“End to Combat Operations”

One of the paramount notions from 1984 is doublespeak.  At the end of August President Obama declared an end to combat operations in Iraq.  The government claims that all combat troops have now been withdrawn.  No more fighting for US troops.  Yet, thousands of US troops remain in country.  Why?

Yet, direct reporting contradicts Obama’s contention.  Foreign correspondent Anthony Shadid appeared on NPR’s Fresh Air about a week ago.  He reports that combat has not ended for troops with three deaths deported in the 3 weeks since the stated “end.”  The general state of affairs there is not painted as rosy by him either (the image of sewage piled up is particularly memorable).  Shadid’s point is only part of the picture.

In line with the ever-growing military-industrial complex, 50,000 US troops remain in Iraq.  It begs the question: if “combat” is actually over, why are they there?  Academics (for example, here), the press (for example, here and here), and the US government (here) show the vast amount of wealth up for grabs in Iraq’s oil fields.  Perhaps Iraqi people were to decide not to award oil contracts to US and other Western nations?  (It won’t, but acts of rebellion have occurred in history.)  Well, luckily for US oil and current energy interests, 50,000 men and women with guns, tanks, bombs, and missiles are already in position.  Though I’m sure they are there solely for benevolent charity acts.  Indeed, hasn’t that been the motivation for spending more on the military than all other nations combined and, since WWII, stationing US troops across the globe whether welcome or not?

In the end, the Bush Administration led the way to war with lies and propaganda.  There is no doubt that blame lies centrally there.  The Bush government began the use of doublespeak with the infamous “War on Terror”, a “hot” war on an idea defined by the government who named it and who helped create it.  Most frighteningly, however, is the increasing relevance of 1984’s preeminent line: “War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery, Ignorance is Strength.”  We could believe Obama.  We could ignore the atrocities half-way around the globe from us.  Most US Americans undoubtedly will.

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