Thursday, February 09, 2012

I Hate The War

Today's snapshot noted the Sadr Festival and I knew we'd have to return to it tonight.

The public account (which is where visitors e-mail) is obsessed with flag burning. Some opposed to it, some for it. A few thinking I might be interpreting the Sadr Festival wrongly.

That last group? You may very well be correct. That's why this statement follows my comparison of the attitude on display to Tehran in 1979: "Now maybe that's just me being overly cautious or paranoid or whatever." I absolutely could be interpreting it wrong. I've already allowed for that in the snapshot so I think we've dealt with it and can move on to the other issues.

Iraq was invaded. The Iraqi people have every right to be appalled by that. Appalled by the occupation. Appalled by the war. And if they want to burn a flag that's their business. It doesn't bother me and I don't think, "Oh, it's the American flag!!!!!" We usually noted it during the Friday protests if one was burned. I didn't see it as surprising or the end of the world.

Nor do I support passing laws in the US to outlaw burning the US flag here. It's political speech. If that's the speech someone wants to express, that's their business.

But what took place at the Sadr Festival (that's what I'm calling the festival in Sadr City) wasn't a small group of activists (or even a big group) attempting to express themselves. This was a government sanctioned rally. And every bit of it was carefully orchestrated and planned. That included the men in yellow suits who destroyed the US and British 'flags' (they were reproductions painted on what appeared to be Styrofoam).

I do see that differently. I do see the Iraqi government putting forward a demonstration like that very differently. None of the exiles would've returned -- let alone be in power now -- were it not for the US and other countries invading. That's what the exiles worked and worked on for approximately a decade (starting almost immediately after the end of the first Gulf War). And now they want to act like they were the ones wronged? They want to pretend like they stand with the Iraqi people in opposing a US invasion?

They lobbied for it -- officially and unofficially. In terms of the US, they met with and were debriefed by the CIA.

The Iraq War was illegal. I'll never deny that. And I have tremendous sympathy for those who were sent to Iraq by their governments for this war and for those Iraqis who were just trying to live their lives. But I have no sympathy for the exiles.

I realize it's good domestic politics within Iraq for these exiles to attack the US and other countries. But it goes beyond biting the hand that feeds you. The exiles wanted the Iraq War, lobbied for it and only managed to take their cowardly asses back to Iraq after the start of the Iraq War, after foreign forces invaded. And now they want to act like they're outraged by the war. That's lying, that's revisionary. And hopefully most Iraqis realize it the same way we usually do in this country when politicians lie to the people.

By that being a government sanctioned event, the Sadr Festival, it encourages those feelings to be expressed and to be expressed in something 'stronger.' I am not joking or trying to be cute when I say that to me it came off like Tehran in 1979. That's what it looked like. And I would argue that it's time for the US to leave the consulates around the country because those aren't safe. That demonstration means that the next expression of the hatred/hurt/anger needs something more than a symbolic display. And that puts everyone off the Baghdad Embassy in danger.

This idea that they were going to do this and that and educate and help, it should have died with the Sadr Festival. And although the Baghdad Embassy can withstand attacks -- it's built for that purpose -- those are external attacks. What happens if the attack comes from within? If that happens, we see what no one ever wanted to recognize about the ethnic cleansing. The walls went up. The walls were supposed to be protection. They went up throughout Baghdad. And if you were the governing sect, they did offer you some protection. If you weren't, they were barriers and barricades that routed you. The protection became a prison. The same could happen with the Baghdad Embassy. It is designed to protect the staff from what's outside the walls. But if the attackers made it inside -- as a force or with a bomb -- then the protection becomes a prison and the number injured and killed rises significantly just because of how the embassy was designed.

The smart thing to do would have been to end the war and occupation. That didn't happen. And it didn't happen for a reason. When Senator Rand Paul just tried to repeal the authorization, it didn't happen. The greed of empire is its own prison and possibly those suffering from empire lust within the administration can't see the death trap they've created for the 16,000 to 17,000 that remain in Iraq in some State Dept capacity.

It's over, I'm done writing songs about love
There's a war going on
So I'm holding my gun with a strap and a glove
And I'm writing a song about war
And it goes
Na na na na na na na
I hate the war
Na na na na na na na
I hate the war
Na na na na na na na
I hate the war
Oh oh oh oh
-- "I Hate The War" (written by Greg Goldberg, on The Ballet's Mattachine!)

Last week, ICCC's number of US troops killed in Iraq since the start of the illegal war was 4487. Tonight it's [PDF format warning] 4487. Here's the screen snap:


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