Remember Iraq? America was getting rid of weapons of mass destruction. Oops! Well, America was "draining the swamp" to create peace and stability throughout the region. Oops! At least America going to replace a dictator with a liberal democracy dedicated to fulfilling America's fondest strategic wishes. Oops!
It looks like the U.S. may have ended up giving Iraq a slightly house-broken version of Hussein. Observes Stars & Stripes:
But the appearance of calm that has endured for four months has come at a price, many Iraqis say, in the form of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s increasingly authoritarian behavior. Maliki, they say, has been moving steadily to consolidate his control over the country’s institutions and security forces with the apparent acquiescence of the Obama administration.
Since U.S. troops withdrew in December, Maliki has extended his reach to take on his political rivals, drawing accusations from Iraq’s Sunni and Kurdish minorities that he is intent on establishing a dictatorship. An arrest warrant issued just days after the U.S. pullout for Vice President Tariq al-Hashimi — the top Sunni official in Iraq’s Shiite-dominated government — has been followed more recently by challenges to the autonomy enjoyed by the Kurdish region in the north, provoking threats by Kurdish leader Massoud Barzani to sever ties with Baghdad.
Sunnis and Kurds, angered by what they see as Maliki’s efforts to exclude them from power, accuse the United States of doing little or nothing to restrain his excesses or to press him to implement agreements under which he pledged to share power.
Although overall levels of violence have fallen, as measured by a record-low death toll of 112 in March, according to the Associated Press, Sunnis say they live in fear of the Maliki-controlled security forces. Dozens — some say hundreds — were detained in recent weeks in an effort to secure Baghdad ahead of an Arab League summit late last month, and many have not been released.
Disgruntled Sunnis say their sense of disenfranchisement has never been greater, and Kurds, too, cite increasing alienation from the central government, with worrying implications for the future of Iraq’s stability.
Well, what's a little tyranny among friends? And never mind the nearly five thousand Americans and couple hundred thousand dead Iraqi civilians along the way. Even if the intelligence was cooked, indeed, entirely fraudulant--thank you, Ahmed Chalabi and "Curveball"!--it was a "splendid little war" for the Neocons.
Before the U.S. starts bombing Tehran, let's hope American policymakers step back and reflect on their misbegotten adventure in Iraq. We don't need another foolish, unnecessary, and counterproductive war in the Middle East.