By Eric Margolis
August 16, 2014
Armed humanitarianism 2.0. That’s our new western version of old-fashioned 19th century imperialism, now feminized by President Barack Obama’s lady advisors, painted pink and accompanied by the kind of soft piano music you hear in ads for women’s products.
Last week, the Obama administration latched onto the plight of Iraq’s Yazidis who were being persecuted by those awful ISIS folks – just in jolly good time to divert attention from the massacre in Gaza.
How handy. All three US networks and the increasingly shackled BBC were ordered to drop Gaza reporting and refocus their camera teams on the suffering Yazidis and, all of a sudden, Iraq’s fleeing Christians.
This was a brilliant media ploy. The world, which was furious at the US for enabling Israel’s savaging of Gaza and killing of almost 2,000 Palestinians, switched its attention to the hitherto unknown Yazidis, and to Iraqi Christians. No one in the US had ever heard of Yazidis but that was ok. Uncle Sam to the rescue.
No mention was made that Iraq’s Christians had been safe and sound under President Saddam Hussein – even privileged – until President George Bush invaded and destroyed Iraq. We can expect the same fate for Syria’s Christians if the protection of the Assad regime is torn away by the US-engineered uprising. We will then shed crocodile tears for Syria’s Christians.
The US and Europe suddenly cheered the ostensible US-French-British `rescue mission.’ Interestingly, those old colonialists, the French and British, were so quick to get involved in oil-rich Iraq: the Brits sent in some of Her Majesty’s Killers, the renowned Special Air Service, or SAS. France and Britain are sending arms to the Kurdish militia known as `pesh merga.’ Australia, now under a hard right government, may follow suit.
Around 1900, Imperial Britain, France and Russia all claimed the right to intervene in the Levant to supposedly protect its Christians. Such a useful excuse.
America thrilled to see the US Air Force drop food and water to Yazidi refugees. Even this cynical writer was cheered to see US military power helping the oppressed.
But what of the 1.8 million oppressed Palestinians in Gaza, cut off by Israel and Egypt from food, water, medical supplies and power? What about the millions of refugees in Syria created by western attempts to overthrow its Assad dynasty for backing Iran? What of millions of internal refugees from the Afghan and Iraq Wars?
Well, Washington did just announced a temporary halt in resupplying deadly US-made Hellfire air to ground missiles to Israel, which has used up its once large supply blowing apart Palestinians in Gaza. Like the fake arms-delivery suspension by the US to Egypt’s brutish regime, it will soon be lifted when public attention has turned elsewhere.
There are 5.5 million Palestinian refugees. What are a handful of Yazidis compared to this sea of homeless? The number and plight of those Yazidi refugees were wildly exaggerated by the western powers to justify their re-intervention in Iraq.
Lurid reports of ISIS cruelty may well be true, but this old cynic suspects they are being used and exaggerated to justify intervention. After all, we saw the similar untruths about Saddam’s regime and al-Qaida’s “threat to the entire globe.”
This kind of stuff, much loved by the British, goes back to bogus stories from 1914 of German soldiers spiking Belgian babies on their bayonets. Or, remember the baloney about Kuwaiti babies thrown from their incubators by beastly Iraqis?
Now, the biggest dolts in the US Republican Party like John McCain, Lindsey Graham and my hometown’s own Peter King, claim the US homeland is threatened by pipsqueak ISIS while they try to provoke a real war with Russia over Ukraine.
To show just how bizarre US Mideast policy has become: US warplanes are dropping aid to Iraq’s Yazidis (considered devil worshippers by many Iraqis), while they bomb Zaidi tribesmen in northern Yemen who are battling its US-installed military junta in Sa’ana. Yazidis, Zaidis, it’s all very confusing, like those pesky Slovaks and Slovenes.
Meanwhile, the White House has ousted its Shia sock puppet in Baghdad, Nuri al-Maliki, in favor of a newer, even more obedient satrap. Maliki was foolish enough to actually believe he was prime minister of Iraq and refused to allow US troops to stay there indefinitely.
Big mistake, Nuri. But shed no tears for him: his vicious death squads murdered and tortured large numbers of Sunni. One of their favorite interrogation tools was an electric drill applied to the kneecap. US generals in Iraq used Shia death squads (patterned on those of El Salvador, a war I covered) to crush Sunni resistance. Now, it’s payback for the Sunnis.
Iraq’s next leader is another CIA-blessed politician who will be expected to make his nation safe for western oil companies. We see the same process in Afghanistan where CIA central casting has produced two ‘candidates’ for president.
As for de facto autonomous Kurds, they have been a western protectorate since 2003 and would be fully independent today were not for fear of a violent reaction by the irritable Turks. Israel has supplied the Kurds with arms since 1970.
Interestingly, the Kurds are now exporting oil directly to Israel though a Turkish pipeline and tanker while the regime in Baghdad, cut out of payments, fumes. There’s long been talk of an Israeli air base in Kurdistan.
“Just when I though I was out, they pulled me back in.” Michael Corleone’s plaintive line from the “Godfather” is Obama’s tune today. He’s only returning to Iraq for purely humanitarian reasons, a story that markets well to female (mainly Democratic) voters. And because the ISIS Saracens will overrun the Bible Belt soon unless Obama acts.
Never mind that the US armed and trained ISIS in Jordan to overthrow Syria’s regime. Now they have gone rogue and must be stopped by a new humanitarian crusade.
So back go American troops into the hellhole of Iraq, an act that defies both military and political logic. But US elections are on the horizon and Hillary Clinton is out there blasting Obama for having left Iraq in the first place. Hillary has just fully aligned herself with Israel’s PM Benjamin Netanyahu and asserts US troops should have stayed in Iraq…..she who is married to a notorious wartime draft dodger. Republicans are beating the same drum.
Remember the ‘tar baby’ from Uncle Remus’s slave stories of the Deep South. All who touch him get stuck. Well, that’s Iraq for you – in spades. Instead of tar, it’s sticky oil. Obama should have stayed out of Iraq. But politics forced him back in.