Wednesday, September 30, 2009

How did we let this happen?

Uncovered: The Whole Truth about the Iraq War provides insight on the wealth of details that went into constructing the public artifice necessary to go to war with Iraq. Though I was aware, to an extent, of the problematic intelligence and virtual fabrication that went into the Bush administration's justification for war, it was interesting to hear from the experts who were directly involved in government organizations associated with intelligence.

This video brought up a few questions and issues regarding the conflict in Iraq that I had not thought about in great detail before. Asks one of the experts, Does accumulation of intelligence justify declaration of war? The U.S., it seems, has set the example for this sort of preemptive maneuver, a decision very much frowned upon in the world theatre. Later in the video, we see how skewed this intelligence actually was, that one of the documents claiming that Iraq purchased enriched uranium (yellow cake) from Niger was a forgery. In fact, CIA analysts were completely embarrassed by the information being presented and the ways in which it was gathered and corroborated.

Secondly, it is frightening to think about the many ways in which the Bush administration attempted to pull the proverbial wool over our eyes in order to justify their actions. For example, many Americans believed and still believe that Saddam Hussein was directly linked to the terrorists responsible for 9/11. Interestingly enough, bin Laden and Saddam were arch enemies, bin Laden having called Saddam an "infidel" in anger against him for supporting a secular state. These two figures couldn't be further apart in terms of ideology, yet they occupy common space in the minds of many Americans.

This video also asserts that the war in Iraq was simply a diversion meant to distract from unfinished business in Afghanistan. That this strategy was indeed effective in tricking most Americans proves the point that, to the Western mind, an Arab is an Arab no matter where he comes from, and he's probably a terrorist and a Muslim fundamentalist. Was our testosterone laden president simply "blowing off steam" to quote Rush Limbaugh? Hopefully in the future our leaders find tools other than military force in their tool boxes. And, to answer the question posed at the end of the documentary, the true patriot is a citizen or leader who is not afraid to admit when he is wrong, a person who has the strength of character to shelve his pride and do what is right for the greater good.

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