“There must have been a moment, at the beginning, when we could have said — no. But somehow we missed it.”
-Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead
Except there wasn’t. We never stood a chance. The will for war and the structural needs of Empire, for resources, for wealth, for domination came together more acutely than ever when the Bush cabal stole the election at the dawn of the millennium. Their intentions were no secret, their history was known but the media dominated by members of the same social economic strata saw little reason to rock the shiny pretty boat they both shared. Absent a fourth estate and a political opposition to empire among the Democrats the war project developed. 911 made it all the more easier to incite the US into a war of aggression, psychologically, emotionally. The meme of -Why do they hate us?- propagated further demonstrating the mass ignorance and callous disregard for the foreign policy practices of the United States among most of its citizens. To obscure and prevent too much analysis the bogeyman of Islamic fundamentalism was made synonymous with ‘Terrorist’ and Islamofascism had to be stopped from taking over the entire world! This from a country that spends more than the rest of the world combined on weapons and the military and has 1000 bases in 140 countries. An elephant afraid of a mouse. So the laughable lies, top down incitement of paranoia and jingoistic fervour once again stimulated the nation into doing the bidding of its bloodthirsty ruling class.
Meanwhile on a piddly little island off France Anthony Charles Lynton “Tony” Blair decided to wholeheartedly help George W. Bush cook their peoples into a frenzy of war enabling stupidity. They passed some made up intelligence back and forth laundering it and feeding it into the compliant Geisha media. Afghanistan was used to advertise ‘humanitarian intervention’ which helped add an argument to the pro-war side, after WMD’s they would suddenly come up with removing Saddam the torture dungeon master. Except…something very odd was happening here, people who previously had been thoroughly dismissive of notions of human rights suddenly were holding forth on the terrible plight of people in countries who just happened to be in the Empire’s cross hairs and nobody in Disneyland media world called them out on this. Of course it was an old scam, associate your objective with noble moral motives and you can label your opposition as scurrilous evil lovers. But here’s the rub, does it really take a genius to ask themselves- why does a country that within its own borders perpetuates all manner of cruelty, inequality and injustice and in fact exports those same values in various colonial and imperial adventures. Why do people think that it will bring the milk of human kindness to another nation by means of a large force of people trained and equipped to kill? Because it’s not just the intent one has to question it is also the means to achieve the stated goals.
As it turned out both were frauds, the intent was/is to secure the region and its resources, the means were mass slaughter and fundamentalist right wing market theology. So let’s leave Disneyland behind and realise the plan for Iraq is this: Balkanisation- split into 3 provinces, this minimises the scale of resistance and lets you play divide and rule games. Control of the natural resources by corporations friendly to the political establishment of America (particularly the Bush cabal within the GOP, never forget this is the oil administration, a mistake some bloodthirsty rightists made was thinking they could kill Iraqis and get their oil, what actually is happening is they are killing Iraqis so that corporations can get that oil, so not only an imperial murderer, a sucker too). Withdrawal and remaining garrison forces will be contingent on the achievement of those objectives. Iraq will be a client state like many others, an elite ruling the provinces who will be supported and kept friendly by being given a slice of the revenue. A NeoLiberal illusion of democracy will be used to keep the populations misdirected as the wealth of the nation is slowly siphoned out by global entities (global corporations, ephemeral borderless capitalist dictatorships) beyond the law and taxation.
That is what is going to happen. But what could or should happen:
What’s the first thing you feel when you shoot a civilian? The recoil of your rifle”
Marine Corps black humour p284, Generation Kill by Evan Wright.
