Iraq’s ‘Liberation Day’

From the Archive: Today is the 15-year anniversary of what was described as “the largest protest event in human history” – the Feb. 15, 2003 coordinated day of demonstrations against the U.S. invasion of Iraq. On this occasion we republish an article by Nat Parry detailing the concerns driving millions of people to take the streets.

By Nat Parry (first published on Feb. 5, 2003)

Iraq’s “Day of Liberation” – as George W. Bush calls it – is set to begin with a bombardment of 3,000 U.S. missiles delivered over 48 hours, 10 times the number of bombs dropped during the first two days of the Persian Gulf War in 1991.

Johannesburg, South Africa. One of the 600 demonstrations across the world held on Feb. 15, 2003.

Officials who have been briefed on the plans say the goal is to so stun the Iraqis that they will simply submit to the overwhelming force demonstrated by the U.S. military.

Along with the destruction of buildings and the death of thousands from the explosive power of the weapons, the U.S. invasion force intends to paralyze Iraq’s electrical and water systems, supposedly leaving Iraqi soldiers and civilians alike with no choice but to throw up their arms and surrender.

Never before in world history will a dominant world power have struck at a much weaker nation in a preemptive war with such ferocity. The strategy could be called liberation through devastation.

But the war plan also carries with it the potential of spiraling out of control, as Bush secretly brandishes nuclear weapons as a threat against the Iraqi government if it unleashes biological or chemical warfare against U.S. troops.

Civilian Dead

Even if the war does not bring the world a big step closer to the apocalypse, it is certain to mean the death of hundreds, if not thousands, of Iraqi non-combatants, no matter how targeted or precise the U.S. weapons. For those civilians, their end may come in the dark terror of crushing concrete or the blinding flash of high explosives, as it did for about 1,500 Iraqis who were crushed and incinerated in the early morning hours of Feb. 13, 1991.

These civilians were hiding in the al-Amariyah bomb shelter in a suburb of Baghdad at 4:30 a.m. when the first U.S. bomb ripped a hole in the shelter’s roof. Neighborhood residents heard screams as people – mostly women and children – struggled to push aside rubble and escape. Then, the second bomb zipped through the hole created by the first bomb. That explosion was followed by silence, with fewer than two dozen people surviving.

Although there are no precise figures on the total number of civilians who died during the 1991 Persian Gulf War, most estimates put the toll at between 5,000 and 15,000. Besides the civilian dead, Iraqi military casualties are placed at between 100,000 and 300,000. [See Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.]

According to international relief agencies, the suffering has continued over the following decade. Since the war’s end, Iraqi civilians have continued to die as a result of a badly damaged civilian infrastructure, crippling economic sanctions and high cancer rates attributed to hazardous chemicals released during the war, including the Pentagon’s use of radioactive depleted uranium shells.

The United Nations predicts that the civilian casualties of a new war will likely be even higher than in 1991, since the impoverished population is heavily dependent on government handouts to survive and those supplies will be disrupted by a U.S.-led invasion. In a confidential report, UN planners say the coming war and its aftermath could injure more than 500,000 civilians and leave nearly 1 million as refugees. About 3 million Iraqis – out of a population of 23 million – will suffer severe hunger, the UN report said.

As many as 7.4 million people will need immediate humanitarian relief. “The nutritional status of some 3.03 million persons countrywide will be dire,” the UN report said, adding that beyond hunger, disease will sweep the country in “epidemic, if not pandemic” proportions.

Other Warnings

Those warnings are echoed by other independent studies.

A report by the International Study Team, a Canadian non-governmental organization, says “because most of the 13 million Iraqi children are dependent on food distributed by the Government of Iraq, the disruption of this system by war would have a devastating impact on children who already have a high rate of malnutrition.”

The report says the physical state of Iraqi children makes them much more vulnerable to war than they were in 1991. Besides their physical weakness, the children are already fearful, anxious and depressed, with many suffering from nightmares. The report concluded that war on Iraq will cause a “grave humanitarian disaster,” with potential casualties among children in “the tens of thousands, and possibly in the hundreds of thousands.”

According to a Boston Globe article, the combination of the 1991 war and a decade of UN sanctions has transformed Iraq from a relatively prosperous Middle Eastern country – where a chief health concern had been childhood obesity – into a Third World nation where even casual observers can’t miss how Iraqis struggle to survive.

