Perhaps only his sense of humor and of irony can save him when he hears the most powerful nation of the world speaking of aggression as it drops thousands of bombs on a poor, weak nation more than eight thousand miles away from its shores.
-Martin Luther King, Jr. speaking in reference to Ho Chi Minh, Beyond Vietnam, 1967
Political language is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.
-George Orwell, Politics and the English Language
On Thursday, in a stupendous feat of mental gymnastics, Secretary of State John Kerry said that ISIS was responsible for carrying out genocide and crimes against humanity in Iraq. While this true, it is equally true that the United States bears full responsibly for instigating the insanity and violence currently raging across Iraq and much of the Middle East, and that ISIS would have never emerged as a radical resistance force had it not been for the United States invasion and occupation of Iraq – an invasion that was based on lies and an occupation that has seen American forces commit acts of torture and indiscriminate killing tantamount to that of ISIS.
U.S forces have raped and tortured Iraqi citizens to death in the prison cells of the erstwhile Saddam Hussein regime; the arsenal of destructive weapons denoted by our military has created a living hell on Earth for millions of Iraqis that had nothing to do with the September 11th attacks and must now subsist amongst the rubble of their homes stained with the blood of their family, their lives dismembered by million-dollar Tomahawk missiles launched by Navy ships in the Red Sea. Like the Republicans who have declared Donald Trump a national security threat due to his pro-torture and unilateral militaristic positions while they themselves have supported torture and preemptive war, Kerry, who as Senator of Massachusetts voted for the Iraq War, doesn’t have leg to stand on as he applies a twisted and hypocritical logic in his assessment of ISIS, citing their genocidal tendencies as the reason why Iraq and Syria are now in ruins.
The truth (unspoken by the State Department and their loyal mainstream media allies that dutifully disseminate any announcement from the government as though it were truth) is that the underlying causes of the violence plaguing the Middle East are a direct result of the United States government and military whom -- at the behest of Wall Street, the Military-Industrial-Complex, and death-defying Cold War-era centenarian government officials like Henry Kissinger (a war criminal with close ties to Hillary Clinton), Dick Cheney, Zbigniew Berezniki (President Obama’s former foreign policy advisor), and Donald Rumsfeld -- have illegally invaded and occupied Iraq for the sake of profit and imperialism. After a quarter century of sanctions and weekly bombing raids, and after 13 years of military occupation, not only has America in effect created ISIS, but we have slaughtered far more innocent people in that region than ISIS has or ever will. While the actions of our government may not be labeled as genocide, this means little to the family members of the hundreds of thousands of civilians (of whose deaths the military does not keep track) that have been killed by our weapons, and countless others (perhaps as many as four million) that have died as a result of the tangential instability caused by the invasion and occupation (not to mention a quarter-century of sanctions).
Speaking to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in 1973, when the United States was embroiled in another murderous quagmire based on lies and aggression – the Vietnam War, in which ultimately the United States lost fifty-thousand soldiers and killed over two million Vietnamese – a far more cleared-headed John Kerry of Vietnam Veterans Against the War had this to say to Congress and the American people:
We saw Vietnam ravaged equally by American bombs and search and destroy missions, as well as by Viet Cong terrorism - and yet we listened while this country tried to blame all of the havoc on the Viet Cong… We are here in Washington to say that the problem of this war is not just a question of war and diplomacy. It is part and parcel of everything that we are trying as human beings to communicate to people in this country - the question of racism which is rampant in the military, and so many other questions such as the use of weapons; the hypocrisy in our taking umbrage at the Geneva Conventions and using that as justification for a continuation of this war when we are more guilty than any other body of violations of those Geneva Conventions; in the use of free fire zones, harassment interdiction fire, search and destroy missions, the bombings, the torture of prisoners, all accepted policy by many units in South Vietnam.
Since then John Kerry has substituted the logic and passion of a man with an independent voice for that of a confabulating politician who must toe the line of a party rife with double-standards and hypocrisy. Like Hillary Clinton who must now make excuses for her avocation of war with the now failed-states of Iraq and Libya, John Kerry has assumed the position of a hitman who must defend the indefensible. He must point the finger at ISIS for carrying out mass killings when it is the United States that has overseen the primary genocide in that region. When Russia followed in the U.S lead and began bombing Syria, Kerry was put in the awkward position of saying that it was their bombing campaign was destabilizing, as though the U.S bombing of Syria and arming of rebels was constructive. When the Egyptian military overthrew the first democratically-elected president of Egypt in 2013, Kerry said that the military was “restoring democracy.” He has played the genocide card with ISIS but says nothing of Saudi Arabia’s mini-genocide against civilians in Yemen.
If we are to resolve the world’s problems we must try to view the world through a clear and objective lens. Yes, ISIS is committing genocide, but so have we (then and now: think slavery, Native Americans, Hiroshima and Nagasaki); and for us to call genocide on ISIS is the pot calling the kettle black. We invaded Iraq based on a lie: that Saddam Hussein was harboring terrorists, and the tragic irony of our foolhardy campaign is that we have created real terrorists in our crusade to catch phantoms. In addition to Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, and Syria are in ruins due to our foreign policy, and our government is blaming the people of those regions for the destabilization and chaos; we blame them for not going along with our imperialist agenda. But what did we expect having invaded and brutalized sovereign states and human beings? Did we expect for them to just roll over and hand us their resources after we have killed their family members and friends? (One thing that should be noted is that these countries were all fairly modern before we invaded; this can be observed in the old footage of Syrian nightlife. Before we invaded Iraq, Saddam Hussein’s cabinet even included Christians.) Imagine that a foreign power bombed your neighborhood to smithereens, wiping-out everything you loved in an invasion and occupation of your homeland – would you roll over as Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, John Kerry, and a number other war criminals would like and apparently expect the Iraqis to do, or would you fight back? We must acknowledge our mistakes if we are to correct them. We need to put ourselves in the shoes of the people whom we have oppressed if we are to reconcile our differences with them. Our current strategy is to label everyone who hates us a terrorist and refuse to end these war until every last one of them is killed. Such a strategy will lead to an amaranthine conflict and will only see the Middle East enveloped in flames. This should not be the way forward for it is an ominous trajectory that would spell doom for the fate of humanity. Now is the time for sympathy, compassion, diplomacy, for truth and reconciliation. Let that be the way forward so that the newborn Iraqi child will no longer be born into a world of horror and sorrow.