R.I.P. Sykes-Picot

As outlined in Project for the New American Century’s statement on post-war Iraq, the geopolitical objectives of the Carlucci-Woolsey-Kristol Pax Americana include complete disarmament of the Iraqis, the maintenance of “territorial integrity,” and the installation of a state. I believe that all three of these objectives can be easily discredited with careful consideration.

We have been inundated with the idea that Iraq is the “front line” in the war on terrorism, and the policy wonks have ceaselessly attempted to conflate hostility towards the men and women in uniform with support for a non-interventionist foreign policy. It then logically follows that one must support the war policy in order to support the troops. As a former U.S. Marine, who served honorably, I couldn’t disagree with the calculus of this sloganeering more strongly. Perhaps the most potent weapons of the War Party are the platitudes which have been used to camouflage its actions.

Contrary to the “orthodox” anti-war position, I do not believe the pathology of the occupation problem can be traced to excessive nationalism in D.C., but, conversely, to zealous internationalism. Far from national sovereignty being at the root of the problem for the anti-warrior, the problem is that the U.S. government is violating the sovereignty of the Iraqi people. It is a perfect absurdity to expect a people who live on over $1 trillion in oil – or, what Paul Wolfowitz refers to as, the “sea of oil"(1) – to disarm. Disarming Iraq is akin to global gun control, and a formula for another American conflict in the Middle East, with Iraq becoming America’s new protectorate .

Using September 11 as the pretext to invade and occupy Iraq, Mr. Bush, et al., launched a war which was planned long before 2001. The plans for this Middle Eastern war were conceived in the 1990’s, with Bill Bennett, Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle, Richard Armitage, et al., authoring a “Dear Bill Clinton, Please Attack Iraq” letter. Project for the New American Century published a blueprint for world empire in 2000, in a report called Rebuilding America’s Defenses.

Everything is hidden right in plain view. Right on page 14 of the report is the transparency of the breathtaking fraud: “While the unresolved conflict with Iraq provides the immediate justification, the need for a substantial American force presence in the Gulf transcends the issue of the regime of Saddam Hussein.”

We have also been told that the destruction of Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction is paramount for maintaining peace and security. While Bush administration officials and Congressmen tell us that there is “no evidence” any of Iraq’s weapons have been destroyed, they simultaneously disregard the demolition of the Khamisiyah bunkers,(2) which took place towards the end of the first Gulf War. Why the silence on this event? Watching the video footage of the destruction of the bunkers, it becomes obvious that the Khamisiyah bunker event is a scandal of monumental proportions. If Saddam was gassing the Kurds, why was he doing it with illegal-to-transfer American weapons?

What, exactly, is America’s vital national interest in any territorial, religious, or tribal quarrel anywhere in the Middle East? And if it is our “national security,” then wouldn’t, say, Israel, which is in even closer proximity to Iraq, also have a national interest at stake? So, why hasn’t Sharon been in the driver’s seat? And what will occupying foreign territory accomplish to curtail the threat of asymmetrical warfare, i.e., terrorism, especially while the borders of the United States are left unchecked?

Placing Iraq within its proper historical context, it is easy to understand the foolishness of the “territorial-integrity-trumps-everything doctrine.” What is a state territory, other than an arbitrary line in the sand? More particularly, where did Iraq’s territory come from? To answer this question is to find a potential solution to the situation in Iraq – I believe.

With the expiration of the Ottoman empire, the Kurds were positioned, and ready, to carve out their own autonomous state. Pursuant to the 1916 Sykes-Picot mandate, the British and the French parceled out the Middle East according to the interests of each. In fact, in 1919, the British even gassed the Kurds to suppress their nationalistic ambitions. Iraq was a fiction anterior to British colonialism, when the British corralled the Shi’ites, Chaldean Christians, Kurdish Sunnis, et al., all into one state, with the installation of the Faisal regime.

Has it ever occurred to anybody that so much bloodshed throughout human history has been due to empires corralling various sets of rival factions into single, hegemonic states? These are disputes that probably not 1 in 1,000 policy wonks inside the beltway understand. Let us fast forward a few years in Mr. Bush’s Iraq and suppose that, say, the Shi’ites accumulate a majority of power in Iraq’s central government. What will this mean for the Kurds, or the Chaldean Christians? Will they be slaughtered? Will American kids be caught in the middle of the firing line? Or, suppose power is concentrated within Kurdish hands. Will the Chaldean Christians and the Shi’ites then become prey? Perhaps keeping the Iraqi border intact brings with it more complexities than the alternative of letting Sykes-Picot rest in peace.

By placing “stability” of Iraq before the exit sign, clearly visible is the manifestation of the statist mindset in both major parties. Pursuant to Republican Party doctrine, the state is to be regarded as a therapeutic inoculation against disorder. Lying beneath the surface of rhetorical somersaults, we have lost fundamental truths, viz., man created government, not vice versa. The state doesn’t just come posterior to civilization, it is inimical to civilization.

The state, giving itself a legal monopoly on theft, is at war with civilization. What we are witnessing in Iraq is the nature and the character of the almighty state – i.e., the sword’s attempt to give a travailing birth to the state. Statizing Iraq necessitates the sword, and the enemy is the disloyal psyche. Far from Iraqis deriving their health from the state, it is the state that must derive its health from its constituency.

And besides, last time I checked, the Taliban is gone and Saddam is gone. One more day of U.S. occupation is one more day too long. Liberate Iraq; BRING THE TROOPS HOME!

1) Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz was asked during a press conference, “There has been a lot of talk in the last few weeks of redeployment or force reductions of American forces both in East Asia and Europe. To what extent will those force levels or deployments be affected by the implications of the post-war U.S. force presence in Iraq? If you are going to keep let’s say 100,000 or 150,000 folks in Iraq and if you obviously you have to rotate people in and out. Out of a 1.4 million force structure, that is going to be a very heavy burden for the U.S. military. So the question really is to what extent will be the U.S. forces engagement in Iraq drive U.S. policy in East Asia and Europe in terms of force deployments there, and are you considering increasing the overall U.S. force structure in order to cope with the exigencies of keeping a fairly large military presence in Iraq?”

Paul Wolfowitz replied, “Look, the primarily difference – to put it a little too simply – between North Korea and Iraq is that we had virtually no economic options with Iraq because the country floats on a sea of oil.”

2) Towards the end of the first Gulf War, a soldier filmed footage of the Khamisiyah bunkers before and during the destruction of the bunkers. When the soldiers entered inside of the bunkers – which were several football fields in length – they felt as though they had been sold out for dollars. Clearly visible on the tape – with narration from Sgt. Dan Topolski, who was one of the NBC NCO’s overseeing the demolition – were made in the United States chemical and biological munitions. As troops who served in the vicinity were getting sick and dying, the Department of Defense denied the Khamisiyah bunker event ever happened – until about 5 years after the first Gulf War. To this day, the government will not discuss exactly what was inside of the bunkers. See: Gulf War Illness: Fact or Fiction?

The 1994 Reigle Report does cover some transfers to Iraq of dual-use and raw material component parts of biological weapons, however, it completely leaves out any discussion of chemical and biological munitions. Transferring chemical and biological munitions is a violation of the Geneva Convention.

The government’s whitewash of the Khamisiyah bunkers, and the whitewash of their own denials and obfuscation, can be seen here.