The speech had been proceeding for perhaps twenty minutes when a messenger hurried on to the platform and a scrap of paper was slipped into the speaker’s hand. He unrolled and read it without pausing in his speech. Nothing altered in his voice or manner, or in the content of what he was saying, but suddenly the names were different. Without words said, a wave of understanding rippled through the crowd. Oceania was at war with Eastasia! The next moment there was a tremendous commotion. The banners and posters with which the square was decorated were all wrong! Quite half of them had the wrong faces on them. It was sabotage! The agents of Goldstein had been at work! There was a riotous interlude while posters were ripped from the walls, banners torn to shreds and trampled underfoot. The Spies performed prodigies of activity in clambering over the rooftops and cutting the streamers that fluttered from the chimneys. But within two or three minutes it was all over. The orator, still gripping the neck of the microphone, his shoulders hunched forward, his free hand clawing at the air, had gone straight on with his speech. One minute more, and the feral roars of rage were again bursting from the crowd. The Hate continued exactly as before, except that the target had been changed.
And so most American troops leave Iraq. But the lesson is already forgotten by the American public. Iraq joins a long list of wars in which we took part on false pretenses. The Spanish American War (USS Maine) and as a offshot the occupation of the Philippines, the Vietnam War and First Iraq War were all started because of lies. But the war drums started beating and everyone fell into line. No one asked questions, no one backed off the ledge despite one of the biggest anti-war demonstrations around the world at the time.
The time will come again that we will invade and occupy some country, and no one will bat an eye. The drums will beat, the talking heads will talk, and before we know it we’ll be in a war. When someone asks even the simplest questions like how it will be paid for? or just how a weapon of mass destruction could reach the mainland of the United States? The answer will be why aren’t you patriotic?
Even the “opposition” will fall into line and rally behind the flag. The questions will be unanswered, and no one will dare to look behind the curtain. It wouldn’t be supporting the troops if you dared to ask those questions. Forget the fact that some of them will die, some of them will never be able to live the life they had hoped. Forget the fact that thousands of human beings will end up dead. Nope, if you question anything the simple response will just be that your not supporting the troops.
The girl I was dating at the start of the 2nd Iraq War thought I was insane when I was against the war. She thought people were going to try to lynch me for what I was saying. A few years later she admitted all this to me, and admitted she couldn’t believe that I was actually right about so much of it. She thought at the time that Saddam Hussein was moments away from destroying the United States at anytime he wanted. Now she actually listens to me when I start rambling about politics.
It’s almost enough to make me wonder what is being taught in schools. I mean are kids learning that the explosion of the USS Maine was an accident, or just that it was suspicious. Are they told about the yellow journalism of the time and how Hearst wanted to start a war to increase paper circulation? Does it mention the long occupation of the Philippines which lead to the creation of the Anti-Imperalist league and had such highly regarded figures as Mark Twain, Grover Cleveland and Andrew Carnegie among others.
What does it say about the Vietnam War and the Gulf Of Tonkin incident now? With hindsight (and papers which were classified for 30 years) we now know that no incident took place that night. For that matter we know that the American ship in the area a few days before had opened fire on the North Vietnamese torpedo boats. And yet we not only have the loss of life of 50K Americans for no good cause, but a high estimate of nearly 4 million dead all told. For what?
So we look towards Iraq and wonder what the legacy will be. Will people find a way to say that American troops in Iraq somehow helped the Arab Spring? Despite the fact of the matter being that America had propped up most of the dictatorships which were taken down. The debate about the legacy will in the end most likely mask the reality of the situation for those who lived it. No one wants to admit when everything is over and done that their sacrifice was for nothing.
We the people are no better then the Proles in 1984. We will turn on a dime, our friends today will be our enemies tomorrow. Those who point out what is going on behind the curtain will be shouted down and beaten down by the drums. The lies that were used to get us into the war will no longer work. But it doesn’t matter after we’re already there, and the reasons change after the matter. So no longer was it to stop Hussein from having WMDs, but the spread of democracy.
The lies just get bigger and bigger and more blatant every time. If you have not stood up in the past, then when will you take a stand about what’s wrong? Now is the time for people to demand changes within the government. We shouldn’t have to wait 30 years or more for documents to become declassified. We the people are the base of power for the government, it answers to us.
But if we allow our representatives to do whatever they want without consequence, in the end we lose. In the end it is the boot stomping our own faces for eternity. The best part is that it will be the people we continually choose to Represent us. All the facades of democracy will still exist, but it won’t matter as both sides work together. Now is the time, between wars, to work on a lasting and true peace. To let the government know that it won’t get away with lieing to us again.
Over the horizon, the war drums echo their familiar beat…