Oh What A Lovely War -- One Year On
by P. Anthony Farruggio
March 27, 2004

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I can recall the first moments of my country's attack on Iraq. The night before, I had just finished my " umpteenth" argument with NYC pals, via e-mail. One ole buddy, a recently retired EMS policeman, was vehement in the need for this war. His rationale was simple: "They have the capacity to nuke New York City whenever Saddam chooses- to finish the job Bin Laden started." My Jewish NYC pal was more concerned about the fate of Israel." We can't let this guy send a nuke over to Tel Aviv- we gotta stop this madman!" A third buddy, my best friend in fact, found himself in the middle. Being a progressive and a pacifist by nature, he was against the imminent attack on Iraq. Yet, "Saddam has got to go- I just pray its over really quickly, with not too many innocent people killed!" Thus, a sleepless night for yours truly. I prayed , at the eleventh hour, that reason would overwhelm our cowboy leader to allow the inspection process to continue.

The morning found me turning on the boob tube to MSNBC. I watched the commentators cheer leading as our massive missile attacks proceeded to decimate the countryside and any civilians in the way. Thousands were being killed and maimed, with no water supply, no electricity, food soon running scarce- and the Lester Holts of our glorious media were towing the company line. All I could do was cry, for what seemed an hour, from the utter frustration at what my America had just done. Well, you know the rest. We won the war within days, and one year later continue to occupy Iraq. My neighbor down the street, a wonderful guy and retired Air Force lifer ( and rabid Bush supporter), was reassuring me right after the invasion. " Oh no, we'll be there maybe 6 months, until they get straightened out there, and then we're out." I argued back that we would " never" leave Iraq- it was too important as to the whys of this attack, aka OIL OIL OIL and a permanent military presence in Iraq. He just shook his head and told me how terrible and dangerous Saddam Hussein had been: " He had to go, and now, before he could use his WMDs."

Foresight can be 20-20, if one is properly informed. We on the patriotic and dissenting left, we read what the mainstream media failed to investigate at the time. We knew that this was not about WMDs from the outset. Hindsight, our wonderful comforter, reveals through none other than Paul Wolfowitz, a top Bush defense strategist, this confirmation. He stated, well after the ' smoke'( and mirrors) of our invasion had settled, the truth we on the left already knew. In his post regime change interview with Vanity Fair, Wolfowitz stated that the WMDs were just the most convenient bureaucratic reason for selling the war to the public. Dear reader, please read the previous sentence again, and then go out and get Orwell's 1984. In it, with hindsight of Orwell's literary foresight, he reveals to us his nightmare, now finally coming to fruition: a totalitarian society devoid of any semblance of reason, rationale, or empathy for anything but the State.

So, its one year later and what have we all learned? Kids from my area are beginning to come home- reservists who never in their wildest dreams imagined the fate they just experienced when first they signed up. Thinking it was a good way to earn a few extra bucks a month, and other residuals, were they in for the shock of their lives! Occupying a nation destroyed by our smart bombs and shock and awe attack, these kids went from part time soldier, to fighting warrior, finally to policeman- all in a matter of weeks. Top that off with the fact that , contrary to what the Bushes and the press keep feeding us, lots of Iraqis, even Saddam haters, simply do not care to be occupied by a foreign army. They know that our troops represent the country that starved them with sanctions for over 10 years, disregarding the hundreds of thousands of children who died as a result ( leave no child behind Georgie boy?). A nation (us) who destroyed their drinkable water supplies on purpose during the first Gulf war. Mix these folks in with the many terrorist factions who have flocked to Iraq, post invasion, and we have our young brave kids in harms way. And who is profiting from all of this? Research the contractors cherry picked by this administration, some with no bidding allowed, and then check out the campaign donors from 2000- its simple when you follow da money!

Who is this ex-National Guardsman ( Commander in Grief?) who sent other National Guard into the hornet's nest? During the other undeclared war, Vietnam, many young men, this writer included, opposed with vigor what was happening. We demonstrated and we marched to bring our troops home. I can recall guys from my neighborhood who came home in body bags , devastating our whole community. In those days, it was common practice for anti war dissenters of draft age to either avoid the war through a student deferment, or join the National Guard. In those days, the Guard would be the last to ever have to go and fight in Vietnam. Thus, our Commander in Grief, a man who supported the action in Vietnam, knowingly opted out of harms way for the more cushier Air National Guard. Meanwhile, John McCain, another supporter of said war, was being shot down over Hanoi, as young pilot Bush was hoisting a few brews in Texas. I would include Alabama, but so far, only one of the hundreds who were there ever remembers him regularly showing up . To add insult to injury , Bush struts from a fighter plane wearing a navy fighter pilot's uniform, instead of his Air National Guard outfit!

They say "time heals all wounds." Well, its one year on, some 100 plus billion of our tax dollars gone out the window, and our kids are still being picked off . Our military will never leave that country, as it will become another of the over 700 bases we secure worldwide- goodness, there aren't even 700 countries! The Iraqi oil will soon start gushing, our gas prices will then go down, and many troops will come home. Saddam will either be tried by a military tribunal, or suddenly be assassinated by one of the millions he repressed ( or perhaps commit suicide in custody). Thus, he could never reveal all that he knew and all that we here do not know ( get my drift?). Our presidential election once again will be close, and Bush may win, or he may not. The sad reality is that, in victory or defeat, about half of my fellow voters will have supported this disgraceful and disingenuous group of people. All in the name of fear, hype and spin. Its one year on, and what have you learned?

P. Anthony Farruggio is the founder of FAER (Florida Association for Economic Reform). This Brooklyn NY born, bred and educated (Brooklyn College '74) son of a longshoreman, has had over 40 columns posted on progressive sites and newspapers since the 2000 election, including NewsInsider.org , Buzzflash, Dissident Voice and Counterpunch.com. He can be reached at PAnthonyF@aol.com

Other Articles by Philip Anthony Farruggio

* Medicare For All: Now or Never?
* The Cleaning Lady

* Circuses and Sleeping Giants
Judgment At Bushemberg




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