“In Baghdad, women with babies in their arms beg on the streets,” the Globe reported. “In cities like Basra to the south, poverty is inescapable. Raw sewage and trash choke the streets of a city once known for its glimmering, Venetian-style canals.”

“Iraq was not a Third World country in 1990,” said Denis Halliday, a former UN assistant secretary general who quit over UN sanctions. “Now you have this vulnerability out there.”

“We are already in a humanitarian crisis,” said Margaret Hassan, Iraq director for CARE, the U.S. relief organization. “Frankly, these people can’t take another one.” [Boston Globe, Jan. 31, 2003]

Attacks on Infrastructure

Even in a short war, the civilian population will be put at risk. Pentagon planners have confirmed that shutting down important city services, such as water and electricity, will be one of the early goals of the U.S. assault. The planners say the strategy calls for using high-powered microwaves and other high-technology weapons to disable these vital services without permanently destroying them. [NYT, Feb. 2, 2003]

If the war doesn’t end quickly, however, the interruption of these services can be expected to spread disease and death among the civilian population. If Iraqi troops withdraw into Baghdad and other major cities, forcing the U.S. military to wage time-consuming urban warfare, the lack of clean water and the absence of medicines could prove as deadly as the U.S. armaments.

The U.S. bombing campaign also will surely claim many civilian casualties. While the Bush administration stresses that its planned bombardment of ancient Baghdad and other cities will concentrate on military and government targets, the Pentagon’s track record for precision bombing doesn’t instill confidence. In recent conflicts, U.S. warplanes have inflicted substantial civilian death, either accidentally or on purpose.

For instance, in 1999 during the Kosovo crisis, U.S. warplanes killed non-combatants when going after civilian targets in Yugoslavia, such as bridges and even a television station that was deemed a government propaganda outlet. The lethal attack on the TV station was intentional. An international uproar followed the apparently accidental bombing of the Chinese Embassy. The CIA blamed an “outdated map” for that fatal attack.

In the Afghan bombing campaign, U.S. warplanes struck two wedding parties and twice bombed the headquarters of the International Red Cross. It is estimated that the U.S. bombardment of Afghanistan has killed about 4,000 civilians.

A major difference between Afghanistan and Iraq, however, is that Afghanistan consists of a mainly rural population and Iraq has a largely urbanized population, with Baghdad alone crammed with about 5 million people.

The Nuclear Option

There is also no telling how out of control the war could spin, with Bush determined to destroy Saddam Hussein’s government to avenge what many conservatives view as George H.W. Bush’s failure to finish the job in 1991.

The younger Bush even has approved the use of nuclear weapons if Iraq uses chemical or biological warfare. [See Consortiumnews.com’s “Bush’s Nuclear Gamble.”]

Bush’s order, signed last September, reverses a decades-old U.S. policy of creating deliberate ambiguity about how Washington would react to a situation in which unconventional weapons were deployed against U.S. forces or their allies. “The United States will continue to make clear that it reserves the right to respond with overwhelming force – including potentially nuclear weapons – to the use of [weapons of mass destruction] against the United States, our forces abroad, and friends and allies,” the presidential document states. [Washington Times, Jan. 31, 2003]

In addition to an “overwhelming” retaliatory nuclear strike, Bush also is considering plans to use “tactical” nuclear weapons to destroy underground bunkers and similar critical targets.

The Los Angeles Times reported that the Pentagon is hastily developing computers to help decide when nuclear weapons would be used against fortified bunkers and how to measure collateral effects from radiation and fallout.

“From the start of the Bush administration, we have seen increasing interest in ‘usable’ nuclear weapons,” said Christine Kucia, analyst at the Arms Control Association, a research group that studies proliferation issues.

By tailoring nuclear weapons for tactical warfare situations, such as bunker-busting, Kucia said the Bush administration is changing the status of nuclear devices that “have been reserved for decades as the absolute weapons of last resort. … To put them in the realm of usable weapons is to take on a whole new definition that has never been explored and, frankly, should not be explored.” [L.A. Times, Feb. 3, 2003]

‘Poor Man’s MAD’

Bush also may find that his goal of destroying Hussein and his government has been countered by Iraq’s suspected pre-positioning of chemical and biological weapons outside Iraq for use only if the United States invades. In other words, Bush’s strategy might touch off precisely the nightmare scenario that he says he is trying to prevent.

