From beginning to end, Barack Obama’s State of the Union speech was replete with delusion and falsifications. His promise of building an “America that lasts” was predicated on a sentimental, but utterly disingenuous notion of selfless teamwork. The invocation of American military “heroes” and their “achievements” during nine years of waging war on Iraq as an exemplar of how to salvage his nation from economic and social catastrophe was both sickening and laughable.
“These achievements are a testament to the courage, selflessness and teamwork of America’s Armed Forces. At a time when too many of our institutions have let us down, they exceed all expectations,” said Obama in praise of US troops fresh from their destruction in Iraq.
If that’s what Obama and the American people believe will resolve the deep-seated problems of American society then good luck to them in harbouring such crass delusions.
But what is sickening is how a truly gargantuan criminal war and blot on humanity is deified as a paragon of virtue to provide inspiration.
Incredibly, the day before Obama made is syrupy, American-pie paean, the world was reminded, in an oblique way, of the reality of what “American heroes” did to Iraq.
At the conclusion earlier this week of an American military court prosecution over the 2005 Haditha massacre in Iraq, none of the US Marines involved in the incident were found guilty of anything worse than “dereliction of duty”.
All but one of the eight “American heroes” was acquitted or had the charges dropped in spite of the fact that on 19 November 2005 the Marines led by Staff Sergeant Frank Wuterich butchered 24 Iraqi civilians in the Western Iraqi city of Haditha. The victims included women and children, shot at close range in their beds as the US Marines ran amok in homes.
In a scene reprised elsewhere in Iraq and Afghanistan, the killers urinated on the mutilated bodies of their victims.
The “conclusion” of the American military court martial has sparked outrage across Iraq and the world. Here was a clear case of mass murder, and yet the American troops who committed this despicable crime walk free. The case is just one of countless others in which Iraqi civilians were shot or blown to pieces by American and NATO troops during nine years of illegal occupation. The Haditha trial is reminiscent of the British court martial over the killing of hotel worker Baha Moussa in the southern Iraqi port city of Basra; Moussa was beaten to death while in custody by British squaddies, all of whom were later cleared, despite patent evidence of cold-blooded murder.
If such cases of egregious war crimes can be committed with impunity, what chance is there for justice and truth in the plethora of other crimes committed by American, British and other Western troops and mercenaries in Iraq – the checkpoint shootings, other murderous house raids, helicopter and drone attacks on villages, the use of death squads?
After nine years of terrorizing a country that left more than one million dead and one-in-three children orphans, an American president refers glowingly to the army of criminal occupation as “heroes”. More disturbingly, the president seems to think, and wants the US public to think, that with that kind of American “achievement” and “courage” their country can overcome the moral and material meltdown that it faces.
That is tantamount to urinating on the public’s intelligence.
Finian Cunningham is Global Research’s Middle East and East Africa correspondent