The latest warnings about Iraq are that leaders in Iraq must make political progress, or the country will plunge into chaos. What do you call the condition that has existed since spring of 2003, when the United States invaded? Do you call that not chaos? If that is not chaos, then what counts? Someone might point to Syria and say, “That’s chaos. Iraq isn’t that bad.” That’s like saying Saturn isn’t a planet because it’s not as large as Jupiter.
This idea that Iraq could plunge into chaos, in the future, is a way of pretending that conditions there during the last eleven years are not a complete, chaotic disaster. It is a way to pretend that somehow, leaders in Baghdad can salvage something from our destruction of the Iraqi state. They cannot. The Iraqi state does not exist, and we pretend that it still does. The Iraqi state does not exist. Not one person, except the fools in Washington, thinks that a political process directed from Baghdad can put it together again.