The always obnoxious John Bolton, now working in a plum job as a fellow at the American Interprise Institute, has polluted The Guardian with his imperialist braggadocio. I'm not going to bother refuting his article's 5 major lies, since that was already done 10 years ago by kos, Atrios, billmon, Meteor Blades, and everyone in the Berkeley phone book, except that he begins by implicitly stating how much better Iraq is now than under Saddam. Surprisingly, he offers no data to verify this assessment. Instead, he deflects to calling critics commusociafascists:

1. Iraq is worse off now than under Saddam. This charge could come only from people with a propensity to admire totalitarianism. Iraq has certainly gone through a hard decade, and its future is far from secure, but that uncertainty derives from long-standing historical tensions and animosities among its major confessional and ethnic groups which were suppressed under Saddam. One might as well pine for Stalin or Tito. Iraq's inherent defects as an artificial nation may yet bring it to grief, but not because of the US-led invasion. To the contrary, Iraqis now have a chance, denied them under Saddam, to forge a new society, as Germany and Japan did after World War II. But we didn't wage war after Pearl Harbor to do nation-building for our enemies. And, in any event, the issue was never about making life better for Iraqis, but about ensuring a safer world for America and its allies.
Bolton does not seem to be familiar with the word 'projection.' "I know we may be responsible for some atrocities, dontcha know, but you must be an admirer of Stalin to point it out!"

What Bolton does not address is that Iraq is at best a 'mixed' regime and for all intents and purposes an authoritarian state. Remember Nouri al-Maliki? What has he been up to lately?

Heba al-Shamary (name changed for security reasons) was released last week from an Iraqi prison where she spent the last four years.

"I was tortured and raped repeatedly by the Iraqi security forces," she told Al Jazeera. "I want to tell the world what I and other Iraqi women in prison have had to go through these last years. It has been a hell."

Heba was charged with terrorism, as so many Iraqis who are detained by the Iraqi security apparatus are charged.

"I now want to explain to people what is occurring in the prisons that [Prime Minister Nouri al-] Maliki and his gangs are running," Heba added. "I was raped over and over again, I was kicked and beaten and insulted and spit upon."

Heba's story, horrific as it is, unfortunately is but one example of what a recent report from Amnesty International refers to as "a grim cycle of human rights abuses" in Iraq today.

So in absence of Bolton's quantitative data we have to do a qualitative assessment. Iraq is in no way a state befitting eight-hundred billion U.S. dollars. It rounds up ethnic and political enemies and rapes, tortures and then executes them without any form of due process. Its political economy is more crooked than a scrub oak. The Jewish community in Iraq is extinct. One of the oldest Christian communities in the world has been slaughtered and dispossesed. At the National Museum of Iraq, countless artifacts now destroyed or stolen by looters will never yield to us information about the history from which Europe, Asia and Africa derive. Depleted uranium is stalking and killing civilians. LGBT are being kidnapped, tortured and burned to death.

Four thousand, seven hundred and seventy five American military men and women died.

The ten-year anniversary of the vernal human sacrifice is on the 20th. And Bolton is in a position to celebrate. For these events which flow from Bolton's crimes he should seek forgiveness. For the crimes he committed he should be writing for clemency from a cell.

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