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The Politics of Exploitation

The Washington Post online edition headline read: “Obama tells veterans the end of the Iraq war is about to begin.”

“The end of the Iraq war is about to begin.”

I say this like a mantra and note that there is something absurdly absurd about the language, here. More familiar is the ominous phrase “the beginning of the end.” As in “woe is me.” And, yes, I know some would correct this to “woe is I.” But to say “the end of the Iraq war is about to begin” carries an illusion of hope. Certainly, that’s the intent.

I’ve read the text of Obama’s message to Disabled American Veterans (DAV) and didn’t see this quote, anywhere, so I’m unsure if it is an Obamaism, something Barry said, prior to, or after, the speech. It is clear, though, that 50,000 troops will remain in Iraq in a support role, training and advising Iraqis.

Unclear is the meaning of support role. What exactly does this job description include? Combat? What kinds of weapons will be involved? More information, please.

When the Nobel Peace Prize recipient spoke on August 2 at the National Convention of DAV in Atlanta, Georgia, he repudiated his vow to withdraw all troops from Iraq in 2010 and emphasized successes in the war-ravaged country, blah, blah, blahhing about recent low levels of violence. Truth is during July, 400 civilians were killed, 50 Iraqi soldiers died, and 89 police officers perished—this according to the Iraqi government, figures challenged by the US military. Who you gonna believe? What do those Iraqis know, anyway?

Here’s some of what Obama said about the next chapter in the mission, this “end” that’s “about to begin”:

These are dangerous tasks. There are still those with bombs and
bullets that will try to stop Iraq progress and the hard truth is that
we have not seen the end of America’s sacrifice in Iraq. But make
no mistake: our commitment in Iraq is changing from a military
effort led by our troops to a civilian effort led by our diplomats.

“Diplomats”? Again, more information, please.

Will these “diplomats” pack heat? After all, we didn’t spend a gazillion dollars on the Green Zone, the largest embassy in the history of US Empire, this 104-acre monstrosity the size of 80 football fields with shops and restaurants, a cinema, and much more, to, later, say, “See ya.”

Okay, we did cede control of the multiplex to Iraq in 2009, but, most certainly, this control is under our control.

The president’s words on Monday served up the customary dose of exploitation.

Exploitation of 9/11.

Exploitation of fear.

Exploitation of patriotism.

Exploitation of sacrifice.

Even exploitation of exploitation because Obama wrapped with “destiny” and “brighter days ahead” and “we will emerge from our tests even stronger than before” and “the country we love” and, OF COURSE, “ God bless you, and God bless the United States of America.”

Back to “diplomats.” I’m scratching my head as I consider the significance. I kinda sorta think in Military Industrial Complex-speak, it translates to combat troops. Yes, that’s it—“diplomat” is a euphemism for uniformed soldier.

The continuing task of carnage, which debuted as Operation Iraqi Freedom (how ironic is that?), will persist, augmented by mercenaries employed by private security companies. These highly paid killers, along with the 50,000 support-role troops, will perpetuate bloodshed, imperialism, and an occupation that will never end in a design where “the end of the Iraq war is about to begin.” Woes are us, or we, and woe is unto them.

MISSY BEATTIE lives in Baltimore, Maryland. She will be in DC in July for Peace of the Action. Contact her at missybeat@aol.com.

 

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Missy Beattie has written for National Public Radio and Nashville Life Magazine. She was an instructor of memoirs writing at Johns Hopkins’ Osher Lifelong Learning Institute in BaltimoreEmail: missybeat@gmail.com

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