[The Independent, U.K.]



La Stampa, Italy

War in Iraq: America's 'Seven Inglorious Years'


"The second-rate war of a second-rate American presidency - the only symbol of which remains the image of a naked man being tortured with electric cables - his face covered with a hood. A sign that not even the enemy is recognizable any longer, even if you torture him."


By Lucia Annunziata


Translated By Enrico Del Sero


August 20, 2010


Italy - La Stampa - Original Article (English)

It's a conclusion without glory - neither victory nor defeat. The conflict that the U.S. unleashed in Iraq and that ended yesterday, ten cautious days ahead of schedule, was in effect a second-rate war.


It will be remembered more for what it inadvertently revealed than for what it intentionally achieved. Begun like Star Wars, it ended with a whimper. Begun with a globally-broadcast U.N. session to reveal the weapons of mass destruction in the hands of Saddam, it ended with a quiet night ride through the desert by an armored column of the "4th Stryker Brigade," the last U.S. combat brigade in Iraq. Nothing exceptional immortalized the moment: no particular emotion, no helicopter taking off with the last civilian to escape. Of the end of the second Iraq War, we can say that all we'll remember is the exceptional calm of the night-time retreat, a perfect counterpoint to the thunderous gallop by which seven and a half years ago, the U.S. mechanized cavalry crossed that same desert headed for Baghdad. Between the heroic beginning and the silent end, lies an era of decline in American history.


Let us remember it now. Among the strategies of U.S. President George Bush, the war against Saddam Hussein held a place without precedent. Having come out of the 2001 Twin Towers attack more than a little wounded, the United States had already responded by opening a battle front against the terrorism of al-Qaeda in Afghanistan - with the consent and the assistance of all of its European allies. But the security of the world was far from being restored.


The intervention in Iraq was identified by Washington as the first step toward reorganizing the global balance of power, during an era in which the United States had the burden and honor of being the only major power left as a guarantor against chaos. Iraq was the perfect geographic platform in the heart of the radically-religious Middle East, and in particular, a treasure chest of largely untapped oil reserves. But most of all, it was governed by an undisputed dictator with a bone to pick from a previous war with the United States and the Bush family. Iraq therefore was a new laboratory for a better future - the first American war in which the U.S. didnít just "defend" democracy, but undertook to export it, creating the conditions in which it would take root. After the Twin Towers, the U.S. would be safe only if the moral, social and political map of nations as we knew them was redrawn.



It was fascinating and dangerous theory that Washington clearly embraced - and for the first time in its history - that the United States could be the first to attack, that the old rules of diplomacy were just shackles that weakened the world, and that alliances as we knew them were just an old shoe that had no leather left in its sole.


In reprising these thoughts, and the fears from which they emerged, it's no wonder that today the almost messianic energy Washington deployed in planning the Iraq intervention is being reconsidered. To support the need to fight Baghdad, a very good man and a great general, Colin Powell, was sent to the U.N. to lie about weapons of mass destruction possessed by Saddam Hussein, thus destroying his career. On the same altar were sacrificed Tony Blair and many European allies who swore on the same unproven evidence. It was ultimately dubbed "preventive war," and well before the fall of Saddam Hussein, it hastened the end of multilateralism, diplomacy and split the Atlantic Alliance.




Sotal Iraq, Iraq: Iraqis Must 'Take to Streets' to Demand Presidential System

El Pais, Spain: U.S. Ends War it Couldn't Win; Leaves Behind Ruined Nation

Kitabat, Iraq: Iraq is Our Country!!!

The Telegraph, U.K.: Top Army Officer Warns Iraq Not Ready Until 2020

The Independent, U.K.: U.S. Troops Say Goodbye to Iraq

Guardian Unlimited, U.K.: Iraq is 'Half Built with the Roof Off'

Guardian Unlimited, U.K.: Fears Rise as U.S.-Backed Fighters Defect to al-Qaeda

Debka File, Iraq: U.S. Ends Iraq War, Leaves Two Civil Wars 'On the Boil'

Debka File, Israel: Combat Between U.S. and Iran Looms in Iraq
Kitabat, Iraq: America's 'Promise': To Leave Iraq in a State of Civil War
Kitabat, Iraq: Wake Up Iraqis!: The Americans Never Intend to Withdraw!

Kitabat, Iraq: America's War: From One Dictatorship to Another

Iraq News Agency: Chalabi Tells General Odierno: 'Mind Your Business'

Iraq News Agency: U.S. 'Pullout' Resembles Israeli Retreats from Gaza


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And perhaps it was only a consequence of a conflict born out of distortion and sheer lies that it proceeded with so little success, and without honor. Saddam was overthrown, it is true. But of all that should have been achieved, this was almost the only objective that was. As for the rest, seven and a half years in Iraq have revealed only the worst face of modern warfare: no heroes, no purpose, and too much money at stake.


We will remember the Iraq conflict as the involuntary exposure of infamy - both petty and grand. We now know how the Iraq conflict came about: generals sold themselves to the U.S. while still swearing loyalty to their leader, a dictator who after untold murders and proclamations, ran to hide in a hole at the hour of his nation's defeat, setting loose bands of armed terrorists bent on kidnapping, mass murder, and revenge among various versions of Islam.


We also know more than we ever did about the United States: we know about the torture at Abu Ghraib; we know about a professional army, now proletarianized and insufficient in number; we know about the massive deployment of mercenaries (contractors); and we know about indiscriminate attacks against civilians and the use of phosphorous in battle.


Seven and a half inglorious years, thatís how things are, as we said, on all sides. Seven and a half years in which, along with Saddam, a very important part of U.S. political discourse has fallen: not only can democracy not be exported, but the very ethical mission of the American people is today in question.††



Iraq in this sense marks the end of innocence for a great nation, without even the alibi of a great battle, of a grand ideological passion like that which drove the war in Vietnam. No heroism to point out on the part of the Americans, or heroes to point to as examples - as, it should be repeated, Vietnam nonetheless produced.


The second-rate war of a second-rate American presidency - the only symbol of which remains the image of a naked man being tortured with electric cables - his face covered with a hood. A sign that not even the enemy is recognizable any longer, even if you torture him.



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[Posted by WORLDMEETS.US, August 25, 10:00pm]


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