By MARC McDONALD
Supposedly, we Americans live in a free society and we enjoy freedom of speech. But in reality, in Bush's America, there's a great deal of information that is glaringly absent from America's public discourse. And on no topic are there more prohibitions about what can be said than the Iraq War. Which is ironic when you consider that one of Bush's stated reasons for the war was to bring democracy and "freedom" to the Middle East.
Here are five things that you're not allowed to say about the war in Iraq these days:
1. America Is Going To Be In Iraq Permanently. Despite all the debate about "when the troops should leave," the fact is, we will be in Iraq for decades to come. Otherwise, the U.S. wouldn't be constructing numerous giant permanent military bases in Iraq. This whole topic seems to be taboo for America's mainstream media. Nobody in the gutless White House press corps has yet bothered to demand answers from Bush about this during a news conference.
2. The Iraqi People Don't Want Our Troops In Their Country. I have to admit, I'm baffled by the current debate in America's mainstream media over what the consequences of withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq would be. I've heard plenty of politicians claim that chaos and civil war would result. There's only one problem: Iraq is already in a state of civil war and chaos---which in fact has been prompted by the presence of our troops. The Iraqi people know this---and they want our troops out of their nation. In fact, about half of the Iraqi people approve of insurgents' attacks on U.S. troops.
3. The Iraq People Don't Want U.S.-Style Democracy. For a country with such enormous problems as the U.S. has today, it's always amazed me how so many of our politicians are convinced that the rest of the world has a craving to live exactly the way we do. I strongly suspect that the Iraqi people simply don't want to live in a U.S.-style democracy. This is witnessed by the recent Iraqi election (in which most of the Iraqi people gave their approval to essentially converting their country to a theocracy by basing their nation's constitution on Islamic law).
4. The Iraq War Was All About The Oil. This is one taboo topic that virtually everyone in our mainstream media has been afraid to bring up. Even the left-leaning (and usually reliable) journalist Seymour Hersh has written that he believes the Iraq War wasn't about oil. I'm afraid I have to disagree. And I'd bet that the vast majority of people worldwide would agree with me (as would the people of Iraq). The fact is, if Iraq had been a resource-poor nation, we wouldn't have cared if it was ruled by a tyrant. Most Americans are simply naive about our leaders' real motivations in invading Iraq. We want to believe that the war was for more noble and lofty reasons than plain, old grubby money. But it's time that we as a people pull our heads out of the sand and realize that we've been conned all along.
5. The U.S. Never Had A Moral Leg To Stand On In Condemning Saddam. The fact is, Saddam had no WMDs and posed no threat to the U.S. Saddam also had no connection to 9/11. However, those who defend the decision to invade Iraq still have one small fig leaf to hide behind. That is: that Saddam was a bad guy. But did U.S. really have the moral authority to condemn Saddam? I don't think the rest of the world would agree that we did. After all, we're the ones who armed and funded Saddam and sold him chemical and biological weapons in the first place. In fact, the U.S. had a long and sordid history of secret dealings with Saddam, dating back to 1959 (when the CIA contracted Saddam to attempt an assassination of Iraq's prime minister). Yes, Saddam was despicable. But so was invading a sovereign nation to steal its oil.
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