How US set out to destroy Iraq's national identity
EXCERPT: "The 13 authors of this work say the US set out to destroy Iraq’s national identity, reduce and marginalise the educated class and wipe the Iraqi slate clean in order to build from ground zero a weak state which would be dependent on the US. This experiment in “state ending” has left a black hole at the heart of the eastern Arab world."
How US set out to destroy Iraq's national identity and build a dependent state–
Book review by MICHAEL JANSEN, Middle East affairs reporter for The Irish Times
Cultural Cleansing in Iraq Edited by Raymond W. Baker, Shereen T. Ismael, and Tareq Y. Ismael. Pluto, 296 pp. $34.95
THIS BOOK argues convincingly that the post- war cultural cleansing of Iraq is intentional rather than random and haphazard, the result of chaos and anarchy.
The aim of the policy of cultural cleansing is to remake Iraq into a US-friendly state and enable Washington’s returned Shia and Kurd exiles to take and exercise power.
In the first of 10 chapters, the editors contend that the Bush administration’s objectives were to demonstrate US global dominance and remake “the strategic Middle East” to suit the US. “To that end, the invasion of Iraq would display America’s crushing military power to a world reduced to the status of spectators in a spectacle of a state’s destruction, marked by massive civilian casualties, cultural devastation and the pauperisation of its people.”
Subsequent chapters show how Iraq’s state structures were systematically destroyed along with the independent secular nationalist socialist regime.
This began with the looting of the country’s museums and libraries, schools and universities. Although Iraqis carried out most of the pillage and destruction, the US was responsible for what took place.
The US also used major archaeological sites, including ancient Babylon and Ur, as military bases, inflicting irreparable damage.
By attacking the country’s history and “collective memory”, Zainab Bahrani holds that the US sought to undermine the unique national identity of Iraqis. Their strong sense of history and culture has made them the most inventive poets, writers and painters in the Arab world.
The US is accused of using the “Salvador option”, a strategy evolved in Central America, to create US-compliant regimes in that region.