Our Anonymous Friend in the Sand raises an interesting question: Do unscrupulous acts by the figureheads of state make an entire endeavor unscrupulous?
Fucking yes they do. No matter how much good Nixon did— and he did a lot (the EPA, trade deals with China, &c.)— Watergate, Cointelpro, and the Vietnam war still define that time period. Watergate, an action of corruption by a handful of men, cast doubt on all of the government, on all of their activities. This trifecta of events destroyed any faith Americans had in their government. Call it the birthing of a New American Cynicism.
The actions and unscrupulous behavior of the leaders of the government have an impact because it is a fucking government. It's run top down. We don't all have a voice, except every 2 or 4 or 6 years when we can vote. In the meantime, we trust the Commander in Chief to do the right thing and to steer the country right. If a dozen people determine policy and direction, decide what can be talked about and where all the money will be spent, then those people need to be paragons of responsibility. The country rests in their hands.
If we as a country and a military get committed to an action because of lies and co-ordinated manipulation of the media by our leaders, and that action is unjust, then it ceases to be a an action by a scandalous person, and becomes a scandalous action.
Brief Tangent #1: On Political Lies
When we discuss which candidates we like, and why we'll vote for someone, we talk about what they say. Their message. Their focus. And it seems that in every case when the candidate gets elected all of their campaign speeches and promises just evapoate like they were never said. Like we have no memory. Like it means nothing anyways. Like as if it was just a game to see how well the candidates can play us before getting access to the big game, and the big money and the Halliburtons and the Carlyle Groups and the Saudi Royal families of the world.
We need to hold politician's responsible. We need to remember. We are a country gripped with Alzheimer's of the soul. Our collective intelligence is sickly, stunted. We are a child raised on sugar, Coke and crystal meth who finds it impossible to remember what he did the day before. Sure, the media is partly to blame. But so are we. We're not robots. We're not programmed. We're not deprived of information, it's just that there are so many prettier things to look at and think about all around us: Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Monday Night Football, The X-Men, Mr. Show, Britney Spears, Jackass, Lord of the Rings, Outkast, Paris Hilton's utterly predictable shenanigans. With so much popular culture to keep up with, who has time to remember that Bush promised a return to morality for the White House. Who has time to remember that his father works for the company that now profits the most off of the war.
It's not a fun answer, it's not a sexy answer, and it's not an easy answer so people won't like it. It's clichés, yes, but Americans want everything easy. If it isn't easy, you might fail at it and what greater shame is there than failure? Umm, maybe ignorance? Maybe not trying at all? Maybe placing absolute faith in an authority that you know nothing about but what he tells you about himself?
Bush says he didn't do drugs? I guess it's true. Yep, and I have a twelve inch cock. Really. Just check my press release.
People in other countries know these things. We don't. It isn't normal. It's pathological. We all exist in a state of grand denial, coming up with reason after reason why what we've done is clearly right, no matter how wrong it is.
Saddam Hussein had no weapons of mass destruction. None. We knew this years ago after his chief armsmaster defected to the US. He said they didn't exist, but that Saddam liked to pretend they did to scare his enemies.
We didn't go in to free the people. Look at our history. We, as a culture, don't give a fuck about other people. Other people cut our profits. Other people ruin our high. WWII wasn't about the people, it was about securing sweet, empire building deals for post-war reconstruction. Vietnam wasn't about the people— since, y'know, we raped them and burned them alive— it was about securing markets and products in Asia.
War is about business. This is what we care about.
End of tangent #1.
If the war was necessary, as Our Anonymous Friend in the Sand says it was, why didn't the rest of the UN back us up? Why did we go it alone (and let's be honest here, the Coalition of the Willing is help in name only, they have provided almost no material or monetary support)? Saddam had no WMDs. Saddam was planning no aggression against the US. Why did we go to war against him? To end suffering? To free Iraq? What about all of the other countries with worse oppression and no oil? What about North Korea? Liberia? Taiwan? Colombia? Chechnya? Sierra Leone? What about the Palestinians?
No. It wasn't necessary. It was a cynical and crass move to get oil and business in the Middle East. And also to move 150 billion plus dollars from the American taxpayers into the pockets of the defense industry.
Brief Tangent #2: Where We Examine Reasons For Going Into Iraq
Hussein gassed the Kurds: we should overthrow him. Well, Kissinger bombed the Cambodians, and he just keeps getting higher and higher in our government. Oh, yeah, and we sold Saddam the gas he used on those Kurds.
He oppressed people and rigged elections. Well, check out, Florida in 2000.
He waged terror on his own people, jailing and killing many of them. Well, how many African-Americans are in prison? What is it now, one in eight? We, as Americans, wrote the motherfucking book on oppressing our minorities. Iraq has nothing on us. Thirty years ago we were still sterilizing the Native Americans, the poor, the homeless and the retarded.
He posed an active threat against us. He's a terrorist. He needed to be taken out before he could get us. Well, Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11. They were mostly Saudis and Syrians. They had zero connections with Iraq, and hated Iraq almost as much as they hated us. Also, Saddam isn't a terrorist. A despot, sure. A dictator, maybe. But he is a head of state, and therefore cannot— by definition— be a terrorist. If Saddam or another head of state was behind 9/11, it'd be an act of war, not of terror. And, again, Saddam could barely lob a Scud into Israel, let alone around the globe and into Missouri. He was not a threat to any of us.
End of tangent #2.
Our Anonymous Friend in the Sand also says that the meat grinder of war is becoming more efficient at grinding less meat. This, too, is doubtful. In WWII, one of the great crimes the Germans committed was in attacking civilians. When the Germans bombed London, it was considered a heinous War Crime. War is armies fighting armies. That's the point of it all, to have armies compete so that the people are spared. Until then. Until now.
Cluster bombs and the targeting of civilians and civilian structures (power plants, hospitals, &c.) have become standard procedure for US airstrikes. This is not efficient meat grinding. This is grinding all of the cows that you see.
The war has been going on for nearly nine months now. There is an estimated 15,000 to 40,000 dead Iraqi civilians. And an estimated 500 dead US soldiers.
Do you know how many US troops died in the year following World War II? None, according to a congressional report of the time.
Do you know how many US troops died in the first three years of Vietnam? Roughly 380.
Tell me, please: how is this efficiency? Where is the gain? War is costing more lives now, more money now. Who can fix this meat grinder?
The biggest lie we've been sold about this war, is that the planners knew what they were doing. The basic war plan was reportedly drafted a decade ago, and not updated. Other reports issued by our Government were plagiarized from a PoliSci grad student's paper on Iraq. Bush and his war planners (the PNAC, see below) are guilty of believing their own hype, not doing their homework. There is no exit strategy, except for whatever solution is winged at that moment.
We have to remember all of this for next time. So in ten years, when we go to war against China or North Korea we won't make the same mistakes. We won't roll over so willingly.
But first, come home safely, Our Anonymous Friend in the Sand. And Remember.
Brief Tangent #3: Links
How we— and our allies— sold Iraq all of the items to create the WMDS that it no longer has: http://www.laweekly.com/ink/03/18/features-crogan2.php and also http://www.laweekly.com/ink/03/18/features-crogan1.php.
Body counts: http://www.iraqbodycount.net/
For all of your Bush news: http://www.bushwatch.com/
An actual photo chart of Bush's Lies: http://www.house.gov/appropriations_democrats/caughtonfilm.htm
A generally excellent source of news: http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/index.html
The Carlyle group: http://www.hereinreality.com/carlyle.html
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