In one of Hitchens’ recent apologias for warmongering in Slate magazine ( badly written pieces displaying the inglorious dream logic of a cartoon bully, Popeye’s Brutus, a surface incoherence governed by a deeper, unifying desire – which makes them all the more useful in indicting the belligerent mentality for its sham moral posturing and its real sadism), he wrote: “In many … people's minds, too, there is the unspoken assumption that what the United States does in Iraq is a fully determined action, whereas what other people do is simply a consequence of that action, with no independent or autonomous "agency" of its own.”
This is, actually, not just in many “people’s minds” – this is the structure of the imperialist, racist and class based framework within which the reporting on President Backbone’s vanity war has been presented. This weekend, devoted to upping the ante on confronting Iran, is typical. The anonymous briefing given to reporters about the weapons flowing in from Iran to Iraq was so amateur that it received the deadest of bounces among the American public – and of course, in the rest of the world, there was no gasp of horror, just polite titters at the peckerwood hijinks of those running this here hyperpower. I exclude of course Blair’s perpetual, shameful Echo, as who pays attention to Blair?
However, the astonishing thing about the reports is that not one of the conduits of White House misinformation – the newspaper reporters, the editors, the recyclers of news for tv, etc. – has felt any need to ask what the Iraqis think about Iran’s weapons, or about Iran in general. It isn’t that the Iraqis are victims, “without agency” – they simply don’t exist as anything but props for the Americans, and that goes all the way down.
This is from the BBC Middle Eastern monitoring service:
“London, Al-Sharq al-Awsat - The Iraqi Government has stated that there is a clear US stand towards Iran and this stand does not necessarily agree with the Iraqi Government's view and stand. Maryam al-Rayyis, the prime minister's adviser for foreign relations, said the Iraqi Government and people have deep respect for neighbouring countries, among them Iran.
Speaking to "Al-Sharq al-Awsat" by telephone to comment on the US accusations against Iran, Al-Rayyis said: "We should separate between the Iraqi Government's stand towards Iran and the American one. The Iraqi Government does not want to be a party in the conflict between this and that country." She added that the Iraqi constitution was clear about this through articles stipulating that Iraq would not be a door or an arena to conflicts between other countries. She noted however that the new security plan "is one for imposing the law" that stipulated "there will be no party exempted from this plan, including neighbouring countries, if any of these countries proves to be involved in the Iraqi affair and undermining its security." The prime minister's adviser then said she was expecting the Iraqi Government's comment on the American statements to be issued later.”
This is about the only statement I can find on Factiva concerning the Iraqi government response to America’s masked accusations. But the Irish Times at least notes that, yes, there is an actual reality in Iraq apart from American fantasy. This is what it looks like:
“Two of the three main Shia fundamentalist factions, Mr Maliki's Dawa party and the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI), are closely tied to Tehran.
As anonymous US officials made their allegations about Iranian involvement with Iraqi insurgents, Mr Maliki's predecessor and Dawa party chief, Ibrahim al-Jaafari, was in Tehran for celebrations of the anniversary of the 1979 Iranian revolution.
Following a meeting with Iran's foreign minister Manouchehr Mottaki, Dr Jaafari expressed regret over the arrest of Iranian diplomats and military officers by US forces. Two envoys were detained last December, one of them in the SCIRI compound in Baghdad, and five in the Kurdish city of Irbil in January.
SCIRI was founded by Tehran and its Badr Corps militia was recruited, trained and armed by Iranian Revolutionary Guards.
The Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, headed by Jalal Talabani, Iraq's president, has also had longstanding ties with Tehran. Dr Jaafari said the Iraqi government is trying to secure the release of the Iranians.
Nassar al-Rubaie, a spokesman for the third and largest Shia faction, the movement headed by independent cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, declared that the Sadrists have never received backing from Tehran. The Sadrists are, in fact, rivals of Iran's partners, Dawa and SCIRI, and adopt an anti-Iranian stance.”
The failure of the Americans in the Middle East was as predictable as the failure of Xerxes to tame the sea - it was the pitting of barefaced imbecility against reality, with reality sweeping the floor, three out of three falls, 3100 American dead, 300-600 thousand Iraqi dead, four million Iraqi refugees. Even in dream logic, you cannot wish for two mutually negating things at once. As Freud shows, the unconscious gets around simple negation by conflating desires - and Freud's thesis is still the best guideline for reading an American newspaper, as every day presents another uplifting story of wealth founded on exploitation dreams its own moral election. America is the land of calvinists at the Playboy Mansion. But American foreign policy under President Backbone has been infantile even by these standards in its contradictory presuppositions, confident that an American public that periodically throws itself into panics about UFO abductions and Satanic cults would follow along, the children behind the pied piper.
I think the children are tired, now.