U.S. retaliates against Iraqi militia – Media Ignores Context

Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper attributed the attack in Iraq to an Iranian-backed militia. Credit...Yuri Gripas/Reuters
Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper attributed the attack in Iraq to an Iranian-backed militia. Credit...Yuri Gripas/Reuters

Last night the U.S. conducted air strikes in Iraq in response to a rocket attack on Camp Taji, a U.S. base in Iraq.  The New York Times covered the story, but although the reports mentioned “malign efforts from Iran and its proxies” without apparent irony, they did not mention that the U.S. base shouldn’t be there in the first place.

Regarding US air strikes on Iraqi militia, let’s remember that the Iraqi parliament and prime minister asked the US to withdraw its military forces from their country after we attacked Soleimani and his party at the Baghdad civilian airport.

Secretary of Defense Esper (whose previous job was Raytheon’s chief lobbyist) refused. Let’s just stop for a minute and look at what that means. We have military forces in a country and won’t leave when the government tells us to? That means we are there illegitimately.

We are not in Iraq at the request of the government of Iraq. Instead, we are there for our own reasons- because of our vendetta with neighboring Iran, because of our interest in controlling Iraq and the region’s oil, and so on.

And now, an Iraqi militia attacks our base. Why would that surprise anyone? They are simply defending their country against a foreign army which has no business there.

How would Americans respond if a foreign country had a military base in our country, and did not leave when they were told to?

Massachusetts Peace Action are not political supporters of Kataib Hezbollah. But they are Iraqis. It is not for us, or for the United States, to say they should not defend their country against foreign invaders. Or that they should not receive assistance where they can get it, in this case from Iran.

Is this story off bounds for the US media to write about? Is it pertinent to the back and forth strikes yesterday to report why the US forces are in Iraq and what the Iraqis and their government think of their presence there?

The 2003 US invasion of Iraq is still a major national political issue, as seen in the Sanders- Biden back and forth in the campaign. Yet the media is so immersed in the imperial frame that it does not occur to reporters — or editors — ask why US troops are in Iraq or whether they belong there.

We also have troops in Syria without the permission of that country’s government. We don’t like that government, so hey, what do you expect? We’re the empire; rules don’t apply to us.

We have draconian sanctions on Iran, which has specifically been crippling that country’s health care system for several years– and there is no let up, even in the middle of a serious coronavirus outbreak.

The imperial blind spots of the US media are just staggering. Noam Chomsky called it “Manufacturing Consent”. Let’s see if the pro-empire press can keep this going, or if the people, aided by the alternative media and by Bernie Sanders’ pulpit, can make enough people question the BS.