Sunday, July 15, 2012


A British woman who worked at the top of the US military during the most troubled periods of the Iraq war has said she fears the west has yet to see how some Muslims brought up in the last decade will seek revenge for the "war on terror".
Speaking for the first time about her experiences, Emma Sky also questioned why no officials on either side of the Atlantic have been held to account for the failures in planning before the invasion.
Sky, 44, was political adviser to America's most senior general in Iraq, and was part of the team that implemented the counterinsurgency strategy that helped to control the civil war that erupted in the country.

That's from Nick Hopkins' "Iraq war will haunt west, says Briton who advised US military" (Guardian).  She could be right.  It's also likely she'll be wrong.

If nothing changes in the future, "haunt" is a laughable term.  The US isn't haunted by the Iraq War now.  The media ensures they don't even hear about it.  We just wrote about that today at Third with "Editorial: The media's continued silence on Iraq."  Not even the death of a US soldier last week was enough to get serious attention from the US media on Iraq.

To be real honest, the media just doesn't care.  Reporters -- the few left -- are for the most part following campaigns and columnists can't be bothered with anything more taxing than churning out yet another column about who put a dog on top of a car (yes, Gail Collins, we mean you and all the time and space the New York Times allows you to waste).


The US media is in far too much denial for the country to become haunted by the illegal war.

Unless that changes (and it could), not only is Emma Sky incorrect, she's also incredibly naive when it comes to the way the US works.

She's probably correct in her assessment that the illegal war will mean future actions from people who see it as part of a war on Muslims.  But if attacks come in ten or twenty years, she may be kidding herself that the media will connect it back to the Iraq War.

Donald Rumsfeld's meetings with Saddam Hussein in previous administrations wasn't really acknowledged by the corporate media nor was the go-ahead that the Poppy Bush administration gave to Iraq (via US Ambassador to Iraq April Glaspie) to attack Kuwait.

Gore Vidal has called it the United States of Amenesia -- this refusal to connect current events back to their precipitating moment.  Not only is there a refusal but those attempting to do so will usually be labeled "divisive" and ridiculed.

So if, in 2037, the Space Needle in Seattle is blown up and it's done by people who see the Iraq War as part of a war on Muslims, the attack will be greeted with cries of "How?" and "Why?" from the media.  There will be no serious exploration and those who try to explore the roots will be demonized the way Susan Sontag was.

If you've forgotten, Sontag participated in a Talk of the Town roundtable on September 11th for The New Yorker and this was what she contributed:

The disconnect between last Tuesday's monstrous dose of reality and the self-righteous drivel and outright deceptions being peddled by public figures and TV commentators is startling, depressing. The voices licensed to follow the event seem to have joined together in a campaign to infantilize the public. Where is the acknowledgment that this was not a "cowardly" attack on "civilization" or "liberty" or "humanity" or "the free world" but an attack on the world's self-proclaimed superpower, undertaken as a consequence of specific American alliances and actions? How many citizens are aware of the ongoing American bombing of Iraq? And if the word "cowardly" is to be used, it might be more aptly applied to those who kill from beyond the range of retaliation, high in the sky, than to those willing to die themselves in order to kill others. In the matter of courage (a morally neutral virtue): whatever may be said of the perpetrators of Tuesday's slaughter, they were not cowards.
Our leaders are bent on convincing us that everything is O.K. America is not afraid. Our spirit is unbroken, although this was a day that will live in infamy and America is now at war. But everything is not O.K. And this was not Pearl Harbor. We have a robotic President who assures us that America still stands tall. A wide spectrum of public figures, in and out of office, who are strongly opposed to the policies being pursued abroad by this Administration apparently feel free to say nothing more than that they stand united behind President Bush. A lot of thinking needs to be done, and perhaps is being done in Washington and elsewhere, about the ineptitude of American intelligence and counter-intelligence, about options available to American foreign policy, particularly in the Middle East, and about what constitutes a smart program of military defense. But the public is not being asked to bear much of the burden of reality. The unanimously applauded, self-congratulatory bromides of a Soviet Party Congress seemed contemptible. The unanimity of the sanctimonious, reality-concealing rhetoric spouted by American officials and media commentators in recent days seems, well, unworthy of a mature democracy.
Those in public office have let us know that they consider their task to be a manipulative one: confidence-building and grief management. Politics, the politics of a democracy—which entails disagreement, which promotes candor—has been replaced by psychotherapy. Let's by all means grieve together. But let's not be stupid together. A few shreds of historical awareness might help us understand what has just happened, and what may continue to happen. "Our country is strong," we are told again and again. I for one don't find this entirely consoling. Who doubts that America is strong? But that's not all America has to be.

She was attacked for that.  She was labeled unAmerican and worse.  The attacks came from the right and the left. 

Emma Sky may end up being right.  If something does happen, I would hope she was right and that connections would be made and openly discussed.  But nothing in American history of the last fifty or so years provides any support for her predictions.

I'm traveling in some vehicle
I'm sitting in some cafe
A defector from the petty wars
That shell shock love away
-- "Hejira," written by Joni Mitchell, first appears on her album of the same name

 The number of US service members the Dept of Defense states died in the Iraq War is [PDF format warning] 4488.

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Isaiah will have a comic later in the week.  We worked too late on Third and everyone's tired.

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