and unrest as a pretext to strike political foes.”
One Western official stated, “Baathism here is a symbol that Maliki uses as a bogeyman. It gives them the leeway to go around arresting people. It’s about a climate of fear.”
Indeed, given the round-ups, the killing of his own people, the torture, the indefinite detentions, the climate of fear, and the exercise of dictatorial powers, it’s difficult to ascertain the difference between Saddam Hussein and Nuri al-Maliki, except that the classes of victims are different.
Of course, U.S. officials and interventionists might respond, “Well, at least Maliki is democratically elected.”
But big deal. So was the Nazi Party in Germany. A democratically elected dictatorship is certainly not freedom.
Is all this any reason for the U.S. government to re-invade Iraq, in order to bring freedom to the Iraqi people?
No! Leave the Iraqi people alone to resolve their own problems. The U.S. government has made a big enough mess in Iraq. It’s time for the Empire to come home from everywhere, terminate foreign aid to everyone, including dictatorships, and leave people alone.
Jacob Hornberger is founder and president of the Future of Freedom Foundation.
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