Visser on Iraq in the NYT today

Reidar’s op-ed, ‘An Unstable, Divided Land’ is a must-read. It places due responsibility on the U.S. government– under both G.W. Bush and Barack Obama– for the tragedy that most Iraqis continue to live through, today.
The news analysis piece that the NYT’s own Tim Arango also has in the paper today is in stark contrast to Reidar’s fine work. It’s ill-informed, exculpatory (of Washington), and deeply dishonest. Especially when he writes that the social and sectarian breakdown that Iraq experienced after the U.S. invasion– and that was certainly exacrebated by the U.S. occupation administration’s calculated policies of divide and rule– was “unforeseen” by Americans before the invasion. They were not unforeseen. Juan Cole, I, and numerous other people who knew a lot more about the country than the dangerous people running the Bush administration foresaw many or most of these problems and published widely about our concerns. If we were not listened to, that was not for lack of us trying to be heard.
When I read Arango’s piece I was almost overcome by a wave of sadness and anger. Sadness, for what our country wrought in Iraq, and anger at not having been given any kind of fair hearing in the pre-2003 period (or since.)
Arango does have some good quotes and snippets from Iraqis expressing their anger at the U.S. government after nearly nine years of miserable occupation.
But Reidar’s piece really beautifully sums up the analysis of how U.S. policy has continued to be harmful to Iraqis, including under Pres. Barack Obama.

Interview with R. Visser at 8th anniversary of invasion of Iraq

    (I first became acquainted with (and came to admire) Reidar Visser’s work when he started posting comments here on JWN during and after Iraq’s December 2005 election… Last fall, he was one of the four authors in Just World Books’s inaugural list. So now, as the eighth anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq approaches, I’m cross-posting here the piece about about the interview I conducted with him on Saturday, for the JWB podcast series. ~HC.)

As the eighth anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq approaches, Just World Books author Reidar Visser has recorded a new podcast for our series. In it, he updates his assessment of Washington’s post-invasion democratization project in Iraq, coming once again– as he did in his book A Responsible End? The United States and the Iraqi Transition, 2005-2010— to the somber conclusion that the project has been a failure. Visser also roundly refutes the claim made by some Americans that the U.S. democratization project in Iraq was somehow an “inspiration” for the many activists behind the current wave of pro-democracy movements in the Arab world.

This latest podcast was recorded by Just World Books owner Helena Cobban from a phone interview she conducted with him on March 12. It is an informative complement to this other short podcast we have of Visser, which was recorded at his book launch in Washington DC back in December.

Check out our growing library of author podcasts here!