Doug Giebel: Death And Cynicism
Death And Cynicism
by Doug Giebel
". . . that these dead shall not have died in vain . . ."
Plucky Londoners interviewed on the BBC following the July 7 terrorist subway and bus bombings noted that the crisis had brought out the best in people. Strangers rushed to help the injured while some individuals risked their lives making rescue attempts. Human nature displayed its most noble characteristics.
And so it was in the United States on 9/11. Calamity produced acts of courage, compassion and decency beyond, perhaps, the limits of human understanding. And yet . . .
As firemen, police and volunteers risked (and many gave) their lives to assist others, some at the very top level of this nation’s leadership were secretly continuing to plan for an invasion and occupation of Iraq which they secretly believed had to be founded on deception, manipulation and lies: surely some of mankind’s basest actions.
While citizens were acting with courage, were suffering, dying and grieving, America’s Janus-faced political leaders extolled that courage and sacrifice while plotting a course for undeclared war the seeds of which had been planted long before hijackers rammed planes and passengers into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and a lonely Pennsylvania field. Reprehensibly, those same government leaders took advantage of 9/11’s tragedy to bolster their phony case for an invasion of Iraq. Even today, President Bush and others in his administration press the manufactured case to link Iraq and Saddam Hussein with the September 2001 terrorist disaster as a justification for continuing their military misadventure in the Middle East.
From pro-war factions on both sides of the Atlantic come calls for us to “stay the course,” because there is purportedly no other option. But, having shamelessly lied to justify the invasion, would these same individuals not be willing to continue dissembling when demanding bravely from their beltway bunkers that we must stay their course?
Will the sands of Iraq and the streets of Baghdad finally fulfill the famous claim by John F. Kennedy that this nation will “bear any burden, pay any price” in order to “democratize” some ambitious politicians’ pre-selected demonstration project of American power, determination and resolve?
Most of the current crop elected by voters to represent them in Washington, D.C. seem truly incapable of creative thought when it comes to addressing a floundering policy toward Iraq. Lying, deception, manipulation and cover-up continue apace accompanied by a chorus of wounded and dying human beings. For what, for whom have they paid their dues in blood, sweat, tears and toil?
Overlooked in reports about the June 16 meeting called by Rep. John Conyers and others to discuss those Downing Street Minutes: damning reminders that Americans were killed during the deceptive post-invasion search for Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq.
Pre-invasion evidence, now confirmed in the Downing Street Minutes and subsequent revelations, seems clear: Bush Administration insiders knew Saddam Hussein was not hiding Weapons of Mass Destruction well before United States and "coalition" troops moved into Iraq. But because the Bush/Blair rationale for invasion was founded on the existence of WMD, the fiction had to be maintained, at first through issuance of protective "suits" and other gear seldom used by the military and ignored or soon abandoned even by the army of embedded journalists who accompanied the democratizing invaders.
How many readers recall the Iraq war's "red" scare: Media-promoted existence of a supposed Red Zone near Baghdad where Saddam was sure to unleash his lethal WMD arsenal?
Of course there was no Red Zone, and if Saddam had used chemical and biological weapons in that heavily-populated area they would have killed and injured untold numbers of Iraqis, including legions of Iraqi soldiers.
This War of Lies began in earnest when Iraqi forces were "softened up" through a massive unannounced and unreported pre-invasion bombing campaign. Because of this covert jump-start, the Iraqi military's ability to defend its nation barely existed as American and other forces massed outside Iraq's borders. Again, Bush Administration insiders knew all about the Iraqi army's impotence, yet the Pentagon manufactured and floated frightening prospects of calamity, so when the march into Baghdad was accomplished with relative ease there were cheers-all-around inside the Beltway.
Having "conquered" Iraq, the Bush Administration still did not abandon its deadly fairy tales. Long after the occupation of Iraq, thousands of military and other personnel were still employed at significant financial cost to continue the search for those spurious weapons; and while pursuing that cynically futile search, human beings died or were wounded. The relatives of some who died while searching for WMD spoke briefly and poignantly during the Conyers basement seminar.
To hear a father, a mother say, "My son was killed while protecting those who were looking for Weapons of Mass Destruction" is not only heartbreaking, it is a horrifying reminder of the cruel lengths to which the Bush Administration and its co-conspirators have gone to promote the "war" they so desperately demanded.
There may be no accurate way to count the number of Americans and others who died or were seriously injured while carrying on what amounted to a politically-motivated "snipe hunt." But might even a few deaths be too many when the dying comes from following orders founded on lying and deception?
Is it acceptable for Good Soldiers to be sent on deadly missions in search of fictional Weapons of Mass Destruction that those promoting the missions knew did not exist?
Will Americans continue to excuse leaders whose lies and deceit caused unnecessary injury and death to duty-bound Good Soldiers, “volunteers” acting on faith that they'd been told the truth?
Does “stay the course” mean tolerating false claims of the past, present and future because some of our political heavyweights deem the United States to be above inquiry and reproach, the Caesar’s Wife among nations?
Because we cannot bring back those who were deliberately deceived and gave their lives for lies, what can be done to justify dying for such a criminally cynical cause?