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History Disappears Down the Memory Hole in Iraq


History Disappears Down the Memory Hole in Iraq

Tom Engelhardt

In April 2003, with Baghdad occupied by American troops, the top officials of the Bush administration were already dreaming of building bases in Iraq that would be garrisoned more or less in perpetuity.


When we have come to a point where NPR is sponsored by BAE Systems, we are at the precipice of the valley of the absurd. Thanks Tom, for keeping us awake on this important facet of our failed ME policies. Truth may be the first casualty of war, but you are doing great work on the life support system.


Tom, thanks for the writing. I feel like somehow I’m finishing a sentence. History is indeed vanishing, but reality is the overwhelming bulk of Americans had/have no idea that there were 500 bases in Iraq. That Subway and a myriad of mall businesses were there, etc.
I like your explanation of the idiotic little way that politeness as the U.S. saw it trumped. e.g. no “permanent bases.” Also show no caskets coming home. So Orwell, in keeping with language junk laid out by Reagan. And, at the time, many people bought it. I felt in 03 that once in we would never leave, and I am by no stretch well read on foreign affairs It’s just once and while I find something that’s beyond belief and I know most people may even know but don’t confront.
The latest horrors I’ve read about are sexual assaults of Iraqi boys done by American soldiers on purpose while the kid’s mothers were present, obviously, some time ago, but on a par with My Lai, and I’ve heard little or nothing all these years from mainstream U.S. media, And I know the list goes on and on.
The United States sure is a cesspool now.


Hi WiseOwl. I must be the only one that Can not know or memorize all the abbreviations in all the topics on the internet. What would you think if I were to comment; The OS and Y of the FS system was not an ICV that was approved by the FPA nor by the URL.


The US might have built a lot of unnecessary bases in Iraq but just imagine how much money Bush and Cheney cronies made. That’s what is really special. But we better cut Social Security.


The 500 bases are something that average 'Support Our Troops" Americans mostly know nothing about. What’s disturbing to me is I was a kid during Vietnam, and that period left Americans with a skeptical eye about this kind of thing, Now, it’s as if the public will never know that basically we have quasi-occupied Iraq permanently. We never leave (except Vietnam). But we do cut Social Security, or at least steal from it’s funds once and a while.


The US Establishment has been way beyond the “precipice” of the valley of the absurd for most of my life. I had the phenomenal experience of reading “Catch 22” while I was in the Army, stationed at Fort McClellan, Alabama, located near the town of Anniston, many of whose residents were boastfully proud and would gladly show off the place where the first bus transporting civil rights activists was overturned and burned. I was from Los Angeles and this was my first in-person taste of the Old South mindset which was replicated in most of the “lifers,” the permanent Regular Army true believers, both officers and enlisted, a contrived bogus class distinction if there ever was one.

The military was also my first experience of the complicated ways bureaucracies function and justify whatever they think they’re accomplishing, a way of doing (or avoided doing) things that I found replicated in both large corporations and Government institutions for which I did clerical work for the next four decades.

I think the supposed difference between business and government institutions is a laughable myth – I have worked for both, and now believe that Catch 22 wasn’t a rollicking exaggerated comic satire. If anything, it was a mild understated depiction of “reality.”

The way bureaucracies work and inculcate ridiculous beliefs in those who participate in the workings of them, the higher up the “chain of command” they are, the deeper their minds tend to sink into that bottomless pit “valley” of the absurd.

it all is a joke and unfortunately we are all the butt of it, and we all may die from not laughing.


Remember Afghanistan? The first six permanent bases built by the US in that country were coincidentally built along the purposed Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan Natural Gas Pipeline Project that the US and Unical were so eager to build. You’d just have to assume that all these new bases in Iraq will end up surrounding Iraqi oil fields, and refineries that are now owned by amerikan and british multinational oil companies! What a surprise that would be!


Well, one problem is to some people six million shrink wrapped dollars for the taking in Iraq isn’t a strange idea. That’s how far out say half the public really is, they had no problem with the war in the first place. All the discussion about group psychosis of Germany WWII and all the others throughout history-the 03 invasion and the 2000 installation of W tell me that that half or whatever of the U.S. has a mentally ill group dynamic also. And I really hope it catches up with as many of them as possible, just like Germany.