Troops Are Home from Iraq, But the War Is Far From Over


Written by Behrouz Saba

An American military withdrawal from Iraq, sooner and more decisive than previously anticipated, is being hailed as an end to the war. Yet the conflict, in which 4,483 Americans and more than 100,000 Iraqis lost their lives, was no more than a battle of a far larger war which started decades ago and is likely to go on decades more with catastrophic consequences of a global proportion.

The war in fact started in 1979, when a virulently anti-American revolution ended the monarchy in Iran and Soviet forces invaded Afghanistan. The United States and its European allies were understandably alarmed, seeing a geopolitically indispensable region of the world slip out of their sphere of influence.

America and Britain adopted the policy of giving millions to Muslim extremists through the CIA’s Operation Cyclone, creating a counter-measure to an expanded Russian presence in the region. Saudi Arabia funneled in millions more. The “honest broker” in these transactions was Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence Agency (ISI), which fashioned the Afghan Mujahedeen as a precursor to the Taliban, Osama bin Laden’s al Qaeda and the Somali-based al Shabaab.

The Soviets fought futilely for an entire decade until they limped back north across their border with Afghanistan, their empire soon to collapse. The 1980s also saw the prolonged Iran-Iraq war in which the United States and Britain played both sides against each other, selling arms to Tehran and Baghdad, and sharing intelligence with Saddam Hussein.

The war left Iran a pariah nation mired in internal conflicts. Yet Hussein was still perceived as posing a serious regional threat and impeding America’s access to Iraqi oil. President Ronald Reagan appointed April Glaspie as the U.S. ambassador to Iraq in 1988. She famously told Hussein, “We have no opinion on your Arab-Arab conflicts, such as your dispute with Kuwait. Secretary Baker [then-Secretary of State James Baker] has directed me to emphasize the instruction, first given to Iraq in the 1960s, that the Kuwait issue is not associated with America.”

Iraq took these words as a green light to invade Kuwait in 1990, which became the premise for the first Gulf war to expel Iraqi forces from the oil-rich emirate. The war was followed by years of crippling sanctions against Iraq which targeted civilians. At least half a million Iraqi children died, mainly due to lack of medical and pharmaceutical supplies.

A new century started with 9/11, which is a part of the same war, as it targeted and killed 3,000 American civilians. Today the fingerprints of the British intelligence service MI6 as well as the ISI are glaringly obvious in planning and executing the atrocity.

The horrific events ushered in an era of pro-war emotions, curtailment of civil liberties and anti-Muslim sentiments across the United States and Europe. The United States immediately invaded Afghanistan, effectively taking the Soviets’ place where it remains still. Two years later, American troops invaded Iraq, eventually hunted down Hussein, put him on trial, and hanged him in plain view of TV cameras for the world to see.

The so-called “Arab Spring” is also a part of the same war. It destabilizes existing regimes throughout the Arab world with America’s blessing, yet with little thought and planning given to the fate of the nation states in absence of the status quo. The process — under the guise of promoting “democracy”– revives national, ethnic and sectarian conflicts across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), weakening central governments and making MENA ripe for a wide range of neocolonial exploitations.

According to one study by the Eisenhower Research Project at Brown University’s Watson Institute for International Studies, the greater “war on terror” has cost 225,000 lives and up to $4 trillion in U.S. spending.

Today, a provision of the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act threatens American citizens with summary arrest and indefinite detention. The stipulation makes it clear that Americans themselves are considered a target in an open-ended war with civilian casualties exponentially higher than military losses.

The wholesale carnage and expenditure of taxpayer dollar is in preparation for the final stage of the war, when America will see itself arrayed against China and, possibly Russia, in a fight for global ascendance.

Evan Wright wrote in Generation Kill about Americans who served in Iraq: “These young men represent what is more or less America’s first generation of disposable children. More than half of the guys in the platoon come from broken homes and were raised by absentee, single, working parents. Many are on more intimate terms with video games, reality TV shows and Internet porn than they are with their own parents.”

Today, millions more of them, widely distributed in selfsame suburbs and inner-city slums of the world, are ready for action. That they will consent to fight not for a cause but as entertainment will make their war all the more deadly.

This post was originally published by New America Media.


Related Stories:

Obama Marks End of Iraq War

Iraqi Women Speak: US Troop Withdrawal a Double-Edged Sword

With One War Ending, the Military Community Remembers


Photo from New America Media


Brian F.
Brian F6 years ago

Laurita W. I agree with you 100%. It's time for America to mind it's own buisiness, and worry about it's crumbling infastructure, 15 trillion dollar national debt, and high 9.5% unemployment. America needs to stop going to war based on lies and illegally invading other countries, and worry about it"s own problems. Ron Paul's foreign policy is the best course for America.

