Is the US to blame with today’s mess in Iraq?

For those of us in the West the answer is pretty simple: “Let’s just stay out and let them handle themselves while we take care of our daily routine” . It is a fact that many today, far too quickly, just dismiss the situation as Bush’s Folly, though few put any real thought into understanding exactly what is going on. Still many more just say, “They’ve been killing each other like that for thousands of years.” Well, I am not going to touch that.

Well at the end of the day folks… the point is simple and undeniable, Iraq would not be like it is today if the American led Coalition had not gone into the country in 2003.

This, of course, is true on a factual basis. Most likely Saddam would now be a very old man and perhaps his son Uday would be in charge. Even though daddy was bad enough by wiping out entire cities of Kurdish citizens with chemical based weapons of mass destruction, Uday would probably be putting Kim Jong Il to shame, by now.

Back to America the guilty. America was responsible for destroying the central working government of the Nation of Iraq. Perhaps today a maniacal tyrant would be in charge, but they would be getting a nice dose of state owned media (Uday, after all, was in direct ownership of the media back in 2003.) While the first three months of Iraq represented the most astounding feat of military superiority and execution, what followed was blunder after blunder of political ineptitude.

I am afraid Bremer; the administrator of Iraq installed shortly after the war was one of the most idiotic and incompetent US officials ever born. . This guy was really so under-qualified for the role of governor of a combat zone that he put any official to shame. His resume is from business and while he was a real “go-getter” he never had any experience with international affairs and didn’t even bother to take any Arabic-speaking aids with him. Among his few policies were two that had completely devastating consequences to the success of the war effort.

The first, dubbed de-Ba’athification, was an order to fire everyone in the government who was in the Ba’ath party. To put a comparison to this it would be like if Obama became President and fired everyone in the government who was Republican. The “bad guy” chief officers are gone, but so are a great deal of the military, police, doctors, teachers, social workers, engineers and sanitation staff. Most of the most important jobs were now empty of the talent necessary to run them. How more idiotic can one be.

Second was his order to disband the entire Iraqi military. As we all know, a large military is necessary to secure the population after a governmental collapse. So let’s just get rid of the most easily accessible military force that we could use for such a policing action. How more stupid can one be

Paul Bremer was the fat kid in the candy store whose mother told him, “You deserve this, Honey.” He was completely irresponsible with his decision making, applying Cold War anti-communist tactics to the international Ba’ath Party believing the US military could somehow overcome every one of his ridiculous policies shortcomings with omnipotent force. What a moron.

What happened next was a combination of factors. A lot of people were pissed. They had been disenfranchised and without jobs. The infrastructure was collapsing by the day and there was really no hope. I’d be pissed too; wouldn’t you?. This was the start of a very large chain reaction that would have many, many problems to deal with down the line.

That chain ended with the complete pull-out of American forces. I would like to say that we are to blame for that too, but really I don’t think that is completely fair to say. Sure, some might say they did a great thing by getting out of the country, though I don’t think they are bragging as much now, but really, we were forced out. I really don’t know why the Obama administration took credit for what was essentially a choice made by the people of Iraq in the only successful democratic choice they ever came together to make, but I suppose that doesn’t matter anymore.

The truth of the matter is that the coalition did what it did and then had to leave, leaving a massive power vacuum in the country, particularly in Al Anbar. That sort of brings us to today.

So Who is responsible for why Iraq is going through right now, June 2014?

ISIL (The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant) is an unrecognized state and active jihadist militant group in Iraq and Syria. In its self-proclaimed status as an independent state, it claims the territory of Iraq and Syria, with implied future claims intended over more of the Levant, including Lebanon, Israel, Palestine, Jordan, Cyprus, and Southern Turkey.

The group in its original form was composed of and supported by a variety of insurgent groups, including its predecessor organizations, the Mujahideen Shura Council, the Islamic State of Iraq (ISI) and Al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI), the insurgent groups Jaysh al-Fatiheen, Jund al-Sahaba, Katbiyan Ansar Al-Tawhid wal Sunnah and Jeish al-Taiifa al-Mansoura, and a number of other Iraqi groups that profess Sunni Islam.

ISIL is renowned for its harsh interpretation of Islam and brutal violence, which is directed particularly against Shia muslims. It has at least 4,000 fighters in its ranks who, in addition to attacks on government and military targets, have claimed responsibility for attacks that have killed thousands of civilians. ISIS had close links with al-Qaeda until 2014, but in February of that year al-Qaeda cut all ties with the group, declaring that it was “too extreme”.

ISIL’s original aim was to establish a caliphate in the Sunni-majority regions of Iraq. This later expanded to include controlling Sunni-majority areas of Syria as a result of ISIS’s participation in the Syrian Civil War and the spillover from the Syrian Civil War.

Al-Qaeda saying they are “too extreme”? Wow, this world is going to hell in a hand basket. Essentially, ISIL has created a medieval nation state that is gobbling up chunks of Northwest Iraq along with sizeable portions of Syria, claimed during the war with Assad. This region includes many bases built up by the United States Marines during their occupation. They have already secured numerous military installations and cities in Al Anbar province and along the Tigris and Euphrates, Saddam Hussein’s largest chemical weapons manufacturing facility and nation’s largest oil refinery. They also captured, recently, Iraq’s second largest city, Mosul, along with looting its central bank for about USD $450,000,000. Some estimates by The Economist state that pseudo-state is valued at over $2 billion USD in assets. For perspective, Al-Qaeda operated on about $30 million prior to 2001. Now we have what seems to be an entire country of murder hungry jihadists and terrorists and no one gives a damn.

I wonder what will happen twenty years from now.

So I have to ask, did we, as Americans, have any sort of real role in the fight?

No. We griped. It’s what we do. We shop and we gripe. We are awesome at deducing problems, but it’s usually up to someone else to fix them, and Iraq was full of problems for us to gripe about. The dead soldiers and Marines were used by one party to show how bad the war was, right up until the party lines switched and the same arguments were made again.

Think about it…. How has the daily lives of anyone been changed in the last decade? Was anyone asked to donate or buy war bonds? Were there any new taxes levied to pay for it? Did you have to ration anything? Were you even asked to miss one single episode of “The Voice” in all that time?

Tougher question: How many of you who are reading this actually ever met a person who died in Iraq? Yes, genius, I mean that you knew them before they were killed. How many did you shake hands with for any reason? Did you know anyone? I’m sorry if you did, but the point is that so very many of the people who gripe about the war use their loss to prove an agenda, when in reality, they probably wouldn’t be seen with such types.

That means you’re disconnected people folks.

And that is the problem, the war really didn’t mean anything over here except talking points and agenda pieces. No one actually cared. The moment that the guy you wanted was in office, it’s like no one cared at all.

But why is it that this problem is the fault of Americans? Well democracy is a beautiful thing. Everyone gets exactly the government they deserve. All the choices related to America or in her name, they’re all our fault. It was either our apathy or incompetence that caused the bad decisions we now point our all knowing fingers at. Awesome. Enjoy your pretzel the next time you go to the mall.

Sadly I believe there’s nothing the US can now do to save Iraq. It is too late and will only make the situation much worse. Let them kill each other and see where this all leads.

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I'm a Lebanese American physical commodities trader, financier, and author. The President and Chief Executive officer of Blackhawk Partners, Inc., – a “private family office” that supports highly accomplished operating executives in expanding their companies organically through business acquisitions and physical commodities trades (mostly oil derivatives) around the world.