Since the US invasion, Iraqi women have been living something akin to an Arabic-English-language remake of The Handmaid’s Tale. Women who work, drive, go outside alone, wear trousers, wear makeup, don’t cover their heads or faces, go to school, go to university, or do any number of things that Iraqi women have been doing for quite some time now run the risk of being lynched. And that, it’s worth bearing in mind, is in addition to the risk of being raped, murdered, or abducted by the occupation forces.
While Obama does not mention this, or any of the other wonderful features of the US occupation directly (the concentration camps, the torture facilities, the death squads, the looting of the oil reserves, the looting of the cultural heritage of what he calls ‘the cradle of civilisation’, the enclosed ghettos, the ethnic cleansing of Sunnis, etc.), the above might be what he means by:
The Americans who have served in Iraq completed every mission they were given. They defeated a regime that had terrorized its people. Together with Iraqis and coalition partners who made huge sacrifices of their own, our troops fought block by block to help Iraq seize the chance for a better future.
They shifted tactics to protect the Iraqi people, trained Iraqi security forces, and took out terrorist leaders. Because of our troops and civilians — and because of the resilience of the Iraqi people — Iraq has the opportunity to embrace a new destiny, even though many challenges remain.
The US should know a thing or two about “the resilience of the Iraqi people” – they’ve been testing it since 1991.
And what exactly are “Iraqi security forces”? Are they being trained and equipped to combat the main security threat the Iraqi people face, i.e., the fact that they have been overrun by heavily armed foreign teenagers who can’t pronounce the place name and have the quaint habit of breaking into their homes in the middle of the night and dragging their family members off to torture camps? Of course not. They’re being trained and equipped to kill the main security threat that the occupation faces, i.e., Iraqis.
Here’s a thought experiment: Let’s say the US were occupied by a hostile foreign power bent on robbing us and imposing a puppet regime (though about the only force that is as militarily powerful compared to the US as the US is compared to Iraq would be those aliens from the otherwise forgettable Independence Day). What would people here call anyone who joined forces with the occupying army and started torturing, killing, and abducting us? Somehow, I don’t think the term would be ‘security forces’.
No, the term we’d probably use is ‘collaborators’ (though ‘traitors’ would also be an acceptable answer), just as they were called in occupied Europe.
Translating from bullshit, then, Obama is saying that the rebranding of the occupation has been made possible because the US has press-ganged an army of collaborators who will kill and torture their own people. And, now that the US occupation is a ‘stability mission’, the collaborators will be able to count on the support of US ‘advisers’, just like in the old days with our good friend Diem.