Thursday, December 15, 2011

Over and Out?


I like a hero as much as the next person. The U.S. intervention in Iraq, which apparently ended today, certainly produced it's share of heroes. As the late Andy Rooney once wrote, "If war brings out the worst in people, It also brings out the best."
Lots of stories from Iraq about the best coming out. But then, that's human nature. While the media focuses on those heroic stories, the ones that feature dogs, kids, the maimed and psychologically damaged, they rarely look at the big picture. With this rather low ceremonious exit, especially during the height of the holiday season, I'm looking for more on the big picture.
Haven't seen it yet, but I will give it some time. Those of us who learned many lessons from the Vietnam War probably never expected to see U.S. troops involved in an unwinable war again. Too bad those lessons were altered and ultimately trashed. When Dwight Eisenhower coined the term "Military-Industrial Complex" I wonder if he had any idea that a foreign invasion, an undeclared war, could be outsourced. I wonder if he had any inkling that the industrial part of the equation could so heavily involve the private sector?
As writer Chris Hedges has so eloquently stated, "war is a force that gives us meaning." I guess that's why these little international interventions have their defenders. Why they continue to think that all the sacrifices of life and limb really do have a direct connection to their personal freedom. All this while they go to Ikea and buy cheap rugs and home decorations made in Vietnam, our highly rated trading partner. Do they realize that the factories that employ the young workers are built over the bodies of so many of their countrymen that had those same beliefs. Do they see the relationship between their decreased quality of life and the billions spent monthly on this immoral adventure.
The ability to sell war along with $300. sneakers is truly remarkable.
Got to admit, tying Iraq to the shock an awe of the 9/11 attacks was a handy piece of work.
So, 4500 Americans die, 30,00 are wounded, how many more psychologically destroyed forever? How many thousand Iraqis? How many lives knew nothing else but this war. Nine years. What happens now? Well, what do we know? Where do we look to begin to conceive an answer? And...of course, when do we go "over there" again for some vague objective that makes a few very wealthy.
A final question: Who will write this history?

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