Last October, the CIA judged the likelihood of Iraq attacking the United States without U.S. provocation as “low” but rising dramatically if the U.S. prepared for a preemptive strike. “Baghdad for now appears to be drawing a line short of conducting terrorist attacks with conventional or C.B.W. [chemical or biological warfare] against the United States,” wrote CIA director George Tenet in an Oct. 7 letter to Congress. “Should Saddam conclude that a U.S.-led attack could no longer be deterred, he probably would become much less constrained in adopting terrorist actions.” [See Consortiumnews.com’s “Misleading the Nation to War.”]

Since the CIA’s assessment, the Bush administration has received specific warnings from abroad that easily transportable stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons indeed have been moved outside Iraq so they can be deployed against Western targets as retaliatory weapons.

Though the U.S. news media has largely kept this devastating possibility away from the American people, the Washington Post made an oblique reference to this potential danger in a Feb. 4 article entitled “CIA, Allies Tracking Iraqi Agents.” The article states, “U.S. allies also are on alert for signs that Iraqi President Saddam Hussein has sent agents abroad to arm Iraqis or terrorist groups with conventional, chemical or biological weapons, officials said. They said some of the weapons may already be in place outside Iraq’s borders.”

This “poor man’s MAD” – for mutual assured destruction – should be a major element in an informed debate inside the United States especially since Bush outlined the ease with which these weapons can be moved and deployed. In his State of the Union address on Jan. 28, Bush said “it would take one vial, one canister, one crate slipped into this country to bring a day of horror like none we have ever known.”

But what if the vial, canister or crate is already en route? Might that “day of horror” actually be precipitated by Bush’s invasion of Iraq, not delayed or prevented by going to war? Certainly, if one accepts the “evil” portrait of Saddam Hussein as painted by Bush, you’d have to assume that Saddam has long ago moved these dangerous weapons into positions where they can be of the most use to him – as a retaliatory weapon against a U.S. invasion.

The Aftermath

Yet even assuming U.S. forces succeed in eliminating Saddam Hussein and his army without a catastrophic escalation, the post-war period promises to be complicated and dangerous. The Bush administration has sent out mixed and confusing signals about what a “liberated” Iraq will look like.

At times, the administration has outlined plans to occupy Iraq for at least 18 months, possibly installing a military governor in the style of Gen. Douglas MacArthur in Japan after World War II. But it is not clear how the U.S. will police a population that is certain to include anti-American radicals ready to employ suicide bombings and other terror tactics against an occupying force.

Some of Bush’s political allies also have urged pumping Iraqi oil to compensate the U.S. government for the war’s cost. While this idea might play well with Americans wary about paying billions of dollars in scarce tax dollars to occupy a foreign country, it won’t sit well with many Iraqis and millions of others across the world, especially Islamic populations that already suspect a Western imperialist motive behind the war.

The war’s devastation and the U.S. occupation also could play into the hands of the terrorist leader who had been the focus of the war on terror before Bush shifted his attention to Iraq.

The still-at-large Osama bin Laden spelled out in a recent message that he plans to gain a propaganda advantage from any U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq, by presenting himself as the defender of the Arab people.

“Anyone who tries to destroy our villages and cities, then we are going to destroy their villages and cities,” the al-Qaeda leader said. “Anyone who steals our fortunes, then we must destroy their economy. Anyone who kills our civilians, then we are going to kill their civilians.”

George W. Bush drew his own line in the sand during his State of the Union address. “Trusting in the sanity and restraint of Saddam Hussein is not a strategy, and it is not an option,” Bush declared as the U.S. built up a vast military force surrounding Iraq.

With that buildup in mind, Bush addressed what he called the “brave and oppressed people of Iraq.” He told them, “Your enemy is not surrounding your country – your enemy is ruling your country.” He then added, “the day [Saddam Hussein] and his regime are removed from power will be the day of your liberation.”

