Thursday, March 20, 2008

War On Reality Part 82 ; 5 Years Of This & How Things Can Be Different

The fifth anniversary of the US led invasion and occupation of Iraq has thrown up a lot of numbers. The deaths, military and civilian, money wasted, attacks, the list is pretty endless. But there is one thing, above everything that we have learned and it's illustrated on the cover of today's Independent, shown above.

The one lesson we never learn is that of history. Human's have very short memories. From the constant meddling by other people and other countries in the Middle East since the dawn of time to the ignorance of federal officials of the mathematical vulnerability of a below sea-level city to the affects of a hurricane's winds and flood waters.

But instead we bury our heads in the sand and claim ignorance, when the lessons of history surround us, like the elephant in the room. This happened the last five years and still we are there, fighting for what exactly?

According to today's news from London, it's against a shadowy collection of loosely affiliated groups that are all around us and all out to get us.

But, look deeper, with more attention to detail and you'll find that things are not like that, the threat has been exaggerated. Using that report as an example, the UK of the 1970s was a far more dangerous place to exist than today's version. In 1972, 470 people were killed by terrorists (the legacy, mostly of the IRA) and in 2007, that number was three (the last fragments of violence in Northern Ireland).

The politics of fear has been almost fine-tuned these past seven years. We've seen the fake terror threats. We've seen the linking of any criminal activity to al-Qaeda. Yes, that includes those people at work who offer you pirate copies of DVDs, they're on a hotline to Osama Bin Laden and are planning the next big attack. We've seen the hyping of non-existent or paper thin intelligence on the next country to attack.

Then to top all that, President Bush, today, on this most sobering of dates, claims victory in Iraq. His Vice President goes one better and responds to a question about two thirds of the US public being against the war, Cheney responded with "so?".

But, things don't have to be like this and recent movements since the start of the year indicate they won't be soon. The interest by Americans and others around the World in the nominees for President has never been seen before in recent times. Every speech, every primary, every stand on an issue is devoured and analysed by media, but equally by the public.

To take things back from the brink of another seven years of what we've just been through, get involved, become an active citizen, get informed and keep informed on what elected officials are doing, even if it's only locally in your town or city. Become a member of a party, attend rallies, investigate those you are considering voting for.

Tell The Truthiness ; We have lived as if in a trance, we have lived as people in fear. That nightmare, that has become daily life for too many of us, is coming to an end. We are waking up from it and it's up to us, not only to move onto a new era of citizen, grassroots led governance, but to promise we shall not let future generations repeat our mistakes.

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Cost of the War in Iraq
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