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Make Them Accountable / David Podvin: Eternal Nightmare

David Podvin: Eternal Nightmare


By David Podvin

When Lieutenant General Ricardo Sanchez commanded the American troops in Iraq he passionately insisted that the United States was winning. Now that Sanchez has retired he describes our nation’s occupation of Iraq as being “a nightmare with no end in sight.” This statement not only reverses Sanchez’ pronouncements made while in uniform, it also contradicts the optimistic congressional testimony of current commander General David Petraeus… who apparently really did betray us. Sanchez says it was his duty to obey orders and not dissent publicly when he was on active duty, but that in retirement he feels obliged to speak the truth. By acknowledging candor is incompatible with military service the former officer has mocked the Senate resolution that condemns questioning the integrity of warriors. According to the prevailing wisdom, Sanchez must be regarded as a traitor.

He is not alone. Everyone who tells the truth about the Iraq War is deemed to be a traitor, just as everyone who lies about the Iraq War is exalted as a patriot. Modern America is reality inverted, a fabulist’s Wonderland that transcends the wildest imagination of Lewis Carroll. Once, the United States destroyed Vietnamese villages in order to save them. Now, we are winning a glorious victory in Iraq by getting our asses kicked. Surrealism is a wonderful artistic device, but it is even more effective as a governing tool. The American people have become so disoriented by ambient fantasy that they are subsidizing the war as they oppose it. Yet when the fairy tales are cast aside, it becomes clear that America is losing in Iraq and will continue to lose in Iraq because there is nothing to win in Iraq.

Except for oil. The price of crude oil reached a new high on Friday, so the estimated Iraqi petroleum reserves are now worth eighteen trillion dollars. It should not be hard to believe that people will lie when so much money is at stake, especially when you consider that most people are willing to lie for free. But when the mammon is vast the lies become correspondingly enormous, with presidents and generals and senators and journalists all brazenly insisting that truth is fiction and vice versa.

It is not conspiracy… it is self-interest. In American politics those who lie on behalf of Big Business prosper, which explains why Democrats campaign by opposing the war but govern by supporting the war. Our system functions on the principle that you can fool most of the people most of the time, and that when you fool them to benefit the wealthy you share in the spoils.

When the deceivers are no longer dependent upon corporate largesse they occasionally tell the truth. Like Sanchez, Alan Greenspan is a former government official who since retiring has been possessed by a newfound compulsion to be honest. The ex-Federal Reserve Board Chairman wrote in his book that the Iraq War is “all about oil”. Greenspan has already earned a considerable fortune by lying for Wall Street so he feels free to dabble in forbidden truth, which has led him to state publicly that America‘s motivation for invading Iraq was entirely venal.

But of course. What other motive could there have been? Protecting the homeland from non-existent super weapons poised to smite us all? Vanquishing Al Qaeda in Iraq even though Al Qaeda wasn’t in Iraq? Deposing a brutal dictator (in the name of fighting tyranny) after having supported that brutal dictator (also in the name of fighting tyranny)? Promoting the sacred democratic values that we don’t  bother practicing in the United States? Selflessly shepherding Iraqi peasants towards modernity so they can afford to join Club Med?

Or did we conquer Iraq because that is what Jesus would have done?

Once you get past the majestic mountains of bullshit across the fruited plain, the truth is that we are in Iraq because the fucking Iraqis had our goddamn oil. Now that we have reclaimed what God rendered unto us we are never giving it back.

Rudolph Giuliani says that the United States will be in Iraq “for the long haul”. Hillary Clinton has been quoted as saying that American troops will still be in Iraq after she serves two presidential terms. That is one political promise which definitely will be kept. With so much wealth at stake, American troops will still be in Iraq after Chelsea Clinton serves two presidential terms.

During the 2000 Florida recount, I became acquainted with an advisor to Al Gore’s campaign. I recently asked this guy why the former vice president had decided against running in 2008. He responded that if Gore became president the Iraq War would end and that Gore understands the Iraq War will not be allowed to end, therefore Gore cannot become president. Mr. Gore believes that he could win the presidency again, but as the 2000 election demonstrated winning the presidency and becoming president are two very different things.

For Al Gore devotion to principle exceeds personal ambition, words that have never been written about Giuliani or Clinton. For them, as with all the other viable presidential contenders, the goal is to honor the corporate agenda and reap the considerable personal benefits of doing so.

Consequently, next year Americans will experience yet another farcical exercise in democracy. No matter who wins the election the Iraq War will continue. American soldiers will continue to die and American taxpayers will continue to pay so that American corporations will continue to thrive. That is reality, and there is no relief in sight.

When Ricardo Sanchez said the nightmare is endless, he wasn’t exaggerating.

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Comments (3) left to “David Podvin: Eternal Nightmare”

  1. Cole... wrote:

    Sad but True.

    Very Very Sad but Very Very Truely Sad.

  2. j snow wrote:

    It’s all about the oil! I suggest demonstrations be held every day at:

    Exxon Corporate Headquarters
    5959 Las Colinas Boulevard
    Irving, Texas 75039-2298.

    These jerks are the reason we are in Iraq and they are the reason we have pissed away $1 trillion just so they can make $40 billion/year. It is a bad investment by the American people and Exxon should be held accountable since we sure as hell can’t seem to hold Dumbyass accountable.

  3. David Podvin: Eternal Nightmare « The Agonist wrote:

    [...] Click here for more. [...]

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