Col. Writ. 6/5/03

War's Spoils

By Mumia Abu-Jamal

If war aims are stated which seem to be concerned solely with
Anglo-American imperialism, they will offer little to people in
the rest of the world ... The interests of other peoples should
be stressed ... *This would have a better propaganda effect.*
(From a private memo between Council on Foreign Relations
and U.S. State Department, 1941)

The Iraqi State has been demolished, under the irrepressible weight of American bombs and United Nations silent acquiescence.

What was sold as a mortal battle against "weapons of mass destruction," has morphed into a fight against "Saddam", to "liberate" the Iraqi oppressed; those who were bombed weeks ago will soon host a horde of American companies which will earn billions to rebuild the shattered infrastructure (shattered by over 12 years of UN diplomatic and Anglo-American aggression).

Are there 'weapons of mass destruction'?

Who cares? That was yesterday; this is today, the corporate media seems to be suggesting. The American people seem more interested in what will be on TV tonight than the reasons why war is waged, in their name.

There is a reason why Americans seem to not give a damn. First, because the bombed and blitzed were Arabs (which is the polite term we use, rather than the British 'wog', or the American 'sand nigger'). Second, this isn't the first time that the government used a lie to bring their citizens to a war fever.

Just over a decade ago, when the U.S. wanted to whip the American people into a killing frenzy, they brought out the 'Kuwaiti stolen incubators' story, complete with a weeping maiden who tell a chosen coterie of congressmen about the ruthless raids of Iraqi troops into Kuwaiti hospitals. The administration's tales of horror tore into the guts of every mother and father, and before long, American troops were sending tens of thousands of Iraqis to paradise on the Highway of Death back to Baghdad. Of course, the maiden's story was a false media ploy which garnered airtime all around the earth. The 'maiden', a member of the Kuwaiti ruling family, the al-Sabah's, wasn't even in the country at the time of the Iraqi incursion; one, incidentally, that happened because the U.S., through its Ambassador April Glaspie, gave personal assurances to President Hussein that the U.S. wou ld "have no opinion on... your border dispute with Kuwait."

After Gulf War I, then-General Colin Powell lamented at the loss of American whipping boys; "Think hard about it. I'm running out of demons. I'm running out of villains." (Toronto Star, April 9, 1991). To U.S. eyes, Saddam Hussein was deeply useful, one way, or another. When the Islamic Revolution sent the late 'Shah' into retirement, the U.S. cuddled up to Hussein, and armed him to the gills to wage a vicious proxy war on the Iranians. For almost a decade, the two nations engaged in a mutual bloodfest, which sputtered to an end after a million people were dead.

They now need what's under Iraqi sands much more than they needed Hussein, and they had to manufacture a reason for war that would send chills down American spines. Enter: "weapons of mass destruction."

Like the 'incubator' story (which pictured Iraqis throwing Kuwaiti children onto cold hospital floors, while looting the joint of incubators), the evocation of "weapons of mass destruction" played on American fears kindled by the fires of 9/11.

And now, after weeks of sand-sifting by the armed forces, and with no iota of such weapons found, the Bush Administration insists that the war was waged to "liberate" the Iraqis from a brutal tyrant. The very forces that supported his tyranny decades ago, now insists it wants to 'free' the people from it.

What about the wars to come? Iran? Syria?

What sweet lies will the U.S. propaganda machine spin for the American people?

Which lies will work (again)?

Copyright 2024 Mumia Abu-Jamal

[Sources: Barsamian, David. "The Decline and Fall of Public Broadcasting." (Boston: South End Press, 2024); Arnove, Anthony, "Iraq Under Siege: Ten Years On," Monthly Review (Dec. 2024) [52:7]; Andreas, Joel. "Addicted to War: Why the U.S. Can't Kick Militarism." (Oakland, CA: AK Press, 2024).]

Copyright 2024 Mumia Abu-Jamal

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Mumia Abu-Jamal is the author of three books:
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