Today’s newspapers are full of jubilant American troops leaving Iraq after completing their mission to bring peace, democracy and their ‘way of life’ to the uncivilised. A tremendous success. The ‘surge’ worked and all those Allied soldiers didn’t die in vain.
Well, not true. The war, born of a lie, born of greed and evil has been a disaster for America and for the world. There is also no end to the violence: more civilians died last month in Iraq than in Afghanistan. There is no political settlement and the Iraqi Resistance is as strong as it ever was. The Occupation hasn’t ended, it’s just been privatised. Apparently there around 10000 armed mercenaries in the country working in the State Department’s interests and the American’s want this increased (Blackwater helpfully calls this ‘the coming surge’). Of course the advantages of having cheap mercenary armies made up of contractors (notably from the Developing World) are clear: cost and (non) accountability. In any case, someone has to patrol the oil fields under (long, probably illegal) contract to the Americans and their friends joyfully raping Iraq’s natural resources.
Still, we haven’t really seen this. What we have seen is the war as viewed from the back of American and (sometimes) British armoured cars. It’s rare to see or hear Iraqi voices despite the war lasting seven years and we’ve generally had to endure the war through embedding and spin. The few cracks in the information blackout have been enlightening but as rare and as elusive as peace itself.