In August, 2002, after a 35 year absence from the peace movement, following the Vietnam War. I re-upped. Why? I read an article buried deep in the Chicago Trib about America’s multi-billion dollar buildup in the Middle East to attack Iraq over their presumed but fictitious WMD program. It strongly implied it was too late to stop America’s advance to pre-emptive war regardless of what the ongoing UN inspectors found.
Sure enough, 7 months later the U.S. did attack, 19 years ago this day. Hundreds of thousands of dead people and trillions of wasted US treasure, the US still has soldiers defiling Iraq. They still encounter attacks from Iraqi militia who, along with the Iraqi government, want us out.
President George W. Bush and his war cabinet sold our citizenry the Iraq war with lies, propaganda and fear tactics. It worked perfectly to garner support for a murderous war that should never have been fought.
And on this sorrowful anniversary of a war that should never have been fought, America is involved, indirectly, in another preventive war that should never have been fought. But this time it is Russia that started what has called a preventive war, against its neighbor Ukraine.
While America is working mightily to aid Ukraine short of direct involvement, it has never come to terms with its own illegal, immoral and criminal war in Iraq. Nineteen years on it’s virtually forgotten. If mentioned at all, it’s simply to call it a mistake.
Nineteen years from now Russia, like the US, may still be in Ukraine…and simply calling its tragic consequences a mistake.
To paraphrase Gertrude Stein in her 1913 poem "Sacred Emily," "A criminal war is a criminal war…is a criminal war."
Walt Zlotow became involved in antiwar activities upon entering University of Chicago in 1963. He is current president of the West Suburban Peace Coalition based in the Chicago western suburbs. He blogs daily on antiwar and other issues at www.heartlandprogressive.blogspot.com.