Sunday, November 12, 2006

The Civil War in Iraq

Scrolling down the page in Juan Cole today we have:
In Samarra, police report that the bodies of beheaded 5 Iraqi soldiers were brought to the morgue.
Think about this. If such an atrocity happened in any Western country, particularly in the United States, it would be non-stop 24/7 coverage. The talking heads would explode. It is likely that martial law would be imposed and Republicans would seek to nullify this weeks election. Instead, it is just one more horror observed by a man who was denied a tenured position at Yale because he reports the truth.

Day after day, year after year, Juan Cole reports this stark news until it easily piles up to an utterly devastating holocaust. (Yes, non-Jews can use that word too. But there will be no memorial to the hundreds of thousands killed in Iraq as a result of our actions there.)

It is frequent that people do not realize what is happening during the occurrence of momentous events. That is especially true in America where most people are almost entirely oblivious to what is going on the the outside world. In addition, We have been stable politically since the Civil War (No, I don't think the late sixties classify as anything other than a blip in our political life. In any case, it got us out of Vietnam.) But, we can never go back to those times. The world has irrevocably changed, and we are muchly responsible for the change.

At this point there is too much guilt riding on our shoulders for us to pretend to be a decent people without some kind of compensation to the people of Iraq.

I am not sure how we could do this. Trying to extract even a penny from those obscenely wealthy people in America who have profited from our invasion is a dauntless task. Somehow, when people come into possession of things (especially money), no matter what the circumstances, they protect these things as if they were their children. (It must be something from our earliest days as a species.) And, as anyone can see, this is particularly true of money. Why, you might ask, does Bill Gates need personal wealth of over $50 BILLION? Wealth which exceeds the gross domestic product of over 100 countries in the world (including Nicaragua which is just $5 billion?)

Is Bill Gates responsible for the Civil War in Iraq? Of course not directly. But as someone who has profited enormously from the war machine that is my country, just as the Krupp dynasty in Germany, he holds a disproportionate share of blame, because he has done nothing to stop it. He wields power because of his wealth. He is the richest man in the world. He could buy peace if he wished.

Just think about that. He could buy peace if he wished.

I pick on Bill Gates because he is at the top. But there are literally millions of people in America who could change the course of history if they just realized it was in their best interest. Unfortunately, by the time they get around to thinking about this, it will be too late.

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