We know the numbers -- 1 trillion dollars, 5 years, 775 detainees in Guantanamo, 935 false statements made by the administration, about 4,000 dead Americans, 30-50,000 wounded soldiers, over 100,000 soldiers with treated and untreated PTSD, almost a million dead Iraqis, 2 million internally displaced Iraqis and up to 3 million Iraqi refugees who have left the country.
But apparently this is not a problem, as the political elite in this country do not serve, and the cannon fodder producing communities across the country do not count.
We do know that no party leadership, Democrat or Republican cares a whit about the Iraq occupation, whether it is the fifth anniversary, or the hundredth -- except as it can be used to mobilize a vote or two.
We know that the kingmakers in America -- the New York Times and the Washington Post, and the major television stations -- all support the continuation of the Iraq occupation, indefinitely. Attacks on Iran? Well, it seems they will probably support that as well. The Iraq fifth anniversary features in both papers were carefully posed to be generally supportive of the actions taken by Bush and Cheney -- while "honestly" considering the faults and flaw of execution. To look at the glass half full -- well, we have all those nice bases overseas, and think of the oil and democracies we are "protecting."
And we wouldn't want Israel to feel all alone -- isn't that a good reason for an otherwise immoral and rapacious occupation of Iraq? Plus -- what are you going to do -- bring the troops all home?
Actually, yes. That is exactly what we are going to do -- just like in 1975, and just like the Soviets out of Afghanistan in 1989. Our unemployable, ill-tempered, chemical and drug-addicted, betrayed troops will indeed come home. They will be want to talk about their experiences -- but no one at their kitchen table will understand, or even want to listen. Their nightmares and pain-filled memories mirror our stupid and well-deserved guilt. Just like five years ago and today, ten years from now we still won't be ready to talk about why the will of the American people (don't 70+ percent oppose the occupation) was inconsequential, and why we ignored our constitutional requirement for Congressional action pro or con on Iraq before 4,000 of our soldiers died there for no reason whatsoever.
OK -- you've been waiting. There is a reason for five and ten and twenty years and even a hundred in Iraq. Arms sales, security services sales, occupation related business, and the inevitable nature of bureaucracies to grow no matter what -- whether it be the State Department consoled by an administration that hates them with a monstrous Baghdad palace of symbolic American "influence," or a beloved Pentagon and intelligence apparatus that has never seen such fat budget years, with such minimal justification, gaining such a net negative in American security. It's all good for State Department and Pentagon business and budgets. War works.
When mainstream media complains about the war -- they do so carefully, because too many people in this country benefit in one way or another from the American warfare-welfare state. To do the right thing at the national level will cost the government -- Republicans and Democrats -- credibility (Why did we go? Why didn't we come home sooner?) and budget justification (no war on terror through occupation and aggression, no need for DHS, or a half trillion a year Pentagon budget). To do the right thing will cost -- in the short term -- actual jobs in districts who get tax dollars for products relating to maintenance and expansion of our global military empire.
Until we recognize what we have become as a nation -- and look our weaknesses and dependencies in the face -- we cannot afford to care about 4,000 soldiers, or 40,000. They died and are dying to make us feel good, to sustain an illusion of national productivity, to nurture our fantasy of national moral superiority.
And unlike the Jesus we remember this Easter, overcoming death to raise our own moral standards and free us from unproductive and selfish lives -- the dead Americans and Iraqis are going to stay dead as permanent testaments to our lack of ethics, our economic barrenness, and our supreme selfishness. One thing is for sure -- and maybe the mainstream media actually got it right. You can't blame Bush and Cheney, five years later.