themcglynn.com

23 Oct

Forever calling the Iraq War a ‘mistake’ won’t make it one

Sun Oct 23, 2011 at 11:55 AM PDT

Forever calling the Iraq War a ‘mistake’ won’t make it one

by Meteor Blades

The O’Leary: We need to remember each American soldier who has died and each who has suffered terrible, debilitating wounds,each Iraqi who has died, been maimed  for life, fled his,her homeland not just under the Bush war but in the 3 years that Obama has waged it, knowing full well that the carnage was for naught. We also need to remember as we are celebrating Obama’s decision to leave Iraq, only because they would not give our soldiers immunity from prosecution, he still wages another “stupid” war in Afghanistan. Enough!

As the world learned Friday from the White House, the last 41,000 U.S. troops, save for a few Marines to guard the American embassy, will be out of Iraq 105 months after the Bush administration (with assistance from a supine media and a timid Congress) concocted the imperial lies that got the first troops sent there. As Avenging Angel has noted, Sen. John McCain and a boatload of others object to the withdrawal. That is so even though, after the troops’ departure, the State Department’s 5500 security contractors — read: mercenaries — will still be doing what they do without any pesky congressional meddlers harshing their operations. And, of course, the CIA, as well as organizations without public acronyms, will also be sticking around. So, to say the Iraq war is actually, truly over requires some fancy footwork. But, officially, it is.Which means we’re closer to answering for Iraq the question raised 40 years ago by then-Navy Lt. John Kerry regarding Vietnam:

“How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake?”

We know who the last were in Vietnam: Lance Corporal Darwin Judge and Corporal Charles McMahon Jr., both killed on April 29, 1975.

If Russ Feingold’s August 2005 proposal for withdrawal had been adopted, the last American troops would have left Iraq five years ago. We would have long since have learned the name of the last one to die for the lies of the Neo-Conservatives, assorted riff-raff known as “public intellectuals” and self-righteous embedded pundits who called antiwar critics “traitors.” But the Senator’s proposal was demonized by the right and mostly ignored by his party colleagues. Consequently, the skulls kept being stacked: American, Iraqi and others.

If good fortune shines on all the thousands of Americans in uniform who will be leaving Iraq in the next 10 weeks, we finally may already know the names of the last U.S. soldiers to die for that “mistake”:

James R. Leep Jr. of Richmond, Va., a staff sergeant with the 116th Brigade Combat Team was the last U.S. soldier to die of non-hostile causes, in Babil, Iraq, on Oct. 17. Adrian G. Mills of Newnan, Ga., a specialist with the 272nd Military Police Company, was the most recent to die of hostile fire, in Kirkuk, on Sept. 29.

If these two do turn out to be the last, then the final tally for U.S. military fatalities in Iraq will be 4479. Add in U.S. allies and the total rises to 4797. The death toll of Iraqi civilians has been a good deal higher. Just how much will never be fully known because the Iraq government stopped counting civilian fatalities in December 2003. The excuse for this was that announcing the numbers amounted to propaganda which aided those fighting the Americans. Several statistical studies claiming as many as 1.2 million dead Iraqi civilians were roundly attacked, unsurprisingly by officials with an ax to grind, but also by statisticians who did not view the matter through a political lens. Whatever the actual total, at the very least 118,000 civilians have been killed by military and paramilitary actions in Iraq since March 2003. Another 237 have been killed so far this month in a war that certainly was not over for them.

It’s not a difficult search to find the names of the American dead. Every single one of them. Not so with the Iraqis. Sure, their families know. But no dedicated web sites have compiled a comprehensive toll. Their names will never appear on any commemoration wall.

Don’t feed the delusion. Just as was the case in Vietnam, none of these dead lost their lives because of a “mistake.” Not the Americans, not their allies and not the Iraqis. That untruth will, unfortunately, continue to be the way the Iraq war is characterized by much of a traditional media that failed to yank off the faux-patriotic mask concealing the motives behind the propaganda assault the Bush administration (and its allies across the truncated American political spectrum) promoted to get the war under way. Two and three decades from now, our grandchildren may well be reading that this assault was a terrible “mistake.”

