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Zaradasht Ahmed's award winning Iraq War image 'Nowhere to Hide.' (photo: Zaradasht Ahmed)
Help Was Not on the Way
30 May 17
hile campaigning for the presidency in 2000, George W. Bush rallied a raucous assembly of U.S. service members with his vision for a revitalization of the military. Bush cited low morale, caused by poor funding and neglect in the Clinton years, as an affront to all armed services, something he as president would not abide. “Help is on the way!” he bellowed, and the soldiers roared their approval.
Help was not in fact on the way. On the way was a return to Vietnam era, war-for-profit thinking. Invade first and manufacture a rationale later was the order of yet another day for a bellicose American president and, once again, a Congress unified in their obedience.
It’s become fashionable in Washington to describe the invasion of Iraq as a “mistake.” It was no mistake. It was a carefully planned-in-advance military extravaganza that enriched defense contractors astronomically and has cost the American taxpayer at least 3 trillion dollars, and perhaps double that.
The cost to the men and women who fought the war was greater. Death, disability, and PTSD are as common for Iraq War veterans as they were for those returning from Vietnam. Again, the result was the same: nothing gained in the face of unspeakable loss. The cost to the Iraqi people was, just as it had been to the Vietnamese, Cambodian, and Laotian people forty years earlier, bearing the weight of an apocalyptic crime against them and all humanity.
Perhaps the greatest insult to those who have served their country is using Memorial Day to sell war itself. The corporate media machine is only too willing to glorify militarism on a day set aside to commemorate sacrifice.
There can be only one true memorial to war — peace.
Marc Ash is the founder and former Executive Director of Truthout, and is now founder and Editor of Reader Supported News.
Reader Supported News is the Publication of Origin for this work. Permission to republish is freely granted with credit and a link back to Reader Supported News.