After Iraq, Climbing Out of the Moral Abyss

Adil E. Shamoo, April 03, 2013

20090115-17_x0h9475jpg-515h

The only message our children will take away from the war in Iraq is that if you repeat a boldfaced lie enough, it will someday become accepted truth. And as a corollary, saving face is much more important than admitting a mistake, no matter how destructive the outcome.

Unfortunately for our children, manipulating the truth became the norm for the Bush administration, which invaded Iraq on what we know now (and the administration almost certainly knew then) were utterly false pretenses. Thanks to these lies, Americans, including our soldiers and civilians serving in Iraq, were convinced Saddam Hussein was linked to the 9/11 attacks and had weapons of mass destruction, two of the ever-evolving reasons for getting into the war. Many still believe this. Engaging in mass deception in order to justify official policy both degrades and endangers democracy. But by far, it is ordinary Iraqis who have suffered the most.

We know now beyond any doubt that Iraq was not involved in 9/11 and had no weapons of mass destruction. But as Paul Pillar, a former senior CIA analyst with the Iraqi portfolio, wrote on March 14, “Intelligence did not drive the decision to invade Iraq – not by a long shot, despite the aggressive use by the Bush administration of cherry-picked fragments of intelligence reporting in its public sales campaign for the war.” Indeed, this was a war in search of a justification from the very beginning, and any little lie would have worked.

It is very fortuitous for all those politicians, policy makers, and bureaucrats with Iraqi blood on their hands — Republicans and Democrats both — that the only courtroom they’ve been shuffled into is the court of public opinion, where most received light sentences.

Indeed, the Iraq war boosters are still a fixture on our television screens. Dan Senor, who served as a spokesman for the U.S occupation authorities and willfully misrepresented events on the ground during that time, is a regular commentator on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” a veritable roundtable of Washington establishment punditry. Kenneth Pollack, a longtime Brookings fellow and CIA analyst who wrote the 2002 book The Threatening Storm: The Case for Invading Iraq (which is barely mentioned today on the Brookings website), is a familiar face on the commentary circuit and among think tank salons. Ex-Generals David Petraeus and Stanley McChrystal, who each left their most recent posts in disgrace, are raking in thousands of dollars for speeches, lectures, and consulting work.

Sure, there are pundits and reporters who admit they wrongly supported the war, but their regrets are usually reserved for their blind faith in the war planners and their own lack of inquisitiveness. For example, Washington Post columnist David Ignatius confessed in a March 21 column that Iraq was one of “the biggest strategic errors in Modern American history.” But the thrust of his own mea culpa was that he did not write enough “on the overriding question of whether the war made sense,” which would have allowed him to see that the U.S was not strong enough nor flexible enough to succeed.

Rarely do pundits apologize for the horrendous Iraqi losses inflicted by the war: more than a million deaths and millions more wounded with varying lifelong disabilities, including thousands of tortured prisoners, with an estimated 16,000 of them still unaccounted for. Twenty-eight percent of Iraqi children suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, and 2.8 million people are still internally displaced or living as refugees outside the country. Add to that the complete upheaval of the Iraqi economy, as well as its transportation, education, and medical institutions. Don’t forget the countless people suffering from trauma and depression, sectarian strife, terrifying birth defects from toxic pollution, and a brain drain that has left the country illiterate.

Not since the American Civil War has the U.S citizenry had to endure such horrors. Yet discussion of these repercussions is noticeably absent as we still struggle to understand the scope of the Iraq war and what all of its lies have wrought.

Let us start with a sincere apology to the Iraqi people for the crimes the U.S government has committed. A long-range plan for restitution is a second step. Empires decline due to moral decay from within. Ten years after the invasion of Iraq, our nation is looking at the moral abyss. If lies have delivered us to this place, then only the truth will begin our journey back.

This has been cross-posted with permission from Foreign Policy in Focus.




8 Responses to “After Iraq, Climbing Out of the Moral Abyss”

  1. Dulce Et Decorum Est III & A Taste of Armageddon
    (or the empire has no clothes but a disposition matrix)

    by michael hall

    In due homage to Horace, Owen and Mikhail i humbly nod
    for how sweet & glorious it must be to kill or die for God & country by pompous duty with dishonor
    so c'mon kiddies, any up for good jingo sport?
    who’s hungry & poor, who wants to play the hubris 'anything for profit' killing game?

