An American soldier lies on an operating table. in Ramadi after being wounded in an IED blast. Iraq 2006. (Photo: Lucian Read / battlespaceonline.org)
When they say to you that "mistakes were made," never believe that. Mistakes are always made, but mistakes did not lead us on the road to Baghdad. We were taken to Iraq by those who knew exactly, precisely what they were doing. Or believed so anyway.
Do not be persuaded to believe that "bad intelligence" was the problem and war was the unfortunate result. No one who made this war believed themselves what they told the nation. They knew quite well and they went anyway. And they took us with them.
When it is said that an "insurgent" has killed or been killed always ask who that was, and why. More often than not, it was someone who lived there, but would not live under foreign rule.
Do not be seduced into thinking of torture as harsh interrogation. The hour is late and we must confront the torturers among us.
If you are the slightest bit concerned that we have crushed freedom here and in other lands in the name of freedom, be more concerned. We have.
Never forget or let your children forget that it was all a lie, told with purpose.
Many of us believed that Vietnam was a catharsis, a moving beyond a point to which we could never return. It took only 28 years to get from Saigon to Baghdad. And we took the exact same road. Don't be too ashamed the trick we fell for was the same one Mark Twain warned of when he wrote, "Beware the leader who bangs the drums of war in order to whip the citizenry into a patriotic fervor ..." "All you have to do ...," said Hermann Goering "... is tell them that they are being attacked, and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country."
It has worked in our country. Again.
At the end of any battle, the last man holding a sword is the judge. But Nuremberg forgot Dresden. Will we forget Abu Ghraib? Will the world forget what we have done? In the year 2001, we believed that it did not matter who won the presidential election. What do we believe now?
We have sacked Babylon. Only a fool would believe there will be no day of atonement.
We stand at the precipice of a new age of political pragmatism. Realists, making realistic decisions. Let it be listed among those things that are real the danger of ignoring the enormous crimes of these last eight years. Lest we come to ask for whom the bell tolls.