Source: The Nation
Our endless wars have destroyed nations and warped our own political culture.
he United States started bombing Iraq on TJanuary 16, 1991, and, except for a few brief intervals, hasn’t stopped since. Twenty-six years this Monday, more than a quarter of a century, and four US presidents, all of whom have bombed Iraq. Last year, the rate of bombing increased over 20,105. The lion’s share of the 26,171 bombs dropped by the United States on the world was split evenly between Iraq and Syria, though we did reserve a dollop for Yemen. And the United States dropped more on Libya, about 500, in 2016, than in 2015. Trump, and Trumpism, is a symptom of the sickness, not the source.
The 1991 bombing began at 2:10 am Baghdad time (January 17 there)—over 100,000 sorties, tens of thousands of bombs dropped by thousands of planes. “Smart bombs” lit up the sky as the TV cameras rolled. Featured were new night-vision equipment, real-time satellite communications, and cable TV—as well as former US military commanders ready to narrate the war in the style of football announcers, right down to instant replays. “In sports-page language,” said CBS News anchor Dan Rather on the first night of the attack, “this… it’s not a sport. It’s war. But so far, it’s a blowout.”
The next day, January 18, in the CBS studio, Walter Cronkite and Rather engaged in an extended conversation that made them seem less like sports announcers describing live action than veteran color commentators comparing today’s game to how it used to be played.