    As effusively embedded newspapers rah rah their pied pier patriotism with journalistic integrity & objectivity ha ha!
    as a new battle lies just around the corner & armed forces day just weeks away hooray!
    rally loyal citizens to whitewash warm innocuous blood off disgraced musket & sullied polluted flag
    strike up the marching parade manifested by destiny down main street usa hey hey!

    Awaken & open thine eyes chauvinistic folk, visit & see your overseas deeds of nefarious brutality
    for as americans you're liable for this appalling tax-paid violence exported to hamlets & villages
    assaulting families who've never did you any harm in lands you've never heard of, nor care less for
    so step on up, one & all, for everyone here is accountable & responsible for this odious debacle

    Take a trip citizens to the overflowing morgues filled with small smashed bodies, once toddlers full of laughter & life
    deeply inhale the rancid stench of scorched flesh crispy burnt to a black bubbly mass by melting phosphorus
    gaze into doll dead eyes frozen forever by shock & awe renditioned via your God blessed terror raining down hill
    atop a cold gurney a stiff finger from a tiny hand amidst a pile of mangled flesh is pointing at you war supporters

    Watch as grief-stricken fathers zombie-wander in shattered stumbling silence
    sifting through ragged debris & devastating destruction searching for lost sons & missing daughters
    discovering ripped wet mangled body parts strewn about as pieces of a human jig-saw puzzle
    taking home the ear, the hand, the foot to be quietly buried while 6000 miles away 'heroes' giggle & dub this 'bugsplat'

    Hearken to the heart-piercing shrieks as soul-torn asunder mothers wail like howling wild animals
    as they find their loves buried, broken & bloody in the rubble of your glorious works
    then if you can, please explain to the unresponsive moaning neonatal orphan
    why your armed forces just murdered his parents…by accident, then wave a condolence payment in his face

    Celebrate as your special op-forces silently & quickly dig our bullets from civilian bodies
    to cover their tracks from being at the wrong address…again
    declare a holiday murdered women at a bridal shower or when 4 kids are droned to smithereens while tending sheep
    rejoice in exported evil exploits as great american victories for which your war crimes always are

    Trust flim-flam, the PR propaganda spin from your MSM complicit mouthpiece
    praise your taxes which finances anglo-terrorism through illegal & immoral aggressive violence
    raise your false flag ever higher to cover the rising pile where the butchered lie
    however dear good christian citizens, do not trust that any civic rag could ever soar over the sick slaying of the innocent

    Consider Fallujha surrounded & caged, then the cowering cringing unarmed civilian inhabitants
    shot, burned & barbequed like slaughtered sitting ducks in a ‘free-fire zone’ shooting gallery
    ponder upon your sanctimonious attack at a school in Bajour where 69 children are massacred by joystick
    this is Sand Creek, Wounded Knee, My Lai, Haditha, & other mass-media contorted & distorted great triumphs
    which to no doubt in my mind, the next war crime called a ‘battle’ will be anointed too, of course, ta! ta!

  2. It`s really a great post. I am sure that anyone would like to visit it again and again. After reading this post I got some very unique information which are really very helpful for anyone. This is a post having some crucial information.

  3. Thanks for taking the time to share this post, I feel strongly concerning it and love reading more on this topic. If doable, as you gain information, would you mind updating your blog with additional information? It’s very helpful for me.

  4. Hey. Nice share, and the whole blog is simply great. I love your design too. Basicly I don’t do things like that, but here is a workable version of Megapolis hack. I’m absolutely sure lot of people here playing with this game. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y2XeiKRUtJg

  5. It`s really a great post. I am sure that anyone would like to visit it again and again. After reading this post I got some very unique information which are really very helpful for anyone. Friv 2

  6. like to visit it again.
    friv 2 | friv 4

  7. I really do not truly have much to say in response

  8. I’m glad Yahoo pointed me to it. I was able to get the know-how I was searching so badly for days now.Thank You very much for your really good web page. Have a good day.It's very useful for everyone for sure.