Thursday, December 06, 2007

And the war drags on . . .

In the reality version, our legacy is bad water, cancer and social chaos. Iraq has, by one scientific extrapolation, surpassed the million mark in war dead and continues to rack up other numbers (4 million internal and external refugees, for instance, but not to worry, only 133 of them got into the U.S. this year) that . . . I dunno, maybe it's just me . . . seem antithetical to the idea of democracy. And of course, as the latest National Intelligence Estimate has just embarrassingly informed the world, Iran shut down its nuclear weapons program four years ago.
But so what? The president and his coterie of "High Nooniacs" want to invade Iran anyway and spread our pretend -- and, unavoidably, our real -- legacy to that country as well, and if they really set their minds to it, make the right calls, rally the media, pound the fear button, pound it again, they'll do it, reality (and its wide-eyed, stunned adherents) be damned. We won't stop them. We have nothing but our scattered selves.
War has America.
Like it or not, all the war protest in the many forms in which it is currently flowering -- from the impeach-a-dope movement to the public rallies to the political dissent to the courageous independent reporting that gives citizens unprecedented access to war-zone reality -- does not a nation make. Only war and war culture do that, which means, it’s infinitely easier to start a war than it is to stop or prevent one, because going to war, however gratuitously, is just a nation being itself, doing what it was built to do.

Pete notes the above from Robert C. Koehler's "Iraq's Million" (Common Dreams). The notion that "only war and a war culture do that" is nonsense. A bad book is cited. There are other things that can provide a bond. You really have to believe that the world starts and ends with the United States (and be historically challenged with regards to the history of the US) to believe that. And you have to be not just caught up in the macho but trapped in it as well. It's the sort of 'noble lie' that Platonics would foist off on their followers.

It's the sort of lie that tells us, "Yes, it's a huge challenge to overcome but this is what makes a nation." No, it's not. And you don't even have to leave Western hemisphere to demonstrate that. The myth being put foward in that section serves to justify war (intentionally or not -- the national equivalent of the get-out-of-jail-free pass of "Boys will be boys") and it's not merely short-sighted in its xenophobic scope, it's also short-sighted in terms of what it is allegedly addressing.

If you buy the lie that wars are a natural characteristic of a nation (Howard Zinn argues to the contrary and does so quite well, noting how much energy has to be expanded to sell a people on a war), then you have to acknowledge some realities of war. Despite the Bully Boy's nonsense claims, wars are not 'endless'. They have a start and they have an end (even if the end is mutal, total destruction of all parties involved). They have two or more participatns -- clearly defined rivals. Which is why the 'Cold War' wasn't a true war at all. It had the 'participants.' Two super-powers so plagued by inadequacies that neither's leader (at any given time) wanted to be the first to step up to the urinal for fear of being found out. But what comes after (or, if you prefer, between)? Peace.

So peace making would be a natural characteristic of nation-states if you want to argue that war is. To deny that basic dualityy only makes a shoddy formulation all the more shoddy. It's akin to saying, "Sunlight is a natural characteristic of nation-states" -- and leaving it at that -- as if night fall doesn't follow daylight. (Those interested in both processes should check out Veterans of War, Veterans of Peace edited by Maxine Hong Kingston and from the writing workshops addressing those two issues -- available at Koa Books.)

We get sold a lot of lies and that, again, is right up there with "Boys will be boys." It justifies behavior that shouldn't be justified.

They're just there to try and make the people free,
But the way that they're doing it, it don't seem like that to me.
Just more blood-letting and misery and tears
That this poor country's known for the last twenty years,
And the war drags on.
-- words and lyrics by Mick Softly (available on Donovan's Fairytale)

Last Thursday, ICCC's number of US troops killed in Iraq since the start of the illegal war was 3880. Tonight? 3886. Just Foreign Policy's total for the number of Iraqis killed since the start of the illegal war stood at 1,122,406. Tonight? 1,127,552.

While Bully Boy whines that he needs more tax payers' monies to satisfy his blood lust, CBS reports that $1 billion in equipment is missing in Iraq. Now that's a drop in the bucket when Bully Boy's whining that he needs a $50 billion advance on his allowance. But it does go to the fact that the corruption is so great and the oversight so little that Congress should be insisting for an in-depth accounting of where the money has been spent thus far.

A friend in the State Department asked me to note a theory floating around as to why so few Iraqis refugees are being admitted to the United States: Even if they are pro-US, the government doesn't want to Iraqis in this country in large numbers for fear that they can speak (with authority) on what the illegal war has done to their country. They could be pro-invasion, pro-war and it wouldn't matter because so much that has gone down is still unknown to so many Americans. If the US was granting asylum in large numbers (even just to those who worked with US forces), that would be a large number of Iraqis and the White House is very worried that things could go 'off script.' Whether true or not (it's just a theory floating around the State Department), it is true that large admissions (or larger -- but the current number is tiny) is also acknowledging, while the illegal war is ongoing, what a failure it has been that so many Iraqis have to leave their own countries.

UPI reports that Iraq media says the country's parliament will be holding hearings on the theft-of-Iraqi oil shortly. This follows Selina Williams reporting (for MarketWatch) earlier this week that BP PLC and Royal Duth Shell PLC were to meet Wednesday with Hussein al-Shahristanti (Iraqi oil minister) for oil discussions. And UPI's Ben Landon offers:

Big Oil's big dreams are close to coming true as Iraq's Oil Ministry prepares deals for the country's largest oil fields with terms that aren't necessarily what companies were hoping for but considered a foot in the door of the world's most promising oil sector.

Community note: Question in a number of e-mails is about the mirror sites. Cedric, Rebecca and this site all have mirror sites at Blogdrive. What's going on with those? Cedric noted a problem when trying to cross-post yesterday. Rebecca gave up on trying and hoped to try tonight. The page people attempting to view The Common Ills mirror site on displays some "under construction" message. Rebecca got that after logging in to her account and attempting to cross-post. They were doing something with their servers the other day. It's a Blogdrive issue.

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