Saturday, November 28, 2009

All For A Lie

It was an interesting visit to Watching America today. There were a few articles on American health care reform, a few on Afghanistan, a few more on Israel's discomfort with the Obama administration, in some cases castigated as "the worst ever," and a few analyses of the Obama visit to China.

The one that caught my eye, however, was an editorial in the United Arab Emirate's Khaleej Times. Ostensibly about the British inquiry into the Iraq War and how it all came about, the editorial also raises some serious and fair questions about the US and its complete refusal to look into the war.

Britain, the second leading member of the Coalition of the Willing headed by the United States, has ordered an inquiry into the Iraq war.

The committee headed by Sir John Chilcot, a retired civil servant, has promised to produce a “full and insightful” account of the most debated and contested war in recent history and the circumstances in which it was inflicted on Iraq. ...

So unless this probe results in concrete steps, leading to justice for the people of Iraq and preventing more unjust wars in the future, this is little more than a symbolic exercise.

But by initiating this Britain is at least trying to repent and make amends for the criminal blunders of its leaders. What about the United States? Why’s there been no action, no step whatsoever in this direction?

No attempts, however perfunctory, have been made by the US establishment, civil society and the media to confront their leaders on Iraq.

Yet more than a million innocent lives have been wasted in Iraq, not to mention the appalling, total devastation the war has unleashed on the country that was one of the region’s most modern nations. And all for a lie!
[Emphasis added]

Why indeed.

We do know plenty about the steps taken to drag us into a war that had no reason to happen. During his first campaign, George W. Bush told his would-be biographer that he wanted to be a war-time president. Then, after the 9/11 attacks, White House officials, led by Vice-President Dick Cheney, pounded on intelligence officials to find an Iraq link, even though all evidence pointed to Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda.

By 1992, the propaganda was being catapulted furiously about Iraq, how it was a safe haven for Al Qaeda, how it was developing and was prepared to use weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear weapons, on its neighbors and on the US. Even though each bit of evidence put forward was trashed by our allies as gross misinterpretations at best and as outright fabrications at worst, the drum beats increased. We know that from the Downing Street Memos. Secretary of State Colin Powell was sent to the United Nations with sketches and equivocal photographs to try to convince the world that unspeakable evil would be unleashed by Iraq and its leader, Saddam Hussein, unless the US was allowed to invade.

And invade we did, even though there never was any plausible reason for doing so, and the reasons offered were changed as they were shown to be laughable. No WMDs were found, so then it became a matter of regime change because Saddam Hussein was such a monster. Once he was removed, it became a matter of protecting Iraq's oil fields for the people of Iraq.

While we were engaged in that war, our intelligence services and our military engaged in what can only be called war crimes by civilized people. Back home, our civil liberties were shredded as warrantless wire taps issued and private emails were intercepted. The US Constitution became "just a piece of paper."

Yet the new administration has made it clear that it didn't want any investigation into this illegal and immoral war because the new president wanted the country to look forward, not backward. It was only by exerting pressure on the new government that Attorney General Eric Holder finally agreed to investigate some of the torture issues, but after that announcement, nothing further has been said about it.

If our closest ally can make even a perfunctory gesture towards looking into a war which is still going on, why can't we? Are we really that omnipotent that we can break international law with impunity. Are we so pure that our motives can never be examined, even though hundreds of thousands of people are dead because of our actions?

American exemptionalism at its best.

And how shameful it is.

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Blogger Woody (Tokin Librul/Rogue Scholar/ Helluvafella!) said...

Obama will NEVER take on the Busheviks.


It is risible to think so. They're on the same team.

7:18 AM  

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