Friday, August 24, 2007

They Smilin' in Your Face...

Oh they seem nice enough. Friendly smiles. Good firm handshakes. But don't think for a instant, my cacique compadres, that they won't sell you out at a moment's notice. Becoming the servants of the colonial overlords now ruling your country may seem like a good idea at first, but let's remember in whose interest the occupation is being run. Not yours, m'boys, not yours. You are important only insofar as your interests coincide with those of these fellows.

Indeed, in light of the rhetoric oozing out of Washington lately, I think Nuri al-Maliki has some reason to worry. Memo to Mr. Maliki: when US intelligence agencies tell you your rule “will become more precarious over the next 6 to 12 months,” you might want to consider a change in careers. Quickly.

As Erica Bouris points out, this bullying isn't likely to cause any changes in Maliki's policies. He might even see these threats for what they are and turn to Iran for aid. Even more importantly, I think, is the fact that there is previous little that Maliki can do to stabilize the country. To be blunt: the single act that would stabilize Iraq the most would be the immediate withdrawal of all occupying forces. As Maliki is totally dependent on these occupiers for his position, he will certainly not be asking them to leave anytime soon.

Maliki's inability to change the situation in any significant way makes itself felt in the various articles berating him in the consistent lack of alternatives put forward therein. If Maliki is fouling things up so tremendously, what does he need to do to improve? I've yet to see a New York Times article/editorial that calls for anything beyond platitudes about removing corruption and stopping sectarianism, advice which is about on the same level as a doctor telling a cancer patient they need to get better.

What I find most interesting about the obvious contempt the warmakers have for Maliki is the element of displacement in it. The occupation of Iraq is the American ruling class' best chance to maintain global hegemony. Their continuing failure, their stupidity in entrusting the task to Bush and co., and their utter inability to do anything besides massacre Iraqis (not that they feel any guilt about this) must frustrate them to the point of apoplexy. Rather than admit that their own avarice and contempt for the thoughts of ordinary Iraqis has led them to this impasse, they displace their rage onto Maliki. This operation is assisted by a good dose of orientalism, which allows them to portray the entire situation as a simple case of the savages being unable to govern themselves. Any neutral observer, however, upon witnessing what Hurricane Katrina exposed in New Orleans, the contempt this county's rulers have for its workers, or the environmental catastrophe we are rapidly being led towards, would, I think, reach the opposite conclusion as to who is fit to rule.