posted on Nov, 9 2006 @ 09:13 PM
Astygia - as always, thoughtful and humane responses.
However, there's a sad bunch of ideologues clinging to some ideas that were, even when new, pretty suspect, rotten and stinking, and are now well
past their sell-by date.
For example, the idea of 'liberating' Iraq. Believing the idea that Americans shed blood to liberate Iraq might make you feel all warm and fuzzy
inside and prop up the misplaced notion that the US supports democracy and freedom around the world, but paying attention to the facts of the
situation will dispel this illusion.
The war had a number of purposes. To stop Saddam trading his oil in Euros - a significant threat to US liquidity. To establish control over global
oil reserves. To provide money to the military-industrial complex and a continued reason for its existence. To provide for the asset stripping of
the country and allow for the "outsourcing" of its infrastructure. Two examples: Monsanto have had it written into Iraqi law that certain of their
seeds must be used in agriculture and even that Iraqis are forbidden to save seed for sowing on their own land. The other example is that in the
immediate aftermath of the invasion, a cellphone company - I think from Qatar - who restored coverage in Baghdad, were kicked out because the CPA
wanted a US firm to get an exclusive contract. One last reason for war: to remove a threat to Israel. This last, in fact, follows from the neocon
agenda as outlined in Rebuilding America's Defenses and A Clean Break - Securing the Realm.
It's also possible that the war had the secondary purpose of making a sad group of men feel better about themselves. I'm talking about the
chickenhawks of the Bush cabinet.
Whatever... liberating the Iraqis was never an issue for the people truly responsible for the war, to the point that Rumsfeld (war criminal), in a
pre-war planning meeting, threatened to sack the next general who wanted to spend more time on planning the aftermath of the war.
It's also likely that dismembering the country has been Plan B since before the invasion, and has edged closer and closer to being Plan A ever since.
In 2003 a covert campaign to sow dissension between Sunni and Shia (who were uniting to fight the invaders) was launched and has met with
considerable success. It might be noteworthy that Saddam's pronouncements have been consistent in drawing attention to this fact and to exhorting
his countrymen to stop killing each other and fight the occupiers.
As for the death squads, it's at the very least an interesting coincidence that they're run by the Iraqi government and were trained and funded by
the US under the supervision of John Negroponte, who performed an identical service for the US in El Salvador. The US is renowned world wide for its
training and support of death squads, in Central and South America, in Haiti, Greece and elsewhere.
To answer the question of the thread... there's obviously a wide range of feeling on the subject. It has been demonstrated in the answers to this
thread that some Americans feel the suffering of the Iraqi people very deeply and are very concerned with the part that their own government has
played in prolonging and intensifying it. There are others who view the situation through the ideological goggles provided by their media, in which
"sacrificing their lives" for "freedom" allows them to share victimhood or claim a spurious sense of moral superiority. The shaky intellectual
foundations of such moral pretensions are unexamined and violently upheld if threatened.
And then there are those who just don't give a toss.
An argument was made earlier in the thread about the Christian majority in the US being more "caring" than the British secular population. This is,
to me, quite risible. It shouldn't take more than a moment's thought to come up with many, many examples of allegedly Christian people who support
bloodshed at the slightest excuse. Bush and Blair both, for example, profess to be fully-paid up members of a religious sect one of whose
commandments is "thou shalt not kill".
I have to say that UK society is primarily secular and I think it's a good thing. Christians certainly don't have a monopoly on caring for others
and there are plenty of allegedly Christian people who honour the morality of their Saviour more in the breach than in the observance. One of the few
things in the run-up to the 2003 invasion that gave me any hope was the growing opposition to the war, and the subsequent sense that we shouldn't be
in Iraq. There was a marvelous occasion when on a radio 4 'phone-in, one caller referred to the recent kidnapping of a UK citizen who was working as
a civilian contractor (for once, this is not a euphemism for "mercenary") out in Iraq. The caller made the point that we were dropping leaflets
asking Iraqis to look out for this guy and to inform the authorities of any suspicions they might have that Iraqis were holding him. He said, "do we
really expect these people, who lose dozens of their own citizens every day, to drop everything and look for one of our guys who shouldn't be there
in the first place?"
It seemed like an honest attempt to put oneself in the other guy's shoes, and this is something, I have to say, that US citizens are extraordinarily
bad at, if I may allow myself an extraordinarly sweeping generalisation. I was working in the US during the China Spy Plane crisis. I heard a lot of
angry talk about how if the Chinese didn't give the plane and its crew back, the US should invade/bomb the #### out of the place/nuke Beijing, or
whatever. A simple inversion of the situation seemed to be beyond the mental abilities of most of these people. (Imagine a Russian plane flying
close to US airspace: when intercepted by US jets, it causes a mid-air collision resulting in the loss of a US pilot and his jet. What kind of an
uproar would there be? If the Russians DEMANDED the return of their spyplane and its crew, how accommodating do you think the US would be?)
Astygia - you made the point earlier in the thread that the suffering of the Iraqi people was hijacked by those who wanted to use it simply to bash
the Administration. Well... you're right, but I might make a small plea of mitigation: if one feels that one's leaders have brought shame on the
country and acquired it some seriously bad karma by waging an unjustifiable war, it might be easy for them to lose focus on the Iraqis because
they're focusing on the Administration and its sins. I have to say that I am really dismayed by Blair and his unctuous assertion that "the oil of
Iraq (loooooong pause) ... will be held in trust (another loooooong pause) for the people of Iraq." Thinking about that for too long makes me want
to bite my own head off. And when I see pictures of an Iraqi guy holding the body of a child whose legs have been reduced to strips of spaghetti, or
of a hideously deformed foetus, the result of depleted uranium pollution, my first thought is not of compassion for the Iraqis themselves, but of
anger at the politicians that brought about these circumstances.
Hmm... I'm rather tired and I don't think I've expressed myself too clearly on this. I hope you get what I mean, though.