Newspaper logo  
 
 
Local News & Opinion

Ref. : Civic Events

Ref. : Arts & Education Events

Ref. : Public Service Notices

Travel
Books, Films, Arts & Education
Letters
Open Letters:

Ref. : Letters to the editor

Health Care & Environment

04.24 Hopes raised for new genetic therapy to prevent inherited diseases

04.24 Can this new blueprint for fossil fuel divestment stir industry to action?

04.23 Hundreds of Chinese Cities Don’t Meet Air Standards, Report Finds

04.23 Oceans are world's seventh largest economy worth $24tn, says WWF report

04.23 Natural Disasters: Preparing for the Big One

04.23 Water Wheel scoops 19 tons of Baltimore's Inner Harbor trash in one day [2:38 video]

04.23 Study Finds Low Cost in Reducing Methane Emissions

04.23 Catching Waves and Turning Them Into Electricity

News Media

Daily FAIR Blog
The Daily Howler

US Politics, Policy & Culture

04.25 Hillary Wants a Piece of the Elizabeth Warren Love Fest

04.25 Declassified Report Shows Doubts About Value of N.S.A.’s Warrantless Spying

04.25 Baltimore’s ‘Broken Relationship’ With Police

04.24 5 Subway Lines New York Hasn't Built But Should

04.24 What Does It Mean When Police Unions Denounce Protestors as 'Lynch Mobs'?

04.24 The Geography of Well-Being [map graphics]

04.24 A Guide to the Billionaires Bankrolling the GOP Candidates

04.24 Candidate Clinton and the Foundation

04.24 The Plutocrat Primary

04.23 Cash Flowed to Clinton Foundation as Russians Pressed for Control of Uranium Company

04.23 Obamacare, Hands Off My Medicare

Justice Matters

04.21 The American Nightmare: Debbie Milke Recounts Life on Death Row

High Crimes?

04.24 Armenian genocide survivors' stories: 'My dreams cannot mourn'

Economics, Crony Capitalism

04.25 The Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Death of the Republic

04.23 Vietnam 40 years on: how a communist victory gave way to capitalist corruption

04.20 Iceland looks at ending boom and bust with radical money plan

International

04.25 Angelina Jolie criticizes UN security council for paralysis over Syria

04.24 Seven Must-Read Stories (Week Ending April 25, 2015)

04.24 One Hundred Years of Silence: Turks Slowly Take Stock of Armenian Genocide

04.24 The $18bn arms race helping to fuel Middle East conflict

04.22 UN expert: rich countries must take in one million refugees to stop boat deaths

04.21 Horror: CBS News’ 60 Minutes Airs Footage Of The 2013 Sarin Gas Attack In Syria [13:34 video]

04.21 Buying Better: The Impossible Challenge of Ethical Shopping

04.21 The Terror Strategist: Secret Files Reveal the Structure of Islamic State

04.21 Opinion: Europe Should Protect People, Not Borders

04.21 The silence about Europe right now makes me nervous

04.21 Japan's maglev train breaks world speed record with 600km/h test run [0:51 video]

04.21 Art in Iraq: ‘Baghdad is happening! It’s like New York...’

We are a non-profit Internet-only newspaper publication founded in 1973. Your donation is essential to our survival.

You can also mail a check to:
Baltimore News Network, Inc.
P.O. Box 42581
Baltimore, MD 21284-2581
Google
This site Web
  Bipartisan Paradise: Liberals, Bush Unite in Ethnic Cleansing of Iraq
Newspaper logo

COMMENTARY:

