Wednesday, January 15, 2014

IRAQ WAR An Unnecessary Waste? Of Course!

It was sad yesterday morning watching the CBS Early Show to see a number of former American troops bemoan what's been happening in Iraq - with apparent "terrorists" and "al Qaeda" affiliates re-taking towns such as Fallujah. They decried the current events, and what they were seeing and even expressed some reservations about the value of invading in the first place. It is indeed good that they did so, because the entire operation was a sham and illegal from the get go.

As I observed in previous blog posts, evil predicated on an intent to "do good" is one of the mot virulent forms. It is virulent because it can operate as evil under the guise of a good cause, or a moral crusade. Such was the basis for the whole sordid Iraq invasion.   Bush and his minions truly believed they were doing good at the time they demanded congress vote on The Iraq War Resolution in 2002, never mind what we later discovered[1].

Bush’s aggressive foreign policies also exposed unsavory aspects about the U.S. as a nation.  For example, one willing to violate Nuremberg Article IV to actually launch a pre-emptive war by invasion as the Nazis did when they invaded Poland in 1939.  In the case of Fallujah, just over nine years ago, in November 2004, the United States military carried out an atrocious war crime at the behest of its civilian leaders. Having already committed what America's chief jurist at the Nuremberg trials called "the supreme international crime" -- aggressive war  (under Article IV)-- the American military now declared a whole city full of innocent civilians to be a "free fire zone" and proceeded to pulverize the town with bombs, missiles, chemical weapons and finally a ground attack by thousands of troops.

Is this anything to be "proud" of? On the contrary, it's enough to make a sober observer and true patriot  ( as opposed to the paper variety) - VOMIT.  Especially as the orders came  after the American military had cut vital supplies of food and water to the city -- another brazen war crime.  And by the way, let us bear in mind here that any given soldier has as his duty to FIRST follow his conscience rather any orders or commands from superiors. This was in fact, one of the higher injunctions in Article IV and was applied to all the Wehrmacht troops, as well as SS riff raff rounded up after World War II. They were informed in no uncertain terms that "following orders" could not be used as an excuse for what they did because they had the higher moral  duty to disobey those unlawful orders and heed their consciences.

But in the case of the Iraq "war" (actually an occupation, as contrasted with WW II which was a REAL war, the one my dad fought in, including several REAL battles such as the Battle of Buna (New Guinea) all the above applied with special force.

The rich humor of it all is that at the time the Bushie PR actually compared Saddam to Hitler! Never mind that Saddam was the one being pounded by the most devastating shock and awe attack since the Blitzkrieg launched by Hitler on Poland in 1939. But this sort of human evil had been strenuously reasoned and formally justified by Bushie Neocons like William Kristal, Paul Wolfowitz and Dick Cheney! In addition, the U.S. corporate media acted as a willing accomplice, fully complicit in spreading the hysteria that led to the Iraq invasion on March 17, 2003.  Hence each and every one of these actors, agents share blame in manifesting human evil, including the devastating costs exacted on Iraqi civilians. Far from malignant human evil emerging without rationality or reason, it instead erupted as if from multiple cancerous cells becoming malignant.

We the citizens also played along by being cowed, afraid to speak out lest we be deemed unpatriotic or even "terrorist sympathizers."  Many of  us also allowed ourselves to be too uninformed, even ignorant of the issues, thereby allowing ourselves to be played. Susan Jacoby, for example, references “two thirds of us can’t find Iraq on a map and many members of Congress don’t know a Shiite from a Sunni[2]  In a nutshell, too many Americans have “become too lazy to learn what we need to know to make sound public decisions.[3]

Back to Fallujah: So many of the former grunts seen on the CBS segment saw it as their stellar, singular "saving" battle,  in a glorious crusade against them terrible 'terr'ists  - and in addition, the
"most iconic moment" of their righteous , god fearin' campaign (now tainted because heir conquest hadn't held). But  they might want to attend to the facts of the event  - ass opposed to the Pentagon pushed PR and malarkey. So it is well that they see these facts detached in time from all the bravado and hype of the moment. In this case, they'd do well to pick up on  an eyewitness report of the attack from a BBC reporter in the city at the time:


"There are more and more dead bodies on the streets and the stench is unbearable. Smoke is everywhere. It's hard to know how much people outside Fallujah are aware of what is going on here. There are dead women and children lying on the streets. People are getting weaker from hunger. Many are dying are from their injuries because there is no medical help left in the city whatsoever. Some families have started burying their dead in their gardens."

Is this something to be proud of? No, not at all. No more than the Nazi mass killings of Polish Jews in Warsaw and other ghettoes, or the slaughter of Russian Jews during Operation Barbarossa. The sad fact, and it's a brutal one for many of these troops to process - is that Iraq was a totally useless and wasteful exercise. Not only that, it was illegal under Article IV of the Nuremberg laws. It was another sordid example of what transpires when a people are driven by ideology and militarism into a conflict in which they have no business. Much like LBJ used the pretext of the Gulf of Tonkin incident to drive the country into Vietnam and the loss of 58,000 lives.

True, Saddam was no angel, not one bit. But the Bushies' exploitation of the false "al Qaeda" narrative to justify an American invasion actually back fired, because now the real al Qaeda likely has taken up residence in the chaotic vacuum left behind. What the invasion did, which had been controlled up until then, was unleash the sectarian strife between Sunnis and Shi'ites which Saddam had neutralized by his anti-religious, secular power. Once Saddam was removed from power, the Sunnis and Shi'ites were free to go at each others' throats - and all the American occupation did was delay it.

Of course, there's no going back now. We already wasted $4 trillion there, which we could have better used to repair our crumbling infrastructure here at home. What one does hope is that in the case of both Iraq and Afghanistan - we finally re-learn the lessons we ought to have learned after Vietnam. That is to stay the fuck out of places where our immediate domestic security isn't threatened.  Were all those troops" fighting for my freedom"? Hell no! They were fighting for Wall Street, the Bushie opportunist Oil imperialists and their privateer companies (like Halliburton) and the advance of Amerikkan Neoliberalism.

It's about damned time future troops understand what they're getting into before they enter some hyped- up "crusade" - and they also understand that when they sign onto a "volunteer army" (even for later supposed "benefits")  they become de facto mercenaries in the service of war capitalists.

To that end, all citizens also need to understand how Bush is now trying to whitewash his crimes using the venue of his Bush Library. To see Rachel Maddow's  take down of this nonsense, go to one of my previous blog posts here:


[1] We now know an Iraqi (codename ‘Curveball’) made the whole WMD baloney up in order to trigger regime change to replace Saddam, oblivious to the human costs.
[2] Jacoby, Susan, The Age of American Unreason., 310.
[3] Ibid.

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