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War and the Future: Iraq One Year on (Commentary)

Arena Journal 2004, Annual, 22

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When the US administration first declared the possibility of a preemptive war in Iraq, ostensibly as a response to September 11, the pronouncement seemed both unbelievable and utterly consistent with a certain way of thinking. This dual response has remained as the war and occupation has unfolded. In a year we have moved from the triumphalism of a high-tech induced regime change and the spectacle of shock and awe, to the reality of a protracted conflict after 'the end of major hostilities'. The public case for the Iraq invasion, accepted by an overwhelming majority of the mainstream press at the time, has been revealed as illegitimate. The post-hoc humanitarian reasons for invasion and occupation have foundered after the Abu Ghraib revelations. And we now know that the United States has simply bought off and redeployed many sectors of the former Ba'athist regime. The handover of sovereignty has now installed a US-approved administration that changes little in the eyes of ordinary Iraqis, many of whom simply wish the United States to leave. The possibility that Iraq might break up--that an independent Kurdistan, allied with Israel, might be declared by seizing Kirkuk and its surrounding oilfields--must also be entertained. Turkey, Syria and Iran would be drawn into this conflict, with devastating consequences for the entire region. (1) If one had to find an overall theme that governed the war in Iraq, it would be the evasion of responsibility. We have high-tech weapons that distance aggressors from their actions; and we have the outsourcing and privatization of armies and gaolers able to avoid the Geneva convention. A war is being conducted in our name, yet our leaders deny any responsibility for the atrocities that have occurred. Even the ban on publicly displaying the flag-draped coffins of dead soldiers suggests that the Coalition is unwilling to accept responsibility for their war. (2) Given that this orientation mirrors the distinctive way in which our sense of ethics is now constituted--via an intensive relation with image culture that both distances us and at times spectacularly involves us in the world--shouldn't we be asking just what it is that we are opposing?

War and the Future: Iraq One Year on (Commentary)
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  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Religion & Spirituality
  • Published: 01 January 2004
  • Publisher: Arena Printing and Publications Pty. Ltd.
  • Print Length: 13 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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