Heed the Voices for Peace Amid the Tragedy of Iraq

It didn’t take long this week for the architects of the disastrous U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq to apply their makeup and jump before the cable news television cameras. The militia group known as ISIS, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, has swept across Iraq, conquering city after city and stopping short of Baghdad in what has been described as a “lightning advance,” summarily executing people in its wake. ISIS emerged from the festering civil war in Syria, and has exploited the instability in that country, along with the weak and famously corrupt central Iraqi government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. With just several thousand armed troops, ISIS has managed to rout the Iraqi army with its hundreds of thousands of soldiers trained and equipped by the U.S. occupying forces at U.S. taxpayer expense.

Cronies of George W. Bush, like Dick Cheney, Paul Wolfowitz, William Kristol and Paul Bremer, have been given airtime on the networks and space in the opinion pages to lambast President Barack Obama for the current crisis in Iraq. These pundits and politicians are no less wrong today than they were when selling the Iraq War back in 2003.

One person who knows something about the region, and who is heard far too little in the U.S. media, is Lakhdar Brahimi. He recently stepped down as the United Nations-Arab League special envoy for Syria. He worked for two years in that position, overseeing the Geneva talks aimed at bringing peace to Syria. He resigned after recognizing the abject failure of the peace process.

When interviewed this week on the “Democracy Now!” news hour, he repeated a warning he has been voicing: “The situation in Syria is like an infected wound: If it is not treated properly, it will spread. And this is what is happening.” At 80 years of age, Brahimi is a man with wide experience.

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