Americans are against the Iraq war…That’s a good thing, isn’t it?
While I’m glad to see most of the rest of the country has come around to what I was saying in March of 2003, when jingoism and patriotism (quote-unquote) were at a fevered pitch, I have to wonder if we’re really hating this war for the right reasons.
Something in my gut tells me that if we were winning, if the war were going smashingly or had wrapped up as lightning-fast as was expected, if the oil spigots were flowing and gas was cheap at the pump and the economy were humming along, inflation under control because of all that cheap petrol, we’d be finding lots of reasons to justify our invasion (“It was a preemptive measure,” “You can’t do anything about collateral damage”) and not at all troubled by what we did to millions of innocent people who, let’s face it, all look alike to most of us, and have unpronounceable (and in many people’s minds, really funny) last names.
I think most of us hate the war today for the wrong reasons.
Because nothing’s changed. There’s no reason to hate the war now any more than there was in March of 2003, except that we’re losing and the losses are mounting. Our losses. More than four thousand at present. You rarely hear about the untold, probably more than 100,000 Iraqi civilian losses, however. Not from Americans you don’t.
The reason the war was wrong hasn’t changed: we attacked a soverign country for no reason. There were no weapons of mass destruction. We didn’t know that, you say. Anyone with a brain did. When an administration says the proof is everywhere, but they offer not one shred of evidence, you don’t trust them. For a “mushroom cloud” to end up over Washington, Baghdad has to have some pretty impressive military installations. I mean Apollo-rocket sized launch facilities. Yet Colin Powell’s speech in front of the U.N., where he argued the case for force, was laughable. Or I laughed then. It’s not funny any more. (Notice Colin has disappeared from sight and would rather not talk about his role in enabling the war today.)
Here are some goodies from then Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. Can you count the flip-flops and contradictions?:
We know where they are. They’re in the area around Tikrit and Baghdad and east, west, south and north somewhat.” — March 30 2003
We have what we consider to be very reliable reporting of senior level contacts going back a decade, and of possible chemical and biological agent training. And when I say contacts, I mean between Iraq and al Qaeda. — September 26, 2002
To my knowledge, I have not seen any strong, hard evidence that links the two. — October 4, 2004
I have acknowledged since September 2002 that there were ties between al Qaeda and Iraq. — October 5, 2004
There’s no debate in the world as to whether they have those weapons….We all know that. A trained ape knows that. –Date unknown.
The people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.
—Ooops, that last quote actually comes from Hermann Goering during the Nurenberg trials. Sorry, you can understand how I’d get them confused.
But while we know our leaders are nutballs, it’s the fickle nature of the American people that’s more concerning. They are amazingly like sheep. They do more flip-flopping than Democrats and Republicans combined. I’m not sure most of them understand that the real issue here is that it’s bad for the United States to attack soverign nations that have not indicated they could harm anyone. Interestingly, I don’t see a rallying cry to attack North Korea, which, as I’ve said, has lobbed rockets in the direction of Hawaii. That’s a lot closer to Ms. Rice’s mushroom cloud than anything Iraq or Iran has done. So where’s the attack on that country? Where are the Americans demanding another war? Where’s that kick-butt spirit we showed Saddam? Could it be that North Korea is a real military threat, that we wouldn’t be able to embolden Yankee cock by attacking them? “The United States does not deal with terrorists,” several Republican presidents have said. Oh yes we do. We give them special priority actually. We also, in many cases, make them favored trading partners.
But back to the American people. Most only seem to be for or against things that are expedient and convenient (to their comfort and well-being) to be for or against. But isn’t hating this war for any reason good, you ask? No, because some reasons will get us into a foolish war again while others contain lessons and morals we can carry with us and use to deflect our leaders the next time they plan a holocaust. As Bill Bernbach, an advertising man, once said, “It’s not a principle until it costs you something.” We may hate the war, we may now want it to end, we may no longer cheer at the “kicking of Iraqi butt,” but that does not mean we are principled. It does not mean we are suddenly more enlightened, or persuaded by “better intelligence” than we had before. Our self- and selfish-interests have changed, that’s all.