Wednesday, February 29, 2012

When America Became a Lynch Mob or do SUPERPOWERS Never Have to Say They're Sorry

In March 2003, a Gallup poll concluded that 79% of Americans thought the Iraq War was justified, with or without conclusive evidence of illegal weapons.  By 2012, that number had shrunk to 33%.    Oops. . . we changed our minds!

Between the time those two polls were taken, 6,486 Americans lost their lives in the Iraq War, a reported 32, 226 were seriously wounded, and an estimated one in five soldiers returned home from Baghdad suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder or major depression. On the Iraqi side, U.S. Army Field Reports stated that 109,032 Iraqis were killed, the majority of whom (66,081)  were civilians.   ORB in London disputes those figures and reports the number of Iraqi casualties as being closer to 1.3 million, even though their numbers have received little attention in the American press.  

My question is this. What responsibility do citizens in a democracy have to redress foreign policy mistakes, when the victims number in the hundreds of thousands?  Should it matter that the public's initial support for the war in Iraq  took on the fervor of a lynch mob, seeking vengeance after 9/11?   Of course, we can blame former President George Bush for the invasion of Iraq with good reason.  After all, the White House insisted that Saddam Hussein was hiding "weapons of mass destruction."   But somehow this all sounds a bit too pat and familiar, because. . .that's how things used to be done in Mississippi.

The lynch mob hangs the nig--- from the highest tree and then goes back to being sheriff, store clerk or housewife.  Yes, it may turn out later that the victim had been wronged, but the whole town surged forth, cheering on whomever swung the rope around the tree branch and tied it around the victim's neck. And with the body left dangling from the tree, normal, everyday life returns.
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