Eric Zuesse, originally posted at Strategic Culture
American ‘news’-media present a very distorted view of America’s international relations. For example, consider this:
Retired Marine’s message about travel ban goes viral
2,306,988 views•Feb 10, 2017
Fox News, Hannity
Marine in Iraq [Steve Gern, Marine Staff Sergeant (Ret.)]:
“We discussed the executive order [banning Iraqis from coming to U.S.], and their displeasure in this executive order, why they feel like they’ve been betrayed by the United States, and … I asked a simple question: As an American if I went out into the town right now, would I be welcomed? And they answered absolutely not, you would not be welcomed. And I said, what would happen? And they said, the locals would snatch me up and kill me within an hour. I’d be tortured first, and after they were done torturing me, I’d probably be beheaded, it would go on video, for everybody to see as an example. … What I am trying to make is this, is the local populace, that would do this. This isn’t al-Qaeda, this isn’t the PMU, this isn’t the militia from the Iranians, this is the local populace that would do this. So, my question then was pretty simple: If you would do this to me, in your country, why would I let you in my country? Because all this means to me is that if you have the opportunity, to take the life of an American, you would do it. If this is the way some of those cultures feel, this is the way that these countries feel about Americans, why would you be so naive to believe that if they came to the United States, they would do anything any different from what they would do right here in their own country?”
Actually, there is no comparison between those two situations (one of those Iraqis in America, versus that same person in U.S.-occupied Iraq), and here is why:
We invaded their land. We did it on the basis of Bush’s lies that Bush had conclusive evidence that Saddam was six months from a nuclear weapon and had been behind the 9/11 attacks. He blatantly misrepresented the evidence that he did have. And instead of Bush, or any of his successors, apologizing for this — the destruction of Iraq (on the basis of lies) — there has been continued military occupation of Iraq, and forcing of its Government to do what our lying Government demands, such as privatizing the oil and paying international oil companies to exploit and market it — their oil.
The reason why “they feel they’ve been betrayed” by Trump’s bar against any Iraqi relocating to America is that many of these Iraqis had been hired by U.S. firms to do translating or other essential assistance to the invaders, and so they are themselves now hated by the locals, their own countrymen, and they think that the only safety for them and their families would be to move, along with their families, to America. They are therefore now terrified, at finding themselves stranded in Iraq, where they are very reasonably considered to be traitors.
Furthermore, the U.S. did seize many innocent Iraqis, and subject them to torture; so, why would that be okay but the locals seizing some of the invaders and subjecting them to torture NOT be okay? Are the invaders (the U.S. forces) innocent? Maybe some of them are, but, really, should they be presumed to have been innocent and the Iraqis, whom our Government seized and tortured, be considered to have been guilty? Guilty of what? Defending their country? Against this evil invasion? Okay, so the evil was in the U.S. President, George W. Bush, and in his also lying V.P. Dick Cheney, etc., and other top-level Bush Administration war-criminals, and not necessarily in the troops who simply did what they were told to do. But in World War II, were all of Hitler’s troops innocent? They weren’t the ones who were primarily responsible, but were they INNOCENT? They did what they were paid to do, but were THEY innocent? Really? One may say that they were less guilty than America’s troops in Iraq were, because those German soldiers were conscripts, whereas ours are ‘volunteers’.
For Steve Gern to be hated in Iraq while he was in Iraq is not, at all, comparable to an Iraqi citizen who was a traitor to his country and is now provided refuge in America (which Trump’s executive order prevents). They’re totally different types of case. That Iraqi who seeks refuge in the U.S. isn’t any invader. But Gern was. All Americans in Iraq are invaders and military occupiers, on the basis solely of lies that George W. Bush and his team spouted in 2002. There’s no comparison. That Fox ‘News’ interview is sheer propaganda.
This isn’t to say that Steve Gern doesn’t believe what he asserts. It is only to say that what he is asserting is stupid because it is blind to the reality, which the other side see very clearly because their country was invaded and is militarily occupied by Gern and the other U.S. troops in their country.
And it’s not about “the culture,” such as Gern said. Gern asserted that “If this is the way some of those cultures feel, this is the way that these countries feel about Americans,” but the difference here is instead between occupier versus occupied, it’s not about anything “cultural.” Military occupiers are not liked. Not anywhere. Especially not after the invasion destroyed the country and contaminated it with toxins. And if the invading country has invaded on the basis of lies — as the U.S. did in Iraq and now routinely does such as in Libya and Syria etc. — then those occupying troops are normally hated. Gern is blind to that basic reality. Furthermore, America’s invasion and occupation of Iraq destroyed Iraq (as also happened in Libya and in Syria).
