William Blum on What Americans Should Not Forget About the Iraq War

Operation Iraqi FreedomWilliam Blum writes on Killing Hope:

“They’re leaving as heroes. I want them to walk home with pride in their hearts,” declared Col. John Norris, the head of a US Army brigade in Iraq.

It’s enough to bring tears to the eyes of an American, enough to make him choke up.

Enough to make him forget.

But no American should be allowed to forget that the nation of Iraq, the society of Iraq, have been destroyed, ruined, a failed state. The Americans, beginning 1991, bombed for 12 years, with one excuse or another; then invaded, then occupied, overthrew the government, killed wantonly, tortured … the people of that unhappy land have lost everything — their homes, their schools, their electricity, their clean water, their environment, their neighborhoods, their mosques, their archaeology, their jobs, their careers, their professionals, their state-run enterprises, their physical health, their mental health, their health care, their welfare state, their women’s rights, their religious tolerance, their safety, their security, their children, their parents, their past, their present, their future, their lives … More than half the population either dead, wounded, traumatized, in prison, internally displaced, or in foreign exile … The air, soil, water, blood and genes drenched with depleted uranium … the most awful birth defects … unexploded cluster bombs lie in wait for children to pick them up … an army of young Islamic men went to Iraq to fight the American invaders; they left the country more militant, hardened by war, to spread across the Middle East, Europe and Central Asia … a river of blood runs alongside the Euphrates and Tigris … through a country that may never be put back together again.

“It is a common refrain among war-weary Iraqis that things were better before the U.S.-led invasion in 2003,” reported the Washington Post on May 5, 2007.

No matter … drum roll, please … Stand tall American GI hero! And don’t even think of ever apologizing. Iraq is forced by the United States to continue paying reparations for its own invasion of Kuwait in 1990. How much will the American heroes pay the people of Iraq?

“Unhappy the land that has no heroes …
No. Unhappy the land that needs heroes.”
— Bertolt Brecht, Life of Galileo

“What we need to discover in the social realm is the moral equivalent of war; something heroic that will speak to men as universally as war does, and yet will be as compatible with their spiritual selves as war has proved to be incompatible.”
— William James, The Varieties of Religious Experience

Perhaps the groundwork for that heroism already exists … February 15, 2003, a month before the US invasion of Iraq, probably the largest protest in human history, between six and ten million protesters took to the streets of some 800 cities in nearly sixty countries across the globe.

Iraq. Love it or leave it.

Read More on Killing Hope

6 Comments on "William Blum on What Americans Should Not Forget About the Iraq War"

  1. Anonymous | Sep 5, 2010 at 10:46 pm |

    “Stand tall American GI hero! And don’t even think of ever apologizing.”

    No apology could suffice. So none will be given.
    PTSD, suicide, divorce, domestic violence, and hopelessness are our reward.


  2. Rkhowell0211 | Sep 6, 2010 at 3:00 pm |

    We, the American people, are bombarded with disinformation every day How do we differentiate between the true and the untrue? In this computer imaging world of ours today, we can be shown most anything with such reality ,how can we disbelieve? I do my best to research and then decide what I’ll believe. This was a well written article and gave me much to think about. I will certainly be reading more on the subject remembering that every book or article is the opinion of the author. We can look at what we’ve learned about “so called” history in the last few decades and know that we can’t believe everything we read.

  3. Anonymous | Sep 6, 2010 at 5:42 pm |

    Thank you, Mr. Blum.

    Certainly, a more intelligent citizen hasn’t been forthcoming with regard to many Iraqi combat veterans, juding from their entreaties to send them donations, so they can send money to the death profiteers and war profiteers to stop the death profiteers and war profiteers!!!!


    Yes, they want to run ads and contribute to the disinformation campaigns of GE, and the New York Times.

    Hmmmm…what could ever be wrong with the strategy of halting the death profiteers by sending all your money to them?

    Definitely, the volunteer army has yet to provide us with any real thinking citizens…..

  4. Don’t be so quick to blame the US soldiers, they don’t need to apologize. They are brainwashed pawns who suffer with the Iraqis from the affects of this war. We all suffer. War brings nothing but suffering.

  5. As harsh as I may be toward the administrations that use, employ, abuse and discard them…I’m not on board with denigrating the people in the armed services. Frankly…three tours back to back in Iraq or Afghanistan is enough to transform even the most level-headed Midwestern kid nextdoor into a well trained killing machine only seconds from snapping. I’ve got friends and family that have served…and both the older Vietnam veterans and the younger Iraq veterans are living with some manifestations of PTSD…and they aren’t getting the help they need.

    I enjoy William Blum’s books…particularly Rogue State, which did a great job of dispelling the myth of the Clinton years being ‘dove-ish’…they were anything but…and its good to keep hammering home the truth that we, as a nation, transformed a modernized, secular, Westernized economy nation in the middle east into a hollowed out, blasted ruin with no infrastructure…and the irony of Americans complaining about the Iraqis being unable to manage their own country…after we chased off the middle class who fled years ago while we tore apart the infrastructure they used to have…well, it isn’t lost on some of us.

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