Thursday, March 21, 2013

Iraq War Could Have Been Prevented

Yes and how many years can a mountain exist
Before it is washed to the sea?
Yes and how many years can some people exist
Before they're allowed to be free?
Yes and how many times can a man turn his head
Pretending he just doesn't see?
The answer my friend is blowin' in the wind
The answer is blowin' in the wind.

Yes and how many times must a man look up
Before he can see the sky?
Yes and how many ears must one man have
Before he can hear people cry?
Yes and how many deaths will it take till he knows
That too many people have died?
The answer my friend is blowin' in the wind
The answer is blowin' in the wind.


- Blowin' in the Wind (Bob Dylan - written in 1962)

The tenth anniversary of the invasion by the US and its supporters has brought the inevitable slew of retrospective articles on the Iraq War: good ones here from Mother Jones and here from Seamus Milne, and a typically idiotic one here from Nick Cohen.

This article could go on all day about the lies that were eagerly swallowed and regurgitated for public consumption by our fourth estate guardians of democracy. I could talk about forged documents, uranium yellowcake, aluminium tubes, Valerie Plame, smallpox, weapons inspections, dodgy dossiers but what would be the point? Anyone who paid even the slightest attention to the outrageous public relations campaign leading up to the invasion already knows that they were fed a gigantic tissue of lies.

Lies and fear. It wasn't just the Republicans, the Democrats were just as guilty. It is important to watch the two short clips linked in the previous sentence in the knowledge that all the claims were made by people who knew they were lying and exaggerating, who were in fact intentionally doing so in an attempt to build up public support. For this, the complicity of high-profile media figures was vital...and easily obtained. Watch their faces as they feed the media their lies, words that ultimately led to deaths of innocents numbering in the hundreds of thousands at the very least, possibly more than a million.

Read a typically devastating Media Lens analysis of the betrayal of the public by the corporate UK media here.

The Media Lens piece concludes:

It is a bitter, even surreal, irony that the media 'failure' on Iraq is being lamented by journalists who have since repeated the same performance on Libya, Syria, Israel-Palestine, Iran, Venezuela, WikiLeaks, climate change, and much else besides.

Precisely. Almost every single corporate media journalist in a blood-stained nutshell.

Among many things the Iraq War was a failure of democracy. Despite significant opposition to the war in many nations, including in the two principal invading nations, the US and the UK, the war went ahead without a United Nations mandate. The disaster that ensued is precisely the thing the UN and its Security Council were charged to prevent. In this regard, it is not only a failure of democracy, but also of the world order in general.

The title of Seamus Milne's article linked in the first paragraph of this article: 'Iraq War: Make It Impossible To Inflict Such Barbarism Again'. Imagine if that were actually possible. Imagine if the UK and the US had been direct democracies, a form of government which is controlled directly by the people. Utilized in a simple form, as it is in Switzerland, any single citizen who opposed the war could have collected signatures for a petition against it. With enough signatures, a referendum would have had to be called, and, given the level of public apathy, collecting enough signatures would have been a simple matter.

George W Bush and Tony Blair could have been thwarted. Think about that. Possibly more than a million people would still be alive. Think of the countless millions crippled, injured, tortured, raped, traumatized, poisoned and bereaved by this war crime. Read the heartbreaking words of just one of them: a dying US Iraq War veteran's letter to Bush and Cheney.

A direct democracy needs a neutral and informative media to function best, as well as an education system that teaches citizens to think. The two principal defendants in the Iraq War criminal dock have neither of these vital functions of democracy. Yet despite these enormous handicaps to free and democratic thought, public opposition to the war was very strong in both these nations; imagine how much stronger it would have been with a public far more capable of critical thought and not distracted by relentless media focus on celebrities and other sensational scandals or crime.

Let's waste no more words on the pathetic media enablers of the war criminals who instigated this war - the blood on their hands is clear enough for all to see, no doubt also to themselves in private. Bush, Cheney, Blair, Rumsfeld, Rice, Powell and all the others are a different matter. They have largely moved out of the limelight, written their memoirs, dealt with the softballs on the book tours, and taken the extra millions. It is no longer outlandish to demand war crime trials for these people and indeed high-profile figures like Desmond Tutu have called directly for them.

In the full knowledge that these sociopaths will never be convinced they were wrong, however, I would suggest a different punishment for these people: send them to work for the rest of their lives in the children's hospitals in Iraq where they can experience firsthand what they have wrought. Force them to treat the kids with their limbs blown off, with genetic defects and incurable cancers caused by the depleted uranium dust or white phosphorus in the air.

Dr. Samira Alani of the city of Fallujah:

(I)t's common now in Fallujah for newborns to come out with massive multiple systemic defects, immune problems, massive central nervous system problems, massive heart problems, skeletal disorders, babies being born with two heads, babies being born with half of their internal organs outside of their bodies, cyclops babies literally with one eye -- really, really, really horrific nightmarish types of birth defects.

Perhaps the truly sickening sight of babies with one eye or two heads will succeed in instilling a sense of culpability or guilt in these people where all else has failed.

Ultimately, however, it is us - ordinary citizens - who must act to stop these sociopaths and their craven media enablers. All the more need for a move towards the only form of government that guarantees that politicians and big-money lobbyists are taken out of the picture.

We urgently need direct democracy.

'The 99.99998271% - Why the Time is Right for Direct Democracy' by Simon Wood is available for free download. In this 70-page book, the current state of human rights and democracy is discussed, and a simple method of implementing direct democracy is suggested.
Find Simon Wood on twitter (@simonwood11) and Facebook or at his blog. The Direct Democracy Alliance, a voluntary group dedicated to creating national/global direct democracy, is now also on twitter: (@DDA4586). He can be contacted at swooddda@gmail.com


Author's note: For a year now I have been writing detailed articles on human rights and direct democracy, and have written a book on the topic which is freely available. However, despite some small successes, I am yet to make a scratch in any meaningful way that will bring about real change. For this to happen, I need to create an NPO or similar organization devoted to creating and promoting direct democracy. I therefore appeal to any reader who has significant resources, or who has connections to someone who has, to contact me with regard to making a philanthropic donation to bring about a transparent organization with paid, professional staff which can actually make a difference.

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