Laurita Walters
Laurita W6 years ago

War is about money and power. Our involvement in wars overseas are about oil and power. The USA is notorious for saying "We're the good guys" and going away to commit atrocities against civilians in the name of protecting our freedoms. I call bullshit. We have terrorist of our own -- we call some of them CIA and some of them are the local police. We should stay home and clean our own house before going overseas to bomb someone else's.

Vivianne Mosca-Clark
Vivianne M6 years ago

The leaders of the world have all be put there by others we haven't seen as yet.

Remember please that the puppets you can see are being manipulated by the puppeteers...which you do not see.

We have only seen the outer layers of the onion; not the core of it.

Nancy L.
Nancy L6 years ago

We're hardly done in Iraq. We built the world's largest embassy there, and will have 17,000 people working there, plus many military troops to protect it.

Frank Mugford
Frank Mugford6 years ago

And, as you say, the military industrial complex made enormous profits out of Iraq, along with Halliburton, Blackwater, KBR and many other sundry assorted US companies.

rita b.
Rita B6 years ago

This is a very good summary of the wars, however, a few points that were missed. Before, the Ayotollya took over an Iran they had elected a president. However, he was not cooperative enough with the oil multinationals, being too far to the left, so our secret agents helped get rid of him and install the Shaw. The muderous reign of the Shaw is what brought about the revolution which brought in the Ayotollya (sp).

Concerning Afghanistan, our secret service was ready to move in and arrest Osama Bin Ladan shortly after 9/11. They were pulled back and stopped by Rumsfield. The Bush family has been good buddies with the Bin Laden family for years. That is why no one from the Bin Laden family in the country were ever questioned and quickly and quietly flown out of the country after 9/11.

Why did we attack Iraq when they had nothing to do with 9/11 and were never a military threat, becuse Saddem Hussain refused to cooperate with the oil multinationals and OPEC.

Also, the wars have meant HUGE profits for the military industrial complex. With the colapse of the Soviet Union our military budget was about to be cut a new enemy had to found. What could be more perfect than an endless war on "terrorism"? And if by some chance it starts to lessen we can always provoke a new outrage by installing another one our military bases in someone elses country.

Frank Mugford
Frank Mugford6 years ago

It most certainly was about oil, although there are clearly other marginally connected and contributory reasons. Somebody many years ago opined that it was 'Kick the dog' and that it was really Iran that was the target all the time, probably more than anything to placate the fears of the Israelis.
On another point, the news came out in Lebanon, the IDF are NOT INVINCIBLE, something we all knew anyway. They are brilliant at kicking around defenceless people but not so good when up against real opposition; the famous Maglans had their comeuppance at the hands of Hezbollah and had to retire with many dead; as John Cleese said, 'They kicked your ass real good boy!'

Mac R.
Mac R6 years ago

Well put, Ernest! Very well put. Except that quite a few thousand troops ARE coming home (already back), to wait for a later rotation back to Afghanistan, but from what I'm getting, Obama doesn't plan to increase the Afghan numbers much now, and possibly is going to be drawing down in increments. So, many of those soldiers will be coming home and looking for jobs.

Ernest R.
Ernest R6 years ago

@ Joseph B “Sorry, while I am very thankful our troops are coming home I find little else to feel good about US foriegn policy.” Sorry to burst your only bubble, Joseph, but those troops are being re-deployed to Afghanistan. At least they won’t increase the unemployment numbers or the numbers of damaged homeless on the streets. Someone asked “Was it worth it ?”. Was WHAT worth it? Was the destruction of Iraq worth it ? Was the descent of the most westernized country in the Middle East into a Shiite theocracy next to the Shiite theocracy in Iran worth it ? Was the corporate access and oil profits worth it? Was pleasing Israel’s Zionists worth it ?

John Duqesa
Past Member 6 years ago

Mac D. A couple of things before I rush to work. Yes, the Zionist Entity is a terrorist state. But that does not mean to say that it's armed forces, particularly its army are not a rabble! It is undisciplined and inefficient - you just have to see the farago it made of Lebanon and in the WB what it does daily - only last week a soldier deliberately murdered a protester and has not been punished. It is powerful, yes, and can wreak havoc and destruction as it did in Gaza but that does not mean that it does its job well, composed as it is mainly of conscripts, softened by 1st world living, courtesy of the diapora and the USI.

As for the oil/Zionist Entity issue, we shall have to disagree. It is clear to me the impetus for the wars on Iraq came from the Zionist lobby which cares little about oil.