Wednesday, May 16, 2007

The Siege of Iraq

I am sick.

I am sick of the righteous indignation of the right-wing militarists, proudly on display in last night's Republican debates. "America is innocent!", they cry ("Israel is innocent!" is the companion cry). They should study a little bit of Christian theology--none are innocent. We are all sinners. They claim that "America is the victim"; that there is no good reason for anyone to dislike us; that there is nothing that we could have done to reduce anyone's desire to harm us.

They are full of shit, and it's making me nauseous. Sean Hannity dismisses the suffering of the Iraqi people during the 1990s by invoking our "moral obligation" to drive the Iraqi army from Kuwait and then lay siege to Iraq. Hannity implies that we have a moral obligation to use violence: we never have a moral obligation to use violence. We sometimes have the right to use violence, but even that is questionable if our violence will engulf non-aggressors.

If there is any chance that you are buying into the (American) militarist myth that we only fight wars against "evil despots" and never against the subjugated people, then you need to refresh your memory about the Siege of Iraq. From 1991 to 2003, the USA blockaded and bombed Iraq. By the time we were done, the society had collapsed. It's hard to say that the people themselves were simply collateral damage in this strategy--just like strategic bombing in WWII (culminating the the atomic bombing of Japan), this strategy is designed to destroy the society's ability (or will) to field a military by destroying the entire economy of that society. The people are the target, just as much as they were on September 11, 2001.

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