Tuesday, 3 June 2003

The Day Of The Jackals

by Arundhati Roy

Mesopotamia. Babylon. The Tigris and Euphrates. How many children, in how many classrooms, over how many centuries, have hang-glided through the past, transported on the wings of these words?

And now the bombs have fallen, incinerating and humiliating that ancient civilization.

On the steel torsos of their missiles, adolescent American soldiers scrawled colorful messages in childish handwriting: "For Saddam, from the Fat Boy Posse."

A building went down. A market place. A home. A girl who loved a boy. A child who only ever wanted to play with his older brother’s marbles.

On the March 21--the day after American and British troops began their illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq--an "embedded" CNN correspondent interviewed an American soldier. "I wanna get in there and get my nose dirty," Private A.J. said. "I wanna take revenge for 9/11."

To be fair to the correspondent, even though he was "embedded," he did sort of weakly suggest that so far there was no real evidence that linked the Iraqi government to the September 11, 2001, attacks. Private A.J. stuck his teenage tongue out all the way down to the end of his chin. "Yeah, well, that stuff’s way over my head," he said.

When the United States invaded Iraq, a New York Times/CBS News survey estimated that 42 percent of the American public believed that Saddam Hussein was directly responsible for the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. And an ABC news poll said that 55 percent of Americans believed that Saddam Hussein directly supported al-Qaeda. None of this opinion is based on evidence (because there isn’t any). All of it is based on insinuation, auto-suggestion and outright lies circulated by the U.S. corporate media.

Public support in the U.S. for the war against Iraq was founded on a multi-tiered edifice of falsehood and deceit, coordinated by the U.S. government and faithfully amplified by the press.

We had the invented links between Iraq and al-Qaeda. We had the manufactured frenzy about Iraq’s "weapons of mass destruction." No weapons of mass destruction have been found. Not even a little one.

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