The philosophers behind the bloodbath in Iraq are now washing their hands
Date: Tuesday, November 14 2006
FISK: The philosophers behind the bloodbath in Iraq are now washing their hands
INDEPENDENT (London) 11 November 2006
"Great news from America!" the cashier at my local Beirut bookshop shouted at me yesterday morning, raising her thumbs in the air. "Things will be better after these elections?" Alas, I said. Alas, no. Things are going to get worse in the Middle East even if, in two years' time, America is blessed with a Democrat (and democratic) president. For the disastrous philosophers behind the bloodbath in Iraq are now washing their hands of the whole mess and crying "Not Us!" with the same enthusiasm as the Lebanese lady in my book shop, while the "experts" on the mainstream US east coast press are preparing the ground for our Iraqi retreat - by blaming it all on those greedy, blood-lusting, anarchic, depraved, uncompromising Iraqis.
I must say that Richard Perle's version of a mea culpa did take my breath away. Here was the ex-chairman of the Pentagon's Defence Policy Board Advisory Committee - he who once told us that "Iraq is a very good candidate for democratic reform" - now admitting that he "underestimated the depravity" in Iraq. He holds the president responsible, of course, acknowledging only that - and here, dear reader, swallow hard - "I think if I had been Delphic, and had seen where we are today, and people had said: 'Should we go into Iraq?' I think now I probably would have said, 'No, let's consider other strategies...'"
Maybe I find this self-righteous, odious mea culpa all the more objectionable because the same miserable man was shouting abuse down a radio line to me in Baghdad a couple of years ago, condemning me for claiming that America was losing its war in Iraq and claiming that I was "a supporter of the maintenance of the Baathist regime".
This lie, I might add, was particularly malicious since I was reporting Saddam's mass rapes and mass hangings at Abu Ghraib prison (and being refused Iraqi visas) when Perle and his cohorts were silent about Saddam's wickedness and when their chum Donald Rumsfeld was cheerfully shaking the monster's hand in Baghdad in an attempt to reopen the US embassy there.