The New York Giants are getting a ticker-tape parade, (since there are no more tickers, where do they get the tape?), down Broadway. Veteran's groups are demanding the same from President Obama. They want a parade to celebrate the end of the Iraq war. Obama is planning a state dinner at the White House featuring 200 guests representing all the various branches of the military. The veteran's groups say it isn't enough.
What exactly would a parade symbolize? It cannot be a victory parade. The United States didn't win anything in Iraq. The country is in danger of a civil war with the Kurds breaking away and declaring a separate nation. If there is a victor in Iraq, it is Iran. Would a parade mean we approve of what the military accomplished in Iraq? We replaced one dictator with another wannabe. Prime Minister Malicki is locking up his political opponents, harassing and shutting down opposition media, ignoring the Parliament and courting Iran. We left the country in ruins still unable to provide clean water or electricity 24 hours a day. We leave behind hundreds of thousands of dead Iraqis and over one million fled the country and have yet to return.
A parade would signal the nation's approval of entering and conducting this war. The Iraq war was built on a foundation of lies and media manipulation not seen since the days of Hearst and yellow journalism. The list of lies is endless starting with the need to enforce United Nation's resolutions, to eliminating weapons of mass destruction to getting revenge for Saddam Hussein's role in the attacks of September 11, 2001. The White House set up a working group to sell the war to the American people and the corporate media cooperated eagerly. Judith Miller, a reporter for the New York Times, was one of many who worked in league with Scooter Libby and Vice President Cheney to produce story after story about mobile weapon's labs, nerve gas, even hidden nuclear weapons. Do you remember Colin Powell testifying in front of the U.N about Hussein's ability to arm rockets with biological warheads in 45 minutes or less? When Scott Ritter insisted the weapons inspectors had found and destroyed all the weapons of mass destruction, MSNBC, CNN, Fox and the major networks ignored or ridiculed his statements. When journalists at the Washington Post wrote stories critical of the Administration's claims, the stories were either killed or put on page A18 out of sight and out of mind. American troops will march in New York to celebrate all of this deception and propaganda?
The Iraq war was an immoral war. You don't have to take my word for it. The Roman Catholic Church, Episcopal Church, Lutheran and Methodist churches as well as Unitarians and Quakers, all declared the Iraq war to be immoral and unjustified. The military who executed this policy was composed of volunteers who now must face the reality they participated in an immoral action. There is no honor in what America did in Iraq. The United States used illegal chemical weapons in Fallujah killing and maiming thousands in violation of international law. They violated the rights of POWs. They destabilized the nation and then watched as it turned into a civil war. To put on a parade...to cheer as members of the armed services march down the street...to wave American flags and play patriotic music would be a tacit endorsement of one of the darkest moments in modern American history. The Iraqi people did not attack us. They posed no imminent threat to our national security. We were not acting in self-defense. Joe Wilson told the truth about the threat of yellowcake from Niger and look what happened to him and his wife. This was an act of naked aggression promulgated by a group of people determined to show democracy could be advanced through force and committed to eliminating a threat to Israel. I'm not making this up. Read the manifesto of the Project for A New American Century and it's all laid out in concise language.
Even the state dinner is too much. If it were to be a dinner to call attention to disabled and wounded vets...if it was a dinner to call on American businesses to hire former vets...if it was a dinner to drum up support for a larger and more comprehensive Veterans Administration...maybe it would make sense. Having a dinner to honor the military for their participation in an illegal and immoral war which ended up weakening this nation and giving aid and comfort to our enemies would not happen were this not an election year. Too cynical?
Many are afraid to be honest about Iraq, because to do so opens them up to charges of hating their country, criticizing brave men and women of America's armed forces, being soft on terrorism and other personal insults. However, honesty is the only way to prevent a tragedy like this from happening again. Could it happen again? Just listen to the drums beating to get us into a shooting war with Iran. The same tools, the same media, the same hype is being produced to once again stampede Americans into another war.
A parade down Broadway might seal the deal.