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Iraq 2004

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Crude and dangerous:
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TITOLO: American Rout in Iraq: an assessment.

WRITTEN BY: Lorenzo Matteoli

DATE: May 5th 2004


American Rout in Iraq:
An assessment
of the consequences

Lorenzo Matteoli


The rout of the US Marines from Falluja, the calling in of the Iraqi Battalion lead by former Saddam generals and the exposure of the revolting behavioural patterns of the officers and prison guards in Abu Ghraib and Basra, are the seals of history on the moral, cultural and military defeat of the Coalition in Iraq.
It will take months before this simple truth will sink in and be accepted by the defeated, and acknowledged by election-prone US leaders.
It will be a long and harrowing experience with more torture and slaughters, with the body count of this lost war soaring to the tens of thousands.
Eventually, the American Army will pull out of Iraq, more or less decently, possibly without even saving face, soiled by the urine of the Abu Ghraib heroic wardens.
The war was carried out with barbaric stupidity and incompetence by the leaders of an army that learned nothing from the chain of defeats in Vietnam, Somalia, Guatemala, Panama, Granada...
The shame of Abu Ghraib will remain and will mark with infamy a nation that, for decades, we have considered to be the leader and top representative of the civic values of the Western World.
Amongst others, the American media will try their best to manipulate, diminish, hide and blur responsibilities. The pathetic thugs who committed the atrocities will be punished with great publicity, but the actions and complicity of the generals and ruling elite will not be readily forgiven or forgotten and the revolting stench of their story will linger for decades.
For this stain on the West (and not only for the American Army and the US leaders) someone will have to be accountable.
If the purpose of the war was to find and eliminate WMDs it was useless. If it was to change Saddam’s horrific regime, the result will be paid with an equally horrific price. If it was for the control of oil, it is lost.
If the war was to liberate Iraq and bring “western” freedom and democracy, the result is yet another failure. Iraq will go through a long civil war with never-ending feuds among the different kinds of Islamic fundamentalism, ethnic and tribal power seekers, different factions and clans of Islamic terrorism. We will see ethnic cleansing, torture, hostage blackmail and warfare for generations to come.
The moral, cultural and military defeat of the greatest World Power must be carefully assessed and analyzed, first of all because it was not forecast and secondly because the consequences will be on an historic planetary scale.
America loses not only the oil in Iraq and the control on Central Asian oil resources for the next twenty years, but her economic and financial credibility as well. We will see the markets slowly and sternly respond to that in one or two years: the time for the concept to be metabolized by World public opinion.
The US tragedy in Iraq again reveals the deep cultural worthlessness of the American leading class. The “culture” of the American corporate management, arrogance and short term greed, cannot be trusted to steward the huge strategic investments that are systematically lured to the US markets. The question is, how long will it take for this dramatic evidence to sink into the minds of the great World investors (Asian and European Financial Institutions and Banks)? How many more Enrons, Worldcoms, Bushes, Wolfovitzes, Rumsfelds or Halliburtons do we need before we get the message?
The other blatant consequence is the loss of military credibility of the United States: the “World Policeman” is powerless when challenged on the grounds of urban guerrilla warfare.
The main dealers of the World hot spots on the various war stages (Israel, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Pakistan, Cashmere, Central Asia, Indonesia...) now know that the giant has clay feet and a mind obscured by a fuzzy and puerile cultural vision.
The arrogance of the words “Mission accomplished, Bring them on...” show no consistent intelligence and military skills. Every “warlord” or “sheik” capable of organizing a gung-ho army of a few thousand fanatic mujahedeens knows that he can grasp a territorial domain and the political space to negotiate as a World Power. Osama Ben Laden is redesigning his strategies.
Another consequence of the Bushist puerility is that the credibility and negotiating leverage of international extreme pacifists and do-gooders has been grossly inflated and will consistently promote the initiative of global terrorism (al’Qaeda is by now obsolete). Many countries will have to negotiate officially with the representatives of terrorism (Saudi Arabia, Emirates, Yemen, Iran, Sudan, Nigeria...). Many will have ambiguous secret contacts and equivocal deals, as Italy did with Libya in the seventies.
For the generations, which for almost a century believed in the ideal values of freedom and democracy and have trusted the United States of America to be the safe keepers of these values, the tragic blunder in Iraq is hard to take, as it was hard to accept and tolerate the shame of My Lai.
Angelo Panebianco on the Corriere della Sera (Gli anticorpi dell’orrore) is not convincing. It is better to admit guilt with humility, than to find a sordid consolation in the staunch certainty to be “better than Saddam Hussein”.
Is it really a matter for pride to be better than Mugabe?

Lorenzo Matteoli