The U.S. already destroyed the political, economic and social infrastructure of Iraq, turning it into an anarchic free-for-all of every clan for itself. We in the West try to deny the ugly consequences of our own actions by shrugging our shoulders and noting that Iraqis are, after all, "eternally tribal." But who do you turn to when the proverbial excrement--the destruction of your country--hits the fan? Most people revert to their core social identities--their clans, tribes, sectarian or regional groups--the only ones that can provide security against anarchy and enemies.
This week saw Iraq teetering on the edge of chaos as militants seized the nation's second largest city, Mosul. It was another reminder that the devastation from one of the biggest blunders in U.S. history continues, as 300,000 Iraqis became refugees this week alone. Incredibly, the war's cheerleaders somehow took the turmoil as vindication that the U.S. should never have left. "Lindsey Graham and John McCain were right," said McCain. But the problem isn't what we did in 2011; it's what we did in 2003. In 2014, we need to stop listening to those who have been wrong on this war again and again. Back home, Tea Party challenger Dave Brat knocked off House Majority Leader Eric Cantor. Though Brat's no-reform stance on immigration played a role in the outcome, more powerful was his anti-Wall Street message, leading Ryan Lizza to dub him "the Elizabeth Warren of the right." For establishment politicians, including Hillary Clinton, it's a message they ignore at their peril.
The Fall of Mosul is an indictment of the Bush Administration and, before that, the British Empire. Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki can only get Iraq back by allying with nationalist Sunnis in the north. Otherwise, for him to simply brutally occupy the city with Shiite troops and artillery and aerial bombings, will make him look like his neighbor, Bashar al-Assad.