Friday, March 19, 2010

Shock and Awe

I've been awake since 3am, which isn't as bad as it sounds, since I went to bed before 9 last night.

Today is the seven-year anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq. It seems like longer; it seems like we've been there forever. I have students who are 18, 19, and this is all they know - an America at war. I remember going with my mom down to Union Terminal, where Bush gave his his speech where he said that "confronting the threat posed by Iraq is crucial to winning the war on terror."

My mom and I, of course, weren't inside listening to his speech; we were outside with the hippies, the nuns, and the students, protesting.

It's heartbreaking to read both the text of his speech as well as the New York Times article that appeared the next day:
Building his case, the president charged for the first time that Iraq's fleet of unmanned aerial vehicles was ultimately intended to deliver chemical and biological weapons to cities in the United States. The president also built a lengthy, if circumstantial, case that Mr. Hussein had extensive ties to the Al Qaeda terrorist organization and that Iraq trained members of the terrorist group in "bomb-making, poisons and deadly gases." Although other members of his administration had cited evidence tying Al Qaeda to Iraq, Mr. Bush spoke about this in detail for the first time tonight.
You wonder how we got to that point. Volumes have been written about extensive failures by the media and their complicity in allowing this to happen. When a president says Saddam Hussein has ties to Al Qaeda, you believe him. When the Secretary of State says that Iraq has sought to purchase uranium from Niger, you believe him. We want to believe that those in power are telling the truth, regardless of whether we agree with their particular politics. But how are they not war criminals? They lied and manipulated and withheld truth in order to get us to invade this country: regardless of their motives, their actions were criminal.

1 comment:

george rede said...

When I saw the news earlier this week of yet another Oregon service member killed in action in Iraq -- a young woman from Eugene, who was married to another soldier -- subconsciously I was asking myself how long it had been since we'd been sucked into Bush's War. I applaud you for marking the anniversary in this way, with a sobering reminder of where you were and what was being said, and a stinging indictment of the cynical politics being practiced in our country's name. How pitiful that after seven years the gains there are so meager and the diplomatic and human losses -- of Iraqi civilians as well as American troops -- so high.