Bipartisan Paradise: Liberals, Bush Unite in Ethnic Cleansing of Iraq

by Chris Floyd
Iraqi refugee hides form fighting
From the New York Times:
The number of Iraqis fleeing their homes has soared since the American troop increase began in February, according to data from two humanitarian groups, accelerating the partition of the country into sectarian enclaves...The effect of this vast migration is to drain religiously mixed areas in the center of Iraq, sending Shiite refugees toward the overwhelmingly Shiite areas to the south and Sunnis toward majority Sunni regions to the west and north.
It is now obvious that one impetus behind the "surge" was to accelerate the "ethnic cleansing" of Iraq. Given the manifest failure to establish a strong central government to serve as a client state, the conquerors now find it easier to deal with separate ethnic enclaves, which can police themselves, shake out their own internal conflicts (however bloodily) and thus establish some kind of solid leadership that can cut deals and guarantee investments. Most of the measures taken during the "surge" seem aimed precisely at ethnic cleansing: the increased support of the Iraqi government security forces -- which are largely Shiite militias -- has been matched with what some see as the lunatic policy of arming Sunni militias.

Most of the measures taken during the "surge" seem aimed precisely at ethnic cleansing: the increased support of the Iraqi government security forces -- which are largely Shiite militias -- has been matched with what some see as the lunatic policy of arming Sunni militias.
The latter is indeed a lunatic policy -- if your aim is to establish security and political rapprochement in Iraq. And although the leaders of the United States are indeed a gang of depraved moral idiots, they are not lunatics. Even they could see the folly of such a course -- again, if the aim was actually security and political cohesion. Thus one can only conclude that this is not their aim, that their aim is indeed to exacerbate ethnic conflict, to foment more violence, in what amounts to a stealth operation of ethnic cleansing.

This serves two main purposes: first, as noted above, it will help shake the country out, eventually, into more manageable enclaves -- each one stronger and more cohesive than the current government (which is largely a fictional notion at this point), yet weaker, and more malleable, than any stable and legitimate central government would be. And since the only kind of central government that could achieve stability and legitimacy in the eyes of all Iraqis would be one which was genuinely sovereign, truly independent from American domination, we will never see such a government in Baghdad as long as U.S. troops are in Iraq.

Which brings us to the second purpose of the "surge's" arming of sectarian gangs: to maintain a level of violence and chaos that would "justify" the continuing presence of American troops in Iraq. A permanent military presence is one of the overriding goals of the invasion, set down long before the war, before 9/11, even before the loser Bush was given the presidency by five Supreme Court justices (two of whom had family members working for the Bush operation). Therefore, to the Bushists, any measure is justified that will keep American troops in Iraq -- including fomenting bloody sectarian conflict and carrying out ethnic cleansing.

This in turn is tied to another of the chief war aims: the "oil law" that will open Iraq's sumptuous resources to predatory Western investors. This can only be can only be guaranteed by the presence of American troops, backing up some compliant puppet state or "semi-autonomous enclave." Again, a genuinely sovereign, truly independent government would never give away the nation's patrimony to Bush and Cheney's oil baron cronies and their European comrades.

And so the strategy behind the "surge" becomes clear: A united, independent Iraq cannot be allowed to exist, because such a state would not permit a permanent American military presence nor sign away the nation's oil wealth. Therefore, Iraq must be torn apart -- by sectarian strife, ethnic cleansing, terrorism and "counterinsurgency" warfare. And violence must continue until this shake-out is completed, in order to justify the continuing American presence.

While Bush pursues ethnic cleansing by stealth in Iraq -- or rather, pursues it quite openly, but just doesn't call it ethnic cleansing -- the Democrats and their outriders, the "liberal hawks" (or "humanitarian interventionists" or "Wilsonian idealists" or whatever tag they're wearing these days) are championing the policy in the public sphere. The idea of a three-way split of Iraq between Sunnis, Shias and Kurds has long been mooted in some quarters -- Joe Biden and "liberal" intellectuals like Leslie Gelb and Peter Galbraith were early enthusiasts -- and it is now gaining force within the foreign policy "clerisy" that Glenn Greenwald and Arthur Silber have been dissecting in recent days. Firedoglake points us to the incisive commentaries of Reidar Visser, "an actual expert on the regional aspects of Iraq and its history," who has lately been debunking the deeply ignorant and murderously arrogant "partition" proposals of Galbraith and others.

