Friday, July 08, 2016

THE CHILCOT REPORT: A COMMENT

The UK chose to join the invasion of Iraq before the peaceful options for disarmament had been exhausted....Military action at that time was not a last resort....It is now clear that policy on Iraq was made on the basis of flawed intelligence and assessments. They were not challenged and they should have been....Judgments were presented with a certainty that was not justified....We do not agree that hindsight is required. The risks of internal strife in Iraq, active Iranian pursuits of its interests, regional instability, and al-Qaeda activity in Iraq were each explicitly identified before the invasion.”
Henry Mance and James Blitz, "Chilcot report: the key conclusions". The Financial Times. 6 July 2016, in www.ft.com.
"Such a high price is already paid for this war-in diplomatic blunders, misunderstandings and increasing number of human bodies that one could only hope that it was not for nothing. Personally, I feel that I have miscalculated - I was thinking that the plan for the post war Iraq was rubbish but reality intervened and corrected (and continues to correct) my calculation and I now see that this so called 'plan' (building democracy out of thin air with a [sic] help of 200 Iraqi-Americans) is rubbish triple time. I have no doubt that American forces will take Baghdad (time and price - that's another story). But I do not know what will be accepted as American victory in Iraq in a month or better yet a year from today. Would it be a fact that only 47% of Iraqi territory would be controlled by Muslim fanatics? Or/and that Turkish army is only controlling 5% Or that Iranian sponsored military groups are only operating in a 'small' territory in southeast?...I had some hope that there would be something positive to slightly upset the high price paid - for example clarity of vision or swiftness in the execution of established goal. As you know one of my comforts was to think that the people who are intrusted [sic] with making all sorts of high-level plans are smarter than me. It is really unpleasant to discover that they are not".
Valery Olegovitch Avtukh, Private correspondence with Charles Coutinho dated the 2nd of April 2003.
Of course Sir John Chilcot was indeed correct. The Iraq War (or 'Second Gulf War')which began on the 20th of March of 2003 was launched needlessly and post-facto without reason insofar as Saddam Hussein did not possess weapons of mass destruction. It was evident at the time, and the Chilcot report clearly lays bare the fact that the Bush regime with the help and assistance (admittedly more rhetorical than material) of British Prime Minister Blair, was hell bent upon a policy of regime change in Iraq and that the push at the United Nations to obtain Security Council approval of the proposed military campaign was merely intended as a fig-leaf pur et simple. And of course it was also evident at that time (as seen by the ultra-wise comments of my friend and correspondent above), that the 'plan' for post-war Iraq was (in Valery O. Avtukh's classical formulation) 'rubbish triple time'. And as time went on, the situation in Iraq, to everyone's amazement at the time became worse and worse as any concept of the Americans and their allies being able to establish anything approaching the successes of the post-bellum projects of Germany, Italy and Japan in 1945 were quickly cast aside. Although the numbers of dead and wounded and the civil trauma in American (and for that matter British) society do not approach anything near what occurred in Indo-China between 1965 and 1975, the psychological and strategic effects of the disaster that was the Second Gulf War for the Americans and their allies is a very close second to the American debacle in Vietnam. With the rise of ISIS in Iraq (admittedly not in the case of Syria) directly attributable to the overthrow of the Baathist regime by the Americans and the inability of the post-bellum Iraqi regimes to establish anything like consensual governance embracing the entirety of Iraq's population. With there being no end in sight to when anything akin to a normative society ethos returning to Iraq anytime soon.

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