Withdrawal– Simply put soldiers are not policeman, soldiers from the west are also culturally alien and the situation so perilous this incites hatred of Iraqis rather than a willingness to respect and understand them. Soldiers are good at fighting wars, occupations? Not so much. The sectarian violence (that which is not incited by the ‘Salvador Option‘) however does mean that while the invaders must leave some replacement police forces are needed, the ‘coalition’ needs to negotiate to arrange that and fund it, any such force will be subject to Iraqi law and will leave when asked (so bye bye Blackwater & chums, I’m guessing when your high prices aren’t funded by public debt to enrich private wealth you might not be quite so useful…or popular to your masters). Which leads to…
Reparations– Remember ‘Shock & Awe’ well it wasn’t a celebrity ice dance show, it was a fucking blitzkrieg. There was also a decade of sanctions so the devastation to Iraq is huge, the invaders are morally obliged to pay towards repairing that damage. Recently some Democrats have bemoaned the corrupt ‘government’ of al Maliki not using oil revenue to rebuild, instead lining their pockets or the money going to the resistance. Well how colonial old chap, we smash up the place put in our contracts to steal the wealth and then tell the puppets we install to rebuild using their nations wealth as we have almost bankrupted our treasury killing and stealing form you fuckers. That model simply paves the way for another Imperial war, this have to cost the perpetrators and the domestic populations of coalition countries have to insist that payment comes not from them but from the wealthy elites who originally and currently profit from warfare. No more $10m Bat Mitzvahs, still look at it this way rich scum, you ain’t being tortured, napalmed, phosphorus bombed or raped. So stop whining and pay up (hey can you believe it, most people think one house is plenty luxurious) and those who don’t, well war profiteers used to be prosecuted which brings me too-
Prosecutions– Committed the supreme crime against man, god and international law? Profited from the slaughter and torture of other human beings? If we make any claim to be civilised this is where those people get their day in court. Live, on global satellite. Now there are many others who should be tried but off the top of my head- George Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Colin Powell, Paul Wolfowitz, Michael Ledeen, L Paul Bremer, Alberto Gonzalez, Jay S. Bybee, John Yoo, Maj. Gen. Geoffrey Miller, Condoleeza Rice, David Addington. Tony Blair, Jack Straw, Gordon Brown, Geoff Hoon, John Reid, Margaret Beckett, Des Browne, David Miliband.
Now then do you see a slight problem with this? Yep most of those people still wield considerable power and have armed guards paid for out of our taxes protecting them from arrest. Which is the other problem, no authority has shown any courage or willingness to prosecute these war criminals. Hmmm.
Still call me cynical but the moment reparations bite and these criminals are seen to have cost people money, bingo! Out come the arrest warrants. But that is all so much moonshine, the real need and importance is to make the lives of Iraqis better which puts us into the withdrawal mode. The problem with a UN force (recently called for by a group of Iraqis) is the US power over the UN, any force seen to be continuing the aims of the invaders will be similarly illegitimate. The truth is a varied force will consist of people the current occupiers view as enemies in fact as they are there to secure resources they simply won’t give that up, they will have to be forced to do that. Which is our job, I guess we shouldn’t have let our democracies fall into such disrepair, now we need our share of power and the forums to exercise it where are they…maybe we could have a focus group yah? Or write a blog (ouch!).
One way of forcing the vampires to leave their victim is inextricably linked to something vaguely important- the survival of the human race. Although given our exploits, would it be a great loss? Well misanthropy (accurate as it may be) aside let’s presume we want a future on planet Earth. That means the end of the fossil fuel powered era. If demand for oil fell, killing and stealing it would not be such a good line of business. Which is easy to say but just the teensiest bit harder to make happen, but the Iraq invasion is not in spite of the current system we live by, it is because of it. Could we come up with technology that provides clean energy? Dunno, but if we used the $3 trillion the invasion costs on global scientific efforts it might put us in a better position, except we’ve already pissed that money up the wall because an oil administration still operates old skool- fossil fuels and killing, stealing & bribing to get them. It’s a bit like we went to war to secure herds of woolly mammoths- Hey wait a minute this is caveman shit, we have other challenges to face and doing this makes the chances of dealing with those well and truly fuct. Not only is the Iraq invasion an appalling war crime, it is a really stupid act from a bygone age, a past that like zombies, it is eating us alive simply in order to feed more death. Last one in the shopping mall’s a zombie’s breakfast.
But that still does not deal with the virus loose in the world, a plague so common and so devastating yet which nevertheless goes unremarked on in the worst infected- Imperialism. Communist hippy peacenik Dwight D. Eisenhower warned of the military industrial (& congressional) complex, he was nervous of what he could see developing. It is now fully in control as befits the sole superpower, the hyperpower of the USA, The Empire. Is the pre-eminent levels of military expenditure and global deployment of those forces an issue in the current Presidential campaign? Not in relation to Iraq, but in the context of empire? The homeland does not provide healthcare but offers a young person (often with no other options) a place in the military. In the civilian realm talented students will often have their work subsided/funded by military sources. How many universities receive Pentagon money, how many corporations exist to supply the military? Is the risk of a coordinated Canadian & Mexican attack so large?