Bush also pledged that while he would use the “full force and might of the United States military” to disarm the Iraqi government, the U.S. will fight “by just means – sparing in every way we can, the innocent.”

How many of those innocents are not spared in the impending invasion – and the numbers of dead are likely to horrify the world – may become the new measure of how dangerous the post-war period will be for both the American and the Iraqi people.

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37 comments for “Iraq’s ‘Liberation Day’

  1. Patrick Kerrigan
    February 20, 2018 at 2:15 pm

    USA.A country controlled by psychopaths.A wonderful country destrroying itself and its military threatening war all over the world.WHY?

  2. mark
    February 15, 2018 at 5:19 pm

    2 million people marched against the Iraq war in the UK, 3 million in Italy. 30 million plus globally. But it didn’t matter. Bush and Blair went ahead with their war for Israel anyway, and nobody was held accountable for anything. That is the lesson to be drawn from this war of aggression. We don’t matter. The 0.01% will carry on ruling in their own interests, no matter what.

    On the plus side, people recognise this reality and the true nature of the ruling elite and its servile MSM.

    • Zachary Smith
      February 15, 2018 at 9:00 pm

      That is the lesson to be drawn from this war of aggression. We don’t matter.

      I’d add this: “And they don’t care what we think about their profitable adventures”.

  3. Lois Gagnon
    February 15, 2018 at 2:48 pm

    I have witnessed the fickleness of the American people with regards to war first hand. During Bush Sr’s run up to the first invasion of Iraq, I was involved in daily vigils on a main thoroughfare where I lived at the time in liberal Massachusetts. We of course had signs denouncing the imminent attack on a country that had done nothing to us, except of course to be in a regional dispute over access to oil ports.

    We received lots of positive feedback; cheers, thumbs up, honking horns etc. As soon as the planes began flying everything changed. The reaction to our continued vigil went totally negative. Some people were downright threatening. It was a lesson in just how permeable the moral standards of a lot of Americans are. It also explains why people were somewhat more antiwar under Bush 1&2 than they were under Clinton and Obama.

    I still can’t get people who still gush over Obama to acknowledge their double standard on war. From what I’ve seen under Trump, even old lefties have given up on the idea of stopping the war machine. It may have to be a small percentage of us that carry on the antiwar cause until the blow back that is sure to come forces the issue.

    • Joe Tedesky
      February 15, 2018 at 10:17 pm

      I’d say that you Lois showed great courage. Joe

  4. Guest
    February 15, 2018 at 1:08 pm

    At least Iraq is no longer a threat to Israel, the only democracy in the middle east, the birthplace of Judeo-Christian values and our best ally in the region. And isn’t that the most important consideration?

    • Zachary Smith
      February 15, 2018 at 8:58 pm

      Best example of straight-faced sarcasm I’ve seen for a while!

      • Joe Tedesky
        February 15, 2018 at 10:15 pm

        Zachary Guest did a great impersonation of Bibi, don’t ya think?

    • Joy
      February 17, 2018 at 3:39 pm

      No, it’s an ethnocracy.

  5. nonsense factory
    February 15, 2018 at 12:11 pm

    Some interesting points in this article:
    (1) “In a confidential report, UN planners say the coming war and its aftermath could injure more than 500,000 civilians and leave nearly 1 million as refugees.”

    Look at what a gross underestimate that was. In terms of direct casualties of U.S. miltiary actions, the absolute low estimate is 150,000 killed – the indirect casualty rate, those estimate exceed 1 million. Overall refugees fleeing into Syria and other countries, those numbers could be 4-5 million. This put vast pressure on the entire region; and a replay was seen in the Syrian regime change game, which sent another wave of refugees into Turkey and Europe, with all the unintended consequences that involved. European far-right political movements gained strength, Brexit was passed – the flood of migrants definitely influenced all that. Reckless imperial stupidity of the highest order.

    (2)”But the war plan also carries with it the potential of spiraling out of control, as Bush secretly brandishes nuclear weapons as a threat against the Iraqi government if it unleashes biological or chemical warfare against U.S. troops.”

