There is no proper farewell that can be said to the people of Iraq that would not announce reparations, that would not include expressions of remorse, along with an admission of crimes committed and wrongs done by the US military. President Obama's official ceremonies marking the end of the war were occasions for broad smiles and declarations of unqualified success.
What was begun with bravado and a disregard for the deaths and suffering of Iraqi civilians, has ended with the same superficial rhetoric, the same military preening, the same myths, the same contrived proofs to justify the war and its horrible toll of torture, grief, maiming and killing. Perhaps a permanent war economy is what Obama and the US Generals meant by using the word, success.
This kind of war spreads beyond Iraq, with constant adaptations and a fluid concept of enemy; with its battlefield declared to exist almost anywhere, including our own country; and this is what has made possible the militarization of our whole society. The legacies of our presidents are intrinsically arranged by making war and have their origins in violence. Neither George W. Bush nor the current president, Obama, is to be satisfied with the destruction of one foreign country only, or the deaths of thousands upon thousand of innocents, or the bombing into rubble of works built by the labor of generations. And governments are their targets: some of these are changed, others erased. And the societies are ordered to conform, or else face chaos and disintegration.
The horror of Fallujah doesn't bother "no shock" Obama, as it didn't bother Bush; not the dogs howling during the attack, nor the smell of death saturating the city, a place described after the siege as "a city of ghosts". Bedridden invalids, white-haired husbands and wives, were shot to death in their beds. Families were machine gunned while trying to swim to safety. Boys were denied the opportunity to flee the city with their parents because, for the sake of revenge, the Americans had marked them for death; and one of the young ones was photographed dead, lying face up on the sidewalk, still clutching in his right hand the white handkerchief, with which he tried to surrender.
These wrongs to which we are all answerable cannot be evaded, they cannot be covered over with bluster or national piety; and we remain responsible for holding our leaders responsible.
Chris Floyd is eloquent as he writes about this, and comes directly to the point:
[President Obama] spoke of suffering, he spoke of sacrifice, he spoke of loss and enduring pain -- but only for the Americans involved in the unprovoked war of aggression, and their families. He did not say a single word -- not one -- about the thousands and thousands and thousands and thousands and thousands of Iraqis killed by this "fulfilled mission," this "extraordinary achievement," this" success." These human beings -- these sons and daughters, fathers, mothers, kinfolk, lovers, friends -- cannot be acknowledged. They cannot be perceived. It must be as if they had never existed. It must be as if they are not dead now.Democracy and empire cannot coexist. By the time the plutocrats took control of Ancient Rome, they too had stopped paying taxes, and destroyed the republic in pursuit of their selfish aims. They too were intoxicated with the plunder, the profits of military exploits, the pure rapine, the sights of destruction and submission in the Colosseum , the lust of the eye. In the 21st Century, the financial terrorism we are seeing is about constructing obedient and submissive subjects; and it, too, is war waged by other means. This financial malevolence is not only tolerated by our political class but also facilitated by them, because they are willing to sell their services and betray the people. They and their masters have no moral compunctions; and will not hesitate to use war, state terrorism, and financial anarchy, to make slaves of the rest of us.
The divorce from reality here is beyond description. It is only the all-pervasiveness of the disassociation that obscures its utter and obvious insanity. There is something intensely primitive and infantile in the reductive, navel-gazing, self-blinding monomania of the American psyche today. Think of the ancient Greeks, who constructed their psyches and their worldview around an epic poem, the Iliad, that depicted their enemies, the Trojans, with remarkable sympathy, understanding and insight -- while depicting their own leaders as a band of shallow, squabbling, murderous fools. Here was a moral sophistication, a cold-eyed grasp of reality -- and a level of empathy for one's fellow human beings -- far beyond the capacity of modern American society, and infinitely beyond the reach of the murderous fools who seek to lead it.
Our country failed in Iraq. Our leaders told lies about the reasons for going to war. And we were defeated in Iraq because we fell into depravity in that country. And to not be clear in our minds about that war's depravity, is both unacceptable and dangerous, because it invites a deeper defeat.
Rep. Dennis Kucinich sounded alarms last week, concerning the National Defense Authorization Act that passed through Congress, and was handed to President Obama, to sign into law:
This bill authorizes permanent warfare anywhere in the world. It gives the president unchecked power to pursue war. It diminishes the role of this Congress. The founders saw Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution, which places in the hands of Congress the war power, as essential to a check and balance against the executive abuse of power. This legislation diminishes Congress’ role in that regard.
This legislation authorizes the military to indefinitely detain individuals without charge or trial, including the detention of U.S. citizens on U.S. soil. In short, what this bill does is it takes a wrecking ball to the United States Constitution and gives enormous power to the government or the state. I want friends on both sides of the aisle to understand this; we are giving the state more power over individuals with this bill. It’s the wrong direction.
Our children deserve a world without end, not war without end.