American Lies and Iraqi Nationalism


The international tragedy of not learning history’s lessons can be monumental. In the case of the Iraq war the result of not heeding the past is perhaps the worst it has been in centuries.

One wonders what led the U.S. and the world to its current situation. What caused a nation once respected as a beacon of peace and freedom (whether or not that reputation was ever deserved) to descend into the immorality of a pre-emptive strike, another overthrow of a sovereign government and finally the chaos of monitoring a bloody civil war in Iraq?

As is so often the case, the answers can be found in history, a history that is often ignored amid imperial designs masquerading as paranoid thoughts of dire threats to the American way of life.

In the June 1985 issue of ‘Monthly Review’ the following was stated: “Are we going to take the position that anti-Communism justifies anything, including colonialism, interference in the affairs of other countries, and aggression? That way, let us be perfectly clear about it, lies war and more war leading ultimately to full-scale national disaster.”

Today the communist bugaboo, so effectively used by several Cold War presidents, is passé; the former Soviet Union is struggling with severe economic issues and has long since ceased to be a world leader. So a new enemy had to be invented. With Iraq sitting on much of the world’s oil supplies, and a U.S. president who, along with much of his administration, has a long history of involvement in the oil industry, radical Islam is the new big bad wolf. The attacks on the U.S. on September 11, 2001 enabled this newest monster to take a very tangible form for the American public, which threw itself behind Mr. Bush as he marched soldiers off to Afghanistan to find the perpetrator of that disaster, overthrow the repressive Taliban that was said to be hiding Osama bin Laden and oh, by the way, allow Union Oil of California to build a pipeline through the country, something the Taliban had forbidden.

The association with radical Islam was easily transferable from Afghanistan to Iraq. On February 5, 2005, then Secretary of State Colin Powell solemnly told the world from the podium of the United Nations that Iraq had not accounted for its stockpile of between 100 and 500 tons of chemical weapons. “We have evidence these weapons existed,” said he. “What we don’t have is evidence from Iraq that they have been destroyed or where they are.”

He spoke of the nerve gas VX, stating darkly that a single drop could kill a person. That U.N. inspectors were searching the country, and receiving cooperation from Saddam Hussein as they did so, was not sufficient for Mr. Powell and his boss, Mr. Bush. The inspectors were ordered out of the country by the United States, and 130,000 American soldiers invaded, unleashing unprecedented terror upon the Iraqi people.

So Mr. Bush, a complete stranger to combat and war himself, pulled the strings, forcing these dedicated Americans unnecessarily into harm’s way. Two months later he declared victory. Yet, inexplicably, the war did not end; thousands of Americans and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis have died since he stood in full uniform (which he, of course, never donned in actual battle) on the deck of the aircraft carrier the Abraham Lincoln. Four years later, with ‘victory’ both undefined and certainly unachieved by whatever definition one may want to ascribe to it, he decided to escalate the war.

As he watches for the results of his ‘surge,’ the president has either forgotten, or perhaps never learned, a vital lesson, one journalist James Cameron succinctly described regarding Vietnam. “A nation of peasants and manual workers who might have felt restive or dissatisfied under the stress of totalitarian conditions had been obliged to forget all their differences in the common sense of resistance and self-defense. From the moment the United States dropped its first bomb on the North of Vietnam, she welded the nation together unshakably.”

Certainly, this is not entirely true of Iraq, but the parallel is striking. The Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds have not forgotten their centuries-old differences, but have united in one area: their hatred for and resistance to the U.S. occupation of their country. The America presence in their country only distracts them from any possible reconciliation with each other. This reconciliation will take years to achieve, but U.S. soldiers patrolling the streets and monitoring the actions of Iraqi citizens, often killing them as they do so, will only prolong the already painful process. The beginning of the end of the war will only be achieved when the last U.S. soldier leaves.

When, one wonders, will that be? The New York Times reported that the Bush Administration foresees that U.S. soldiers will remain in Iraq at least until 2009. The current plan, developed by General David H. Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan C. Crocker includes the following: “The coalition, in partnership with the government of Iraq, employs integrated political, security, economic and diplomatic means, to help the people of Iraq achieve sustainable security by the summer of 2009.” The term ‘coalition,’ of course, is a euphemism for ‘American military,’ since the American military presence in Iraq has been by far the overwhelming majority. In June of 2007 the U.S. had approximately 166,000 soldiers stationed in Iraq; the next largest contingent, numbering approximately 5, 500, was from Great Britain.

