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Washington in Wonderland: Down the Iraqi Rabbit Hole (Again)


Washington in Wonderland: Down the Iraqi Rabbit Hole (Again)

Andrew Bacevich

There is a peculiar form of insanity in which a veneer of rationality distracts attention from the madness lurking just beneath the surface. When Alice dove down her rabbit hole to enter a place where smirking cats offered directions, ill-mannered caterpillars dispensed advice, and Mock Turtles constituted the principal ingredient in Mock Turtle soup, she experienced something of the sort.


But if we don’t give ISIS, ummmm…Iraq, more weapons we won’t have a reason to order more from the industrial part of the Military/Industrial complex.

Without orders they’ll have to lay off people. As people are laid off the economy will start to contract, heading into a death spiral of reduced consumption leading to reduced employment leading to even less consumption leading to…

Do you want the terrorists to win? Do you want the economy to crash because you’re not willing to send weapons to Iraq?

Support the economy! Send weapons to ISIS!

I mean Iraq.



Divest from the M/I/I Complex.


Bremer got rid of the Baath Party in Iraq. Bad idea! The Baath Party was founded in Syria by a Christian, expressly to tone down the infighting between Sunni/Shia. Saddam Hussein headed up the Baath Party in Iraq, wanting to create a modern, secular tone for his country. Tariq Aziz, who just died, was a MAJOR official in Saddam’s government, and also a Christian. (He was the guy who adamantly objected to claims that Iraq had WMDs in his UN testimony) Iraq also was instrumental in giving females a good education and was rewarded by the UN for that. By some estimates, before the Iran/Iraq war (instigated by the USA and Rumsfeld), Iraq was a progressive counry in the Middle East.

Taking out Saddam destroyed the strong secular direction in Iraq and resulted in many Sunnis, particularly soldiers, being out of work, but well armed. Thus ISIS got formed eventually. Shias, who now run Iraq, identify with Iran, who are now prevailing with the current Iraqi Govt.

So the extreme folly of Bush and Company (Wolfowitz, Pearl, etc.) has resulted in the exact opposite of the desired outcome. NO democracy in a disintegrating Iraq, and the “arch” enemy, Iran, gaining eminence. Note: Jeb Bush has signed up Wolfowitz as a foreign policy advisor. DEJA VU! Don’t let it be true!

By the way, Christians are definitely not welcome anymore! The exodus is in full swing throughout the Middle East. I wonder what far right Christians in the USA, who were gung ho for the Iraq War, make of that?


It’s the peril of Empire, as Porter would say. Political necessity within the beltway translates to Bacevich’s conundrum.

Wesley Clark and James Webb are the only type of leaders who, if they were in the Oval Office, wouldn’t be afraid of the Pentagon and the security establishment. One doubts that Sanders could stand up to the pressure. Very hard to imagine Hillary riding herd on the military.


While Mr. Bacevich speaks of the aperture of allowable discussion, he acts as pro-military gatekeeper by widening it only in a marginal manner.

Not once did Bacevich question the Iraqi war, at all… although he speaks of how the “Washington Establishment” only speaks in the narrowest of present tense frames. It’s as if the false evidence used as pretext for these already planned wars is off Mr. Bacevich’s radar. Could it be due to the fact that he is a card-carrying member OF the Military Establishment?

I have never once heard an indictment of the War Department–since that IS what it is–in any of Mr. Bacevich’s published articles. In the same way that Bush, Sr. spoke of a kinder, gentler U.S. (code for imperialism), Bacevich pretends that the uber-militarism of the U.S. MIC can be somehow made more efficient.

Third, there was NO mention of the casualties to Iraq. The U.S. may have lost 4000 soldiers, but this was an unnecessary war of aggression–meaning it qualifies as THE Supreme Crime Against Humanity and while it’s awful that our nation experienced casualties, these utterly pale in comparison with the losses in that unnecessarily bludgeoned land.

Perhaps Mr. Bacevich should visit a neo-natal hospital ward and take a look at all the babies deformed from D. U and other toxic weapon traces in the air, soil, and local water tables.

Lastly, like Tom Engelhardt–Bacevich’s “article editor,” both demonstrate a glaring lack of insight into WHY all those weapons were so blithely left behind. It’s to keep the war machine’s war profiteers and budget makers in business. And I hardly think that American taxpayers were non-plussed by all those hummers left behind so that a martial group like ISIS could get hold of them. Since when have taxpaying citizens’ interests factored into the ultimate imperial calculus?

Of course, this is where the forum’s paid posters argue that “voters put these people into office.” They leave out the costs of elections, the vetting process, the difficulty of outliers getting media time or decent press coverage, the fraudulent vote counts, gerrymandering of districts to give white male Republicans the edge, and all of the other graft and corruption that’s turned U.S. elections into as much a theater of the absurd as Bacevich’s analogy to Alice down the rabbi hole in describing the Iraqi war.

It’s a form of disinformation to say, “Look what the media is NOT telling you,” and then only expand the frame by a fraction.

When Bacevich takes that fearless moral inventory about war (and the U.S. under MIC-control war state) then I’ll show him a modicum of respect. For now, he’s just another apologist for the MIC-media complex and inured to the blood, tragedy, pain and ecocide that it spreads… from sea to shining sea.


Bacevich says of the current discussion: “This requires narrowing the aperture of analysis so as to exclude anything apart from the here-and-now. “ The meaning of a story depends on where you

Similarly Noam Chomsky says:
“The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum…”

So we have plenty of discussion, but without ever tracing how we got here, what have we been doing, and why, who is benefiting, who is paying the price and where do we think we are going in the
future. We are not even supposed to question if any particular expenditure makes sense. You are supposed to support the troops, but never question the policies that determine whether they will be safe and if their sacrifices make any sense whatsoever.

But none of this really matters to the war makers because war is a racket, a very profitable racket.


Every one of our military interventions into the Middle East has ended in failure that has only served to further destabilize the region and create more violent terrorist groups and radicalize the people. Such is not the way to peaceful coexistence ~ diplomacy, trade and humanitarian aid is.