Iraq’s developing civil war couldn’t have surprised the Pentagon
The Bush regime and its pals do more than their share of hiding. Don’t want to reveal information, sure, but it goes deeper than that. Remember Halliburton’s invisible meals served to troops?
Here’s some more food for thought: Back in the summer of 2002, when Bush’s handlers were plotting the invasion of Iraq, the Pentagon neocons were warned of the consequences: chaos, a fractured country. All we heard about was the propaganda about “liberation.”
In June 2001, James A. Russell, a Persian Gulf expert in the Department of Defense, was assigned by Doug Feith, Don Rumsfeld‘s undersecretary for policy, to the National Security Affairs Department at the Naval Postgraduate School. Just a guess, but I would imagine that meant that Russell was not part of Feith’s inner circle.
Anyway, the Naval Postgrad School, a slice of governmental academe, formed something called the Center for Contemporary Conflict and started pumping out research papers, posting them in an electronic journal, Strategic Insights. They make for interesting, and relatively jargon-free, reading. In June 2002, for instance, Russell produced “Shibboleth Slaying in a Post-Saddam Iraq,” a nice little report that charted our options for Iraq while we were already planning to invade it. “As the United States marches inexorably towards regime change in Baghdad,” Russell wrote, “the critical issue facing policy makers is determining what happens after Saddam is removed from power.”
Russell noted that Iraq is an unnaturally unified country—and he concluded that maybe it shouldn’t even stay that way:
The U.S., he noted, propped up Iraq in the ’80s, a fact widely noted but one that the Bush regime always plays down. As Russell put it:
But by the summer of ’02, things had changed. Everyone in D.C. knew the Bush regime had made up its mind to go to war. Russell wrote:
That assumption, he said, is in fact wrong. Here’s what he said:
Now here’s the scary part:
Iraq has been led by an authoritarian Sunni-led minority regime since its inception, starting with the Hashemite monarchy imposed by Great Britain, which was followed by a Sunni-led Baath party apparatus and its series of military strongmen.
Thus, the country has always been held together by coercion and force—not by an underlying congruence of interests among Shiites, Sunnis, and Kurds that translated into common consent of the people. In fact, quite the opposite has been the case. The Sunni minority has been openly hostile to the Shiites and the Kurds virtually since the inception of the Iraqi state.
You’re wondering why the Iraqis have done nothing but squabble since the January 30 election? How could they have done anything else? Russell called it back in ’02:
As Bush criticizes how the spoils of Europe were divided after World War II, we might want to remember how parts of Europe broke apart after the Cold War. Russell wrote:
The same kind of Balkanization could very well happen in Iraq. Russell concluded:
U.S. officials should consider that by allowing the breakup of Iraq, the United States may find a viable path toward realizing its overriding policy objective, which is to prevent the re-emergence of another military dictator who will continue to develop WMD and threaten his neighbors if not the entire international community.
But who gets the oil? Hmmm. It seems hard to imagine that Dick Cheney would let us withdraw from Iraq without trying to make sure we were going to wind up with a hell of a lot of its oil. That’s why we embarked on this in the first place, isn’t it?
But maybe Bush’s handlers saw all along that a post-Saddam Iraq could never function as a unified country. Maybe this is the sort of de-stabilizing—a fractured, split-in-three Iraq—that the neocons, and their pal Ariel Sharon, hoped for all along. Hmmm.