Blaming the Iraqis: What Took So Long?
Blaming the Iraqis: What Took So Long?
It takes a lot to surprise me these days, but a recent news item in the Washington Post did the trick. The story, titled â€œMore U.S. Officials Blame Iraqis,â€ appeared last Tuesday. According to its authors Thomas E. Ricks and Robin Wright, â€œAmericans increasingly blame the continuing violence and destruction in
The Americans who are blaming the Iraqi victims include â€œtroops on the groundâ€ and â€œmembers of Congress,â€ with the latter group including key members of the Democratic Party. Examples include U.S. Senator (D-Michigan), who used recent Iraq war hearings at the Senate Armed Services Committee (which Levin will head starting next year) to claim that â€œwe cannot save the Iraqis from themselves.â€ Levin argues for â€œputting the responsibility for
U.S. Senator Lindsay Graham (R-South Carolina) relays his constituentsâ€™ alleged complaint that the dysfunctional Iraqis are â€œincapable of solving their own problems through the political processâ€ and prefer to â€œresort to violence.â€
U.S. Senator Evan Bayh (D-Indiana) thinks that the Iraqis â€œseem unable or unwillingâ€ to â€œstabilize their country with theâ€ â€“ get this â€“ â€œassistance weâ€™ve proffered them.â€
U.S. Representative R. Hayes thinks that â€œthe Iraqis are determinedâ€¦to destroy themselves and their countryâ€ and worries (he claims) that the
Joseph Collins, an â€œinternational relations expertâ€ at The Center for Strategic and International Studies, says that â€œwe [the
CIA Middle East analyst Ray Close has told other members of the elite Iraq Study Group that heâ€™s â€œtired of nitpicking over how we should bully the Iraqis into becoming better citizens of their own countryâ€
Talk about adding insult to injury. This new verbal sniping at the Iraqi people reminds former West Point historian Andrew Bacevich of the end of the Vietnam War, when many American military officials blamed the â€œstupidityâ€ of â€œthe gooksâ€ for the problems that the U.S. experienced imposing its criminal will on Indochina (Ricks and Wright, â€œMore U.S. Officials Blame Iraqis,â€ Washington Post, 28 November 2006).
Levin, Bayh, Hayes, Collins, and Close should take their lines about â€œfailedâ€ Iraqis directly to the loved ones of some of the hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians who have been murdered, maimed, and tortured by â€œliberatingâ€
But Iâ€™m not surprised at the racist viciousness of the terrible comments from the likes of Levin et al. They reflect the standard top-down denial of the mass-murder that the planetâ€™s most powerful military state â€“ correctly identified as â€œthe leading purveyor of violence in the worldâ€ by Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1967 â€“ recurrently commits against â€œfailedâ€ societies targeted for U.S. â€œintervention.â€
And Iâ€™m not surprised that â€œelite,â€ morally failed U.S. foreign policymakers and â€œexpertsâ€ would describe their nationâ€™s criminal, racist oil invasion as a selfless, humanitarian effort to help, even â€œsaveâ€ the Iraqi people. Imperial state officeholders and their power-worshipping scribes and advisors have always sought to cloak the quest for global dominance in the disguise of noble intentions and benevolent concern. Itâ€™s nothing new or exceptionally American. The notion that â€œWE ARE GOOD and always seek only the best for othersâ€ has long been a doctrinal maxim of our imperial class. This was the standard patriotic claim as we butchered hundreds of thousands of Filipinos (in the name of "freedom") at the turn of the last century. It was the conventional top-down wisdom as we killed millions of Indochinese (destroying them â€œin order to save them,â€ according to one military operative) during the 1960s and 1970s. There are many other examples in American history, going back to the genocidal Indian (elimination) Wars and the bloody seizure of the Southwest (from Mexico) and leading up through the 1991 assault on Iraq (including George Bush Iâ€™s â€œHighway of Deathâ€ atrocity) and U.S. Secretary of State Madeline Albrightâ€™s defense of the murder of 500,000 Iraqi children â€“ a â€œprice worth payingâ€ for the advancement of inherently noble U.S. foreign policy intentions, she told a national television audience â€“ by U.S.-led â€œeconomic sanctionsâ€ during the 1990s. The bipartisan axiom of American benevolence prohibits an honest or comprehensive look at either the full-spectrum misery our recurrent â€œresort[s] to violenceâ€(Lyndsay Graham) â€“ interesting statements of our commitment to being â€œbetter citizensâ€ (Ray Close) of the international community â€“ inflict on anonymous overseas others (unworthy and thus faceless victims) or the savage and also murderous domestic (â€œhomelandâ€) hierarchies that both feed and reflect imperial policies.
At the same time, pointing the finger at the alleged failures and inadequacies of weaker and targeted others, is a well-established â€œpower eliteâ€ habit in the
For some time now, as King feared, dominant white
From the assault on Americaâ€™s First Nationâ€™s people and the rise of black chattel slavery through the neo-slave Jim Crow era, the age of the immigrant-proletarian slum, the construction of the black ghettos, the dispossession of the native white farmers, the imperial â€œcrucifixion of Southeast Asiaâ€ (as Noam Chomsky once described the war on Vietnam) and the rise (since the mid-1970s) of a racially hyper-disparate mass incarceration state inside the U.S., ruling American doctrine has always insisted that the people on the wrong sides of the nationâ€™s imperial guns and related savage domestic inequalities suffer because of their own inadequacies and â€œfailures.â€
So whatâ€™s the big surprise? Only that it has taken so long for American â€œelitesâ€ of both corporate-imperial parties to go public with victim-blaming sentiments regarding
After all, the fact that the bipartisan imperial invasion of