US Empire’s Passion for Iraqi Democracy Magically Disappears

This is, of course, because the invasion of Iraq had nothing whatsoever to do with democracy, writes Caitlin Johnstone.

By Caitlin Johnstone

Following a vote by the Iraqi parliament to remove foreign troops from the nation, the U.S. president threatened to destroy Iraq’s economy in retaliation and to refuse to leave unless an expensive military base worth billions of dollars was paid for.

“If they do ask us to leave, if we don’t do it in a very friendly basis,” Donald Trump told the press on Sunday. “We will charge them sanctions like they’ve never seen before ever. It’ll make Iranian sanctions look somewhat tame. If there’s any hostility, that they do anything we think is inappropriate, we are going to put sanctions on Iraq, very big sanctions on Iraq.”

“We have a very extraordinarily expensive air base that’s there. It cost billions of dollars to build. Long before my time,” Trump also said. “We’re not leaving unless they pay us back for it.”

This would be the same President Trump whose starvation sanctions are already known to have killed tens of thousands of people in Venezuela, and probably much more by now. The same President Trump who campaigned in 2016 on bringing the troops home from nations like Iraq.

And this would be the same U.S. empire that used the narrative of bringing democracy to Iraq in order to help manufacture public support for “Operation Iraqi Freedom” (which Bush’s Press Secretary Ari Fleischer kept hilariously calling “Operation Iraqi Liberation” [OIL] by mistake). The same U.S. empire that has used the “liberation” of Iraq from the tyranny of Saddam Hussein and the institution of democracy in the Middle East to justify its evil and unforgivable invasion ever since.

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Yet the instant Iraqi democratic institutions become even slightly inconvenient for the U.S. empire, Iraqi democracy gets flushed down the toilet. Iraq’s elected parliament voted very clearly for the removal of America’s military presence in the interests of its own sovereignty, and Trump has stated, in his typical accidentally-honest way, that America will not honor that vote. The U.S. is allowing Iraq the same kind of democracy that Americans have: democracy so long as it doesn’t inconvenience the powerful.

This is, of course, because the invasion of Iraq had nothing whatsoever to do with democracy. The invasion of Iraq was about controlling a crucial geostrategic region which refused to bow to the dictates of the U.S.-centralized empire. This is important to remember, because that is also exactly what the regime change agendas against Iran and Syria are about.

It is not a mysterious coincidence that all these horrible dictatorships that urgently need a forceful injection of freedom and democracy just so happen to reside right next to each other. The fight for control over the Middle East has always been about controlling important fossil fuel resources and trade routes, and thereby controlling the world. If the empire can’t gain control of the nations in the region via absorption into the imperial blob (Saudi Arabia, UAE, Turkey, etc) or just constructing a satellite from scratch on top of a previously existing nation (Israel), then the empire will work to gain control by attempting to replace any noncompliant governments (Iraq, Syria, Iran) with compliant ones

And, as we now know, the second a compliant government begins to act noncompliant, it will immediately begin receiving the same treatment that noncompliant governments receive.

As things heat up with Iran you will begin hearing more and more babbling gibberish about the poor, poor Iranians and how unfortunate they are to live in a nation where the women can’t feel their hair in the wind and LGBT people need to hide who they are. But as a leaked State Department memo revealed in 2017, the empire is never actually concerned with human rights, and it is never actually concerned with democracy. The sole concern of the empire is power, and the growth of that power. That’s all this has ever been about.

Iraq seems to be destined to be the nation that keeps teaching us important lessons, so the very least we can do in response is make sure that we learn those lessons, and remember them.

Caitlin Johnstone is a rogue journalist, poet, and utopia prepper who publishes regularly at Medium. Follow her work on FacebookTwitter, or her website. She has a podcast and a book Woke: A Field Guide for Utopia Preppers.” 

This article was re-published with permission.

The views expressed are solely those of the author and may or may not reflect those of Consortium News.

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12 comments for “US Empire’s Passion for Iraqi Democracy Magically Disappears

  1. January 9, 2020 at 12:54

    It wasn’t a wise decision to attack Iraq. After 15 years, there is no peace. in fact, I would agree with Piotr that it was just to capture a geo-strategic location.
    War is never a solution to any conflict, a conflict is always disastrous. and democracy should prevail in Iraq. it’s the right of the people of Iraq.

  2. Vera Gottlieb
    January 9, 2020 at 11:18

    The US has never had any passion for democracy…The only passion it has is to destroy those who do not tow America’s lines. As if America’s backyard was so spotless…

  3. Tony
    January 9, 2020 at 09:14

    I think Roger Stone once asked, rhetorically, about free elections in Saudi Arabia.

  4. Marc Freeman
    January 8, 2020 at 14:29

    To me the most startling comment: “We don’t need Middle East oil”

    I have to hand it to the Iranians. They gave Trump a way out of the mess he created. Trump had given the Iranians the strategic advantage which they still hold.

  5. Robert
    January 8, 2020 at 14:25

    ‘What we know about malignant narcissists is that they psychologically decompensate once they achieve the ultimate position of power. They worsen in every possible way: become more grandiose and paranoid, more aggressive and demanding, and progressively less in touch with reality (and Trump has never been fully in touch with it).