    You know, everyone who was paying attention in late 2002 knew that the Iraqi WMD progams no longer existed – you know, the ones the US, Britain, and Germany helped Saddam build in the 1980s during the US-sponsored Iraq-Iran war? West German chemical firms built Saddam’s poison gas facilities, UK’s Porton Down biowarfare center supplied Saddam with anthrax and trained scientists, the US ponied up the cash via ‘agricultural loans’ so Saddam could buy all the weapons he needed with his own funds – what a farce. That was all dismantled by the UN inspection teams in the mid-1990s, kaput, all gone.

    So why did so many people believe the lies about Saddam’s WMD programs? Well, there were the false flag anthrax attacks in the United States, the 9/18 mailings to media outlets and the 10/9 mailings to the Senate, using a sophisticated anthrax preparation that came right out of the U.S. biowarfare complex, most likely courtesy of a set of CIA-Battelle programs called “Project Clear Vision” and “Project Jefferson” that operated in the late 1990s and produced sophisticated bioweapons for ‘defensive purposes’. The FBI covered that up nicely under Mueller, blaming first Steven Hatfill and then Bruce Ivins – neither had the means to produce such material. Most likely, Dick Cheney’s office coordinated those anthrax attacks – notably, they immediately tried to blame it on Saddam, but the Fort Detrick people, just as quickly, identified it as a product of the US biowarfare program. They obviously were not in on the game.

    Then you had Colin Powell waving his little tube of anthrax simulant around at the UN – what a pack of war criminals. Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice, Powell, Wolfowitz – they should all be rounded up and shipped off to the Hague to stand trial for war crimes. Then you had the most ardent Democratic supporters of the war, like Hillary Clinton, cheerleading for it day and night.

    Another honorable mention should go to the Brookings Institute, one Ken Pollack, who wrote a dishonest PR book entitled “Threatening Storm” for distribution in Washington; ludicrously it repeated all the lies about WMDs, claimed the war would be over in six month, would cost a few hundred million at most, and that the Iraqi people would love American ‘liberators’. It played a key role in whipping up ‘liberal’ support for the invasion, as one source noted in 2003:

    “Conservatives frequently trot out Pollack’s book to impugn the motives and the morals of those who criticize the way Bush has led the nation into war. In a typical example, Frederick W. Kagan wrote in Commentary, “No fair reader of Kenneth Pollack’s indispensable book can fail to be convinced of the correctness and justice” of regime change. And it’s true that Pollack has done a fair amount of convincing. He’s done what President Bush could not: persuaded liberal elites to endorse the forcible removal of Saddam Hussein from power.”

    Pollack is still drawing his salary at the Brookings Institute, apparently paid for by Israeli billionaire Haim Saban (top Clinton donor), spewing more BS talking points (and, amusingly, “Threatening Storm” is something he wants to forget, it’s not listed as one of his publications on his Brookings CV).

    The list of prosecutable crimes involved with the Iraq War is very long; another Nuremberg trial for these jackals is long overdue.

    • Joe Tedesky
      February 15, 2018 at 12:27 pm

      In September of 2002 Time Magazine interviewed Scott Ritter. Read the questions that were being asked of Mr Ritter, and you will be able to hear by the Time interviewers questioning of Ritter to where our American mindset was.

      ‘Are you being investigated for espionage?

      I’ve been called a spy of Israel since 1996, and since I made my documentary film in 2000 the FBI has investigated me as an agent of Iraq. The FBI has also opened up an investigation into my wife calling her a KGB spy. So there is this form of harassment taking place.’

      Read the whole interview here….

      http://content.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,351165,00.html

    • Nancy
      February 15, 2018 at 12:27 pm

      Thank you for laying all this out. It truly sickens me that they inflicted so much death and destruction on the world–which continues to this day–and got away with it!

  6. Dan Good
    February 15, 2018 at 11:30 am

    At the time of those uplifting demonstrations observers felt heartened that surely George W Bush would not be such a spoiler, such a fool, as to go against such widespread, deeply felt, peaceful protest. We were wrong.

    • nonsense factory
      February 15, 2018 at 12:15 pm

      GW Bush had the neoliberal Democrats to give him cover; if they’d tried to stop it, they could have:
      Hillary Clinton, March 2003:
      “Tonight, the President gave Saddam Hussein one last chance to avoid war, and the world hopes that Saddam Hussein will finally hear this ultimatum, understand the severity of those words, and act accordingly. While we wish there were more international support for the effort to disarm Saddam Hussein, at this critical juncture it is important for all of us to come together in support of our troops and pray that, if war does occur, this mission is accomplished swiftly and decisively with minimum loss of life and civilian casualties.”

