1. “Media AWOL in exposing Iraq War’s years of ineptitude
Our country isn’t unique in making war needlessly, but we may be unique in our insouciance. Attention really should be paid. After all, destroying another country is a big deal. Between 105,000 and 130,000 Iraqi civilians died violently, and half a million more were lost to degraded infrastructure, lousy healthcare and other miseries caused by years of murderous strife uncorked by the U.S. invasion.
Some two million Iraqis are now refugees, and hundreds of thousands of ordinary lives have been mutilated.
You’d think some sort of examination is in order: Congressional hearings? A truth and reconciliation commission? At least, an extended segment on 60 Minutes?
Forget apologies. The United States doesn’t do apologies. The closest our media have come to voicing regret is lamenting the war’s trillion-dollar cost and the torments of our own combatants, the 4,500 military personnel killed and many thousands maimed physically or psychologically.
It’s estimated that of the 2.8 million who have served since 2001, some 30 percent will live with physical or psychological disability.
These young people heeded the country’s call to duty, but the media do little more than pander to them as “returning heroes,” rather than honor their service by demanding to know why anybody thought it was necessary.
What was that all about anyway? Shouldn’t we ask? The media got plenty of criticism for swallowing the lies and stoking the fires of war beforehand.”
2. “The Empire’s Ideology: Imperialism and “Anti-Imperialism of the Fools”
One of the great paradoxes of history are the claims of imperialist politicians to be engaged in a great humanitarian crusade, a historic “civilizing mission” designed to liberate nations and peoples, while practicing the most barbaric conquests, destructive wars and large scale bloodletting of conquered people in historical memory.
In the modern capitalist era, the ideologies of imperialist rulers vary over time, from the early appeals to “the right” to wealth, power, colonies and grandeur to later claims of a ‘civilizing mission’. More recently imperial rulers have propagated, many diverse justifications adapted to specific contexts, adversaries, circumstances and audiences.
If we measure the consequences of the shift in imperial power, it is clear that the Eastern Europe countries have become even more subservient under the US and the EU than under Russia . Western induced financial crises have devastated their economies; Eastern European troops have served in more imperial wars under NATO than under Soviet rule; the cultural media are under Western commercial control. Most of all, the degree of imperial control over all economic sectors far exceeds anything that existed under the Soviets. The Eastern European ‘grass roots’ movement succeeded in deepening and extending the US Empire; the advocates of peace, social justice , national independence, a cultural renaissance and social welfare with democracy were the big losers.
Western liberals, progressives and leftists who fell in love with imperialist promoted “anti-imperialism” are also big losers. Their support for the NATO attack on Yugoslavia led to the break-up of a multi-national state and the creation of huge NATO military bases and a white slavers paradise in Kosova. Their blind support for the imperial promoted “liberation” of Eastern Europe devastated the welfare state, eliminating the pressure on Western regimes’ need to compete in providing welfare provisions. The main beneficiaries of Western imperial advances via ‘grass roots’ uprisings were the multi-national corporations, the Pentagon and the rightwing free market neo-liberals.As the entire political spectrum moved to the right a sector of the left and progressives eventually jumped on the bandwagon. The Left moralists lost credibility and support, their peace movements dwindled, and their “moral critiques” lost resonance. The left and progressives who tail-ended the imperial backed “grass roots movements”, whether in the name of “anti-Stalinism”, “pro-democracy” or “anti-imperialism” have never engaged in any critical reflection; no effort to analyze the long-term negative consequences of their positions in terms of the losses in social welfare, national independence or personal dignity.
The long history of imperialist manipulation of “anti-imperialist” narratives has found virulent expression in the present day. The New Cold War launched by Obama against China and Russia, the hot war brewing in the Gulf over Iran’s alleged military threat, the interventionist threat against Venezuela’s “drug-networks”, and Syria’s “bloodbath” are part and parcel of the use and abuse of “anti-imperialism” to prop up a declining empire. Hopefully, the progressive and leftist writers and scribes will learn from the ideological pitfalls of the past and resist the temptation to access the mass media by providing a ‘progressive cover’ to imperial dubbed “rebels”. It is time to distinguish between genuine anti-imperialism and pro-democracy movements and those promoted by Washington, NATO and the mass media.”