General William Westmoreland, US Commander in Vietnam, when asked about Vietnamese civilian casualties:
Yes it’s a Problem but it does deprive the enemy of the population, doesn’t it?
I have to say something about this. I’m almost speechless and I’m not very good at this sort of thing but I have to have my say anyway.
The first thing, once the horror of what has been wrought has subsided a little is how in gods name did we get to this place.
I remember New Year’s Eve as the millennium turned. There was, and I think it was a global thing, such hope, a tangible feeling at that very moment, that a corner had perhaps been turned. That somehow we were going to be able to put the 20th Century and all the spilt innocent blood, state sponsored as most of it was, it represented, behind us.
But, alas, we reckoned without 9/11, and, worse, we reckoned without George W Bush and his bunch of self-serving scoundrels and camp followers. And yet, in retrospect, it was all rather obvious. That Iraq would fall victim, sooner or later to American imperial demands was inevitable, even under the Democrats, as Mrs Clinton’s wholesale continuing support for this bloodbath makes clear.
I want to scream lots of four letter words, a litany whatever else comes out mindlessly. Maybe it will help me feel better about the shitty place these pricks have taken us all – and particular the people of Iraq – to.
I listen to the news and I hear Bush dismissing this survey’s results and I want to say, you shitty sleazy prick all over again. What does it matter if it’s 50,000 or 500,000 dead as a result of your liable actions, how dare you try to lessen what you have done, to make excuses or dismiss these numbers so cruelly. You despicable fucking human being, once again defending the indefensible; writhing and worming your way around your liability. As I said, what does it matter if it’s 100,000 or 800,000, the blood of each and every one of those people is on your hands.
Then, predictably, there are those who say that most of these deaths are the result of Iraqi on Iraqi violence as if that too lessens the responsibility of the “coalition”, and in particular the USA. That these people would not have died if it had not been for the dishonesty and deceit of the elected government of the United States, with the collective responsibility that democracy and the much-touted freedom brings, is without question, and to deny it only deepens the responsibility.
Responsibility is such a big part of this: a responsibility to accept what has been done in your name and accept the responsibility to both make an attempt at a resolution and make some sort of amends, whatever each takes. And that doesn’t involve, as so many Democrats want, washing your hands and walking away. A solution has to be found and if that involves many many billions more of American money so be it. My gut says that the world will never forgive the United States for this, regardless of its governing party, if they don’t. But, I have to be realistic and I don’t hold any out any hope that the US will do the right thing. The country that gave the world the Marshall Plan no longer exists. It’s dead and buried in Fallujah and a thousand other bloody places around the globe, in the hamlets of South Vietnam, and the villages of Guatemala.
So many of us have been accused, in recent years, of being Anti-American. I know I have and I’ve strongly and repeatedly denied the accusation. I’d like now to withdraw that withdrawal and proudly state that I’m firmly Anti-American. Not Anti-Americans mind, but strongly and proudly, like it seems so many are now (the chorus of approval for Chavez in NY recently was tangible), Anti-American.
Quite frankly fuck America and all the pain it’s delivered to the planet in the past fifty years, from the death squads in Central America to the pain of South East Asia to the current Imperial megalomania of the Middle East. How much death can one nation subject the planet to in the name of its damned gift of freedom. Chavez might be a little bit tin pot but I applaud him standing up at the UN and stating what much of the planet is saying. And I also say a big fuck you to the Democrat Congressman from NYC who criticised him for saying what he did, stating that only Americans have the right to criticise Bush. Mr Rangel, your president is a liar, and a murderer of many many non-Americans so take your complicit whinge and stick it somewhere.
So where do we draw the line? When do we say enough and make people accountable? Fifty-five years ago in a German city called Nuremberg good people, many of them American, made a bunch of evil people accountable for their actions. Now the American government, elected as they are by the people of the USA, are the bad guys who need to be made accountable for their actions, for their state sanctioned breaches of the boundaries that we try to govern our world by.
My friend Damien Christie warned me about linking the Nazis’ crimes and the Bush administration and I understand the fine point but disagree. Pure evil is pure evil, especially when perpetrated under the guise of state policy, and Bush and his lieutenants are as guilty as those Nazis who were strung up in Nuremberg, and indeed Saddam Hussein, currently on trial for heinous crimes in Baghdad of a great and punishable evil. They lied, they continue to lie, they had a reasonable understanding that their actions would bring us to this place, or if they didn’t they are guilty of criminal negligence, and yet they willingly took us, and in particular, the population now subject to their whims, to this place. We have to draw the line somewhere but Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Blair and company walk freely, sleep soundly, increase their net worths, smile as they face the press, and lie and twist without a momentary obvious concern for the hell they have wrought.
And once the troops are home, America will analyse a lot, but mostly forget and in twenty years Bush will have a state funeral. He will be given a get out of jail free card, as Nixon was.
I don’t want to come on as too self-righteously naive, but, fuck it all, I despise them for it.