As the grim milestone of the 3,000th American troop death approaches in Iraq, what can we say about the war that hasn't been said before?
On September 7, 2005, I wrote a lengthy analysis-from-afar on political and military developments in Iraq, called The Danger of Iraqi Partition. On that same day, we were approaching the 2,000 US-dead-in-Iraq milestone, 1,892 to be exact. Just as today, in the United States these figures of US troop deaths garner the attention of the media, that still pretends the hundreds of thousands of Iraqis dead, wounded, and displaced are a mere footnote.
It reminds one of the old Tarzan novels of Edgar Rice Burroughs, where the entire world exists as a background within which a white European male protagonist can have an adventure about which white males can fantasize. The media in the US is still completely the captive of the White Man's Burden narrative, even though the term, "White Man," has now been supplanted by "American." This is evident in the reflexive valorization of American life over the lives of dark foreigners -- which, admittedly, is necessary to sustain circulation and political clout in a culture of national chauvinism. It is also evident in the seeming inability to visualize any "solution" to the whirlwind reaped by US policy in Iraq that does not require the continued employment of US troops to occupy Iraq.
While this milestone will be used -- as it should be in my opinion -- to mobilize emotional support for the redeployment of US troops back to the United States and the end of the US military occupation of Iraq, I am going to take this opportunity -- which it is -- to introduce a more clinical account of what is happening with this war. It is fairly obvious now that most Americans want to be rid of this war. In a sense, then, the campaign to build opposition has achieved momentum in a direction that seems unlikely to be reversed. The question that arises now, and the one for which there is little satisfaction in mainstream commercialized or Democratic Party discourse, is what do "we" do? How do "we" get out?
The principal reason there have been no satisfactory answers to that question is that the majority of people rely on professional pundits and news models to acquire the baseline impressions of what is actually happening in Iraq. The account that is being propagated is one that is shallow, simplistic, largely inaccurate, and widely believed by the pundits themselves. They themselves are the captives of their own chauvinist assumptions and of the cosmic vacuums in their heads where the politics of war should be.