As we enter Petraeus Spin Week, it’s stunning to see how far the terms of the discussion have been twisted. Listening to the pundits and the politicians, and even reading much of the blog discussions, I have to keep reminding myself of a few simple facts:
– We were lied into a war of choice – for many reasons: control of oil, an itch for mastery of the Middle East, grasping more profits for Cheney’s corporate comrades, and more.
– We not only invaded a sovereign nation which presented no threat to us, we proceeded to devastate it. Iraq’s infrastructure was already suffering from the sanctions of the Clinton years but we made certain they were destroyed with bombs, crony deals with ever changing political favorites, dissolution of the existing technocrat class, and never a thought of the Iraqi people.
– We encouraged and instigated sectarian tensions, handing power to divisive figureheads and … yes … using the Salvador Option
– We acted like thugs – kicking in doors. torturing, brutalizing and killing Iraqis with no consequence, Iraqis who we claimed to be “liberating.”
And when the Iraqis fought back – as sovereign people do when their homeland is invaded and brutalized, we labeled them terrorists and insurgents and hit them harder – never pausing to consider that Iraq is their country – not ours.
Instead, with the arrogance of a 19th century colonial power, we destroyed Iraq … and then blamed the Iraqis.
And this week, we will see Congress – including all too many of the Democratic members – ignore one basic fact. Iraq is not our country. The Iraqi people did not ask us to “liberate” them and we have no right – moral or legal – to be there at all. Yet instead of facing that simple reality, we will hear the convoluted excuses: benchmarks (set by us, not by the Iraqis), complaints about a lack of “political progress” (ignoring the fact that Iraq has a puppet government which does not represent the Iraqi people), self-congratulatory nonsense about Anbar province (where the Iraqi residents have no basic services or freedom of movement and we arm the very “insurgents” we fought a short while ago) and hand wringing faux concern about a “bloodbath” if we leave (while we are the cause of the bloodbath taking place today).
So as the news swirls and spins this weekend, let’s remember whose country Iraq is – and let’s keep reminding our “representatives” that we will not be silent as they ignore that simple fact. We may not be able to stop this occupation from continuing but at least we can look with eyes open and keep speaking up for what is right.
photo: Iraqi children sit on the floor as U.S. soldiers check their house during a night operation at Zafraniya neighborhood in Baghdad September 8, 2007. REUTERS/Carlos Barria (IRAQ)