Luckily for the Empire the right wing dogma going unchallenged from coast to coast means education will remain underfunded and the issues surrounding joining the military largely skirt around topics of volunteering your labour for imperial domination-
I spent most of my time as a high class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street and the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism.
Yet another filthy red pacifist scumbag, Major General Smedley Butler USMC. In an empire the military does/must have a disproportionate power in the culture. The destruction of Iraq is because of imperialism and to demand a just outcome there yet leave the underlying imperialism alone just stores up trouble until another President on the make decides to spread ‘freedom & democracy™’. Bush isn’t the real problem, his witless savagery just brought it into stark relief. Take it from a country that used to be the big empire in town, like reflecting on a destructive obsessional love affair, in the midst of it you won’t listen to any outside warnings, but empire only goes one way, you will collapse and you will be hated. You will learn the dark uses to which patriotism is put, already stark examples send warning signs-
Harman became increasingly unnerved by what she witnessed, and said she would simply try to forget whatever had happened the day before with each new morning. She was asked how the other MPs could participate in the abuses without similar reservations.
“They’re more patriotic,” is all she could say.
This soldier is reflecting a culture where patriotism meant the willingness to torture. And we meet another essential component of Empire- Torture. A dedicated group of legal scholars and political appointees within the Bush administration have worked hard to legalise torture, the iceberg tips of public scandals need to be understood for that, this is not bad apples, this is a bad barrel and the architects of the new torture regime (as named above) have succeeded in making the same alterations as the Nazis made. ‘Enhanced interrogation‘, ‘abuse’ and often just ‘interrogation’ are the newspeak memes to hide torture and the supreme law officer in the land concurs. The metastasis of this cancer already claims popular culture, medical professionals and prison, law & immigration enforcement. Because that’s the important thing about an imperial war of aggression, it re-energises the forces of domination and violence, it re-asserts their values and most crucially the sheer physical immensity of the project once engaged in means there is no easy way to put things right and certainly no chance to repair the damage done, the dead shall not be brought back to life. You can’t unshit the bed.
That is what the liars and flim flam artists of the Bush/Blair axis knew, it doesn’t matter how wrong you are revealed to be, once you invade a country the act generates its own momentum, you will get away with everything you did. Solving the new problems will keep everyone busy. They knew all that had to be done was put forces in the area, get one shot fired and the natural economy of conflict would carry the project through. So while withdrawal and rebuilding is the most important practical step, if these criminals go unpunished…well put it this way, the Iran-Contra crooks got away with it and they showed their remorse by killing one million+ people in Iraq & Afghanistan. So impeachment off the table? Only if you like for this shit to keep happening.
Which it will, conflict becomes its own amplifying feedback mechanism, the widening gyre. Tortures and deaths are avenged, that is avenged, damaged returning troops uncared for by underfunded healthcare- suicides, substance abuse, spousal abuse, law enforcement both chasing them and having their ranks swelled by them becomes more brutal. Damaged people and then damaged children, who with few choices find some belonging among comrades, the next profitable war comes along, repeat.
And wars are good to take your mind off the collapsing infrastructure, of which there will be more of. Debts to be repaid, the military budget to be maintained, that has to come from somewhere, no politician dares to tax the rich, the working class can’t afford it, the middle class refuse any more so public services will be cut. Healthcare, schools, libraries, welfare, arts. How awfully nice and totally coincidental that wars serve to spend public money to aggregate capital to the wealthy while simultaneously creating debts, that in order to repay all those evil public spending programs -so hated by the conservatives who run both parties in the US & UK- will be cut.
So we have challenges ahead, to-
- force a withdrawal.
- ensure that the Iraqi people are given the means to rebuild their nation.
- bring to account the elites who instigated this and who profit from it.
Otherwise this is just one more miserable chapter in the idiot history of the bloody human race with many more like it to come.
Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children.
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