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Tell Us Why We’re At War in Iraq Again, Mr. President


Tell Us Why We’re At War in Iraq Again, Mr. President

Peter Van Buren

When I was a kid, three presidents told us we had to fight in Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos, because if we didn’t fight them over there, we’d have to fight them on the beaches of California. We believed. It was a lie.

I was a teenager during the Cold War, and several presidents told us we needed to create massive stockpiles of nuclear weapons, garrison the world, invade Cuba, fight in odd little places and use the CIA to overthrow democratically elected governments and replace them with dictators, or the Russians would destroy us. We believed. It was a lie.


Well, in my best Ronald Reagan voice, let me answer for President Obama.

"We're there because it's there."


Thank you for your honesty, something we get precious little of from our leaders, yesterday, today, and sadly but very likely, tomorrow.

"War is a Racket" Smedley Butler informed us and he should know, but our leaders did not listen to that narrative, but did listen to that of the MICC and war-profiteers, and Pentagon brass who build their careers and promotions on war and killing and politicians who have little understanding, integrity or moral compass. The charade is we "are defending freedom" or 'democracy" or taking-down some heinous dictator, or some other rationale for endless war - and profit in one form or another. Funny thing, those same "dictators" were our "allies" when it suited us, other dictators are our allies now in our fight against "terrorism" and for "freedom and democracy" and depose/defeat the 'enemy" of the moment. Many of those enemies we or our "allies" created (read Daesh) by our own depraved indifference and stupidity of our leaders and military "planners". We have adopted some evil and repressive and criminal regimes as our current "allies" in our endeavor - Saudi Arabia, Israel, Egypt, Turkey and some non-state allies, all guilty of what we supposedly oppose. All of those (our) allies are committing war crimes in prosecution of war, as are we, or committing crimes against their own people - none exhibit any real semblance of either freedom or democracy in their own countries.

Seems we have learned little over the past 60 years from Vietnam to Iraq.


i realize Van Buren is using a rhetorical device here. But i never believed any of those lies.

Maybe in 1966, when i was 7. Although i do recall being confused in the elementary school classroom about N Vietnam and S Vietnam, since i knew from learning about the Civil War that the North was "the good guys", and so i believed the USA was allied with the North. So it's not so much that i "believed" at that age, but that i was ignorant.


The only place the current mass murderer in chief will lead imperialist amerika is further into the abyss of failed empires!


Thanks to Mr. Van Buren for a very good reminder of America's history of war and our government's lies which got us there and to where we are today; morally and fiscally bankrupt and another decade behind in the battle and necessary commitment to have a chance at reversing human caused climate change. We are for sure a leaderless nation.


Some people no doubt believed the lies, but many did not and do not. And it's impossibly disingenuous to frame the entire national populace under one limited rubric.

Of course, those who gravitate to any branch of the armed services are proof positive of stooges who do believe the succession of lies. Nonetheless, there are always war critics--presuming a captured media allows them to be heard; and always war protests and protestors.

The use of a uniform WE frame that tags everyone under the same banner is ruthless dishonesty.


Depends who the WE is.

Why would a gargantuan institution whose raison d'etre depends upon war "learn to do otherwise"?

Framing the making of war as a lesson unlearned is a frame that exhibits a complete lack of understanding for what the MIC is and what rationales define its ongoing existence.

Civilians who never saw any merit in war are not the ones driving the war machine.

Those inside the MIC have no desire to cease and desist from what gives their lives meaning... and a paycheck, to boot.

Given the evident conditions of Fascism-lite that define the USA today under martial rule, those who push this idea that citizens haven't learned anything use this bogus argument to plant culpability on those who largely lack power. How different is such a strategy than that of the massive policing forces blaming the apprehended kid who ends up dead for having a gun he doesn't have? The entity with the power to enforce its will has a lot more to answer for than those on its receiving end.

That takes us back to the Catch 22 in that WERE citizens part of a genuine Democratic republic where politicians were accountable to them/the citizenry, and laws still intact with powerful forces complying with them; and a media providing honest renditions of truth... THEN this idea of citizens "not learning a thing" in regard to wars planned, executed, and maintained by Deep State entities might be worth more than shit to a tree.


Conservative's fear, war profiteering, imperialism, oligarchy, religious crusades, a chicken hawk government, a huge military machine that must used or lost, and lots of new high tech weaponry to buy and test against the old ones our government gave to its enemy du jour to justify a trillion/yr war budget.


"The use of a uniform WE frame that tags everyone under the same banner is ruthless dishonesty."

No, it's a rhetorical device, common for centuries. It has zero to do with any "ruthless dishonesty" on Van Buren's part.


We are at war because we are Americans.
Inferiority complexes lead to violence.


Ditto for most of us here, without even having taken a poll ...