Michael O'HanlonVisser takes aim at one of the most hideous of these proposals: "The Case for Soft Partition in Iraq," by respected "scholars" Michael O'Hanlon (see A Tiny Revolution for more on this fine mind of our time) and Edward Joseph. When I first read of these gentlemen's work, I thought it must surely be a parody, a take-off on the deadly serious, genocidal fantasies of Philip Atkinson, who, on a website hardwired to the rightwing power grid of Frank Gaffney, James Woolsey and Dick Cheney, called for Bush to nuke Iraq, repopulate it with Americans and declare himself President-for-Life. The O-Hanlon-Joseph piece for the highly respectable Brookings Institution partakes of that same kind of murderous fantasy. As Visser notes:
...using cool academic language, the authors review the nuts and bolts of relocating somewhere between 2 and 5 million Iraqis in order to create new ethnic federal entities. Snippets from this part of the report probably speak best for themselves: “we advocate where possible dividing major cities along natural boundaries” (p. 16); “on the actual day of the relocation operation, Iraqi and US-led coalition forces would deploy in sufficient numbers to look for snipers, cover the flanks of the civilian convoys, inspect suspicious vehicles for explosives and conduct similar tasks” (p. 17); and finally, on p. 24, “this [internal border] control system would place some burdens on Iraq’s internal trade and other aspects of its economy. It would complicate the efforts of individuals to cross from one region to another to visit family and friends. For the most part these burdens would be bearable. For individuals or businesses that need to make frequent crossings across Iraq’s new internal borders, or those willing to pay for the privilege, an EZ pass system [sic] might be developed to expedite movements for those with important and regular business to conduct.”
"On the actual day of the relocation operation...." Try to imagine such a day, when millions of Iraqis are uprooted and forced to move to other areas, all under guard by "Iraqi and US-led coalition forces." Actually it's not that hard to imagine, for we have seen it before: in faded photographs and newsreel footage and films like "The Sorrow and the Pity," "Shoah," and "Schindler's List." Less familiar in the popular imagination but perhaps even more apposite are the "relocations" of ethnic populations carried out by Josef Stalin, when whole peoples, such as the Chechens, were uprooted and transported by force to other regions. Or we could of course look closer to home, at the "Trail of Tears," the deadly removal of the Cherokee from their homelands to concentration camps in Oklahoma.

These kinds of scenes are precisely what the clean-limbed O'Hanlon and his partner envisage for Iraq, followed by a life ensnared by checkpoints and passes and internal border controls. It may sound harsh, brutal and inhuman, but not to worry: "For the most part these burdens would be bearable."

I have a suggestion for Mr. O'Hanlon. I propose that he subject himself to such a regimen, then come back and tell just us how "bearable" it is. He doesn't even have to move five million Iraqis under armed guard to participate in this experiment: he can go to Palestine right now, where the people already live under his kind of "soft partition." Let him try it on for himself, just for a few months -- not the lifelong sentence he proposes for the Iraqis. We can even give him an "EZ Pass" to expedite any "important business" he needs to do.

This is what we've come to -- or perhaps, harking back to the Trail of Tears, this is where we came in. Ignorant, arrogant, cowardly elites proposing -- and in Bush's case, inflicting -- vast human suffering on innocent people, driving them from their homes, terrorizing them, killing them. And all of this done for no other reason but to enhance the coddled elite's power, privilege and pleasures.
photo of Chris FloydChris Floyd is an American journalist and the Editor and co-founder of the Atlantic Free Press. His work has appeared in print and online in venues all over the world, including the Nation, CounterPunch, Columbia Journalism Review, the Christian Science Monitor, Il Manifesto, the Moscow Times and many others. He is the author of Empire Burlesque: High Crimes and Low Comedy in the Bush Imperium, and is co-founder and editor of the "Empire Burlesque" political blog. He can be reached at cfloyd72@gmail.com.

This column originally appeared on Chris Floyd's site, and is republished here with the permission of the author.


Copyright © 2007 The Baltimore Chronicle. All rights reserved.

Republication or redistribution of Baltimore Chronicle content is expressly prohibited without their prior written consent.

This story was published on August 24, 2007.
 


Public Service Ads: