By Jacob G. Hornberger
Ever since the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, we have been hit with a multiplicity of bromides, myths, falsehoods, and deceptions by U.S. officials and the mainstream media. “Saddam was coming to get us with his WMDs.” “Mushroom clouds were going to start appearing over U.S. cities.” “The troops in Iraq are defending our freedoms.” The troops are bringing freedom and democracy to Iraq.” “Occupation Iraqi Freedom is going to produce a paradise of freedom and prosperity.”
And then every once in a while a small dose of reality about Iraq creeps into the mainstream media, which is what happened in the July 15, 2017, issue of the New York Times.
The Times’ article pointed out what we here at FFF have been saying about Iraq for the past 15 years: that the winner of the U.S-Iraq War in 2003 was … Iran! Yes, Iran, the country that the U.S. government ranks among the top of its official-enemies list.
The title of the article says it all: “Iran Dominates in Iraq After U.S. “Handed the Country Over.”
Of course, that title implies that if the U.S. government had not exited Iraq in 2011, Iran would not be “dominating in Iraq.” That’s ridiculous. Iran has been dominating in Iraq ever since the U.S. ouster of the Saddam Hussein regime in 2003.
The Times essentially acknowledges that central point:
When the United States invaded Iraq 14 years ago to topple Saddam Hussein, it saw Iraq as a potential cornerstone of a democratic and Western-facing Middle East, and vast amounts of blood and treasure — about 4,500 American lives lost, more than $1 trillion spent — were poured into the cause.
This is what most Americans have avoided confronting ever since the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003. Ever since then, Americans from all walks of life have blindly thanked the troops for their “service” in Iraq, without giving any thought to exactly what such “service” consisted of.
The automatic assumption has been that the “service” consisted of defending our rights and freedoms here at home. But there is one big problem with that assumption: It’s been manifestly false from the get-go. Iraq never attacked the United States or threatened the freedom of the American people.
Such being the case, what exactly is the “service” for which Americans have been thanking the troops in Iraq for the past 15 years? The service consists of installing an official Islamic Shiite regime in Iraq, one that is loyal to and aligned with Iran, as the Times article observes.
That’s the reality that Americans have simply not wanted to confront for the past 15 years. Many still do not want to confront it. The Times article helps them to do so.
The troops in Iraq were never fighting to defend our rights and freedoms. They were fighting for a regime change, one that ousted Saddam Hussein’s Islamic regime, which was Sunni, and replace it with another Islamic regime, which was Shiite.
Take a wild guess at what type of regime Iran is. You guessed it! A Shiite regime, one that has been closely aligned with its counterpart in Iraq ever since the U.S. government installed it into power in 2003.
To put some context to the matter, let’s go back to the Iraq-Iran War during the 1980s. That was when the Saddam Hussein Sunni regime was killing Iranians, who were predominantly Shiites. U.S. officials were aligned with Saddam during that war. They were helping him to kill Iranians.
As an aside, notice the following phrase in the Times article as to one of the ways that Saddam’s forces were killing Iranians: “with chemical weapons.”
But notice something else important: The Times failed to mention where Saddam got those chemical weapons. He got those WMDs from his partner and ally, the U.S. government. (See here and here.) The dark irony is that the Bush administration later used those same WMDs — the WMDs that the U.S. government had furnished Saddam in the 1980s so that he could kill Iranians with them — as the way to scare the American people into supporting the 2003 invasion of Iraq, telling Americans, falsely, that Saddam was about to use those U.S.-furnished WMDs on the United States. In actuality, he had destroyed those U.S.-furnished WMDs many years before, as he consistently maintained.
Why were U.S. officials partnering with Saddam to kill Iranians? Because the Iranian people had had the audacity to oust the Shah of Iran in a revolution in 1979, whose tyrannical regime the CIA had fortified with its regime-change operation in Iran in 1953. To punish Iranians for ousting a U.S.-supported dictator, U.S. officials decided to help Saddam kill Iranians. That’s why they furnished him with those chemical weapons.
Now fast forward to 1990. The U.S. government turned on its partner Saddam with the Persian Gulf War. At the end of that war, U.S. officials encouraged Shiite factions within Iraq to initiate a violent revolution against Saddam. Thinking that the U.S. government would come to their aid, the Shiites did in fact initiate a revolution, which Saddam put down violently by killing thousands of Shiites. During Saddam’s massacre, U.S. troops stood by and let it happen. Feeling betrayed and double-crossed, the Shiites never forgot what the U.S. government had done to them.
Now fast forward to 2003. U.S. troops invade Iraq and oust Saddam Hussein’s Sunni regime and replace it with a Shiite regime, which consisted of many of the Shiites who had revolted against Saddam’s regime in 1990 and who felt that the U.S. government had betrayed and double-crossed them.
Ever since the U.S. invasion of Iraq, Iraq’s Shiite regime has used U.S. troops as pawns to maintain its hold on power, especially as ISIS, which included many people from Saddam’s old Sunni regime, tried to regain power in a civil war. But the entire time that Americans were thanking the troops for their “service” in Iraq, the Iraq regime has been loyally aligned with its Shiite counterpart in Iran, not the United States.
Whenever the president of Iran flies into Baghdad, he can feel safe staying in Iraq several days. Whenever a U.S. president flies into Iraq — which is hardly ever — he can only stay an hour or so and then must flee the country because it’s just not safe for him to stay much longer than that, much less overnight.
For that matter, I’m willing to bet that more than 99.999 percent of Americans have not chosen Iraq to be their summer vacation destination despite Operation Iraqi Freedom and “mission accomplished” in Iraq. I’m also willing to bet that no members of Congress have ever chosen Iraq for one of their infamous vacation fact-finding junkets.
Rather sad and pathetic, I’d say, considering 4,500 U.S. soldiers have been killed in Iraq and more than $1 trillion in U.S. taxpayer money were spent on the invasion and occupation. I wonder how many Americans realize that U.S. troops are now back in Iraq, helping to fortify the Iran-aligned Islamic regime they installed and protected for 8 years?
How can anyone in his right mind still be an interventionist, especially after the U.S. interventions in Iraq … and Libya … and Syria … and Iran … and Iraq … and Afghanistan … and Guatemala … and Chile … and dozens of other countries?
This article was originally published at The Future of Freedom Foundation.