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Iraq Is Not the Second World War


Fred A Wilcox • 3 December 2004

Mother tucked me into my bed, and then waited while I said my prayers. “God bless daddy in the Philippines,” I said. “And God bless aunt Wanda in Europe, and cousin Benny, and…” My daddy had been sent first to Europe, then to the Philippines where his unit was training for the invasion of Japan. Each night I fell asleep, wondering if I would ever see my dad again. Sometimes I cried into my pillow, but I was proud of my father because he was fighting to free the world from Fascism. He was doing what good men and women had always done—risking his life so that others could live in peace and freedom.

One night my hero came home from the war on a troop train. People were screaming and crying and hugging the men who disembarked from this train. And there was daddy, walking toward us with a Japanese rifle slung over his shoulder. My heart exploded with pride. *My country had defeated Fascism. We had a right to be proud of victory over the forces of evil. From now on, the world would be a safer place for children like myself. Never again would I have lie in bed, sobbing because my daddy was far away, serving his country in a time of war.

I will always be proud of my father, and I will always honor the men and women who gave their lives to end Hitler’s tyranny and to defeat Japan. But I fail to understand how accepting government lies and deception honors the sacrifice of American, Irish, British, and so many other soldiers who fought in World War II. Moreover, I’m growing increasingly angry at those who choose to insult the memory of these courageous men and women by insisting that the war on Iraq (not in, but on) is a crusade to liberate the Iraqi people from tyranny so that they can one day establish an American-style democracy.

The tragedy for the Iraqi people, and for young Americans who are killing and dying in that country, is that unscrupulous politicians like George W. Bush and friends are willing to sully the memory of soldiers like my father by insisting that the war on Iraq is about justice and freedom and democracy. Comparing the war on Iraq to World War II is like suggesting that a camel and a humming bird look alike. If one is to believe the news media, and I certainly do not, it would appear that destroying Fallujah, a city of 300,000, is similar to the liberation of Paris. Driving tens of thousands of Iraqi civilians into refugee camps is similar to pushing the German Army out of Belgium. Dropping 500-pound bombs on homes and hospitals is similar to defeating Rommel’s tank units in North Africa.

I am not trying to discredit the bravery, or question the honor, of U.S. soldiers who are dying and being seriously wounded (135 killed in action this past November) in Iraq. I am asking why the politicians who were, theoretically, elected to serve the American people are so silent? What accounts for their refusal to question the necessity of spending 200 million dollars a day in Iraq, a billion dollars a week, to destroy a country that is not a threat, never was a threat, and never will be a threat to world peace? Why are those who claim to believe in “democracy” so quiet when women and children are being killed by American bombs and bullets in Iraq, when entire cities are being destroyed, when a guerrilla campaign against the U.S occupation is growing, when the Pentagon is asking for more troops, extending tours of duty of soldiers already in the war zone, and predicting that the occupation might last from five to ten years more years?

In the documentary film, “Fog of War,” former Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara talks about the role he played in the Johnson administration’s attempts to win the Vietnam War. Now in his eighties, McNamara appears to regret some of the decisions he made; nevertheless, he continues to argue that nations must sometimes do “evil” in order to accomplish a “greater good.” Governments, says McNamara, must consider “proportionality,” when fighting wars, meaning that intelligent, logical, educated men and women must decide whether it is necessary to kill large numbers of innocent human in order to achieve some worthwhile goal. Mr. McNamara did not say whether he thought destroying Vietnam in order to save it was compatible with his own Catholic beliefs. Nor was he asked whether he believed that, like the Second World War in which he participated, Vietnam was a crusade to liberate the world from Fascism.

Watching this film, I was stunned by how little Mr. McNamara seems to have learned from the debacle in Vietnam, and how easy it would be to substitute Iraq for nearly every single thing he has to say about Vietnam. Like Vietnam, our politicians are lying to the American people, to the world, and to themselves about the war in Iraq. Like Vietnam, our military insists that it will soon defeat the ragtag guerrillas who dare to attack on the mightiest army in the world. Like Vietnam, the United States of America is willing to use massive firepower to defeat the enemy, even if this means killing great numbers of innocent civilians. And like Vietnam, the architects of the madness in Iraq will send their own sons and daughters off to Harvard and Yale, not to the killing fields of the Middle East. Mr. Bush and company will celebrate the holidays far from the stench of burning children and rotting bodies; far from the screams of terrified civilians trapped inside of their homes while bombs rain upon their neighborhood. Mr. Bush and friends will gather around a cozy fire to celebrate the birth of the Prince of Peace. Perhaps they will sing carols and thank God that they live in the richest and most powerful country in the world. They might even raise a toast to victory over the evil ones who are audacious enough to fight back against the occupation of their homeland.

One can only hope that these jolly champions of world freedom will step back from their hubris and ask themselves why they think that turning an ancient country in into a parking lot, so that it can be rebuilt as a Wal-Mart shopping center, is a noble thing to do. They might also ask themselves how they can be so crass as to suggest that a massive preemptive attack on an impoverished nation is similar to D-Day at Normandy.

G.W. Bush and his coterie will continue to insist that good things come out of unnecessary, illegal, wars. That’s because, while other young men were dying in the jungles and rice paddies of Vietnam, these armchair warriors were snug as little millionaire bugs, always ready to play the Rambo hero, yet never willing to risk their own lives for the principles in which they claim, so very passionately, to believe.




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The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent



All censorships exist to prevent any one from challenging current conceptions and existing institutions. All progress is initiated by challenging current conceptions, and executed by supplanting existing institutions. Consequently the first condition of progress is the removal of censorships.
- George Bernard Shaw

Index: Current Articles

6 December 2004

Other Articles From This Issue:

The Fleece Process
Anthony McIntyre

Padraic Paisley
Anthony McIntyre

Revolutionary Unionism
Dr John Coulter

Official Secrets
Mick Hall

Kilmichael Controversay Continues
Liam O Ruairc

Turkish Man Beaten and Racially Abused by PSNI in front of Witnesses

Iraq is Not the Second World War
Fred A Wilcox

Dancing at the Edge of the Abyss
Karen Lyden Cox

2 December 2004

Questions - and Doubts - Remain
Tommy Gorman

Another Crisis for Trimble?
Dr John Coulter

No Gangster More Cruel
Anthony McIntyre

Love Your Enemy More Than Your Friend
Elana Golden

Mick Hall

The Biggest Mistake They Could Have Made
Áine Fox

Danilo Anderson and Condoleeza Rice
Toni Solo



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