How ironic or should I say hypocritical that Obama commemorates Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, on the same day that he prepares to attack yet another country. I’m sure Dr. King would be proud.
In light of the Administration’s plans to take military action against Syria which could start as soon as today, despite UN inspections currently going on at the site of the alleged chemical weapons attack, parallels are being drawn between now and the run up to the war on Iraq in 2003. Then, too, the US did not, for obvious reasons, wait for UN inspectors to finish their work before commencing its attack.
Liberals keep telling us that the US government, from President Bush to his aides to the National Security Agency and the different spy agencies, including the CIA, truly believed that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction and was on its way or had plans to also acquire nuclear weapons, and that if not stopped, would pose a serious threat to US and to the world. Rachel Maddow of MSNBC said on her show yesterday that the Bush Administration was so sure they were right about it that they didn’t see the need to wait for the UN inspection team to conclude its inspections, told them to leave Iraq and went ahead to invade the country which resulted in the death of close to a million people, according to some reports and several hundred thousands, according to others and homelessness and dislocation of countless others. So, basically, we’re told, it was a mistake on the part of the previous administration.
Lies have consequences and are told for a purpose. The lie that the war was based on wrong information and an error serves the specific purpose of allowing the “mistake” to happen again. They had the wrong information, but we now have it right. The emphasis is on the veracity of the intelligence, rather than the intention and long term strategic plans and goals which are really what matter. As long as we believe they have the right intentions and try to do good and are driven by compassion for other human beings, we will tend to give them the benefit of the doubt and let them repeat those “mistakes”.
They also have us believe that if they happen to make a “mistake” based on some “false intelligence”, they can be more careful next time, especially if it’s a different Administration. That was Bush and his team; this is Obama. This is different. Indeed, the Iraq war was one of the factors that contributed to Obama’s election. And, herein lies the second lie: not only the government has good intentions and when it commits war crimes, it’s just a mistake, such mistakes are committed by an individual president who can be replaced with another. Problem solved.
Changing administrations is, in fact, a perfect way of hiding the continuity of the government and its policies to give people the false impression that the government can change policies that are deemed “mistaken”. Had there been a single ruling party or junta in the US that stayed in power for decades (there actually is, though not in form or appearance) – which is what the US supports in nations under its influence – they couldn’t create such impression and hide the fact that despite changing administrations, the government remains essentially unchanged and pursues the same policies with unmistakable continuity. The US government does not change in nature and policies because a new president has been elected. It is, in fact, one unchanging junta of corporate rule. That’s because, by and large, corporations remain in the driving seat, no matter who becomes the next president. Moreover, none of the military, intelligence, spy and security institutions are changed with a new president.
Can US policy makers make mistakes? Of course. But, waging a war and killing hundreds of thousands of people can hardly be considered a mistake. If it could, none of the Nazi war criminals would have been tried, let alone found guilty of war crimes. And, serial killers would be freed on the basis that the murders were a mistake. At the time of the murder, they had the wrong information. There is a very vile and racist mindset behind this kind of thinking that can attribute waging an unprovoked war of aggression against a people and causing so many deaths and so much misery to a mere mistake. And those who defend such actions and their perpetrators have the same mindset, plans and intentions. Obama’s Justice Department asked a federal judge in San Francisco, the other day, to dismiss a lawsuit, filed by an Iraqi woman who has become a refugee, against Bush and several others in his Administration for waging a war of aggression against her country, arguing it violated international law just as was argued at Nuremberg trials of Nazi war criminals.
A government that defends, protects and answers to corporations will also make policies that are driven by and in the interests of those corporations. If you believe that corporations make their decisions based on what’s good for people or the environment, then you should also believe their government will also make its policies based on what’s good for people and the environment.
As far as the Syrian civil war is concerned, the US did have a chance to help resolve the situation peacefully, long before the death of so many, through diplomatic means which they repeatedly rejected. Their insistence that Assad must step down, long before any attack with chemical weapons and before so many deaths, was in stark contrast with their arming and supporting the governments of Bahrain and Yemen where US backed dictators have also been killing their own people. And, if it’s the chemical weapons that bother them, they were fine with it and, in fact, supported its use by Saddam’s regime in his war on Iran in 1980’s.
The decision by US to attack Syria is not over its use of chemical weapons, any more than the decision to attack Iraq was based on their concern for weapons of mass destruction. That’s the excuse. Their decision to wage war, which such an attack will clearly be, is never based on morality or protecting innocent people. Their outrage is selective and fake and their decision to attack based solely on cold and pragmatic calculations for the long term interests of their empire. If they decide to attack, it just means they figured that it’s in their strategic interests to attack and attack now, not due to any moral outrage over gassing innocent people. All the condemnations and moral protest is part of the big lie.
The attack with chemical weapons, whether it was ordered by Assad or not, though deplorable, to US policy makers is just a pretext to do what has been in US play book for a long time, ironically, at a time when they “celebrate” the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington. So much for change we can believe in.