      • Nancy
        February 15, 2018 at 12:21 pm

        Hillary showed exactly who she is with that low-down statement full of BS!

        • Nancy
          February 15, 2018 at 12:22 pm

          I am still very grateful she is not president, the insanity of Trump notwithstanding.

      • Joe Tedesky
        February 15, 2018 at 12:32 pm

        American politicians can’t agree on healthcare, gun control or openness, budgets of any kind, deficits go ever higher to be ignored, and on and on it goes, but with just the mention of war our Politico class in DC is unanimous in favor of more earthly destruction, we have certainly loss our way.

      • Realist
        February 15, 2018 at 2:50 pm

        I can hear her screechy voice in my head, mouthing those insincere belligerent words. Makes me cringe. Hillary and the entire Democratic leadership knew the accusations were a clearly demonstrable sham, but they cravenly chose to side with power rather than truth… as always. She calls Putin the new Hitler, and Trump his puppet who must therefore be overthrown, but she was the one to obediently follow Dubya when he was governing like Hitler, just like a loyal gestapo.

      • Realist
        February 15, 2018 at 3:12 pm

        Hillary and the Democrats thought for sure that Dubya and his gang would go down in the history books as American heroes for their over-the-top response to 9-11 (whatever its real cause), and they didn’t want to go on the record as “traitors.” They were looking to the next election in just a matter of weeks. In fact, Dubya called them and everyone else out with his “you are either with us or against us” taunt. The cowards always forget that life is short and history is long. The truth may be suppressed but it will eventually be discovered by those who tirelessly seek it. The great false narrative still insulates Hillary and the gang, but, whether she realises it or not, the gradual erosion of that insulation is one factor that led to her losing the election.

  7. February 15, 2018 at 11:24 am

    Remember it well. Our daughter and one of her friends marched with us. I think we and tens of millions of other believed the US government had to listen and respond. Their response was to ignore us and unleash our might and to this day, have not changed its posture and behavior. If anything, our foreign policy is even more combative, more close minded and more dangerous for the world.

  8. Bob Van Noy
    February 15, 2018 at 11:23 am

    Thank you Nat for your initial insights and for rerunning this article. Clearly America’s War making process is broken, in that the American People are never allowed to have a referendum on the necessity of the particular war at hand. Our supposed representative government is clear on this subject; all war all the time.

    I have made light of the personal experience I had a few years ago driving through Nevada and approaching the Hawthorn Naval Ammunition Station (The Largest In The World), as I drove toward the Station a road side sign placed like old Burma Shave signs of the 50’s, said something like “memorial mile dedicated to the memory of those lost in WWII, memorial mile dedicated to those lost in Korea, memorial mile dedicated to those lost in Vietnam, and so forth until I approached the last one that said memorial mile dedicated to those lost in GWOT! I thought GWOT? I wouldn’t want a loved one to die in GWOT. For me this ludicrous experience defined the absurdity of the war on terror…

    Now we are simply off anywhere in the world to fight another undetermined enemy in the name of the USA. The government doesn’t even ask any longer, they simply send off our new professional military or even worse our proxy army of questionable origin. It has to stop. People have to be held accountable…

  9. geeyp
    February 15, 2018 at 10:16 am

    I wanted to add, you already know how I feel regarding W.

  10. geeyp
    February 15, 2018 at 10:04 am

    We used to define the attitude and mindset of uncaring individuals as shallow. That is what explains the feeling in this country at times like the aforementioned and anytime we choose to repeat these actions. Americans are shallow, disinterested. It never affects them personally. They never shed any tears. It does not affect their immediate family. They make no inquiries of victims families, whether soldiers from here or innocents on other shores.

    • geeyp
      February 15, 2018 at 10:12 am

      Having lost an Uncle in WW2, I know what life changing events are the outcome of these unnecessary Fucking Wars.