    We can expect his narcissistic rage to intensify in proportion to his increasing grandiosity and paranoia.

    The major overarching lessons are (starting with good news) 1. that these leaders and their regimes always fall — always, without exception; but, 2. unfortunately, they cause grave and lasting damage, and traumas that take generations to heal, if they heal at all.

    Our yearning for higher values — truth, freedom, justice, dignity, and love — is irrepressible. When we live in relative peace and comfort, we become complacent and forget that these values are not a given, but must be discovered and created by each of us anew, and often must be fought for.’

    Source: goodmarriagecentral (dot) wordpress (dot) com/2017/01/25/and-so-it-begins/

  6. Robert
    January 8, 2020 at 14:11

    ‘Narcissism is as much a character problem as it is an error in our thinking. Seeing oneself as “above” is the general attitude of a narcissist toward the world, and the error of the tyrant and his followers. This error appears to grip many so-called civilized human societies, and is especially pronounced in those where inequality grows despite any official sloganeering to the contrary. Our narcissism is what gives rise to inequality, and inequality fuels our narcissism. The resultant suffering and despair, along with a desire for revenge, are among necessary conditions for the emergence of tyranny.

    As Burkle (2015) observes, we are seeing a resurgence of tyrannical leaders around the globe, even in nations that supposedly have learned the lessons of tyrannies past in the most painful ways. It is a sign of our pressing need to reckon with our collective shadow.’

    Source: goodmarriagecentra (dot) wordpress (dot) com/2018/12/23/tyranny-as-a-triumph-of-narcissism/

  7. Paul Spencer
    January 8, 2020 at 14:04

    Very glad that y’all are publishing Caitlin’s work.

  8. rosemerry
    January 8, 2020 at 13:08

    Let us go back a little, since Trump and the lying Mikes (and,sadly, European “leaders”) seem to think General Soleimani and Iran in general killed Americans and so have blood on their hands. After the 52 hostage event (nobody killed) came the 8 year war which the US -armed Saddam Hussein and Iraq waged against Iran, killing at least a million people. The USA also shot down,and praised themselves for the act, an Iranian civilian plane on a normal flight path, killing 290 passengers. How is that somehow Iranians are considered murderers when it is obvious who the real criminals are.

    • Skip Edwards
      January 8, 2020 at 20:51

      Thank you for keeping truth and historical facts alive and in the sunlight.

  9. Realist
    January 8, 2020 at 05:21

    Interesting legal theory proposed by the Donald: If I trespass on your land and subsequently build costly structures upon it, I never have to leave, despite your objections, unless you pay me back the exorbitant costs of something you never asked for nor wanted. Well, I guess that “rationale” worked for all of North America, so why not try it around the rest of the world?

  10. Fran Macadam
    January 8, 2020 at 04:54

    Like the stock market, as with the arc of war, past performance is the best predictor of future results. You might think it insane, but to those who control policy, making war again also makes more stupendous profits and thus perfect sense. It certainly is not about democratic accountability either at home or abroad.

  11. January 8, 2020 at 00:38

    “This is, of course, because the invasion of Iraq had nothing whatsoever to do with democracy. The invasion of Iraq was about controlling a crucial geostrategic region which refused to bow to the dictates of the U.S.-centralized empire. This is important to remember, because that is also exactly what the regime change agendas against Iran and Syria are about.”

    It is a bit hard to determine what the invasion of Iraq “was about”. Reading various advocates of the idea before the war itself was a bit like reading about effects of an herb — improves the mood, detoxifies, helps in diet, good for kidneys, although conclusive studies supporting those claims are still missing. One Peggy Noonan argued that it will enable peace between Israelis and Palestinians. An entire conference was organized in London on the topic how to organize Iraqi oil sector “more rationally”. That gave an impression that oil was a consideration. But Democracy was featured even more. Not some phony democracy, formal elections followed by orgies of corruption, but a well functioning democracy unleashing the spiritual power and entrepreneurial talents of the population, causing envy amongst the Iranians and Syrians and thus a benign domino effect. As an aside, I do not recall explanations if that envy of democracy could undermine friendly undemocratic countries in the region.

    As electronic media were not as predominant as today, many trees were chopped for articles devoted to prospects of democracy in Iraq and, by extension. countries to the north-west and north-east (perish the thought about the spread toward the south).

    In retrospect, this genre was based on the belief in the goodness of human nature. If you give freedom to the people, they will reveal their true nature, to wit, they will be good. As an empirical proof, Americans got freedom and became very good. Being good, they will develop fondness for other good people, especially Americans as they are particularly good. And, by extension, they will be fond of other good free nations, especially those that Americans are fond of, Israel. Thus the population will be following pro-American political parties, and a stable, prosperous pro-American Israel-friendly democracy will emerge.

    The confidence in the (naturally pro-American) goodness of human nature waned among the exigencies of administering the liberated territory. But some initial steps that seem idiotic in the hindsight can be explained by a sincere belief in “goodness”.

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