With the war officially over come year’s end, how often must it be repeated? Invading Iraq was not a friggin’ mistake. Not an accident. Not some foreign policy mishap. The guys in charge carried out a coldly though ineptly calculated act. They led a murderous, perfidious, pernicious end run around international law founded on a dubious “preventive” military doctrine piggybacked on the nation’s rage over the 9/11 attacks. An imperial, morally corrupt war ramrodded past the objections of those in and out of Congress who challenged the fabricated claims of administration advisors who had been looking for an excuse to take out Saddam Hussein years before the Supreme Court plunked George W. Bush into the Oval Office.

Though officially over, the Iraq war will continue, just as did Vietnam, to claim victims long after the official death roster has been stamped complete. Wounded veterans, officially there are some 33,000 of those, thousands with traumatic brain injuries, will live out psychologically and economically diminished lives. Families will see no end of suffering from the impact of PTSD and interrupted civilian careers. The trillions of dollars spent on shock and awe and all that has come since will weaken our economy for years to come.

In Iraq, far more families will face the same impacts. These will be made worse by lack of a social infrastructure capable of dealing with them. Hundreds of thousands of exiles and internally displaced Iraqis will continue to live a hand-to-mouth existence. Rebuilding what the war has destroyed will take decades. Just getting the electricity back on 24 hours a day in some major cities is still, after all this time, years away. Sectarian grudges engendered by the ethnic cleansing that accompanied the insurgency will not be easily submerged in the new Iraq.

All this, including tens of thousands dead, occurred because the likes of Dick Cheney and his pals stirred truths, half-truths, quarter-truths, outright fabrications, disinformation, misinformation, omissions, inventions, deceptions, deflections, revisions, excisions and other serpentine resourcefulness into a propaganda barrage specifically designed to persuade enough people not to stand in the way of their squalid project.

Thousands of Americans are dead because war criminals sent them abroad fraudulently in the name of liberation, security and prevention.

Apache helicopters on the move

Tens of thousands of Iraqis are dead because of slime who waved the bloody shirt of 9/11 in one hand, Old Glory in the other, and simultaneously managed to shred our Constitution and decades of international law. People who, if this were a just world, would some time ago have arrived in shackles at The Hague.As I wrote more than a year ago:

…even before George W. Bush was scooted into office 5-to-4, the men he came to front for were already at work plotting their rationale for sinking deeper military and economic roots in the Middle East, petropolitics and neo-imperialist sophistry greedily intertwined. When they stepped into office, as Richard Clarke explained to us, terrorism gave them no worries. Then, when they weren’t figuring out how to lower taxes on their pals and unravel the tattered social safety net, they focused — as Paul O’Neill informed us — on finding the right excuse to persuade the American people to go to war with Saddam Hussein as a prelude to going to war with some of his neighbors. In less than nine months, that excuse dropped into their laps in the form of Osama bin Laden’s kamikaze crews.From that terrible day forward, Richard Cheney and his sidekick Donald Rumsfeld and their like-minded coterie of rogues engineered the invasion. They didn’t slip the U.S. into Iraq by mistake. Like the shrewd opportunists they showed themselves to be in the business world, they saw the chance to carry out their invasion plan and they moved every obstacle — most especially the truth — out of their way to make it happen. …

They created a cabal of renegades specifically to carry out the Project for a New American Century’s plans for Middle East hegemony. They didn’t carefully weigh options and evaluate the pros and cons and make errors in judgment. They studiously ignored everyone who warned them against taking the action they had decided upon years before the World Trade Centers were turned to ashes and dust. …

Planning for invasion, the concoction of evidence, the ignoring of counter-advice, and the lying to Congress, to the United Nations and to the American people were not “mistakes.”

Mistakes were definitely made. Nine years ago, too many elected Democrats and too many other Americans believed the president and vice president of the United States to be honorable men. To be patriots. To have the best interests of Americans at heart. They believed them and they believed a megamedia that operated like administration-owned megaphones instead of independent watch dogs. Those were gigantic mistakes.

Consequently, there are now vast numbers of dead who would be alive were it not for this war initiated out of American exceptionalism, hubris and doctored evidence. Thousands of dead Americans. Tens of thousands of dead Iraqis. Deaths in any war are terrible enough. Deaths in a fabricated war count as nothing short of murder. How dare anyone call such a war a “mistake.”

The McGlynn:

 Iraq & Afghanistan, A Drawing-Down of Blinds.

And silence permeates our country. Nor any voice of mourning except the choirs, family and friends.

Damn us!

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