  11. Realist
    February 15, 2018 at 8:41 am

    What is the responsibility of just plain folks for not trying to stop this travesty, for not even pausing to analyse or question it whatsoever… and for all the other wars like it in Korea, Vietnam, Yugoslavia, Libya, Syria and so forth fought in “our name?” How can a people declare themselves so “holier than thou,” so exceptional, and so better than the rest and then countenance crimes against humanity perpetrated by their government, their armies, their leaders and the flower of their youth? Repeatedly? Are most of us so deluded as to think ourselves totally innocent? Or is it more in the nature of a dirty little secret that none of us dare to talk about? How can we blithely throw scorn at the world, while acting like rank hypocrites who do awful things? PCR calls us collectively “insouciant,” though I suspect that really, we do have a clue. We really do know that millions have been slaughtered in vain to advance “American interests.” Or someone’s interests. Perhaps we have no courage or morals. The logical analysis of the right and the wrong of it should not be that difficult. Do all those dead deserve no more of our thought than the Nazis, whom we rightfully condemn, gave to their victims? What’s going on here, in this country? Just human nature, some of you say? Twas ever thus? Just give and take like in the rest of nature, always red in fang and claw? Well, excuse me while I go mug an old lady for some walking around money… I need to get liquored up. For medicinal purpose, you understand: anaesthesia. The image America projects of itself disorients me. Huzzah to Dubya the Great Decider… and to his successors and antecedents, monsters all!

    • Annie
      February 15, 2018 at 10:18 am

      Actually during the lead up to the Iraq war people in this country, as well as in European countries marched against the Iraq war in some 6 hundred cities world wide and they numbered in the millions, some 10 million, or more participated. Initially the mainstream media covered these protests, then came to ignore them. The US was going to war no matter how many protested, and the mainstream media fell into line and eventually became complicit in that war to overthrow the government of Saddam Hussein. Made you feel, since I was involved in this anti-war movement, hopeless, and during the Obama years the anti-war movement came to a standstill which made me think many in this country so active against the Bush/Cheney wars had to a great extent expressed their anti-war sentiment so strongly because of their affiliation with the democratic party. We were also very active in calling our representatives in Congress, and the Senate, and that had little to no impact, as well. Personally I don’t perceive change coming from my fellow Americans, but hopefully from countries world wide that are growing tired of a country who is on a perpetual war footing and can only be described as barbaric and destructive to the well being of the world itself.

      • Nancy
        February 15, 2018 at 12:17 pm

        Annie–I too was heavily involved in the anti-war movement which was ignored by the Bush Crime Family. Even a Gold Star mother like Cindy Sheehan was scorned and denigrated–by the Democrats too.
        Against my better judgment, I worked for the election of Obama, who turned out to be Obomber. I have now faced the sad fact that the two parties are working for the same side and it ain’t our side.
        The rest of the world is much more cognizant of this reality than those in the U.S. They suffer the consequences of our insane policies much more than we do, so perhaps they can lead the way in resisting the crimes that destroy people and our planet.

        • Realist
          February 15, 2018 at 2:33 pm

          I did say “most of us,” not all. Thankfully, there is always a tiny minority, such as you two ladies, who buck the collective, even to their own detriment, but why are they usually ineffective, allowing the warmongers to nearly always have their way? I’m more concerned about the “soul” of the nation–“We the People”–rather the morals and common sense of every person individually. I realise the whole is the sum of the parts, but it’s also recognised to be more than the sum of its parts. As individuals some of us pass the test, as a people we fail.

          Your individual efforts to hold back the tide of madness is laudable, but were overwhelmed by either the perversity or the apathy of the vast majority. The madness continues with respect to the conflicts of this day. You are a candle in the dark, but we few candles do not throw enough lumens on the ongoing catastrophes to alter the public perception, especially not against the mass of propaganda the empowered elites throw against purveyors of peace, and most certainly not enough to alter official policy. No one in Washington seems the least concerned that, with the recent provocations by Israel, America’s stalking horse in Syria, we have now entered a phase in the conflict of killing numerous Russians and expecting nothing but capitulation in return. In fact, the rhetoric suggests that a wider war with Iran is the intended consequence. There is NO representative of the American people in the nation’s capital, except maybe Rand Paul, who has the courage or the intelligence to oppose taking these deliberate steps towards conflagration. Why such a monolithic support for a policy of war, soon to be scorched earth warfare, not just some small skirmish, amongst our people? What the hell is wrong with us (with the U.S.)?

