Iraq War–Wag the Dog Syndrome

In 1997 during the peak of the sex scandals in Washington DC, a movie called Wag the Dog starring Dustin Hoffman and Robert De Niro was released about a Washington DC media specialist who is hired to construct an entire made-for-TV fake war in the former Soviet satellite state of Albania to divert popular attention from the sex scandals.

The Bush administration seems to have taken a page from the Wag the Dog Syndrome.According to the Washington Post, the U.S. military has erected an entire fake market in the Dora Market Section of Baghdad for the visiting American dignitaries to be photographed and then the good news spread in the United States made about the progress the “Surge” had made via pliable agents like Fox News, Wall Street Journal, and Washington Times.

The post says that “American generals and politicians visit Combat Outpost Gator, nestled behind a towering blast wall in the Dora market. They arrive in convoys of armored Humvees, sometimes accompanied by helicopter gunships, to see what U.S. commanders display as proof of the effectiveness of a seven-month-long security offensive, fueled by 30,000 U.S. reinforcements.Gen. David H. Petraeus, the top U.S. military leader in Iraq, frequently cites the market as a sign of progress.””The Dora market is a Potemkin village (or rather a fake village) of sorts.

The U.S. military hands out $2,500 grants to shop owners to open or improve their businesses. The military has fixed windows and doors and even helped rebuild shops that had burned down, soldiers and others said. We helped them a lot. We gave them money, security, even the locks on their doors, said a 36-year-old Iraqi interpreter. Everything we gave them. That’s why the violence has stopped. That’s why they cooperate with us. The Americans are giving money, so they’re opening up stores,” said Falah Hassan Fadhil, 27, who sells cosmetics. 1st Lt. Jose Molina, who is in charge of monitoring and disbursing the grant money, said the U.S. military includes barely operating stores in its tally. Although they sell dust, they are open for business,” said Molina, 35, from Dallas. They intend to sell goods or they may just have a handful of goods. But they are still counted.”

Stunning, absolutely stunning, the United States military and this administration has taken-up selling the war, instead they have taken-up selling fake success and fake photo-opportunities. So that the steady stream of Washington Fakers can fake it that they have “visited Iraq” and they have fake determined that the fake surge is working, and so that we should put more money into it, and more lives must be sacrificed. Twisted logic and fakery! Wow, Simply Wow…can we sink any lower!



24iraq_600.jpg As with everyone else on this message board, I am absolutely stunned by the sheer depravity and incompetence of this administration. This is a fascist propaganda regime in power and they are making the old Soviets look good. I teach International Relations and Foreign Policy and every day in my class, it takes me enormous effort to focus on the course materials and not talk about Iraq and US foreign policy all time. I am on the radio or the Internet pretty much all the time reading and blogging on Iraq. On Wednesday, I organized a forum in our campus to discuss the Iraq conflict and Middle East Policy and three panelists really really struggled to say something meaningful and positive about this administration. I don’t think there is any redeeming value left in this administration and it is entirely unclear as to how we are going get through another 16 months of spinning, stage-managing, mixing metaphors and historical analogies, and the in-your-face mendacity taken to an art form by Karl Rove and the Republicans.

The Iraq invasion is such monumental boondoggle of colossal proportions that it would take 15 to 20 years before the U.S. can meaningfully extricate from this full-blown civil war that is raging in Mess-o-potamia. Every day the drip-drip of violence is simply stunning, revolting and disgusting, little babies being torn to bits, mothers berating their chests and wailing for their husbands, brothers, and fathers, and young men and women coming home every day in body bags, limbs blown, and bodies disfigured. This is bad, very bad for the collective humanity, it destroys everything positive that the United States has achieved in different areas of humanitarian assistance over many decades. I am actually surprised that 26% of the American People actually support this President or is it just a statistical anomaly.

Iraq and the Way Forward-Informed Discontent and Unease

While we are interested in seeing whether Gen Petraeus and Amb. Ryan Crocker can save this Republican Administration, Juan Cole at Informed Content is more concerned whether these two gentlemen can save the next Democratic administration.  Prof. Cole argues that any precipitous withdrawal will definitely affect the next administration and that the current core of Republican senators and Congress people are not going allow the Democrats to force this president to withdraw.  Interestingly, Prof. Cole draws upon the historical analogy with Vietnam to argue that the next democratic nominee will be “Carterized,” or “Fordized” when they “withdraw from Iraq resulting in an one-term presidency associated with humiliation abroad and high inflation at home.  So, it seems like we are indeed stuck in Iraq for a while with potentially this foreign policy mess or quagmire expanding beyond the boundaries of the current Iraqi state.  Either way, we seem to be in this for the long haul.  

Dick from 1994 meets Dick from 2003

In an interview after the first Iraq War (1990-1991), now VP Dick Cheney and then Secretary of defense reasons why the US did not topple Saddam Hussein’s regime. Now, I need not say any more.  It is all here for watching. The funny thing about it is Stephen Hays, the “official biographer” of Dick Cheney comes on the Jon Stewert Show and says, yeah 9/11 changed everything.  Did it change the ethnic composition of Iraq; did it change the deep-seated ethnic animosities between Sunni, Shia, and Kurd; did it change the fact that Iran a longtime regional rival will want to interfere in Iraq’s business; did we find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq?  Well, you answer the question for yourself.