The Warmongers need for a justification for the devastation of Iraq
By William Blum
When you wage a war that is strongly opposed by the great majority of those on the planet who are aware of such things, when your own people are becoming increasingly militant against your unilateral waging of that war, when you know well that your war is palpably and embarrassingly illegal, immoral, illogical and unjust, when you can’t admit the real reasons for the war … then you have a consuming need to find a moral-sounding and credible selling point – “Regime change”, to remove the evil Saddam, the Iraqi people will welcome us with flowers and music!
Thus was it mortifying for the warmongers that for more than the first two weeks of the war the Iraqi images shown to the world were largely of the dead, the wounded, the grief-stricken, the immense piles of rubble, the bombing-produced homeless, those bitterly angry at the US. How could it be otherwise? What kind of people like their loved ones torn apart by missiles, their children without a limb, their homes, hospitals, schools and jobs destroyed? The US military told its cannon fodder and its embedded media that any negative reaction, or lack of a positive one, was all because the people were afraid of Saddam, as if one of his agents was standing behind each Iraqi citizen, gun at the ready. Why did a million people fight and resist to the death instead of surrendering, defecting, anything to show their gratitude for their “liberation”?
Now, any teenager flashing a victory sign, anyone climbing upon a toppled statue of Saddam or smiling for a camera is an American media star and evidence of the nobility of the war. But what portion of the Iraqi people are happy about the invasion – happy about all its effects? What are they happy about other than the removal of Saddam? And many Iraqis supported him. Of those “celebrating”, how many have been touched by the death and destruction? How many even know about it? The US bombed Iraqi and Arabic TV off the air fairly early on for much of the country. Much of the telephone system was another early victim. When they discover the horror, will the American media be there to record the disappeared smiles?
As an American, I would also celebrate if the cruel and ignorant tyrant calling himself my leader were overthrown. But not if my city were bombed and my house demolished. No changes in Iraq justify the American onslaught. What kind of world would we have if any country could invade any other country because it didn’t like the leader of that country? In any event, the United States was not motivated at all by Saddam Hussein, or his evilness, or his alleged weapons of mass destruction, or his alleged threat to the US.
(For a discussion of the real reasons for the invasion, see: What do the Imperial Mafia really want?.)