Juan Cole provides some further information on one of the results of the glorious, successful-beyond-our-wildest-dreams “surge” that brought victory and peace to the people of Iraq.
Recall that one key aspect of the “surge” was the consolidation of the relentless, ruthless “ethnic cleansing” carried out, with eager American assistance, by the violent sectarian groups that the Americans had installed in power. The “surge” was designed in part to secure the ethnic cleansing gains, particularly in Baghdad, which, as Cole notes, went from being 50 percent Sunni before the war to only 10 to 15 percent Sunni now. What happened to that vanished 40 percent? Well, thousands of them were simply killed by ethnic cleansers and the occupation forces, of course; but many more — more than a million Baghdad Sunnis — were forced to eat the bitter bread of exile.
But why won’t they come back, now that everything is wildly successful and peaceful and nice? Cole reports:
I did research in August, 2008, in Jordan on Iraqi refugees, and it became very clear to me that they are not returning to Iraq. Many are traumatized, having seen horrific violence against neighbors, friends or family members. One fourth of the families applying for refugee aid reported having had a child kidnapped. Many have been personally threatened by militias who still control their old neighborhood. Sometimes the militias track them down in East Amman and threaten them again. Iraqi Sunnis do not feel safe returning to districts that are now largely Shiite. Mixed families feel that they no longer have a place to live safely. Most refugees have had their property confiscated. Many former Sunni neighborhoods in Baghdad are now ghost towns.
Ingrates, the lot of them. It’s just like President Obama says: the Iraqis have just not stepped up and taken responsibility for their own country. We’ve given them their freedom, now it’s up to them to move back home and make the best of it. Sheesh, are we going to have to carry these people on our backs forever?
(For more on the American elite’s bipartisan disdain for the Iraqi people’s inexplicable ingratitude for having their country raped and a million of their children, siblings, parents and loved ones murdered, see Arthur Silber here and here. And for more on the sumptuous bloodfruits of the surge, see here and here and here.)