The sad insanity of Iraq

(system) #1

By Alexander Carpenter

This video comes from a whole series called Hometown Baghdad, created by young people in Iraq. I found this episode, One of Thousands, to be particularly revealing in the Kafkaeque sad insanity it portrays about the real world of living in an occupied Iraq. Is this objective truth? No. Is this a larger reality? I think so. But you should decide for yourself.

I think the story's most salient point centers on the resentment that the occupying troops often inadvertently spread in the discharge of their duties. By being there we undermine the very peace that we are supposed to represent. And more and more of the normal middle classes are trapped between Iraq and a harder place.

Below, I have also posted some video from one of the most straight-shooting reporters in Iraq, CNN's Michael Ware. He gets past the endless debate over whether the surge is working in some areas or not to the wider concerns of what the last six months have cost. In fact, we are now undermining the very government we created and arming para-government militias (this time Sunni --thanks Bob) -- a policy that should bring a smile to those familiar with Afghanistan, Colombia, Nicaragua, oh yeah, and Saddam Hussein during the 80s.

As Sy Hersh writes in the New Yorker: The Bush Administration’s reliance on clandestine operations that have not been reported to Congress and its dealings with intermediaries with questionable agendas have recalled, for some in Washington, an earlier chapter in history. Two decades ago, the Reagan Administration attempted to fund the Nicaraguan contras illegally, with the help of secret arms sales to Iran. Saudi money was involved in what became known as the Iran-Contra scandal, and a few of the players back then—notably Prince Bandar and Elliott Abrams—are involved in today’s dealings.

Iran-Contra was the subject of an informal “lessons learned” discussion two years ago among veterans of the scandal. Abrams led the discussion. One conclusion was that even though the program was eventually exposed, it had been possible to execute it without telling Congress. As to what the experience taught them, in terms of future covert operations, the participants found: “One, you can’t trust our friends. Two, the C.I.A. has got to be totally out of it. Three, you can’t trust the uniformed military, and four, it’s got to be run out of the Vice-President’s office”—a reference to Cheney’s role, the former senior intelligence official said.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at