The truth is not only wasn’t there a decisive victory in Iraq. There was a sense of loss. A loss of 5,000 soldiers, a million Iraqis, trillions of dollars, and the demolishing of a country’s infrastructure based on a pack of lies by George Bush that Saddam had Weapons of Mass Destruction.
The only war I remember having a parade for, in fact scads of parades, was for World War II. That was a decisive victory in both the European and Japanese theatres of War. Folks paraded in Times Square, the five boroughs of Manhattan, and across the land and world. We had won, fair, square, and with a couple of atomic bombs. I was a kid and did not quite get that part. Nor am I encouraging it presently.
But an article in the New York Times reports that Veterans of Iraq War, Some Argue, Also Deserve a Parade. I suppose they do, but the U.S. likes winners. In fact, this was all stimulated by the Super Bowl win of the New York Giants over the New England Patriots. First of all, a football game is just that, a game, played with hard and fast rules, referees, measured quarters, the best of the best players, coaches, equipment, and with one agreed upon principal for both teams: win it! And use your head strategically to do that as well as your physical skills to outpace the opposing team.
It isn’t like starting a war in Iraq on lies, that Saddam Hussein had WMD when no one, not even the UN’s inspector (referee) for nuclear weapons, Hans Blix, could find nary a missile, poison gas, Niger yellowcake uranium, or any secret locales for the stash. There were no goal posts in Iraq. No fighting from your 20-yard line to the 50 and marching down it to a touchdown, a kick for the goal, and your seven points up. The stated purpose of the shock and awe of the linemen was bringing democracy to Iraq. You might as well bring sea bass to a Thanksgiving dinner.
In fact, the last thing on anybody’s mind was democracy, given the unilateral and illegal attack on Iraq. Now, who’s going to march over that shameful premise? Sorry to say, our brave players were sent on a fool’s mission once again. The field had no markers, no big rectangle broken into ten yards ten times. The war was one you had to find, break down doors, terrorize families, looking for the man with the ball, the I.E.D. or hidden weapon, and knock him to the ground. In frustration for often not finding those things, soldiers took it out on innocent viewers of the ongoing chaos. Also, soldiers had to watch their buddies go nuts, over the top, at the atrocities they often had to commit (albeit much like WWII), but mostly back then there were victories and a people were spared from total holocaust. What they learned from it seems questionable sometimes.
If, in fact, one wants to invite the Iraq Veterans for a parade, go right ahead. But our mayor, Mr. Bloomberg, said how would that look to the old Vietnam vets who basically got a kick in the teeth for serving when they came home, again given the atrocities they had to inflict to win an unwinnable war with enemies that could disappear and appear like ghosts. Well, let’s invite the Vietnam vets post facto to march and commiserate with the Iraq vets. It’s gonna be a big parade. And then there’s Korea: something like 54,000 dead compared to the 58,000 in Nam compared to the 670,846 in World War II. Here, knock yourself out. Take a look at the U.S. Casualties for war from Wiki, from the Revolutionary War on.
Well, in fact, we do have a Veterans Day, when the Veterans of Foreign Wars March in most major cities. We have a Memorial Day to mourn the lost as well as to celebrate their blood-drenched victories. But asymmetrical war ain’t football, the World Series, Hockey’s Stanley Cup, or any other for sport and entertainment battle. I feel that sports mirror the conflicts of war and share much of its language: let’s kill them, take out the quarterback, blitz (as in Blitzkrieg) the offense, and so on. And people enjoy the war games, the way the Romans loved to go down to the Coliseum to see a good fight between a Christian with a lion, may the better beast win. Or how about the gladiators, did they have parades? The Roman legions were always marching somewhere, but that was to conquer or be conquered.
Returning to my central concept of having a “decisive victory,” like the Giants did win the game by four points, we don’t see anything like that in the reality of today’s wars, where the objectives are really never stated clearly and are generally subtexts, like beating Afghanistan for its access to the Caspian Sea, oil-rich nations surrounding the sea, and then punching through the pipeline routes that bring that oil down to Pakistan to ship east to China and India. In fact, we claimed we were looking for bin Laden. How’s that for a marching theme? It’s more than a decade game running, thousands of men and women down. And there is nothing to cheer about except everybody hasn’t been killed. Yet! Even, after we purportedly murdered Osama bin Laden, our original reason for going there, we’re still there. And no victory parades coming, just more agendas and body bags.
