Six years ago the Neocon Bush administration invaded Iraq, on the pretence of looking for “weapons of mass destruction” (that were never there). Steve Pierson at The Standard covered the Fifth Anniversary, and some aspects of the death and misery caused by the invasion.
Now the Americans are pulling out of Iraq’s cities, they officially “handed over control” to the Iraqi administration on Monday 29 June. Some American forces will remain in cities “to train and advise Iraqi forces”. Most will pull back to bases outside the cities. This process has been accompanied by much celebration and jubilation in Iraq, but there are also fears that this pullout will create a power vacuum that the militias will move to fill – there already seems to be an upsurge in bombings. Most of the issues are covered for example here and here, there is some interesting commentary here.
Obama has set a schedule for further withdrawal, but it is not at all clear what will happen with respect to the “private contractors” (mercenaries) or the 283 American bases (some of them “permanent”) in Iraq.
America should never have invaded in the first place. Yes they overthrew a brutal dictator, no the violence and disruption that followed was worse. It was always about the oil, and the currency in which oil is traded. But given that they are there, I for one am very conflicted about whether they are right to withdraw from the cities now. On the one hand we should be happy that imperial invaders get the boot and Iraqi’s take control. On the other hand the Iraqi administration is weak, and it is likely that factional fighting will inflict further chaos and random violence on an already traumatised Iraqi public. There is an argument that America should stay and fix what it broke, especially in terms of basic infrastructure (power, water, sanitation). This withdrawal has the feel of America abandoning the mess they created. So – I’m undecided, I wonder what others think?