December 18, 2011
(Spoiler alert: this is the alternate remix of a New York Times original.)
BAGHDAD – The Pentagon officially pronounced its US$3 trillion-and-counting, “war on terror”-related invasion, occupation and decimation of the Iraqi nation dead on Thursday even as the country prepared for a low-intensity Sunni-Shi’ite civil war and the Muslim world wondered whatever happened to the George W Bush administration’s Greater Middle East.
In an open-air cement bunker at the former Baghdad airport turned military base, Pentagon chief Leon Panetta praised more than one million Americans in uniform or in mercenary gear for “the remarkable progress” in death and destruction accomplished over the past nine years, but acknowledged the severe challenges that faced the virtually devastated country.
“Let me be clear: Iraq will be tested in the days ahead – by al-Qaeda in the Land of the Two Rivers, by al-Qaeda in the Maghreb, by al-Qaeda in the Arabic Peninsula, by the Taliban, by Iran, by Hezbollah, by the Assad dictatorship in Syria, by China, by Russia, by Occupy Wall Street.
“Challenges remain, but the US will be there to stand by the Iraqi people with the necessary amount of Hellfire missiles as they navigate those challenges to build a prosperous haven for neo-liberalism and US corporations.”
The muted ceremony stood in contrast to the spectacular “shock and awe” in 2003 when an America fully emboldened by lies after lies printed on the cover of the New York Times sent columns of tanks north from Kuwait and lit up the sky “like Christmas”, according to CNN, to conduct regime change against evil dictator Saddam Hussein.