by Michael DeLang
(Swans - January 1, 2007) At his swearing in ceremony, Robert Gates, the incoming Secretary of War (referring to this appointment as Secretary of Defense is like calling Fox News the Ministry of Truth), declared that "Failure in Iraq at this juncture would be a calamity that would haunt our nation, impair our credibility, and endanger Americans for decades to come." This is, in my opinion, a right and proper assessment of the consequences of the American military occupation of Iraq. Where I part company with Secretary Gates is in the balance of his remarks, in which he seems to want to promote the illusion that it is still possible, somehow, for an outcome other than total failure to emerge from the wreckage of the actions and policies of this administration. He seems not to recognize that failure in Iraq belongs thoroughly and exclusively to the past tense. The calamity he speaks of is on us. Impair our credibility? Sorry, Bob, but that ship done sailed off the edge of the earth before you ever got a chance to try to board her.
There has been a lot of talk surfacing lately about the lies that initially dragged us into this mess, by way of excuse for those who chose to back the invasion then, but are disappointed now with its results. That the lies referred to were so transparent, even then, is hoped to be irrelevant. Even on the very day that Colin Powell presented his "evidence" before the United Nations, competent, credible, and thoroughly documented refutation of that evidence was public and accessible (though not headlined in mainstream outlets.) But succumbing to the propaganda campaign in a spasm of blind patriotic fervor comes under the heading of historical guilt. I'm more interested in addressing the current debate on Iraq. The lying continues in full force. The invasion and military occupation of Iraq was a noble and righteous cause that was subsequently botched badly by poor execution, and that can be corrected and put back on track by tinkering with troop levels and deployment options. This is a lie. The invasion and military occupation of Iraq was a grievous mistake in foreign policy, which we must now place in a holding pattern until our best minds can develop a plan for extricating us while "saving face." This is a lie. We are obligated, as a measure of responsibility for our occupation, to maintain a presence until the puppet government we've installed becomes better equipped to protect itself from the Iraqi people. This is a lie. The Pentagon's own report, issued this week, describes a continuing increase in uncontrolled sectarian violence, featuring a sharp spike over the last few weeks. As primary cause for this increase, the report cites the activities of death squads dispatched by the security arm of the puppet regime. The longer we are there, the worse it will get. All of the arguments for maintaining a military presence are designed to obscure the truth that the American invasion and occupation of Iraq was and is an aggressive and unprovoked illegal action against a sovereign nation initiated and waged by a morally bankrupt government, aided and abetted by a morally indifferent populace. This is not the time for strategizing or stalling. It is the time to enact an immediate, complete, unequivocal and unconditional withdrawal. It is a time for honest recognition and acknowledgement, followed by deep contrition. We must take possession of our national shame now, so that we can move forward towards a period of atonement and take the first steps towards remediation through reparations.
In his recent announcement of his candidacy for the presidency, Congressman Dennis Kucinich took a courageous, high profile stand against the occupation in an attempt at a forceful introduction of truth into the national debate. In his speech, the congressman accurately identified the continued occupation as a criminal act of aggression and pledged to fight for immediate withdrawal, offering to lead a congressional effort to block further funding for the war. I applaud Representative Kucinich for the courage and candor of his principled position. I encourage and support his efforts. And I hope that when the Democratic Party rejects his position and candidacy (which they will, as the power brokers within the Party are even more protective, today, of their corporate sponsorship than they were in 1972 when they deliberately derailed the campaign of their own nominee), Dennis will stand by his principles, denounce the Democratic Party for what it has become, and continue to work with his allies outside the system to expose our government's ongoing foreign policy as a perverse commitment to the concept of manifest destiny, with all its attendant delusions of Empire.
The lies must be cast off and the truth embraced, if we are to begin the work that needs to be done.
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