State Destruction as war aim
Reflections on the targeted killings of academics on the occasion of the seventh anniversary of the war in Iraq
While the anniversary of the war waged on Iraq is approaching, I think of what I wrote seven years ago: that this illegal invasion had nothing to do with the war on terror but was planned well in advance and was not about democracy but about the destruction of Iraq. I was openly taunted for it. At best, I was considered endearing or pathetic in my anger, but not on the level when it came to world politics.
In preparation for an evening on the occasion of this seventh anniversary on March 20, I am reading a book: Cultural Cleansing in Iraq. Why museums were looted, burned libraries and academics murdered. The basic thesis is, believe it or not, that the purpose of the war was from the onset the destruction of the Iraqi state. But there is more: cultural cleansing, tolerating the looting of museums, the burning of libraries and the murder of academics was part of the war strategy, the authors argue. State ending will certainly become established as a concept, alongside genocide and its derivatives, such as urbicide (destruction of cities), sociocide (destruction of social fabric) mnemocide (destruction of collective memory). We do hope so, because unfortunately these concepts and their intertwinement do not only apply to Iraq.
These murders have never being investigated, the culprits never found let alone prosecuted. How come? Perhaps because both the occupiers and the new rulers in Iraq thought it was not important. Or maybe because death squads are part of their strategy, like formerly in El Salvador. That is what the book claims: the murder of academics was and is part of the “Salvador Option”.
Conclusion of the authors? The goal was to liquidate the intellectual class, which would naturally be the basis for a new democratic state. It is that sinister. So sinister that it is difficult to believe. And yet it is true: the elimination of academics and other professionals from the middle class served the first and highest war aim: the destruction of the Iraqi state. “State-ending” instead of “nation building”. According to the editors of the book, this war objective was a decision taken when three parties aligned: the neoconservatives who wanted permanent bases in a geopolitical strategy of military domination; Israel that did not want a powerful state in its backyard; and the oil industry that wanted to lay its hands on one of the largest oil reserves in the world. This I have also written seven years ago. Now it’s there, in black and white, with many footnotes, well documented in a book published by an internationally renowned publishing house (Pluto Press). Perhaps the world will now finally start to realise the truth.
Worldwide protests from the academic community would be nice. But one minute of silence for their murdered colleagues will not suffice. Because, and that makes it so overwhelming, all this is just the tip of the iceberg: the children who are born severely deformed by the use of white phosphorus and depleted uranium, the lack of potable water, electricity and healthcare, the destruction of the educational system which results in a lost generation, the 1.2 million deaths and five million refugees — all these things combined make the Iraq war the biggest war crime and the largest man-made humanitarian catastrophe in decades. And it continues. There is little or no hope of improvement, especially not after the recent elections. Add to this the countless bombings and the sectarian disintegration of the country and you have a picture of hell. And we, we all look more and more the other way. Because we are sick and tired of Iraq after seven years? It leaves a bitter taste in my mouth to see that I have been proven right with my thesis about the destruction of Iraq, that so many thought was absurd. Even Bush has been proven right with his famous show on the deck of the USS Lincoln that first May of 2003: “Mission accomplished”. Indeed, Iraq is destroyed.
Happy birthday, Mr President! Yes, tu quoque Obama.