Iraq and Afghanistan: Pattern of Chaos

A decade after the Neo-Con imperial adventure was launched, a bipartisan pattern of international chaos is being left behind as the U.S.  leaves its battlefields behind.

Amnesty International’s new report on the conditions in Iraq resulting from the U.S. invasion and occupation illustrate the counter-productive nature that a policy of force can so easily have:

As the record shows, in the years when they held sway, the US-dominated coalition of occupying forces created their own legacies of human rights abuse, for which there is yet to be full accountability, and failed to implement new standards that fundamentally challenged the mould of repression set under Saddam Hussein. [7.]

Ten years after the US-led invasion that brought an end to one era of severe repression and human rights abuse in Iraq, impunity for human rights abuses remains a persistent phenomenon. From virtually the earliest days after the invasion, the foreign occupying forces began committing serious violations of the human rights of Iraqis, as the Abu Ghraib revelations and the beating to death of Baha Mousa by British troops in Basra made clear. The questions and controversy that these cases 143aroused led to some improvements but the occupying forces continued to commit serious abuses, including torture and other illtreatment of detainees throughout much of the time that they remained present in Iraq. While they did so, the security forces of the new Iraqi authorities also quickly earned a reputation for brutality and taking the law into their own hands, and committing torture and other abuses with impunity, particularly as violent attacks by armed groups opposed to the government intensified. Today, the situation remains acute amid continuing conflict and instability and the political, social and religious divisions that continue to dominate relations between the Sunni and Shi’a communities, in particular. [61.]

Despite further courts martial and the findings of authoritative congressional investigations, the USA remains in serious breach of its international obligations on truth, accountability and remedy in the “war on terror”, including in relation to Iraq. [“Iraq: A Decade of Abuses,” Amnesty International, 3/2013, 63-4.]

Meanwhile, in Afghanistan, Karzai accused the U.S.:

After a thorough discussion, it became clear that armed individuals named as US special forces stationed in Wardak province engage in harassing, annoying, torturing and even murdering innocent people. [Glenn Greenwald in The Guardian 2/24/13.]

A crucial distinction between U.S. and Islamic radical violence made by War in Context further undermines Washington’s justifications  for the violent bipartisan policy toward politically active Muslim states:

What’s the difference between the death squads being operated by the Haqqani network and the night raids by US Special Operations forces? Chances are that the Haqqanis know the names of a much higher percentage of their victims. That isn’t the only difference, but it’s significant. As far as the U.S. and its allies are concerned, any adult male who gets shot in the night by their forces gets counted as an insurgent. [War in Context 11/29/11.]

And the war by drones of course continues. The retreating U.S. is leaving a pattern of chaos in its wake, and no one can rationally imagine that this failure will have no consequences.

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