America’s Narcissists Indifferent to Iraqi Casualties
by Ahmed Amr
January 21, 2007
You can’t make this stuff up. George Bush believes that “the Iraqi people owe the American people a huge debt of gratitude.” On the other side of the political divide, Presidential hopeful Joseph Biden — a sponsor of the anti-surge legislation pending before Congress — maintains that we’ve “done enough for the Iraqis.”
What a strange war we’re having Iraq. After four years of shifting rationales, Americans remain clueless about why Bush opened this Pandora’s box. The cold math that led to this disastrous imperial project is just too much for the pundits to own up to.
Far too many Americans trip over whatever happens to be the latest rationale for sending half our army half way around the world to fight a people that did us no harm. Even the anti-war camp is crowded with pundits whose gripe de jour is that Bush is a messianic Samaritan idealist who miscalculated the cost of exporting liberty to Iraqi ingrates.
Don’t get me wrong. It’s very gratifying to see the war party’s constituency dwindle to an irredentist thirty percent of the population. It wasn’t so long ago that opponents of the Iraq war were rewarded with scarlet letters identifying them as subversive Al-Qaeda apologists.
But if Gerald Ford went to the great beyond believing that Bush’s Iraqi expedition was motivated by a desire to ‘free people’ — we have a serious problem on our hand. Because that was hardly the mission in Iraq.
We ended up getting into this Mesopotamian mess because a number of constituencies — represented by skillful political operatives and lobbyists — combined forces to promote this debacle of choice.
There’s no denying the primary role of the neo-con think tanks and their Likudnik mass media collaborators in orchestrating this war. But let’s not forget that the Gulf States rolled out the red carpet for the Anglo-American invasion forces. Down on Main Street, the Armageddon worshipping dispensationalists fielded the jingoistic mobs that subscribe to the notion that a little hellfire and damnation in the Middle East will bring on the end of times. And, of course, there is that little detail about Iraqi oil reserves. Did I fail to mention Halliburton and the military industrial complex?
Yet for many Americans, launching this illegal war of aggression was just a primal act of vengeance in retribution for the atrocities of 9/11. This particular constituency enthusiastically lined up to join the war party — without the slightest need for an elaborate WMD hoax. They just wanted to kill as many Arabs as possible. Did it matter that the secular Baathist regime in Baghdad had nothing to do with Al Qaeda? Not a bit.
Just like Vietnam, support for this quagmire gradually eroded with the escalating cost in American blood and American treasure. But even now — after the official rationales for the war have been thoroughly debunked — there continues to be few audible voices of contrition over Iraqi casualties.
Read the rest of it here.