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A moment for Iraq

Posted by Michael Bloch in online world (Thursday March 20, 2008 )

A little – well very – off topic, but an important anniversary to remember IMHO. 5 years ago, the first bombs of the US led invasion rained down on Baghdad – a so-called “shock and awe” exercise. A quick victory was expected, but it became more of a “mock the flawed” war. But it really hasn’t been a laughing matter.

5 years later, nearly 4,000 US troops are dead and its estimated up to 89,000 Iraqi civilians have been slaughtered through related violence since the invasion began.

What has been achieved? Saddam was removed and executed, but it didn’t stop the murder of innocents by the thousands. No chemical weapons were found; the premise upon which the invasion was mounted. Iraqi infrastructure is in tatters and the precious Iraqi oil that I believe this war was *really* about isn’t flowing as freely as expected.

I was just looking at a poll on CNN – the question was: Five years on, how successful has the Iraq war been?

Resounding success 4%
Better than it was 17%
Complete disaster 80%

Total Votes: 10319

Not even “hearts and minds” have been won – in any country involved. What a total, utter, dismal and disgusting failure it has been.

I’m not one for marching in the streets, but my entire family and I did so in the lead up to the invasion in order to protest it. It was the first time in my life that I was involved in such a large collective action. Hundreds of thousands of other Aussies got up off their asses and marched too. Australian opinion was overwhelmingly against the invasion, yet there were still millions of us who supported this war . Our government supported and joined the “coalition of the killing”.

The Australian government should have known better too – Vietnam wasn’t that long ago and we were heavily involved in that mess too. Every single politician involved in making the decision to support the invasion of Iraq was alive to witness that mess. Even I, at the ripe old age of 39, have memories of Vietnam – and it’s rather sad to say those are among my first memories of life.

So what about this democratic country we live in? Majority rule is a major principle of democracy. Democracy, where it really counts, such as in regards to this invasion, is dead. It’s a nice concept and one we’ve been fooled into believing we are participating in. A misled and in some cases, evil minority took us into a battle the majority of us didn’t want any part of.

One of the good things – if you can really call it that – was the coverage the leadup to this war had. People had more information to form their opinions from.

Propaganda was rife on all sides for sure, but we were no longer totally reliant on government information and just a few snippets here and there from selected press agencies; thanks especially to the Internet. We were getting news basically as it happened. People debated the merits of the war far more broadly.

Yet it still made no difference.

The damage is done and is continuing. The USA and allies painted themselves into a very, very nasty corner and history will judge us harshly indeed.

There’s a couple of quotes I’d like to end this little rant with. They are little comfort for the Iraqis or those of us who have grieved for the destruction this war has wrought; but maybe they will mean more to a future generation – because it seems this generation sure as hell is doomed to repeat the lessons that history has attempted to teach us.

The second quote is particularly unsettling when you read who it came from.

“Beware the leader who bangs the drums of war in order to whip the citizenry into a patriotic fervor, for patriotism is indeed a double-edged sword. It both emboldens the blood, just as it narrows the mind.

And when the drums of war have reached a fever pitch and the blood boils with hate and the mind has closed, the leader will have no need in seizing the rights of the citizenry. Rather, the citizenry, infused with fear and blinded by patriotism, will offer up all of their rights unto the leader and gladly so.

How do I know? For this is what I have done. And I am Caesar.”

— Quote attributed to Julius Caesar.

“Why of course the people don’t want war. Why should some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece? Naturally the common people don’t want war neither in Russia, nor in England, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship.

Voice or no voice, 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.”

— Hermann Goering at the Nuremberg trials. Goering was a leading member of the Nazi Party, second in command of the Third Reich, designated successor to Adolf Hitler, and commander of the Luftwaffe.



 

 
2 comments for A moment for Iraq
  1. Ok. Someone needed to say it. All of it. Well said!

    Comment by Ern — March 23, 2008 @ 9:55 pm

  2. Well said. (Can’t believe there aren’t more responses of support.) I support the troops as individuals, but they have been sent on a fool’s errand through no fault of their own.

    Comment by Dave — April 3, 2008 @ 5:47 am

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