We Americans are not the best at history. Because of the spin of corporate-controlled media, we are not reminded of the consistent pattern of deception exhibited by our government when the ‘power behind the wheel’ wants a new conflict. Nor are we reminded of the tremendous profitability of war for the corporations who count on such conflicts to inflate their bottom line. It’s a disturbing and disgusting business.
Let’s review a bit. The United States has initiated over 50 wars and conflicts since World War II, far more than any other nation and likely more than all other nations combined. Whether Vietnam, Panama, Kosovo/Serbia, or even the tiny island of Grenada, the U.S. government uses war to further the goals of empire [read enriching corporations] and to distract us from other, often more urgent, issues. And this at a phenomenal cost - in terms of money, ecology and most importantly human life.
Of course the more recent focus has been on the Middle-east, part of the U.S.plutocracy’s plan to dominate the arena of energy. Since that’s where the oil is, massive energy companies like Exxon, BP, Royal Shell, Total and Chevron have gamed the system to keep us enmeshed in Iraq, Afghanistan and now potentially Iran. In Iraq, these corporations have now secured new oil contracts after getting the boot by Saddam Hussien 30 year ago, thanks to the role our government played in this ongoing debacle.
Let’s not forget that, while we’re ‘officially’ troop-free in Iraq, there are still thousands of U.S. paid mercenaries in that foreign country, and that we left that country with estimates ranging from 200,000 to a million dead Iraqi citizens. From a human perspective, it’s unfathomable that we, as in the U.S. government, not only allowed but actually lead such actions. And let’s not forget all the lies and media manipulation that were part of the drumbeat to attack Iraq.
The story is similar in Afghanistan. Not as oil rich, Afghanistan has a wealth of minerals and more importantly is strategically located for pipelines to transport oil and natural gas. There are those who suggest that plans for attacking Afghanistan were laid well before 911 and the idea of removing Osama Bin Ladin, the presumed justification for an attack of that war-torn country.
And now, it’s apparently time for the Iran Edition of war. With Iran the dynamics are a little more complex due to the long-standing animosity between Iran and Israel, America’s favorite client state. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad seems to enjoy tweaking the Israeli establishment, proclaiming that the Holocaust was fabricated. And yet the ever-over-reactive Israeli government now feels it has little choice but to ‘defend’ itself by attacking Iran. This even though Iran is still years away from a nuclear weapon, if that is even its intent. [Iran claims its nuclear ambitions are strictly energy-related.] And of course, Israel will not act without at least implicit support from the U.S.
So, what can we, the people do to prevent such nefarious behavior by our government? This is a challenge. The millions that protested globally back in the spring of 2003 did not prevent the U.S. from attacking Iraq. Even the hundreds of thousands of protesters that marched on Washington in September of the same year were almost completely ignored by politicians and corporate-owned media.
But there is hope. First, let’s recognize that the dynamics have changed. There was no Occupy Movement when we attacked Iraq. While the Occupy Movement is in a bit of disarray right now as it finds its grounding, I do not doubt that an attack on Iran would be a wildly cohesive event for Occupy. We Occupiers understand the sharp connection between war and profit.
Also, there are more voices than ever reminding us of the U.S. government’s predilection toward war. Peace groups are coalescing, building coalitions and gaining members and strength. The new lies about the ‘Iran Nuclear Threat’ [always there is the threat to justify the despicable behavior called war] are less believable after the lies of Iraq and Afghanistan.
And finally, there is little taste among the vast majority of Americans for another war. We’re broke and we’re wounded and we’re burnt out from these recent fiascoes, and it seems likely that those elected representatives that encourage and/or vote for war with Iran will pay a price come this November’s election.
I do not expect ‘wiser heads will prevail’ to be the sentiment in Washington. There are few wise heads left in that desert of integrity. And being in middle of this circus we call an election cycle, the rhetoric is even worse. But the politicians will see the writing on the wall if we make the effort to raise our voices condemning this idea of war on Iran. They are self-preservation minded.
Raising our voices. This is what we require in these uncertain times and stuck within this broken system. Today’s lesson? Democracy is not a spectator sport.