While increasingly irrelevant right wingers fuss and fidget about the latest activities of Cindy Sheehan, on this Memorial Day, the rest of the country is beginning to recognize that it is in no way represented by our putative "representational" government. Nor, for that matter, are the citizens of another putative, albeit nascent democracy, Iraq, being represented adequately by theirs. As Democratic leaders demonstrated abundantly this past week, Congress does not represent the interests of "the people." This has often been the case, of course, but events of this past week have cemented this truth into the minds of even the most naïve of citizens.
Fully 72% of the American public disapprove of the war and want the US out of Iraq. The same percentage of US troops agreed that they were doing no good there over a year ago and that the US should withdraw. Amazingly, and prior to the US midterm elections, the exact same number of Iraqis said the US should withdraw within a year. And yet, six months after the Democrats were elected on a mandate to end the war, the war slogs on, not just in steady state but at an accelerating rate, with troops levels now expected to rise, secretly, to more than 200,000 by the end of the year. As was certainly the case from day one of the invasion and before, the Pentagon
is considering maintaining a core group of forces in Iraq, possibly for decades.Furthermore,
A series of military installations could be maintained around Iraq, with a total of total of 30,000 to 40,000 U.S. troops, for a long period of time — maybe a few decades. There are currently about 160,000 U.S. troops in Iraq.The end, as is not usually said, is nowhere near nigh.
The bases would be located in various strategic locations, ones that served by air landing strips, for instance. The bases would be sealed and U.S. forces wouldn't be on patrols as they are now.
But then, that has always been true. The entire "debate" surrounding US forces in Iraq has been an utter pretense, designed, it seems, to deliver an air of legitimacy to a process that was meant to look like it considered Americans' increasing disillusionment with the war while never actually intending toward anything other than long term occupation of the most geopolitically crucial real estate on the planet. The congressional majorities have abdicated any responsibility for ending the Iraq war that was given in winning those majorities, Democratic political calculations evincing greater importance than the will of the American public.
If anything, Democrats have corroborated the fact that their party is as much a part of the real agenda for Iraq as the GOP and the Bush administration; the corroboration established by their insistence that the Iraqi parliament swiftly pass the Iraq Oil Law or suffer the consequences of withheld reconstruction funds. With reconstruction as abysmal as it has been, it is not entirely clear how this threatens Iraqis; perhaps Congress will simply give the reconstruction funds directly to no-bid American contractors without the fuss and muss of actually being in Iraq pretending to do things. It certainly does threaten Iraq politicians, however, who, in all likelihood, profit personally and handsomely from the distribution of such funds. Nevertheless, the threat contained within the war funding bill just passed indicates fully that the Democrats don't just seem like a front organisation for the GOP, both parties behave like front organisations for, among others, the multinational oil companies, organisations that are otherwise euphemistically known as "western oil interests" within the context of the Iraq Oil Law.
So here we find ourselves, during this fifth consecutive Memorial Day of the Iraq war, when the country washes itself with grief for those brave men and women lost in wars past and present, wars our national psyche, the political class and the corporate media insist have all been necessary and conducted for the most beneficent of reasons. Extant war amplifies the national reverence of Memorial Day and we smoother the hidden reasons, pretending the sacrifice has not been made in the name of ill gotten gain and vainglory, that the fighting men and woman of this country's military machine are not mere fodder for the gods of profit. Perhaps one day we will celebrate Memorial Day as the day when this country's citizens wrestled back control from a government that is no longer responsive to the public will and fully resolve to stop grinding up people's lives, both here and afar, with such callous abandon.
Meanwhile, as the nation's military families suffer under the yoke of brutal service for a covert agenda, the profit takers continue on their merry way. For this is a nation at war.