Lessons of Iraq War


The Iraq war was an eye opener for many. But, I’m afraid the right lessons aren’t being learned from it. Many people have finally realized that Bush and Cheney lied to people in pushing for the war and the political establishment including even many among the conservative are happy to leave the blame on the Bush Administration to avoid the right lessons from being drawn. How many years will it take for people to realize that Obama lied to them too? 

Here are some examples and I’m not even mentioning the promises he made and broke. He misrepresented the war of the Islamic terrorists such as Al Qaeda and the Islamic State (ISIS) against the Syrian government as the uprising of “rebels” seeking democracy, a war which has taken the lives of hundreds of thousands of people and displaced and made refugees over 2.5 million Syrians and has destroyed entire villages and cities. He stayed quiet about the massacres of the Syrian people in the hands of these terrorists, while close U.S. allies such as Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Qatar. UAE and others, with the complicity of the U.S., continued to arm and fund these terrorists and only declared war against them when they began beheading Western journalists. He even used the pretext of a chemical weapons attack on civilians, which he blamed on the Syrian government without any evidence, to attack Syria, which he only backed off from due to domestic and international opposition. 

His Administration lied to the UN Security Council to get their consent for creating a no-fly zone over Libya to prevent government planes from bombing the rebels and used that authorization to carpet bomb cities with bombs armed with depleted uranium to topple the regime. What they said they were going to do was to defend civilians from government air strikes when they were planning to bomb the cities full of civilians themselves in order to overthrow the regime. 

While he was vocal about the government crackdown in Libya and Syria, where the U.S. wanted regime change, he was mum about and even aided with the crackdowns of the movement for democracy and social justice in Bahrain and Yemen by supplying them with weapons and equipment because they were ruled by US puppets. 

While he was accusing Iran of supporting terrorism, the CIA and Israel’s Mossad assassinated four of Iran’s nuclear scientists and his Administration, in cooperation with Israel, unleashed a dangerous and lethal cyberattack using the Stuxnet virus against Iranian nuclear facilities that caused explosions, which could have caused many fatalities. While accusing Iran of aiding terrorism, he continued close relations with the Saudi Kingdom which has been funding Sunni terrorists, including Al Qaeda and ISIS. King Abdullah whom Obama paid respects to when he died and could only say nice things about, personally spent billions of dollars in aid to Islamic terrorists.

His Administration also told lies about the events prior and leading up to and following the CIA assisted coup in Ukraine to justify NATO buildup there at Russia’s border as the continuation of the long running US goal of surrounding Russia with US military bases and weakening the country. He accused the  post coup opposition and Russia of shooting down the Malaysian Airline flight 17 without any proof which turned out to have been done by the U.S. installed government in Kiev. 

And his latest lie to the American people is about the TransPacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA), which he pushed for and got Fast Track for at the Congress to keep its contents secret from the American people. And there is good reason for that: the agreement which has been called “NAFTA on steroids” has been written entirely by U.S. corporations and will accelerate what prior such agreements did before: stagnating and lowering of wages, shipping jobs to countries with starvation wages forcing American workers to compete wth those who get $2 a day, remove regulations and laws that protect workers and the environment and give increased power and rights to giant corporations. This is why he wanted the agreement to be kept secret and not be debated in Congress. Yet, he falsely claimed that it will be good for American workers, even though no one can deny that it will ship more jobs oversea and give corporations more rights over labor and environmental regulations. 

Obama also cynically gave the green light to Israel and stood by and repeatedly defended the apartheid state while it massacred defenseless and trapped people of Gaza killing over 500 children and a thousand women in addition to an equal number of men.

But, the right lesson now isn’t that Obama lied too just like Bush lied before him and Clinton lied before that and so did Bush Sr. and of course Reagan. The right lesson isn’t even that all US presidents lie or all politicians lie. In fact, the expression that “all politicians lie” has a defeatist quality to it that encourages apathy and inaction. It’s not enough to say “all politicians lie”, which may not even be true. What’s important to understand is what they lie about and why? What is it about US POLICIES that forces US presidents to lie to the people? That question puts the finger on the contradiction between what or whom the government claims to represent and what or whom it really represents and goes to the heart of the question of democracy and representation which is fundamental. The contradiction naturally arises when the government which claims to be for all people is nevertheless owned and controlled by a particular group or class of people, who are very small in number. While government policies and priorities would naturally be driven by the owner class which is a small minority, they have to be presented as being in the interest of the majority to maintain legitimacy, which is hard if not impossible to do without constant lies.

The right lesson from the Iraq War isn’t that it was wrong and a mistake, either. The right lesson is that it was what the corporate empire, the collective or cartel of corporations wanted. Viewed from that angle, it was neither wrong, nor a mistake. It was in line with the empire’s long term goal of world domination for increased profits. But here is the thing: those profits, while making the already rich richer don’t do anything for the rest of the people who happen to form the vast majority, who get no benefit from increased productivity and higher technology and continue to struggle to make ends meet. Not only do the majority not benefit from imperial and colonial wars of conquest that cause so much death and destruction, they pay for these wars with their lives and their tax money which could be used for education, healthcare, retirement and better life for millions, instead of securing more profits which never “trickle down”. 

So, you see, the so called trade agreements which are designed to and benefit corporations at the expense of workers and which are pushed by all presidents – Democrats and Republicans – as well as the wars that are waged – again by both parties – that only benefit the rich, are not things that the government can be honest about. Therein lies the contradiction between what is and what’s presented to people which makes deception a perpetual necessity and real democracy impossible.

So, the right conclusion is that the Iraq war didn’t happen due to a miscalculation or misjudgment or personal vendetta on the part of the president and it wasn’t a mistake. And it didn’t happen because Bush happened to be the president at the time and Dick Cheney the Vice President. It happened because the corporate empire wanted and required it and any other president in Bush’s shoes would have done the same including telling the lies. Singling out Bush and Cheney is not only convenient and politically expedient for Democrats, but is also misleading and deceptive, as it gives the impression that the problem was Bush and since they’re gone now everything is fine. But, everything is not fine. We and thousands of innocent people overseas have had to endure several more wars and witness the destruction of yet another country since Bush presidency, while the destruction of Syria continues, tensions continue to be heightened against Russia and Iran also remains in their crosshairs.

So, it follows that any person, who rises as a viable candidate through the system with the backing of his or her party establishment and the corporate media and wins the election by the sheer force of big corporate money, will have to continue those same policies. The system chooses the candidates it needs and helps them get into office. The president takes the White House to serve those who put him or her in office. Specifically, his or her job is to continue to implement long term policies and plans planned and set forth long ago, some in fact generations ago.

Keeping these facts in mind, doesn’t so much absolve the president as it puts in focus the real culprit: the military industrial complex and its government as a whole and as a continuous entity, rather than any one particular president or Vice President. What needs to change therefore isn’t the president or members of Congress that ordered or authorized a war or wars, but the entire socioeconomic system that puts corporate profits over the needs of the people and leaves all the power in the hands of powerful corporations and their wealthy shareholders, leaving the vast majority of the population voiceless and without representation. And that obviously cannot be without its consequences. Is it any wonder then that the middle and lower classes keep getting poorer while the 1% keeps getting richer, the society is becoming a police state, the environment is being irrevocably and irreparably ruined and the world remains a dangerous place with the chance of another catastrophic world war increasing by the day?


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