          • Nancy
            February 15, 2018 at 2:44 pm

            I hate to resort to platitudes but sometimes the darkest hour is just before the dawn. It might have to get mighty dark before people in the U.S. wake up though.

          • Annie
            February 15, 2018 at 5:13 pm

            I don’t disagree with what you said, just throwing some light on the fact that during the build up to the war in Iraq at least a segment of the American population actively opposed it. You really come to realize what you’re up against, and that’s why I think change will only come from outside this country. I had an uncle who was in the merchant marines all his life, and he had a global sense of the world, and I picked that up. Americans by and large do not have a global identity. My background is in environmental science, and you certainly don’t restrict your concern for the planet solely in terms of how well our ecosystems are doing here, but everywhere. Americans are taught to have a very egocentric world view. The constant indoctrination that we are the exceptional nation, the new Jerusalem on the hill, are phrases used to set us apart from the rest of the world. Our geographic location enhances that sense of separateness and being a predominately a white Christian nation doesn’t help either.

      • glitch
        February 15, 2018 at 2:30 pm

        I think some of us realized the fix was in and protest marches were ineffective.

        There are other ways to be heard.
        Boycotts.
        Divestment.

        General Strikes.

      • old observer
        February 16, 2018 at 2:18 am

        It will be a slow process for other countries to grow backbones.

        When I look at our Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, who will be in the US next week, he and his government always tow the line – and in a way that you could call sucking up. Then Prime Minister Julia Gillard (from the other party) did the same when Obama came to Darwin. Her speech to welcome Obama and the troops was shockingly subservient. The US must have a hold over us? The Australian population, if asked, would not support the deadly US power displays, I don’t think.

        Only the American people can stop the bloodletting. Discourage people from enlisting. They cannot conduct these wars with conscripts.

        • Nancy
          February 16, 2018 at 12:38 pm

          Mamas, don’t let your babies grow up to be soldiers.

    • Joe Tedesky
      February 15, 2018 at 10:18 am

      Realist I can’t answer all your questions, but I can agree with you. It seems as though the rationale behind bombing nations back into the Stone Age, in remembrance of Curtis LeMay, has certainly warped our American brains. I can just hear a person answering your questions with, ‘well you know that Saddam Guy was bad, and you do what a country needs to do, you wipe them off the map’. With that this American will hand you your change and you will be on your way, or you will have met this person in the form of your neighbor while he borrowed your hedge clippers off you or something along those lines, but you know this mentality, somewhere you ran into this nature that justifies war in this way.

      While I was reading this article I was thinking of Nat’s report held up against the time he originally wrote it, and the time since, and to where we have all been. Rather than me reflect on a history we all know fairly well, I will just say to each and everyone who reads this to reflect and contemplate to what all this war has brought to us Americans, not to forget the many thousands who have lost their lives or the countless refugees who were displaced by these wars, and then to think to yourself what other method could America have used, and if the answer is, ‘well he was a bad dictator’ then go enlist into a branch of our armed service, and if that is not your answer then become a peace advocate. Joe

    • Tom Welsh
      February 15, 2018 at 10:42 am

      It makes me sad, too. Perhaps this is just the result one should expect if a nation of 330 million people has no particular moral values except the pursuit of money for its own sake.

      Many people become exceedingly rich, and as politicians have a strong affinity for money, the rich exercise influence – control, even – over government. From then on, the nation is governed in the sole interests of the rich. hence the wars.

      • Annie
        February 15, 2018 at 8:35 pm

        Tom, I don’t think you can say that 330 million Americans have no moral values, and their sole objective is to pursue money. Half of those Americans you speak of are pursuing money just to survive, living paycheck to paycheck. When almost half the wealth is in the hands of the 1% in America, something is very wrong. It’s not an equitable system, and as Hedges says, as well as others, we no longer operate as a democracy, but as an oligarchy, and it is they who are insatiable in their need for more. Most Americans are not violent, and during the Vietnam war most were drafted, and no doubt didn’t want to go. Today there are decreasing opportunities for the young, and some see entering the military as a way out. Lets put the blame where it deserves to be, on those alpha chimps who oversee our government policies.

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