You remember where you were when you heard the news about the 9/11 attacks? Do you remember the terrible feeling of shock in your guts that innocent people were suffering?

How about what you were doing when the first bombs hit at the beginning of the Iraq invasion? Do you remember that one? Or did that memory get lost in the shuffle?

US and coalition forces began their “shock and awe” bombing campaign on March 20th, 2003. That’s less than fifteen years. It just happened, and people have already forgotten about it.

Fifteen years. I still have unused art supplies that are older than that. And yet when politicians and intelligence agencies say that Russia has committed an act of war against the US and Bashar al-Assad needs to be removed from power in Syria, mainstream Americans say “Yup, sounds about right, no further evidence required.”

This needs to stop. We must all use this landmark anniversary to remind the world of the depravity of the US-centralized empire, and how we know for a fact that it will happily use lies and mass media propaganda to manufacture support for acts of military violence which unleash unspeakable horrors into our world.

The Iraq invasion is unforgivable. It killed a million Iraqis, gave rise to murderous terrorist factions, and destabilized the entire region in a way that it continues to suffer from to this day. The destruction and human misery it caused are immeasurable. If every war hawk in Washington were forced to truly witness and experience every last horror the war inflicted with their eyes pried open a la Clockwork Orange, they would be forever shattered and rendered incapable of doing any more harm.

The Iraq invasion is unforgivable. It warped what we are as a species. It stained us. Nobody who helped inflict this murderous abomination upon our world should have been permitted to work in politics, government or media ever again, and its primary facilitators should be in prison for war crimes. The fact that its chief architects remain not just free but celebrated members of society proves that we are ruled by a sociopathic empire.

The Iraq invasion is unforgivable, and absolutely nothing has been done to prevent it from happening again. Nobody suffered any consequences, no changes have been made, no transparency measures or checks and balances put in place to ensure that the US war machine is never again permitted to paint the earth red with the blood of the innocent in an act of mass murder justified with lies.

Nothing has been done to prevent this from happening again, and indeed it is happening again. The US war machine has been lying to us about what is going on in Syria, Iraq’s next-door neighbor. It has been funneling money and weapons to known terrorist factions in that country for years. It has established a permanent military presence there with the stated goal of effecting regime change. Half a million people have died already because of the empire’s relentless destabilization campaigns in that country. And, just like Iraq, it is done under the pretense of humanitarianism while really being all about resources. The only difference is it’s being done predominantly with violent militia groups and drones this time, to prevent people from remembering Iraq.

Meanwhile, we still have seen no clear evidence that the Russian government interfered in the US elections in any meaningful way, and there’s even less evidence that it penetrated the highest levels of US government as alleged in the “collusion” narrative. After well over a year of shrieking about Russia with steadily increasing shrillness, we still have the same amount of proof that we started with: zero. And yet the shrieking is getting louder and increasingly more urgent.

This is despite the fact that this administration has already killed Russians in Syria, greatly escalated nuclear tensions with Russia, allowed the sale of arms to Ukraine (a move Obama refused for fear of angering Moscow), forced RT and Sputnik to register as foreign agents, expanded NATO, assigned Russia hawk Kurt Volker as special representative to Ukraine, shut down a Russian consulate in San Francisco and thrown out Russian diplomats, along with the aforementioned US regime change occupation of Syria. Despite all this, mainstream politicians on both sides of the aisle are calling for more escalations. All without a shred of the kind of evidence that we should be demanding in a post-Iraq invasion world.

The debates over the establishment Russia and Syria narratives are an argument between those who learned the lessons of Iraq, and those who did not. We must help everyone to learn.

We barely survived the last cold war. The similarities between Iraq and Syria are so striking you’d have to be willfully blind not to see them. There is every incentive to be pointing and making noise about how these monsters deceived us into Iraq.

There is a wonderful word, “grok”, which is defined as “to understand profoundly and intuitively”; to really get something not just intellectually, but deep down in your guts. On this fifteen year anniversary our task should be to help the world deeply grok what the Iraq invasion was, what it did to humanity, how much suffering it caused and for how little justifiable reason. It’s one thing to go “oh yeah that happened and a lot of people died,” it is quite another to really grasp the horrors of that war on a profound visceral and intuitive level. If enough of us collaborate toward making this happen using our unprecedented access to new media, we can shake everyone’s trust in the lying, warmongering empire in the way it should have been shaken fifteen years ago.

Do not let them compartmentalize away from the horrors of the Iraq invasion and what led up to it. Make the world see. Make the world remember. Make it grok it. If we can do that, we might just open up a shot at turning this thing around.



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5 responses to “On The Iraq War’s 15th Anniversary, Make The World Remember Its Lessons”

  1. antoinette dhooghe Avatar
    antoinette dhooghe

    Great Article!

  2. But wait! there is more. Invasion of Iraq was the beginning of a bigger project of “The Dismantling Of The Middle East”

  3. Love your work Caitlin.

    One correction though: “we can shake everyone’s trust in the lying, warmongering empire in the way it should have been shaken fifteen years ago.”

    NOT 15 years ago 58 – FIFTY-EIGHT – years ago when the US military machine with the aid of the CIA lied its way into the Vietnam War.

    Never forget!

  4. RE:
    “If every war hawk in Washington were forced to truly witness and experience every last horror the war inflicted with their eyes pried open a la Clockwork Orange, they would be forever shattered and rendered incapable of doing any more harm.”

    The war hawks know exactly what they are doing. They enjoy it, they revel in it.

  5. It’s the 17th anniversary of 9/11 what does Iraq have to do with that?

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