Staying in Iraq: What Foreign Troops?

Recent reports of Iranian “interference” in Iraq again note a central tendency in imperial culture: we own the world. The talk about Iraqi Shiites using Iranian weapons to fight their American occupiers (which is by no means an established fact) was first, but then the other day there were all these warnings about how Iranian forces trespassed across the Iraqi border. It was treated in the American press as if a foreign army had marched onto the American homeland. But then, that is precisely how the imperial mindset perceives it: Iraq qualifies as our land because, after all, it’s here on planet Earth. Since we own the world, our jurisdiction extends throughout the globe and anywhere we see unwelcome feet it’s the equivalent of unwelcome feet on the Texas borderland or traversing Cape Cod. Of course, nobody sees the 50,000 U.S. military troops, down from 170,000 at one point, (not to mention contractors) as foreign troops. Our army is always indigenous, because we own the world.

And this “waiting game” about an Iraqi decision on U.S. troop withdrawal seems rather superficial to me. To speculate, I think it is likely that the U.S. is pressuring the Iraqi leadership to “decide” on a continued U.S. military presence there. Rather absent from the propaganda in the American media about the withdrawal is what everyday Iraqis think about the ongoing U.S. occupation. To everyone directly involved in the decision making on this issue, public opinion is irrelevant. Good polls asking them directly can be found (last hyperlink), but nothing very recent to my knowledge. This latest Iraqi public opinion poll, however, shows that large majorities believe the country is going in the wrong direction and that only 2 percent think increased U.S. military patrols are a good option to improve security.

Much of the short term mission in Iraq has been achieved, and the longterm mission – to keep a contingent force there forever, as we have in many other countries around the world – seems to me to be in the works. After all, you don’t build the world’s largest and most expensive U.S. Embassy (which fully opened only in 2009) if you plan to leave. If only we could get the Iraqis to realize that our troops are never foreign.

  • Brad_Smith2

    We won't be going anywere anytime soon. The plan was to surround Iran and that is why we built some of the largest air bases on earth near the Iranian border, both in Afghanistan and Iraq. This is no short term plan it has been decades in the making and might well be decades more before we strike Iran.

    I think Iran's only hope is that we collapse before the powers that be can pull off their plan. Sad to say, but it might be our only hope as well. It's bad enough having an Empire that goes around looting for corporate fraudsters most of which don't even do business in the US, but now they are looting "We the People" as well.

  • Bill Jones

    Brad_Smith2
    The great Arthur Silber sums up the imperial mindset perfectly:
    http://powerofnarrative.blogspot.com/

  • andy

    You'd almost think it was Iran that had attacked Iraq in an illegal war of aggression and conquest and not America. What a bizarro world Americans live in.

  • Tarik

    iran helped the us invade iraq. And iran does not want the us to leave, they need them to keep iraq under their influence. iraq was shared by by both the us and iran and they need each other to keep it divided. The us saying that iran is helping the shiite fight american troops is just another excuse to keep the american people misinformed.

  • An excellent post. Don't forget those "contractors" who aren't going anywhere.

    • andy

      "Contractors" indeed!

  • liberranter

    Since we own the world, our jurisdiction extends throughout the globe and anywhere we see unwelcome feet it’s the equivalent of unwelcome feet on the Texas borderland or traversing Cape Cod.

    Of course it's ironic to note that there is no measurable armed imperial presence guarding said Texas borderland or the shores off of Cape Cod, both of which are within the Vaterland's actual territory. The only reason for this that I can surmise, especially where the Texas borderland is concerned is that, unlike the borderlands of Iraq and Iran, the brown-skinned alien invaders traversing Texas and other southwestern states are in large number connected to criminal cartels whose activities enrich the Vaterland's Ruling Elite. On the other hand, the brown-skinned people traversing the Iran-Iraq border (and other borders between other imperial colonies on the opposite end of the globe) are impoverished rebels against in resistance to colonial rule and must therefore be neutralized using all means at the Imperium's disposal.

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