“Never Forget”, by Marc Ash

A few hours ago today Marc Ash posted this at Truthout. There is little if anything that I could add that would do justice to Marc’s words…

Never Forget

Monday 17 November 2008

by: Marc Ash, t r u t h o u t | Perspective

An American soldier lies on an operating table. in Ramadi after being wounded in an IED blast.
Iraq 2006. (Photo: Lucian Read / battlespaceonline.org)

   When they say to you that “mistakes were made,” never believe that. Mistakes are always made, but mistakes did not lead us on the road to Baghdad. We were taken to Iraq by those who knew exactly, precisely what they were doing. Or believed so anyway.

   Do not be persuaded to believe that “bad intelligence” was the problem and war was the unfortunate result. No one who made this war believed themselves what they told the nation. They knew quite well and they went anyway. And they took us with them.

   When it is said that an “insurgent” has killed or been killed always ask who that was, and why. More often than not, it was someone who lived there, but would not live under foreign rule.

   Do not be seduced into thinking of torture as harsh interrogation. The hour is late and we must confront the torturers among us.

   If you are the slightest bit concerned that we have crushed freedom here and in other lands in the name of freedom, be more concerned. We have.

   Never forget or let your children forget that it was all a lie, told with purpose.

   Many of us believed that Vietnam was a catharsis, a moving beyond a point to which we could never return. It took only 28 years to get from Saigon to Baghdad. And we took the exact same road. Don’t be too ashamed the trick we fell for was the same one Mark Twain warned of when he wrote, “Beware the leader who bangs the drums of war in order to whip the citizenry into a patriotic fervor …” “All you have to do …,” said Hermann Goering “… is tell them that they are being attacked, and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.”

   It has worked in our country. Again.

   At the end of any battle, the last man holding a sword is the judge. But Nuremberg forgot Dresden. Will we forget Abu Ghraib? Will the world forget what we have done? In the year 2001, we believed that it did not matter who won the presidential election. What do we believe now?

   We have sacked Babylon. Only a fool would believe there will be no day of atonement.

   We stand at the precipice of a new age of political pragmatism. Realists, making realistic decisions. Let it be listed among those things that are real the danger of ignoring the enormous crimes of these last eight years. Lest we come to ask for whom the bell tolls.


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    • Edger on November 18, 2008 at 00:01

    until the perpetrators sit in a prisoners dock at their war crimes trials.

    • RiaD on November 18, 2008 at 00:19

    i don’t get to truthout as often as i should.


  1. …that of how to deal with the felons who are former and current Bush administration officials.  And I remain mixed.

    Prosecuting them for their crimes is something I consider important.  But to my thinking, the real failure has been to purge the Nixon criminals from the public sphere.  And without cleansing them, I don’t see how you can cleanse the Bush people.

    How do we the people actually seek justice for Antonin Scalia, Henry Kissinger, or Pat Buchanan?  And if we cannot obtain justice from them, can we really honestly clean up the present?

    I don’t know.

  2. Stark reality — truth expressed simply and eloquently.  Excellent piece, Edger!  Thanks for sharing it — deserves to be shared everyone possible.

    There is nothing on this earth that can justify a lack of accountability for all the crimes that have been committed.  Certainly, war crimes tops them all.  At present, about the only possible consolation, if any, is that war crimes have no statute of limitations.  They are on the books forever!  

    Leaving the path clear and unfettered, we can be sure that greed and evil will grab the trail again to take another whack at our so-called democracy.


  3. Perhaps someone will help me understand why, when I read this, I thought of a quote by Arundhati Roy.

    Flags are bits of coloured cloth that governments use to first, shrink wrap people’s brains and then as ceremonial shrouds to bury the dead.

    And while I was looking for that, I found this one.

    To love. To be loved. To never forget your own insignificance. To never get used to the unspeakable violence and the vulgar disparity of life around you. To seek joy in the saddest places. To pursue beauty to its lair. To never simplify what is complicated or complicate what is simple. To respect strength, never power. Above all, to watch. To try and understand. To never look away. And never, never, to forget.

    • Edger on November 18, 2008 at 02:45

    that he wrote and posted at LewRockwell.com back in April 2005 that explores the moral aspects of the issue of accountability and who exactly is accountable. Just the perpetrators of the Iraq debacle, or the whole society? Each person? It does relate quite closely I think and maybe can be useful here juxtaposed with Marc Ash’s piece. I’ve been up now for about 14 hours and my brain’s a little mushy so I’ll just post a quote from it, for consideration, although I’d recommend reading the whole thing…

    ‘Collateral Damage’ as Euphemism for Mass Murder

       If we take this collectivist argument for “collateral damage” at face value, set aside the calculation problem with foreign central planning, and assume the U.S. government is honest in its intentions and able in its deeds, we would presumably agree that the U.S. government has a right to kill innocent people, so long as it is ousting a human monster that would kill more innocent people.

       In other words, the U.S. government, in overthrowing a foreign regime, can justifiably slaughter any number of innocents up to the number that regime would slaughter if left in place. Ousting Hitler in 1939 would have therefore justified the killing of millions of Jews, homosexuals, dissidents, Gypsies, and disabled people by the one doing the ousting – so long as the number killed was fewer than the number Hitler would have ultimately killed.

       Ousting Stalin, Pol Pot, or any other mega-murderer would justify committing any crime less serious than the crimes committed by the enemy.

       The statistical utilitarian argument for mass slaughter is no more than a defense of mass murder on a grand scale, so long as it is known that the enemy would murder even more. This is not an individualist, libertarian, or even humane argument. It looks upon innocent human lives as mere numbers.

       And, as was pointed out earlier, there is no way to gather accurate information on the costs and benefits even in sheer numbers of lives lost, in order to act upon the information with a feasible and successfully centrally-managed implementation of slaughter-minimizing coercive action.

       Furthermore, there is no reason to trust the U.S. government’s numbers, even if it bothered to present any, on how many it has killed and how many it has saved.

       This argument for “collateral damage” is effectively no less than a blank check to the State to go to oppressed countries and murder large numbers of their populations, claiming all the while that it is saving lives.


    Is a policeman or prosecutor who knows of a murder that was committed yet does not arrest or prosecute any less culpable than the murderer? And what of a person on the street who knows that the policeman or the prosecutor knows, yet does not demand that they do their jobs?

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