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Who Lost Iraq?

From Arthur Silber’s blog Once Upon a Time:

    The blatantly obvious truth that all these political propagandists ignore is that, because of our determined, unshakable ignorance about Iraq, its peoples, its culture and its history, we lost before the first American soldier set foot in that country.

The point he is making is that our collective myth about Western superiority blinds us to the moral consequences of our acts. We couldn’t see the invasion of an innocent country as a crime. We believed we would be greeted with music and flowers. Now we can’t accept the idea of losing. There are still people who believe that our leaving Vietnam left that country worse off than when we were raining bombs on it. The same dynamic is playing out in Iraq.

Silber has an excellent blog, by the way, for those with the time and the patience to explore the deep intellectual background of current events. His theme is the “power of narrative,” or how myths and preconceptions can be manipulated by a carefully constructed story, to engineer our consent or even blind us to the truth. This is how the Iraq war was sold, and why it has taken so long for the reality to begin breaking through.


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