Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Condoleezza Rice: Iraq Invasion Inspired Arab Spring

The late, legendary journalist Daniel Schorr stated in September 2003, "It is more than six months since the invasion of Iraq, and it remains a war in search of a rationale." Even now, as the war winds down following President Obama's fulfillment of his pledge to bring the troops home, that search apparently continues. An article in the NY Times describes the latest rationale from former secretary of state Condoleezza Rice in her upcoming memoir "No Higher Honor":

For the most part...Ms. Rice defends the most controversial decisions of the Bush era, including the invasion of Iraq. The wave of popular uprisings known as the Arab Spring this year, she writes, has vindicated Mr. Bush’s focus on spreading freedom and democracy.

We are to believe that the invasion of Iraq, met with near universal condemnation in the Muslim world, inspired the Arab Spring that toppled dictators in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya. This view, also held by Dick Cheney, disregards the actual events. Mohamed Bouazizi, a fruit vendor, set himself on fire in despair over his lack of opportunity and mistreatment by the police.  His act started the Tunisian rebellion, which spread to the other countries and continues in Syria. The rebels were not inspired by a Western invasion of an Arab country involving false premises of WMD, "shock and awe" bombings, occupation and "regime change" from abroad. Instead, they took part in indigenous, spontaneous revolts. As Tunisians voted on Sunday, one activist spoke of his national pride without reference to the "inspiration" of the war in Iraq, as Condoleezza Rice would have it:

“Tunisians showed the world how to make a peaceful revolution without icons, without ideology, and now we are going to show the world how we can build a real democracy,” said Moncef Marzouki, founder of a liberal political party and a former dissident exile, as he waited for hours in a long line outside a polling place in the coastal town of Sousse. “This will have a real impact in places like Libya and Egypt and Syria, after the fall of its regime,” he added. “The whole Arab world is watching.”

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