Sunday, February 5, 2012

Day of Shame, 9th Anniversary

[See also: commemoration in cartoon form. And welcome, Naked Capitalism readers! Welcome Sideshow readers!]


President Obama began his 2012 State of the Union address speaking thusly about the war that had its marketing launch at the UN on this date in 2003:

Last month, I went to Andrews Air Force Base and welcomed home some of our last troops to serve in Iraq. Together, we offered a final, proud salute to the colors under which more than a million of our fellow citizens fought — and several thousand gave their lives.

We gather tonight knowing that this generation of heroes has made the United States safer and more respected around the world.


He proceeded to celebrate his latest claimed end to the war, a troop drawdown precipitated only by his failed attempt to override the Bush-Maliki deadline, i.e., a bid for Iraq to grant continued immunity for American military actions there.

Can the war truly be deemed "over" in light of the ongoing massive presence of State Department/mercenary/special ops forces, drones, and so forth?

Either way, America's sugar-coating of this blood-soaked misadventure is something to behold.

In announcing the troop pullout, Obama gushed:

The last American soldier[s] will cross the border out of Iraq with their heads held high, proud of their success...


The man elected in large part as a supposed antidote to "dumb wars" has made it his business to burnish the legacy of the Iraq War, as Chris Floyd explains:

Barack Obama, the winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, the self-proclaimed inheritor of the mantle of Martin Luther King and Mahatma Gandhi, went to North Carolina [on 12/14/11] to declare the act of aggression in Iraq "an extraordinary achievement." He lauded the soldiers gathered before him for their "commitment to fulfil your mission": the mission of carrying out an unprovoked war of aggression and imposing a society-destroying occupation that led directly to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of innocent people. These activities -- "everything that American troops have done in Iraq" -- led to "this moment of success," he proclaimed.

He spoke of suffering, he spoke of sacrifice, he spoke of loss and enduring pain -- but only for the Americans involved in the unprovoked war of aggression, and their families. He did not say a single word -- not one -- about the thousands and thousands and thousands and thousands and thousands of Iraqis killed by this "fulfilled mission," this "extraordinary achievement," this "success." These human beings -- these sons and daughters, fathers, mothers, kinfolk, lovers, friends -- cannot be acknowledged. They cannot be perceived. It must be as if they had never existed. It must be as if they are not dead now.

The divorce from reality here is beyond description. It is only the all-pervasiveness of the disassociation that obscures its utter and obvious insanity. There is something intensely primitive and infantile in the reductive, navel-gazing, self-blinding monomania of the American psyche today. Think of the ancient Greeks, who constructed their psyches and their worldview around an epic poem, the Iliad, that depicted their enemies, the Trojans, with remarkable sympathy, understanding and insight -- while depicting their own leaders as a band of shallow, squabbling, murderous fools. Here was a moral sophistication, a cold-eyed grasp of reality -- and a level of empathy for one's fellow human beings -- far beyond the capacity of modern American society, and infinitely beyond the reach of the murderous fools who seek to lead it.

The Iraq War has not ended. Not for the dead, not for their survivors, not for the displaced, the maimed, the lost, the suffering, not for all of us who live in the degraded, destabilised, impoverished world it has spawned, and not for the future generations who will live with the ever-widening, ever-deepening consequences of this irrevocable evil.


The Iraq War, once a point of grave concern on the part of partisan Democratic voters—concern over the carnage, concern over the duplicity, concern over the squandering of money and so much more—is now a bipartisan symbol of heroic success.

Poor George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, and Colin Powell, for not getting their due from petulant hippies when they first sold the war. Evidently, a brutal war born of lies is a proud success to be cherished forever. No one anyone listens to will tell you otherwise.

To our shame, if we had any, there is virtually no "never again" sentiment in America for our unconscionable assault on Iraq.

"Never again" is the cry only for the victims of atrocities, not the perpetrators.

In these parts, the watchword for the war in Iraq is "never remember."

The current president is quite keen to foster a post-Santayanan America, under the rubric of "look forward, not back." And it's working!

Obama got his own Middle-Eastern war with nary a peep from partisans of either major party. In fact, progressive icon Howard Dean praised Obama's suave marketing of the war, saying it was “very smart” for him to use drones and special ops, because "you don't get a lot of public resistance." Because that's really the hellish part of war, isn't it, the public resistance?

In Obama's aforementioned 2012 State of the Union address were seeds of yet another Middle-Eastern war. History repeats like a greasy pastrami sandwich.

This time, the administration hasn't even bothered to "sex up" evidence. Despite no proof that Iran is developing nuclear weapons and—pardon the minor quibble—no god-given right for the U.S. to start slaughtering Iranians in the event that they did, we're visiting "crippling sanctions" upon the Iranian people. This, of course, is the venerable opening gambit of our national pastime, regime change.

Actually, the game is already well underway. As Glen Ford describes it:

The Obama administration is, arguably, already at war with Iran by most legal and civilized standards – a war of economic strangulation and covert aggression.


Obama stated that "a peaceful resolution of this issue is still possible." In other words, there is a mere glimmer of hope that America might not initiate yet another wholly unjustified military assault on a Muslim country.

Save for a perhaps few thousand Americans who participated in yesterday's No War On Iran: National Day of Action, no one cares.

As Glenn Greenwald noted, regarding the content-free anti-Iran propaganda that's now pervasive in what passes for journalism in this country:
One thing is certain: the American media learned nothing from their enabling of the Iraq debacle & don't want to change.


It is in light of America's wholly unrepentant posture for the unspeakable crime that was and is the Iraq War—and its rally 'round the bombs readiness for more of the same—that I encourage you to mark this date each year.

To paraphrase the signature tune of the most famous entertainer of America's troops: thanks for remembering.

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2 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well said.
cheers

February 6, 2012 at 9:35 AM  
Blogger Mark Erickson said...

Listen to this Scott Horton (antiwar radio) interview of Larry Wilkerson for some testimony about the day of shame. It's mainly in the second half of the interview. http://www.scotthortonshow.com/2010/07/04/antiwar-radio-lawrence-wilkerson-3/

February 6, 2012 at 4:44 PM  

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