Monday, August 23, 2010

Editorial: Iraq War's purpose still unclear as troops return

Catching up on my writing after a few "days off" (read: real life), this headline would make me laugh out loud if the Bush apologists had been less successful in muddying American minds about the debacle we now refer to collectively as "Iraq."

Many readers are too young to remember the events of the late '80s that led us directly here, and generations have grown up since the US began running the serious dirty tricks in the region that brought Saddam Hussein to power. If you don't know this history, I'm sorry, it's too complicated for a blog, read a book. But what I can say definitively is that there has never been any question among serious people as to what has motivated the US to intervene militarily in Iraq -- not now, not in 2003, not in 1990, and not before. The US has only one practical strategic goal in the region, and that's to secure the supply of oil. Everything else derives from that -- including, ultimately, the politely termed "defense" of Israel. If you think you've got a cogent argument against that, you're allowing yourself to be bamboozled.

So no, editor, it's not "Washington's responsibility to see Iraq as a country and not as a war." It's our responsibility to see Iraq as a sovereign people and not as a strategic resource.

The editor writes, "scholars will dissect the past seven and a half years and no doubt will find elements of fault, deception and untold costs of human life and money," as if the reporting on what actually happened versus what you, editor, would have had us believe was happening* is some sort of academic exercise for the enlightenment of future generations.

*: Like this. Or this. Or this, fer gadsake. More lies here. More prevarication here. Ack.

The hard truth for the editor to swallow is that he has allowed himself to be deceived by better propagandists about the Iraq adventure for years. There has never been any serious doubt that the war was venally motivated, illegal, and doomed to abject failure and horrible follow-on consequences in a hundred predictably duh-level ways. But because empty-headed flag-wavers wanted to feel heroic and hit back a someone Arab-looking for 9-11, and because small men saw it, accurately, as a way to win power for themselves, we killed at least half a million innocent Iraqis. That was not an academic exercise, and it will haunt us for yet more generations.

No, editor, you can't get off that easy. That flag you're waving is missing its drape of mourning for our victims and our national integrity.

PS: My nephew is a casualty of the Iraq adventure, by the way. That's not academic, either. Our troops and their families deserve to know clearly what their sacrifices were meant to accomplish. Above all, it was never "our freedom."

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