The American news media has certainly focused far less on Iraq news coverage since "the surge" has resulted in far less deaths of American service persons. Unfortunately viewing this war in a prism of how it impacts only the U.S., ignores how this war continues to impact the lives of those in Iraq. JustForeignPolicy.Org estimates the number of Iraqis killed as a result of the 2003 American/British invasion of Iraq at 1,236,604 persons, many of which were merely innocent civilians and not some sort of a combatant of any sort. Al Qaeda in Iraq only was estimated to comprise just 5,000 members or so at it's peak strength in Iraq.
Some look to elections in Iraq as some sign of democracy in the nation. However, with more than 2 million refugees from the war in Iraq, much of it due to sectarian violence by the Shiite and Sunni community against each other, many potential voters simply felt too threatened to stay in Iraq and have flooded into nations like Syria and Jordan and have overwhelmed local charity and support services in those nations.
Even candidates for office in Iraq face serious intimidation. One candidate was murdered on videotape and the video distributed to intimidate other voters. Many potential voters in Iraq do not vote because they are warned with threats that "voting is cooperating with the enemy". Some Iraqi's have had their homes burned or a child kidnapped to prevent them from voting.
Unfortunately, many Americans have only gotten the message that American combat deaths are down in Iraq, which sends the wrong message that all is now well in that nation. But that is hardly the case. Iranians have strong influence in the nation, and are also likely to be a major force pressuring the Shiite dominated government to set up a timetable for the withdrawal of all Americans from Iraq so that Iran may extend more influence in Iraq. The U.S. hasn't really achieved a great deal in Iraq if it spent massive amounts of money, lost many American lives, or created a war resulting in the deaths of 1.2 million in Iraq, just so that Iran could gain more influence in the region and drastically alter the regional balance of power.
In 2006, the Iraq War was a potent issue helping to fuel the Democratic shift in Congress. Now a new Rasmussen Poll, puts the public more in support of the Republican position in Iraq because many Americans have been taken in by improved numbers of less deaths for Americans, not looking at all the other ongoing problems in Iraq or the resulting increased influence of Iran.
Since the 1979 Islamic revolution in Iran, there was a misguided American foreign policy that helped to prop up Saddam Hussein and build-up a huge military to counter the power of Iran in the region. Ronald Reagan used a covert funding scheme that used Department Of Agriculture CCC Funds, meant only for disaster relief in poor nations to allow Saddam Hussein to buy billions of dollars in arms from countries such as France and Brazil, all of which only helped to fuel the 1990 invasion of Iraq into Kuwait and the bloody 1991 Gulf War. The Islamic revolution in Iran was a direct result of an angry reaction by Iranians against the long running U.S. policy that put the Shah of Iran into power during WWII to act as an agent for U.S. supported goals in the region including opposition to Communism during the Cold War era. The U.S. knew that the Shah was a hated figure in Iran, who only continued his rule through terror and torture, yet sided with him until the end, only creating generations of antiAmerican hatred in Iran among much of the public.
In 1922, after WWI, and the defeat of the Ottoman Empire, first in war and then in a political upheaval in Turkey, Britain first invaded the area that became known as Iraq after Prime Minister Winston Churchill was informed that the region had huge undiscovered oil assets thought to be the greatest in the world. At that time, Britain sided with the Sunni community because of the political importance of relations with the Sunni community of Saudi Arabia. The problem Britain faced in the area known as Iraq was that three ethnic religious groups with nothing in common were thrown together into a British occupation state, that only really served as a British excuse for oil exploration. Britain faced such serious insurgent violence from the Shiite community that Britain had to mustard gas entire Shiite villages and used mechanized warfare to attempt to crush the ongoing opposition to the British occupation. By 1958, the violence in Iraq had grown so out of control, and the rise of late 1950's Arab Socialism, such as the Baathist movement in both Egypt and Syria helped to end the British role in Iraq.
John McCain and his supporters continue to look for some sort of "blue sky" to paint over all this history of blood, occupation and meddling in the region by the United States and Britain. It is deeply sad if many Americans are now somehow taken in by all of this and think that this represents America or Britain at their very best, or the long chain of violence in the region only so that both the U.S. and Britain could harness oil exports for use in both nations. Neither the U.S. or Britain were self-sufficient nations to fuel their own industrial revolutions entirely by their own means, so both nations needed to have influence in poor nations such as Iraq to secure a flow of oil to maintain their own wealth and industrial progress as a society, while people in the MidEast paid a heavy price in blood. And nations like France long tolerated both child slavery and abuse in Africa, because it needed a flow of Cocoa for chocolate products.
The major industrialized nations of the world have long manipulated both Iraq and Iran, and have only created a long history of bloody problems in both nations. Now Iran is in a dangerous position to project itself as an agent creating proxy wars in the region to further tie down the U.S., Britain and Israel, or to even eventually further alter the MidEast balance of power if they should develop nuclear weapons. If the U.S. and Britain ever wanted involvement in the region, then they are now promised years and years of involvement in the region whether or not they want it as the bitter fruit of so many years of MidEast meddling.
John McCain and his supporters should really have a very difficult time putting a positive spin on all of this. But you know they will. Thank goodness for them that most Americans really know very little about MidEast history.
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