So current U.S. government plans are to maintain the occupation of Iraq until at least 2009. And since the American presence in Iraq only perpetuates the violence there, one can easily predict that that date will be pushed out again and again, until such time that the American public is so fed up with the continuing waste of American lives that it finally demands an end. It took years for that to occur during the Vietnam era; one can only hope that the American public has learned the lessons the current administration has missed, and will insist on U.S. military withdrawal from Iraq sooner, rather than later.

ROBERT FANTINA is the author of Desertion and the American Soldier.

Weekend Edition
October 9-11, 2015
David Price – Roberto J. González
The Use and Abuse of Culture (and Children): The Human Terrain System’s Rationalization of Pedophilia in Afghanistan
Mike Whitney
Putin’s “Endgame” in Syria
Jason Hribal
The Tilikum Effect and the Downfall of SeaWorld
Paul Street
Hope in Abandonment: Cuba, Detroit, and Earth-Scientific Socialism
Gary Leupp
The Six Most Disastrous Interventions of the 21st Century
Andrew Levine
In Syria, Obama is Playing a Losing Game
Louis Proyect
The End of Academic Freedom in America: the Case of Steven Salaita
Rob Urie
Democrats, Neoliberalism and the TPP
Ismael Hossein-Zadeh
The Bully Recalibrates: U.S. Signals Policy Shift in Syria
Brian Cloughley
Hospital Slaughter and the US/NATO Propaganda Machine
John Walsh
For Vietnam: Artemisinin From China, Agent Orange From America
John Wight
No Moral High Ground for the West on Syria
Robert Fantina
Canadian Universities vs. Israeli Apartheid
Conn Hallinan
Portugal: Europe’s Left Batting 1000
John Feffer
Mouths Wide Shut: Obama’s War on Whistleblowers
Paul Craig Roberts
The Impulsiveness of US Power
Ron Jacobs
The Murderer as American Hero
Alex Nunns
“A Movement Looking for a Home”: the Meaning of Jeremy Corbyn
Philippe Marlière
Class Struggle at Air France
Binoy Kampmark
Waiting in Vain for Moderation: Syria, Russia and Washington’s Problem
Paul Edwards
Empire of Disaster
Xanthe Hall
Nuclear Madness: NATO’s WMD ‘Sharing’ Must End
Margaret Knapke
These Salvadoran Women Went to Prison for Suffering Miscarriages
Uri Avnery
Abbas: the Leader Without Glory
Halima Hatimy
#BlackLivesMatter: Black Liberation or Black Liberal Distraction?
Michael Brenner
Kissinger Revisited
Cesar Chelala
The Perverse Rise of Killer Robots
Halyna Mokrushyna
On Ukraine’s ‘Incorrect’ Past
Jason Cone
Even Wars Have Rules: a Fact Sheet on the Bombing of Kunduz Hospital
Walter Brasch
Mass Murders are Good for Business
William Hadfield
Sophistry Rising: the Refugee Debate in Germany
Christopher Brauchli
Why the NRA Profits From Mass Shootings
Hadi Kobaysi
How The US Uses (Takfiri) Extremists
Pete Dolack
There is Still Time to Defeat the Trans-Pacific Partnership
Marc Norton
The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution
Andre Vltchek
Stop Millions of Western Immigrants!
David Rosen
If Donald Dump Was President
Dave Lindorff
America’s Latest War Crime
Ann Garrison
Sankarist Spirit Resurges in Burkina Faso
Franklin Lamb
Official Investigation Needed After Afghan Hospital Bombing
Linn Washington Jr.
Wrongs In Wine-Land
Ronald Bleier
Am I Drinking Enough Water? Sneezing’s A Clue
Charles R. Larson
Prelude to the Spanish Civil War: Eduard Mendoza’s “An Englishman in Madrid”
David Yearsley
Papal Pop and Circumstance
October 08, 2015
Michael Horton
Why is the US Aiding and Enabling Saudi Arabia’s Genocidal War in Yemen?