Bob Fantina / After Downing Street – 2007-10-13 21:33:34
(October 12, 2007) — Following the deaths of at least 15 civilians in an attack in Baghdad on October 11, the U.S. military said that it regrets “that civilians are hurt or killed while Coalition forces search to rid Iraq of terrorism.”
The term ‘Coalition forces’ is a joke in and of itself, since the U.S. contribution to the ‘Coalition’ comprises about 99% of it. But the more puzzling aspect of the statement concerns U.S. attempts to ‘rid Iraq of terrorism.’
At the risk of reducing a discussion of the Iraq war to the point of banality, one could reasonably ask if the removal of ‘Coalition’ forces would be the best way to eliminate terrorism from Iraq. A look at the cost of the war to the Iraqi people tells a tragic story.
Since the ‘Coalition’ invaded, the government of Iraq has been overthrown. The infrastructure, on which Iraqi citizens relied for such basic necessities as water and electricity, has been all but completely destroyed. An estimated 8,000,000 people are in dire need of these basic services. Another 2,000,000 to 3,000,000 people have fled their homes, with at least 1,000,000 leaving the country altogether. An estimated 1,000,000 Iraqi citizens have been killed in the war.
Iraqis are not safe in their own homes; at any time of the day or night foreign (‘Coalition’) soldiers can freely break in, search the house and drag out any and all of the males living there, and hold them indefinitely in undisclosed locations. Even pre-teens have been thus victimized.
Parents who still dare to allow their children to go to school never know if, once they walk out the door, they will ever see them again. A trip to the local market is fraught with mortal risk.
And then, in the name of ‘ridding Iraq of terrorists,’ fifteen civilians are killed in that nation’s capital. One could not be too strongly criticized for seeing those killings as a terrorist act.
It appears that President Bush has now redefined torture; he has stated categorically that the U.S. does not torture, but U.S. soldiers are authorized to utilize interrogation methods that the rest of the world defines as torture. Perhaps now he is also redefining terrorism.
No longer is the unprovoked killing by foreign soldiers of innocent civilians in their homes, schools and places of work called terrorism. No, in the black-is-white and white-is-black world of Mr. Bush and his war-mongering, oil-coveting cohorts, that is not terrorism, that is fighting terrorism.
Wage war to achieve peace. One is reminded of the rather crude but interesting bumper sticker that says, in somewhat different terminology, that waging war to achieve peace is like having intercourse to achieve virginity.
But Mr. Bush’s apparent new definition of terrorism does not seem to hold up to his own litmus test. If, indeed, the unprovoked killing of innocent civilians by foreign soldiers is not terrorism, one must refer to the September 11, 2001 attacks on the U.S. as something other than terrorism. But wait; one errs if one forgets that all too-American axiom, “it’s not wrong if the U.S. does it.” Therefore, the unprovoked killing of innocent civilians is terrorism if perpetrated against the U.S., but is not terrorism if perpetrated by the U.S. against some other country.
Another current example of this twisted philosophy was demonstrated on October 9. Turkey appears to be having trouble with Kurdish rebels on its border with Iraq, and is hinting strongly about retaliating with an attack into Iraq. State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said this: “If they have a problem, they need to work together to resolve it and I am not sure that unilateral incursions are the way to go, the way to resolve the issue.”
He further stated: “We have counseled both in public and private for many, many months the idea that it is important to work cooperatively to resolve this issue”
If Mr. McCormack is sure that unilateral incursions are inappropriate, and that nations in conflict need to work cooperatively to resolve their issues, perhaps he could advise Mr. Bush of this philosophy. The president seems to be rattling his saber at Iran more and more vigorously, and would seem to benefit from Mr. McCormack’s wise counsel.
However, such counsel would nullify that time-honored maxim: “It’s not wrong if the U.S. does it.” So while Turkey must not venture into Iraq to end Kurdish incursions into the country, the U.S. is free to attack Iran to prevent its alleged assistance to Iraqi freedom fighters.
Turkey’s potential invasion of Iraq could not even been seen as pre-emptive; Iraqi Kurds are not suspected of planning incursions, those incursions are occurring. So while the U.S. can invade a country that the U.S. said it suspected of planning to harm the U.S., Turkey cannot invade a country that is actually causing it harm.
While it was fine for Mr. Bush to order the United Nations to remove its International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspectors from Iraq so he could invade it, Turkey is criticized for considering military action against a known enemy that is actively causing harm to that nation.
Congress recently adopted legislation defining Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps as a terrorist organization. If it is indeed so, is the U.S. military also a terrorist organization? Oh, how quickly one forgets. Let’s all repeat it again: “it’s not wrong if the U.S. does it.”
There is, of course, no double standard. When the nation’s police enforcer, which also serves as the international arbiter of morality, chooses a course of action, it is not to be questioned. Such questions will result in either being ignored, which is the best-case scenario, or having the government of the questioning country overthrown. A warning to all the countries of the world: criticize the U.S. at your own peril.
So while the U.S. encourages a peaceful resolution to the tensions between Turkey and Iraq’s Kurdish rebels, tensions that were exacerbated by the U.S. invasion of Iraq, President Bush and his weak and spineless Congress prepare for war with Iran.
As Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps allegedly assists Iraqi freedom fighters in their opposition to the occupying soldiers, and is therefore called a terrorist organization, the occupying soldiers kill far more Iraqis but are not so designated.
Congress members, in their never-ending quest to be perennially reelected, will not prevent Mr. Bush from invading Iran; doing so might show them as ‘soft’ on terrorism, and while they seem to care deeply about that perception, being ‘soft’ on facts does not appear to trouble them.
A generation ago it took years for a people’s movement to finally bring an end to the Vietnam War and, as the world watches history repeat itself in Iraq, peace advocates in the United States must also learn from that history.
Posted in accordance with title 17, US Code, for noncommercial, educational purposes.