I mean what’s to cheer about in Libya. We take down a head of a sovereign state that ruled for 42 years, shared the wealth of the country’s oil revenues with his people AND provided free health care, education, a gold-based currency, a multi-billion dollar aquifer underground to bring fresh water from north to south. Okay, so he refused the U.S. the right to build an Africon (African Pentagon) for staging operations in Africa. So he gets smeared, beaten up and killed in the streets and then his body is on show in the refrigerator of a local butcher shop. Anybody want to go to that parade? Any of the airmen who killed 60,000 Libyans want to get a trophy from Mayor Bloomberg and have lots of people cheer for them? I don’t think so.
The same goes for Syria that doesn’t want to go along with the CIA playbook, the same group that’s sending soldiers of fortune in the game at half-time to play revolutionaries. Parade anyone? Even the people that don’t like the Assad regime do not want that parade of violence sponsored by the U.S. to continue. No clear objectives except death and destruction. There is no win for these people except to work through their country’s problems on their own. Then they could have a parade.
And then there’s Pakistan with deadly drones landing like footballs, like bombs thrown by Manning or Brady, BOOM, and wipeout. It’s like football Nintendo, only the balls are real bombs. Rah Rah, sis boom bah, kill the Paks, kill the Paks anyone? No. I understand. Again, there is no clear victory only the making of chaos. And this is what is terrifying and makes sports’ fans, even me, glued to my leather chair, ottoman and 42-inch flat screen, cheering for the Giants, clapping and cheering. This is fun, it’s clean, nobody’s dead. Maybe a few that feel bad, dejected, hurt, etc. So, let’s keep our priorities in order here. That’s why fans cheer, parade and wear the winner’s gear. And this lack of decisive goals and consequently decisive victories, is what’s giving America angst, including the antics of the warring financial industry. It’s only goal seems to be to bankrupt us.
Neil Armstrong went to the moon and back and he got a parade(s). The objective was clear. Get there, walk around and investigate, then come back in one piece. This he did as did many other astronauts. Bless them. But let’s just go back to yesterday and the Civil War, where 364,522 northerners died and 264,000 southerners followed them to Hades. Was the objective clear? Free the blacks from slavery and/or try to preserve the system of slavery for plantation-owners’ prosperity and maintain an underclass, so poor whites could feel much better than blacks and oppress them with domestic terrorism. In fact, the Klu Klux Klan took over right after the northern armies left with “Reconstruction” and “Deconstruction” began. Not until a century later did it begin to get straightened out, thanks to a man named Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., non-violent coach extraordinaire.
He knew who had the guns and who had the guts to look them in the face, along with the dogs, the water cannon, the jeering, the humiliation and the thousand cuts that strengthened his people. Clear objective: integrate or suffer slavery and domination forever. And don’t we march for MLK every year and celebrate his memory. Yes. When the victory is brave and to the genuine advantage of man, the people will join in the crowd and have spontaneous parades. Just as they do follow Occupy Wall Street leaders (who are not leaders but just going their way which happens to be the right way, that is unseating the genuine criminals who dominate Wall Street and should be arrested by the cops, not them.) Clear objective: Occupy what’s evil or wrong. Remake it in the image of good. All welcome aboard. Bad cops need not apply unless they’re retired Philadelphia police captains who understand the issues which makes them good guys.
So listen. You want a parade, be a cheerleader like George Bush. Unfortunately, he became president, and still kept that Rah Rah attitude. But it wasn’t enough. It’s never enough. Baloney is baloney. Steak is steak. There is a difference. Don’t start wars when your purpose is murky or wrong or you are just flexing military muscle. See Iran and the current scenario, another war-drum beating with everything from anti-Semitism to nuclear holocaust to stopping oil flows in the Strait of Hormuz. And that’s why you’re going to get people, lots of people killed. Is that too hard?
Here, try this one. On the hike go out long in the backfield five steps, turn right at look at Eli and jump when it comes. You got it, first down. I always wondered why Army (West Point) and Navy (Annapolis) had football teams. Now I know. Keep it simple. Have a play-by- play plan. Keep your focus on the goal post. And let the guys work their magic. It ain’t rocket science. But people love it and are willing to give you a parade for it when you win.
By the way, Las Vegas is already saying, that’s it for the Giants, two championships. Next year it’ll be the Chesapeake Potato Peels versus the Wisconsin Cheeseheads. Well, Vegas was mostly wrong all season. So let’s not pay attention to them. So much for pundits—me included.
Jerry Mazza is a freelance writer, life-long resident of New York City. An EBook version of his book of poems “State Of Shock,” on 9/11 and its after effects is now available at Amazon.com and Barnesandnoble.com. He has also written hundreds of articles on politics and government as Associate Editor of Intrepid Report (formerly Online Journal). Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.