Friday, July 31, 2015

Fruit of the Poison Tree, Continued

I really don't like writing about Iraq. That pooch has been so thoroughly screwed - and the possibility that the United States can do anything to UNscrew it at this point being about as likely as Donald Trump recommending a national holiday for Cesar Chavez's birthday - that there's really nothing of value I can say.

But when I read this I felt almost physically sickened.

One of the stupidest of the many, many stupid things that the Bushies believed about Iraq is that there really was an "Iraq"; that is, that short of the capability for murderously violent force (and the willingness to use it) that the former Ottoman and British colonial provinces of Kurdistan, Iraqi Sunnistan, and Iraqi Shiastan could be forced together into some sort of pathetic facsimile of a Westphalian nation-state.

And that there was truly a significant political faction that stretched across those three polities that was interested in some sort of coalition of shared power.

Instead the fucking morons invaded and the fucking inevitable happened. Iraq fractured along regional and tribal lines as ambitious and ruthless men concluded that it was better to rule in Sunni (or Shia, or Kurdish, or Basran, or Tikriti...) Hell than serve in someone else's heaven.

Of the Iraqi factions my personal sympathies have always been with the Kurds. No real particular reason, just my own sense that of the groups in What-Used-To-Be-Iraq the Kurds in general - though the linked article makes good points that "Kurds" is a pretty broad blanket for the congeries of political groups fighting for Iraqi Kurdistan - seem the most "reasonable" in Western terms, the least susceptible to the sort of ethnic and religious monomania that has made the modern Middle East such a goddamn sewer of lethal grudges and yes, I'm looking at you, too, Israel.

One of the things that pissed me off most about Dubya's Most Excellent Middle Eastern Adventure was the need to pretend that there was an "Iraq" and that that "state" was something that was run through whoever sat on the gaddi in Baghdad. That weapons-grade idiocy prevented the sensible accommodations that the U.S. might have made with the varying factions to gently dismember the undead thing that was "Iraq" to cater to the fears and fantasies of the rulers of OTHER Frankensteinian sinkholes such as Syria, Lebanon, and Jordan.

This sensibility to the tender fee-fees of the Saud dynasty and whoever-the-fuck is currently tending the various North African dumpster fires was, of course, rewarded with the same sort of cheerful cooperation that our Middle Eastern "allies" are known for. And that cooperation appears to be just as wanting as it ever was.

I cannot understand anyone who would advocate the the United States needed more direct involvement in the Middle East's current Wars of Religion. As Lord Chesterfield said once, the pleasure would be transient, the position ridiculous, and the expense damnable.

But if any of the benighted denizens of this dangerous and incomprehensible place deserved tangible, physical help from the United States to defend themselves from the rapacious bastards all around them it is the people of Kurdistan, and the fact that the powers that be in this country cannot openly acknowledge and act on that is just another weight to the burden of grievous guilt borne by this nation and the mendacious, conscienceless scum infesting the Bush Administration that opened this Hope-less Pandora's Box in hopes of finding the glory their childish fantasy had convinced them was hidden within.


Ael said...

Sorry Chief, you can't give aid to "the Kurds", you can only give aid to specific subsets of Kurds (unless you line every one of them up and hand each one a M16 and a hundred dollar bill). Deciding which ones to benefit and which ones to not is fully as complicated as giving aid to some countries in the Middle East and others not (and with similar outcomes).

The only solution is to leave them all alone and pay for oil (and whatever else they produce and you want) when you load it onto the ship.

FDChief said...

And the problem with that is that Iraqi Kurdistan has a relatively limited petroleum industry. That's been one of the huge reasons for the tension between the KRG and Baghdad; because the Baghdad government suspects that the Kurds have designs on the northern oilfields (as they may well have, given that your opinion is not unique amongst the Western powers-that-be...).

IMO the best "solution" - not that it would be a "solution" - would be to have been to have recognized the KRG as an actual state and concluded a mutual assistance agreement with it. That would have increased the pressure on those "subsets of Kurds" you mention to quit dicking around and get into the political process rather than try and set up their own powerbase.

One of the reasons that there ARE so many factions is that nobody wants to recognize the Kurdish government AS a government, so the possibility that an ambitious filibusterer can become the government remains open. Had the US been willing to do so political stability might have ensued. But, of course, the problem is that because of the idiot Bushies war of choice we CAN'T do that or fulfill our nervous "allies" prophecy that the whole point of the invasion was to dismember "Iraq"...

So you're right in the sense that this is a clusterfuck any which way. But it's a clusterfuck where one of the fuck-ees has my sympathy and the others...not so much.