President Obama spoke in Brussels on Wednesday on the Russia-Ukraine situation. At one point, in seeking to shame Russia for its actions, Mr. Obama actually went so far as to try and legitimize America's catastrophic actions in Iraq, so as not to appear hypocritical in his comments. His words:
"Moreover, Russia has pointed to America's decision to go into Iraq as an example of Western hypocrisy. Now, it is true that the Iraq War was a subject of vigorous debate not just around the world, but in the United States as well. I participated in that debate and I opposed our military intervention there. But even in Iraq, America sought to work within the international system. We did not claim or annex Iraq's territory. We did not grab its resources for our own gain. Instead, we ended our war and left Iraq to its people and a fully sovereign Iraqi state that could make decisions about its own future."
Facts: America ran roughshod over the international community to get that war going. If an invasion and ten-year occupation isn't annexation, then nothing is. Companies like Halliburton/KBR absolutely grabbed Iraq's resources, because their oil was supposed to "pay for the war," and there were gas lines in Iraq for years after the invasion, because those companies sat on that oil like it was their own private piggy bank... which it was, as it turns out. And as for the state we left Iraq in, thousands upon thousands of people have been killed in the sectarian strife left in our wake. They aren't making decisions about their future. They're running for their lives.
That this president dared to attempt to paper over the horrific smash-and-grab war crime that was America's invasion of Iraq is not merely disgusting; it is dangerous in the extreme, because we are doomed to repeat what we allow ourselves to forget.
Truthout does not forget. We were at the forefront of the struggle against that disastrous war, and we will not stand idly by as an alleged "good guy" slaps a coat of paint over it to cover up the blood on the walls. President Obama sounds for all the world like a used car salesman trying to peddle a lemon, and that will not happen on our watch.
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