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"Victory on Quicksand"

April 12, 2003

Commentary by
Lauren Weinstein


Greetings. As these words are being written, many people in Iraq are busily engaged in celebrating the fall of Saddam Hussein by looting, pillaging, and generally destroying their own country, stealing and ruining everything they can lay their hands on in businesses, private homes, even in critical facilities such as hospitals. U.S. Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld refers to this anarchy as "untidiness."

Meanwhile, when it comes to law and order, the U.S. military has been borrowing a line from the late Freddie Prinze, "That's not my job, man!" as the carnage continues. This attitude should not be surprising given the pattern of unreliability that underscores U.S. foreign policy.

Contrary to the pronouncements of our leaders, freeing downtrodden populations from the yoke of dictatorships hasn't been our real focus. After all, we have a long and continuing history of supporting vicious operatives and dictators -- including Saddam and Osama bin Laden -- when it suits our immediate objectives, and then switching gears, and alliances, on a dime.

Spreading democracy isn't always our goal either. We currently support a number of non-democratic governments, knowing all too well that true democracies might well elect "radical" leaders and enact policies precisely contrary to U.S. interests. Democracies in those countries? Perish the thought!

Time will tell if any of the other arguments made for invading Iraq will be validated, like the concerns regarding weapons of mass destruction we were assured represented an immediate and deadly threat to our own country.

In any case, we can take heart from stirring images like those of the spontaneous Iraqi crowd tearing down the statue of Saddam, assisted by our own troops. At least that was certainly real. Or was it?

According to apparently authentic photos now in circulation, that entire scene, which has been grandly compared with the fall of the Berlin Wall, was actually a tiny event planned and staged specifically for the cameras by the U.S., and even included Iraqi expatriates flown in by the U.S. for the occasion -- please see my 2003-04-11 entry on VortexScan and draw your own conclusions.

We can all agree that Saddam was (is?) a horrible person and that the people of Iraq should be far better off without him and his cronies in power. But there are clear signs that in significant respects this war was sold on false pretenses, and that bodes ill indeed for the future of both the U.S. and the international community.

Even the most beautiful and well-meaning of democratic edifices, built on a quicksand foundation of lies, half-truths, and propaganda, is in terrible ethical, moral, and practical jeopardy.

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Lauren Weinstein

For information about the author, please see: http://www.vortex.com/lauren

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