The War in Iraq

the war no more
In my opinion, noted chronicler Ken Burns, whom I otherwise respect, does Americans a great disservice to title his multimedia WWII homage THE WAR.

I do resent the President and his enablers admonishing Americans for what may or may not be appropriate behavior “in a time of war.” We were not “at war” during the Cold War or the War on Drugs. And the War on Terror is equally an [existential, so-called] abstraction. Fighting terrorists, including the invasion of Afghanistan, is a police action. If we are talking about apprehension. Missile strikes are extra-judicial assassination. Undeclared military aggression.

But since our soldiers are being sent to war, and there is profound anti-war revulsion, and congress is being asked to collude by providing war funding, and we are detaining combatants which at a minimum should be awarded Prisoner of War status, we cannot escape discussing Iraq as a war, and most notably as an illegal war.

So when Ken Burns calls his WWII tome THE WAR, isn’t it more than slightly dismissive of veterans of all combat since? The Vietnam War lasted three times as long as WWII, to Baby Boomers it was the war. The Korean War, termed a “conflict” to avoid having Congress refuse a declaration of war, is now called the Korean War, even tragically the Forgotten War. World War One before it was The First World War, was known as The Great War, even the War to End All Wars. De facto it WAS THE WAR, but imagine anyone thinking to call it that in the midst of WWII.

Does Burns mean to deny [The] Iraq [War] its significance, even as he might suggest it lacks the legitimacy of WWII, the Just War? As Iraq casualties and atrocities slip from the headlines, it’s hard to see the diversion of WWII nostalgia as helpful.

Iraq may turn out to be simply the opening salvo of THE WAR declared by the corporate west on all of humanity. It deserves its due.

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Eric Verlo

About Eric Verlo

On sabbatical
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