The Shifting Sands of War Rationales

'We won't leave Iraq until we achieve victory . . . until the mission is completed . . . we can't leave before the job is done.' These are the phrases we hear repeated like a broken record by the wagers of war and lives. U.S. Senator Russ Feingold recently pushed Bush for a withdrawal timetable. The Wisconsin Senator said there are three important questions the administration must answer:

1) What is our mission?

2) What is our time frame in which our mission can be accomplished?

3) Over what period of time can our exit happen?

It strikes me odd that a U.S. Senator, along with millions of other Americans, has apparently forgotten what the mission was in Iraq . It was to find WMD . Remember, folks? We went to war for the only reason a nation is allowed to go to war under international treaties--to defend itself against an imminent threat. So the answer to question one is that the mission was to find WMD that never existed. It follows that the answer to the time frame under which this can be accomplished, the subject of question two, is now irrelevant. The time frame is up; everyone agrees there are no WMD . This reality means that the answer to question three is ever so simple. The period of time over which our exit can happen is and must be immediately.

The media has effectively been pulled under the shifting sands of deception by the Bush propaganda team as to what our mission in Iraq was and is. The mainstream media repeated the WMD story ad nausea before the war, but now they have been struck blind, deaf and dumb with amnesia, harping all the time about Iraq 's alleged road to democracy, and parroting the official line as to why we can't leave, until Iraq is stable and 'democratic.' Well, excuse me, but who is responsible for all the instability in the first place? Did Bush ever tell us that we were going to war to risk blood and treasure to install 'democracy' in Iraq ? So why is this the reified line of the day, the unquestioned story, posing as truth?

Of course, most Middle Easterners and enlightened others know that this post-WMD fabricated rationale of 'remaking Iraq ' isn't genuinely guided by the true lofty goal of implementing democracy. Instead, its focus is synchronizing Middle Eastern/Arab/Muslim social and cultural values with Western plutocratic values, because that will better facilitate a global world order that revolves around U.S. economic interests. That is why the real goal in Iraq is a long term presence; this is why Bush offers no timetable, as private contractors and oil firms salivate over building permanent US bases in the land of the two rivers.

NPR was interviewing average 'people on the street' about their opinions on Iraq , just before Bush's canned cheery speech on the one year anniversary of Iraq 's 'sovereignty' under military occupation. Most of the people struck me as incredibly gullible because they had all fallen in the pit of believing and talking like the mission in Iraq was originally about creating a pro-US 'democracy.' One 30-year-old guy proclaimed that if there is democracy in Iraq in 20 years, 'it will be worth it.' I wonder if that means he's willing to sign up today to go be a bullet stopper in Iraq, or perhaps he wants to go there to interview the loved ones of Iraqi civilians who have been slaughtered by the Coalition of the Willing, or he could visit the 20,000 plus 'insurgents' being held captive in Iraq's ever increasing dank prison system. How complacently arrogant and idiotic the masses are over here, armchair experts, talking heads, discussing when, where and how there might be democracy in Iraq, while real Iraqi people ' men, women and children ' bleed to death day in and day out in the insane chaos our leaders have willfully created.

If Bush and the media succeed in convincing Americans that this mission is about democracy, not WMD , as originally stated, then I presume we will soon be invading a host of undemocratic nations, friends and foes alike. Let's not leave out Uzbekistan or Pakistan . Iran recently had elections, but it is doubtful they will be left out of this worthy crusade. I hope all those laughing 20-something bimbo-people appearing on the reality shows (usually discussing drunken dates or jumping into the sea from helicopters in bikinis) are prepared to be drafted, because we will need a hell of a lot of young people to complete the violent democracy-by-force campaigns that lie in their not so promising Orwellian futures. On the bright side, at least the 'Survivor' show will have turned out to be good practice.

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Kristina M. Gronquist's picture
Columns on STR: 10

Kristina M. Gronquist is a freelance writer based in Minneapolis. She specializes in foreign policy analysis and holds a BA in Political Science from the University of Minnesota.