But most USA'ns and most of the English speaking world did. Most people, when confronted with headlines that said "US Forces are providing humanitarian aid in Libya" did not think "The USA is providing weapons, training and directions to the leaders of a civil war that they have created". No they thought "US Forces are providing humanitarian aid in Libya". I know that, because there were polls.


For the life of me, I cannot understand why there are only two 'likes' for this article.


The motive is PROFIT.


Get the f#$% out. Just get the f#$% out!


You are correct about Vietnam and Eisenhower, but the Iraq War began I 1991 and has never really stopped since.

Perpetual war is perpetual profit for the MIC.


I am close to 60 and my whole life has been one war after another. To say it is tragic is quite an understatement. To think what good all those dollars could have ben used for, not to mention the needless deaths is the real tragedy. When there is a profit to be made, greed trumps most rational thought. America's empire is doomed to fail and not a moment too soon. We need a re-boot.


Not sure of your point except the very obvious, and very unnecessary, Siouxrose. I think you're making an "angels on the head of a pin" argument where none really exists, at least as far as my comment goes.

The war-machine will never "learn" to not be a destructive force. The reasons the war-machine/MICC exists and grows is to profit in various ways from war and death and destruction, and its power over the people and politics is clear for anyone with eyes and even a modicum of understanding. The "lesson unlearned" is that people, the citizenry, don't, or cannot, act to smash the war-machine, politically speaking (a lot easier said than done!). There is no free ride given to the warmongers in my comment at least, the entire middle paragraph I hope says who I believe the real enemy is and how they use their power to maintain war and conflict and death.........The truth is we are not living in a genuinely democratic republic but a military dominated entity, a charade of a democratic state, that feeds on wars and profits for a few at the expense of the many - often called fascism.


I totally disagree. This "rhetorical device" is a major facilitator of propaganda because what's more propagandistic than:

  1. Telling people what they believe
  2. Using the illusion of absolute consensus to drive home The Opinion
  3. Maintaining a singular frame that arguably speaks for all
  4. Making dissent invisible
  5. Masking any challenge to the Official Story as nonexistent

Uniform frames insist upon absolute consensus.

They are a necessary tool of the Dominator (re: military-bankster) society in that they grant NO voice, space, or validity to any opinion outside of the normative voice of said dominators.

How different is such a tactic from what many here manage to recognize in the form of:

  1. Presenting Israel and Palestine as two equal forces, "both sides"
  2. Presenting a wholly false "good guys versus bad guys" narrative that constantly sets Putin up as the aggressor without defining circumstances of actual Western aggression (in Ukraine)

Add this to the PATTERN of Official Narratives held up as absolutely true starting with what we were told as children...

"Columbus discovered America."

"George Washington could not tell a lie."

"America is the land of the free and home of the brave."


  1. That Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone to slay JFK
  2. That Saddam Hussein was behind the 911 debacle


When leaders deceive; and when mass media is an evident extension of the military and works through a constant stream of propaganda, then it is VITAL that this "we" idiom be relentlessly challenged.

I noticed that Robert Reich questioned it in one of his columns, and many Feminists do likewise.

Until the WE frame GENUINELY speaks for all voices--rather than that of the white male warrior dominator--I will contest it. As should anyone who is not in accord with the make-war state fast morphing into a Fourth Reich.


One armed individual can hold an entire family captive.

Armed force is what compelled Native Americans into submission.

Armed force (within a "justice system" under thrall to Mars-rules) is what continues to enslave the Black Community (now it's via a modernized prison-industrial complex or new Plantation System).

You imply that citizens have the power to stand up to the MIC. That might have been true in its early stages, but now with courts, politicians, banks, corporations reliant upon and/or beholden to the M.I.C. it is a brutal and pervasive force with tentacles woven into many states' economic systems.

This idea that the peaceful citizen CAN take down the Beast is its own fiction. It's no different than asking why Palestinians put up with Israel's heavy handed martial fist.

Equations based on power, particularly well-armed power are not those that conform to Democratic outcomes or operations.

And if my comment draws in the NRA gun-toting macho wannabes... who lust for blood-in-the-streets style revolution, you should know that the M.I.C has weapons that can split your ear drums, collapse your internal organs, and make you lose your bowels before any shots are fired.

The ONLY thing that can overcome the Beast is a combination of global consciousness shift (and it IS happening), added to financial collapse (inevitable), added to total implosions of the natural world (also underway).

Meanwhile, just because YOU and your pals are stuck inside the paradigm of the warrior-god and see life through a prism that insists that this archetype defines human nature (and thus the entire population pool) hardly makes it real or true. Therefore, I will continue to speak for Other. Like attendees of "The World Social Forum," I assert that "another world is possible." WE are not all warriors or amenable with the creed of this spiritually-retarded, albeit heavily armed and dangerous archetype that defines merely a segment of humanity.