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Neocons Want To Try Nation-Building In Iraq Again

Max Boot

While it is no secret that many hawks in Congress are in favor of sending US ground forces into Iraq and Syria to fight ISIS, now the prospect of “nation-building” has reentered the discussion. Nation-building was one of the more controversial projects of the US occupation of Iraq. Not only does a nation-building policy often involve spending incredible amounts of money, it also is predicated on notions of cultural supremacy and imperialism that often infuriate local populations and therefore prove to be counterproductive to stability and peace.

The notion that foreign peoples can be Americanized is a concept that finds little support in practice yet remains alluring to the elite in DC as evidenced by a recent publication at the Council On Foreign Relations by Max Boot. Boot, who will have considerable influence in the new Republican controlled Congress, says that the US must get back into the nation-building business to defeat ISIS.

Prepare now for nation-building. The United States should lay the groundwork for a postconflict settlement in both Iraq and Syria that does not necessarily require keeping both political entities intact. In the Iraqi context, this means offering greater autonomy to the Sunnis and guaranteeing the Kurds that their hard-won gains will not be jeopardized; the United States should propose to permanently station troops in the Kurdistan Regional Government. This is not necessarily synonymous with Kurdish independence, but the United States should give serious consideration to dropping its longtime opposition to the creation of a Kurdish state or possibly even two—one in Syria and one in Iraq.

Not only is the US going to try and redraw the map of the region in the grand Western imperial tradition, but it plans on permanent military bases to secure the new boundaries. For some the real problem with the Iraq War was the US did not go far enough in imposing its will.

The rise of ISIS should be a cautionary tale for the neoconservatives, it was a direct result of their war of aggression on Iraq in 2003. A war that has left hundreds of thousands dead and obliterated state and social infrastructure. Instead, the horrid aftermath of their adventurism apparently makes them as committed as ever to remake the world in America’s image.

What could go wrong?

CommunityThe Bullpen

Neocons Want To Try Nation-Building In Iraq Again

Max Boot

While it is no secret that many hawks in Congress are in favor of sending US ground forces into Iraq and Syria to fight ISIS, now the prospect of “nation-building” has reentered the discussion. Nation-building was one of the more controversial projects of the US occupation of Iraq. Not only does a nation-building policy often involve spending incredible amounts of money, it also is predicated on notions of cultural supremacy and imperialism that often infuriate local populations and therefore prove to be counterproductive to stability and peace.

The notion that foreign peoples can be Americanized is a concept that finds little support in practice yet remains alluring to the elite in DC as evidenced by a recent publication at the Council On Foreign Relations by Max Boot. Boot, who will have considerable influence in the new Republican controlled Congress, says that the US must get back into the nation-building business to defeat ISIS.

Prepare now for nation-building. The United States should lay the groundwork for a postconflict settlement in both Iraq and Syria that does not necessarily require keeping both political entities intact. In the Iraqi context, this means offering greater autonomy to the Sunnis and guaranteeing the Kurds that their hard-won gains will not be jeopardized; the United States should propose to permanently station troops in the Kurdistan Regional Government. This is not necessarily synonymous with Kurdish independence, but the United States should give serious consideration to dropping its longtime opposition to the creation of a Kurdish state or possibly even two—one in Syria and one in Iraq.

Not only is the US going to try and redraw the map of the region in the grand Western imperial tradition, but it plans on permanent military bases to secure the new boundaries. For some the real problem with the Iraq War was the US did not go far enough in imposing its will.

The rise of ISIS should be a cautionary tale for the neoconservatives, it was a direct result of their war of aggression on Iraq in 2003. A war that has left hundreds of thousands dead and obliterated state and social infrastructure. Instead, the horrid aftermath of their adventurism apparently makes them as committed as ever to remake the world in America’s image.

What could go wrong?

Image from State Department under public domain.

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Jane Hamsher

Jane Hamsher

Jane is the founder of Firedoglake.com. Her work has also appeared on the Huffington Post, Alternet and The American Prospect. She’s the author of the best selling book Killer Instinct and has produced such films Natural Born Killers and Permanent Midnight. She lives in Washington DC.
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