That’s why U.S. troops are hated in Iraq. And it is also why an Iraqi traitor who has fled to America for protection is not at all comparable to an American soldier in Iraq. That person’s being instead now denied the right of asylum here is an insult to that traitor; it is telling him: after we have exploited you, we are discarding you — you will stay in the country where you are a traitor.
If Iraq had invaded and militarily occupied the U.S., and done it purely on the basis of lies, then wouldn’t we hate those military occupiers, of our land? Of course, we would. And, of course we should, in that case, hate especially the Iraqi leader who had spouted the lies and ordered Iraq’s troops to invade here. But would we then be able to kill that head of state, in that distant land, who had done the lying and ordered the invasion of your country? Unfortunately, not. And, similarly, Iraqis cannot kill George W. Bush, even though most of them would probably crave to do so. But if they were instead to kill someone such as Steve Gern, then perhaps that would release just a bit of the hatred they feel for Bush and for his team. It’s a very justifiable hatred, even if it misses the actual target. Gern was just a front-man for the evil. Bush WAS the evil.
Is a person justified to hate his or her rapist? No? Really? Why not? How, then, is justice even possible? This isn’t about “an eye for an eye.” It is a victim’s response to that person’s attacker and oppressor. Iraqis didn’t invade America. Americans invaded Iraq. The more that the ‘news’ media of America’s billionaires who benefited from that invasion hide this fact by pumping the deceptions that those beneficiaries of this evil have constantly been nurturing, the more justified this hate from the actual victims is.
Invading a country on the basis of lies is raping everyone who lives there. No crime is worse than that. America does it routinely, but now mainly hires foreign proxies to do the mayhem, such as Al Qaeda. That doesn’t make it any less evil. On January 3rd, Trump assassinated the man whom many regard as the world’s most effective general who was leading the fight to destroy ISIS, and Trump perpetrated this assassination on Iraqi territory, in complete disregard for the sovereignty of the Iraqi people, to whom that Iranian general was overwhelmingly regarded as a hero and a liberator.
When U.S. Staff Sergeant Gern was occupying Iraq, he was surrounded by enemies, and he didn’t know why. He’s not able to see things from the victim’s standpoint, unless he’s the victim. And on Fox ‘News’ he was being presented as the victim. That interview was broadcast as Republican Party billionaires’ propaganda against Democratic Party billionaires’ propaganda. The public is virtually ignored, except as onlookers to be deceived. This is called the ‘free press’ in America’s ‘democracy’. The ‘news’ is propaganda, but each individual gets to choose whose propaganda to buy. Gern is just a soldier in that type of ‘democracy’. He does what he is paid to do, and doesn’t understand why he is paid to do it, nor whose benefit he serves by doing it. He was a soldier for America’s billionaires, but was never told this. And his pay — then, and even in retirement — comes instead from America’s taxpayers, who derive no benefit from invading and militarily occupying Iraq. It’s a land of socialism for the rich, and capitalism for everybody else. That’s what America’s soldiers are actually killing and dying for. But the dying and the lying must go on, because it benefits the billionaires, the ultimate patrons of this mayhem.
On 14 March 2020, the brilliant military analyst who blogs anonymously as “Moon of Alabama” concluded that the U.S. can in “no way deter or even win against the forces that are now working to evict it from Iraq.” The military occupation there won’t go on forever, no matter how long this and future U.S. Presidents demand that it must continue. A face-saving departure, such as happened in Vietnam, isn’t in the cards, this time, however. The invader will ultimately be defeated and driven out. But how much additional punishment will the invader inflict on its victims, the Iraqi people, before departing — and after? That’s the real question. How much do Americans want to be hated by Iraqis? Of course, we don’t, at all, but we don’t actually control ‘our’ Government.
America’s billionaires, who control ‘our’ elected officials and ‘our’ ‘free’ press (which lied along with ‘our’ Government so as to help it to invade there), and whose greed got us into invading and occupying Iraq, and who want to continue their military bases in Iraq, so that they can continue to threaten other countries in the region (since the American empire is not just commercial but military, and the military is its enforcement-arm), don’t want to end their Government’s occupation of Iraq. After all, it’s paid for by us taxpayers, not by those billionaires, and they want to continue such socialism for the rich, and capitalism for everybody else.
And that’s the dilemma: they don’t want to quit Iraq; but, now, lots of Iraqis are willing to sacrifice their own lives, if necessary, in order to force them out. For America’s troops currently in Iraq, things are even worse than when Steve Gern was there (2005-2015). Furthermore, being a military occupation-force is unpleasant work even under any conditions. It has nothing to do with “the way some of those cultures feel.” But since America’s billionaires control the Government, it has a lot to do with how those roughly 600 individuals “feel.” They, after all, are the ones who are being served in all of this. And they are the people whom every American President represents.
Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Duran.