The Mask of Patriotism
The principal argument between Americans of contrasting viewpoints on the attack on Iraq is:
Should government policies be based on truth and reality or fabrications and manipulation?
Those against the war believe policies must be based upon truth and reality. Those who favor the war have evidently not considered truth and reality. They have used the mask of patriotism to defend illogical and immoral actions.
The lies that guide
The Gulf of Tonkin incident, almost laughable in its context, in which North Vietnam "torpedo boats" supposedly attacked an American warship in waters close to North Vietnam shores, solicited America's citizens to support a war against Vietnam. Americans suffered greatly from the unjust war. We know the U.S. government fabricated the Gulf of Tonkin incident.
Testimony to a U.S. congressional committee, that after Iraqi forces invaded Kuwait, Iraqi soldiers "tore incubators from infants, " encouraged Americans to support the Gulf War. The Gulf War caused extensive damage to Iraq and its citizens and preceded a recession in the United States.We learned that the story of the incubator babies, told by the daughter of the Kuwait ambassador, was a big lie.
None of the reasons given for the American attack on Iraq have been verified. Secretary of State Powell's speech to the United Nations has been entirely refuted. All of the reasons have proved to be fraudulent. Due to the Iraq war Americans have died, the U.S. economy has been troubled, America's relations with allies have been disturbed and Iraq has been partially destroyed.
The Atmosphere of Fabrication and Manipulation
The government fabrications in justifying its war on Iraq and its propagandistic reporting of the war have deliberately confused the American people. It has become impossible to know what is true, what is to be believed and what is real. Anything can be said without supporting facts.
- Contention that Baathists in Basra forced the populace to fight and tried to prevent them from fleeing the city by firing at them and using them as human shields have been completely refuted by interviews with Basra citizens.
- Charges of mistreatment of American POW's have been shown false by the recapture of all American POWs without any noticeable harm to them.
- Charges of cruelty in punishment of Iraqi deserters have not been proven. Actually, military deserters are always punished. Charles Robert Jenkins, who deserted to North Korea during the Korean war and is married to a Japanese woman (who lived in north Korea) cannot go to Japan because he will be arrested as a U.S. deserter after 50 years.
- Designation of Iraqi fighters as Baathist, Fedayeen, terrorists, militia, foreign elements attempted to make it appear that defenders were not average Iraqis.
- Posing Iraq as a threatening nation with a powerful military proved false. The war showed that Iraq had disarmed and had no capability for any offensive attacks.
In retrospect, Iraq was not allowed to have a military to defend itself and any Iraqi who wanted to protect his country was considered an enemy of the world.
The atmosphere of fabrication portends a future in which decisions will be made by irrelevance, falsehoods and manipulated agendas. If lies can guide policies then anything can happen. The erratic behavior spells problems for America's future.
American support for the war increased as Iraqi death totals increased and American dominance became more apparent. Rather than being pro-war, Americans were pro-victory, feeling an accomplishment in the glory of victory, regardless of the horrors inflicted upon the Iraqi people. Sympathy for the plight of the Iraqis never grew. Americans sat by their televisions in record numbers and watched the manipulated "reality show" that had as much reality as the fraudulent reality shows that are now popular on American TV.
The administration took advantage of its citizens' false patriotism by appealing to them to support the troops after the U.S. invaded Iraq. This is a new approach for obtaining citizens support. Wage the war regardless of its lack of popularity and have your citizens support the war, because they will be unpatriotic if they don't support it. This manipulation can apply to any aggression.
Even the obvious nature of the perpetrated distortions didn't deter the American populace from ardently supporting the administration.
The fact that the administration constantly changed its reasons for attacking Iraq didn't bother those who supported the war. Any reason was good enough for them, even if it contradicted the previous reason. Lack of preparation to prevent looting, and slowness in organizing a civil administration and relief has left the impression that the administration is "winging it"; it has no clearly defined plan for post-war Iraq.
A conviction that the war had nothing to do with Iraq was not well scrutinized or covered in the media. As extreme as it may seem, a growing number of strategists have proposed the theory that the war didn't arise from a conflict with Iraq but as a conflict between the Department of Defense and the U.S. Intelligence agencies: Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld wanted to shift the appropriations for the War on Terrorism to his own department and revise the War on Terrorism agenda for his personal aggrandizement.
Noting the awkward comments by President Bush, Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld and the military spokespersons should have been enough for Americans to re-evaluate any pro-war stance.
President Bush: " I believe we think Syria has weapons of mass destruction."
Secretary Rumsfeld on lawlessness in Iraq: "..free people are free to make mistakes, commit crimes, and do bad things."
Military spokesperson responding to a question of why there were so many Iraqi civilian casualties: "War is a dangerous place."
Operation Freedom for Iraq
The final proposition for waging the war became advertised as Operation Freedom for Iraq - a thoughtless proposition.
It took the United States more than 150 years to obtain complete freedom for its citizens. After the 1789 Constitution, Americans received guaranteed liberty. It wasn't until 1964 that Americans received guaranteed freedom. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was the finale of several Constitutional amendments and laws during the century and one-half of the American Republic that gave all Americans - women, African Americans, Asian Americans - the right to fully participate in the American electoral process and the American system. Iraqi has only started to have institutions that allow freedom.
The Iraqis who have experience in government and knowledge of Iraq's institutions are the Baathists. Evidently they already concluded that present day Iraq cannot be governed with democracy and freedom. Those who have not governed aren't sure what freedom means and which freedoms can be allowed. Many of those who strive to govern are extreme Islamic fundamentalists who have no desire to promote freedom. Listen to Ali Shawki, a Shiite Muslim cleric, a new authority in Baghdad.
We order people to obey us. When we say stand up, they stand up. When we say sit down, they sit down.
A famous song starts with, "Freedom is just another word." It will be that way in Iraq for a long, long time.
The Mask of Patriotism
The war has not had positive results for the American people. American security or insecurity remains the same. The war has had negative effects on the American people:
- The U.S.has alienated countries throughout the world.
- The economic situation has become more clouded.
- Forecasts are for more bin Ladens and terrorists.
- Americans remain accused of having attacked a defenseless country and destroyed its infrastructure.
- American society has become polarized
- The horrors of the war and the hopelessness that accompanies deceit has caused psychological damage to many Americans.
- More than 100 Americans have been killed and more than 400 have been wounded in the war.
So, who are the true patriots: Those who tried to prevent the negative effects on their countrymen or those who promoted the negatives? The "patriots" showed their belief in freedom by attacking prominent anti-war activists and attempting to deny them freedom. Actors Susan Sarandon and Tim Robbins received death threats and had appearances canceled at several events. The Dixie Chicks singing group had recordings destroyed in Texas towns and banned on some radio stations due to an aggressive anti-war stance by one of the group. Some municipalities fired school teachers who spoke out against the war.
Those who behave aggressively against the war protestors have confused the issues:
- They are supporting nationalism and not patriotism,
- They are confusing antagonism to administration policies with anti-Americanism,
- They are confusing the meaning of democracy by effectively signifying that a democracy doesn't allow people the freedom to criticize their government.
- They are confusing the war on terrorism with the war against Iraq. The Iraq Shiite population has components of radical Islam and potential terrorists. Saddam Hussein prevented radical Islam in Iraq from contributing to international terrrorism. A new Iraq administration might unleash that terrorism.
Those who have been against the war want policies based upon truth and reality. Those who favored the war have evidently not considered truth and reality. They have used the mask of patriotism to defend illogical and immoral actions.
april 15, 2003
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