Note on the dirty war

LI’s readers and other spectators of this long movie should note the coordination of two events happening in America’s dirty war in Iraq. The last couple of weeks have seen the reintroduction of a push to ‘federalize’ Iraq – which is a long way to say, SCIRI wants to break off Southern Iraq and use its Badr brigade militia to create a state as autonomous as the Kurdish state, under SCIRI rule. Really, that means under the rule of Mohamad Baqir Al Hakim. This, it might seem at first glance, is counter to the Bush junta’s interests. After all, Hakim is notoriously close to Iran.

But in the dirty war, nothing is what it seems. From the start of the war, the idea of breaking off Southern Iraq and creating a neo-liberal slave state has been floated around as a project. The NYT’s group of reporter/propagandists were particularly dreamy about that prospect in 2003 and 2004, writing thumbsucker pieces about a Chalabi-headed Iraq ‘Singapore.’ To have a notorious thief in charge of territory right above Kuwait, this was an irresistible wet dream to the Bungalow Bill set. James Glanz, one of the worst reporters of the war so far, wrote a story on 2/27/05 with the grotesque title, “Iraq's Serene South Asks, Who Needs Baghdad?” Glanz, in wet dream mode, wrote:

“Several different versions of a southern Iraqi republic have been proposed. One would include only the three or four southernmost provinces -- Basra, Muthanna, Dhi Gar and Maysan; and another would stretch as far north as the holy city of Karbala, 50 miles from Baghdad.

The one that sparks the most interest here, though, is a Singapore-style Republic of Basra alone. Comparable in area to neighboring Kuwait, such a republic could be equally rich. With foreign investment, Ramzi asserted, its economy could overtake that of the tiny but sparkling Gulf emirate of Qatar within three years.”

With the saliva coming out of the corner of his mouth, Glanz conjured up a gentle, business friendly, Brown and Root friendly entity. One of the great things about Glanz as a reporter is that he is so invariably wrong that the article was a sign in itself – surely the war was coming South when a reporter as blind as Glanz couldn’t see it. And so it went, as into the trash went the gentle Singapore south, and out came the new, Taliban version South, envisioned by SCIRI.

Yet, SCIRI’s scheme has annexed the American military, who are presently campaigning to destroy Muqtada al-Sadr’s forces. Sadr is, of course, the enemy of SCIRI. He is also an advocate of Iraqi nationalism. And his party is as popular as or more popular than the proxy party of SCIRI’s.

Why would the Americans have become part of the scheme to break up Iraq and hand a considerable amount of territory to a Islamacist group? Well, the key is still the dreamy dream of Singapore. The South would, to this view, be a smaller, and much more easily dominated entity. And whatever SCIRI’s ties to Iran, they are a group very much interested in the money to be grafted off of privatizing oil resources – under one cover or another. The Dirty intentions of the Bush junta and the dirty intentions of the Badr brigades shake hands over their mutual interest in money money money. And the price is cheap – a few hundred American soldiers, white trash lives the president, and this country, could give a shit about. Being a bold Rebel in Chief, the president is willing to risk American flesh here if the price is right. It will cost him a pang – he’s not an unfeeling brute. Out there, toking up among the Crawford Ranch brush, he might think of the losses suffered by his guys and remind himself how tough he is, to take them. For their wounds are, metaphorically, his wounds. It is the third awakening, and we should count our blessings in getting a sub-messiah like our Bush, but as an even bigger man once said, you gotta take up your cross. And Bush’s cross is made of American and Iraqi bodies.

This is why it is important that Hakim has been meeting with Iraq’s vice president, Abd-al-Mahdi.


Vermin Direct, LLC said…
Does this mean we're not going to be helping our Iraqi brothers and sisters anymore, anytime soon? Vermin Direct, LLC, the brand managers who have hired Turk Fowler, were going to go paint some schools and say hello to the Kurds, for Christopher Hitchens. We hate to complain, but as a reverse dominoe theory "proof of concept" this has been far from what we had hoped to see achieved. It seemes only reasonable that the discredited communist dominoe theory could be reverse engineered and that this time the liberated brown people would love us. Rather than have to wait twenty or more years to set up sneaker factories, we should have had them AND reasonable control over the oil right away. Do you think raping, torturing and killing so many Iraqis was a mistake? I'm not sure what else can be done with people who hate us for our freedoms.
roger said…
D, next time, I think we should have start with the sneaker factory. Invasion via footwear - soft imperialism at its best!

Don't tempt me, though, to write another post about Hitchens. It makes my fingers itch, man. But... Monomania... Is... Boring ... Must ... Find... Antidepressants... Ah, fuck it. I have to say, reading Hitchens last screed in Slate that explains, to his own satisfaction, why he is still militantly anti-Kissinger even though he and the Kiss support identical policies in Iraq, was one of the few funny moments last week. Of course, the Hitchens brand depends on being anti-Kissinger -- once you get rid of that, Hitchens is just a more verbose Bob Novak. Same manias, same lack of logic, same unscrupulousness. But the whole beauty of the piece was that, by the end of it, Hitchens had convinced himself that Kissinger was really, really on the anti-war side. Right. A person who is that cavalier with reality and exposes the neurotic process by which he overwhelms fact with his own fantasies, week after week, is absolutely perfect for D.C. No wonder they consider him brilliant there.
One of the things I had hoped would become clearer over the last few years is that Hitchens was always Brand Hitchens (TM) first. Even reputable brands are subject to the "market forces" of court society. The contrarian schtick at the base of it is just epater les bourgeois with mission creep, big words and fancy references. Give me a few of those serotonin thingies would you?
roger said…
To be fair, Mr. Scruggs, I like Hitchens on literature, usually. It is just not the kind of stuff that earns a big return. But the essays on things like Isaiah Berlin or Anthony Powell were beautifully constructed and argued. I'm a reviewer, after all -- so I have a professional interest.

It bugs me that Hitchens simply trashed his own talent there. He's let the dummy polemicist take over even his reviewing, which is why it has become increasingly crappy -- and increasingly self-referential.

However - oh, how I hate to get on this subject - there is one interesting thing about the brand. Hitchens is basically trading in conversion. This links up with the stock in trade insult of him as an alcoholic - both reference the same odd idea of authenticity, which always grabs us yokel americans. From the Dauphin in Huck Finn, conning the rurals with his story of being a converted pirate, to James Frey, we just love those conversion stories. We love them so much that it is an addiction -- to stories of addiction. The Freudian in me thinks there is some deep connection between the odd backlash towards Frey and his lyin' memoir and the backlash towards the war and the lyin' intelligence that lead up to it and the lyin' good news that distorted it. Our dirty war in Iraq is an American binge.