By William Blum -
April 14, 2003.
"When they discover the horror, will
the American media be there to record the disappeared smiles?
When you wage a war that is strongly opposed by the great majority of those
on the planet who are aware of such things, when your own people are becoming
increasingly militant against your unilateral waging of that war, when you
know well that your war is palpably and embarrassingly illegal, immoral,
illogical and unjust, when you can't admit the real reasons for the war ...
then you have a consuming need to find a moral-sounding and credible selling
point -- "Regime change", to remove the evil Saddam, the Iraqi people will
welcome us with flowers and music!
Thus was it mortifying for the warmongers that for more
than the first two weeks of the war the Iraqi images shown to the world were
largely of the dead, the wounded, the grief-stricken, the immense piles of
rubble, the bombing-produced homeless, those bitterly angry at the US. How
could it be otherwise? What kind of people like their loved ones torn apart
by missiles, their children without a limb, their homes, hospitals, schools
and jobs destroyed? The US military told its cannon fodder and its embedded
media that any negative reaction, or lack of a positive one, was all because
the people were afraid of Saddam, as if one of his agents was standing behind
each Iraqi citizen, gun at the ready. Why did a million people fight and
resist to the death instead of surrendering, defecting, anything to show
their gratitude for their "liberation"?
Now, any teenager flashing a victory sign, anyone climbing
upon a toppled statue of Saddam or smiling for a camera is an American media
star and evidence of the nobility of the war. But what portion of the Iraqi
people are happy about the invasion -- happy about all its effects?
What are they happy about other than the removal of Saddam? And many Iraqis
supported him. Of those "celebrating", how many have been touched by the
death and destruction? How many even know about it? The US bombed
Iraqi and Arabic TV off the air fairly early on for much of the country.
Much of the telephone system was another early victim. When they discover
the horror, will the American media be there to record the disappeared
As an American, I would
also celebrate if the cruel and ignorant tyrant calling himself my
leader were overthrown. But not if my city were bombed and my house
demolished. No changes in Iraq justify the American onslaught. What
kind of world would we have if any country could invade any other
country because it didn't like the leader of that country? In any
event, the United States was not motivated at all by Saddam Hussein,
or his evilness, or his alleged weapons of mass destruction, or his
alleged threat to the US.
[For a discussion of the real reasons for the invasion,
see: the imperial
William Blum is the author of "Killing Hope: US Military and CIA Interventions
Since World War II", "Rogue State: A Guide to th`e World's Only Superpower",
and "West-Bloc Dissident: A Cold War Political Memoir".