I have been inspired to write this blogpost after reading priceman’s diary in the Daily Kos. The diary in question can be found here:
For imperialism to persist, a nation must first conquer the consciousness of its population before it can conquer the lands and bodies of foreigners. What I mean by this is that a nation must convince its citizens of something first (to republish my comment on Daily Kos):
"A nation must convince its population that it is fighting a just war that "civilian-casualties," are either collateral or accidents or that if it does not extend its hegemony abroad and fight wars, its very existence and safety will be endangered."
And it convinces the population by means of propaganda. For instance, the invasion of Iraq was necessary because Saddam had WMDs, which were later proven false. When Saddam did use chemical weapons for instance, it was of no dismay to the Reagan administration:
"There is no doubt that the US government knew Iraq was using chemical weapons. On March 5, 1984, the State Department had stated that "available evidence indicates that Iraq has used lethal chemical weapons". The March 30, 1984, NYT reported that US intelligence officials has "what they believe to be incontrovertible evidence that Iraq has used nerve gas in its war with Iran and has almost finished extensive sites for mass producing the lethal chemical warfare agent". (See GreenLeft link below).
And in fact the administration aided Saddam in using those weapons on Iranian deployments,
"The August 17, 2002 NYT reported that, according to "senior military officers with direct knowledge of the program", even though "senior officials of the Reagan administration publicly condemned Iraq's employment of mustard gas, sarin, VX and other poisonous agents ... President Reagan, vice president George Bush [senior] and senior national security aides never withdrew their support for the highly classified program in which more than 60 officers of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) were secretly providing detailed information on Iranian deployments, tactical planning for battles, plans for air strikes and bomb-damage assessments for Iraq."
After which the narrative shifted. The narrative became “Operation Iraqi Freedom,” as if the freedom of another people were our top priority or concern. It was not our concern, when Saddam actually was massacring his own people. As Time Magazine noted:
“Desperate Shi'ite and Kurdish leaders begged the U.S. military for help. But Colin Powell, then Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, wanted U.S. troops safely home, not mired in what might become a messy civil war. Secretary of State James Baker feared the "Lebanonization of Iraq." His nightmare: Iraqi Shi'ites, aligned with Iran's fundamentalist Shi'ites, would carve out the south; Sunni Muslims would hold the center; and Kurds, who long craved an independent state, would capture the north, upsetting Turkey, which feared revolt from its own Kurdish population.
American pilots flying over southern Iraq held their fire as the Republican Guard massacred Shi'ites on the ground. Bush refrained from aiding Kurdish rebels in the north, although he finally sent troops and relief supplies to protect hundreds of thousands of fleeing Kurds who were in danger of freezing or starving to death.”
It is as if through a short duration of time, Saddam went from being our baby to becoming our Frankenstein. And the reason is very simple…he outlived his usefulness to us, as politicians before him outlived their usefulness and politicians after him will.
The Iraq fiasco cost over 1 million Iraqi lives and over 4,000 dead U.S. military personnel. The financial costs may be replaceable if by some miracle the economy picks up, but the human cost of war is irreplaceable. You cannot restore dead sons and daughters back to the arms of their mothers.
The same is true for Afghanistan. When the Taliban rose to power, U.S. State Department Spokesman, Glyn Davies said that, “there was nothing objectionable,” about the domestic policies pursued by the Taliban (see Dilip Hiro’s War Without End p. 251).
In fact, “Between 1994 and 1996 the U.S. supported the Taliban politically through its allies Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, essentially because Washington viewed Taliban as anti-Iranian, anti-Shia and Pro-Western.”
“The U.S. conveniently ignored the Taliban’s own Islamic fundamentalist agenda, its suppression of women and the consenternation they created in Central Asia.” (Ibid and p. 253).
Here too a certain language was involved. The language of denial. A language, which fails to inform and replaces information and truth with deception and ignorance.
Such a language was responsible for our invasion of Afghanistan, just as much as terrorism was. U.S. policy betrayed Americans. It allowed a group that was antithetical to secularism, liberalism, feminism, in short westernization to persist. So it is no surprise that the Taliban would view the West, which is an embodiment of all these ideas with hostility. Stationing troops in sacred land and aiding in the occupation of other people such as the Palestinians did not help either.
The war industry and the extension of hegemony abroad will continue to exist as long as citizens continue to be duped and citizens will continue to be duped as long as they believe and absorb the language of imperialism within their consciousness.
Let me end this piece as I ended my Daily Kos comment...by quoting Chalmers Johnson:
"A nation can be one or the other, a democracy or an imperialist, but it can’t be both. If it sticks to imperialism, it will, like the old Roman Republic, on which so much of our system was modeled, like the old Roman Republic, it will lose its democracy to a domestic dictatorship."
Which do you want my fellow Americans? The choice is yours.