The Next Forgotten War
by Ryan McCarl
20 Apr 09 | AWC
Human beings have strong emotional immune systems, and human societies have a remarkable capacity for collective forgetfulness. Milan Kundera, writing of the effect of the news cycle on historical memory, once said: “The bloody massacre in Bangladesh quickly covered the memory of the Russian invasion of Czechoslovakia, the war in the Sinai desert made people forget Allende, the Cambodian massacre made people forget Sinai, and so on and so forth until ultimately everyone lets everything be forgotten.”
Likewise, the histories of our time might say: there was an American invasion and occupation of Iraq, a war that amounts to a crime, but it was quickly followed by other wars, a financial crisis, and an economic depression – and we found that we had enough problems on our plate without worrying too much about the past.
Americans are leaving the Iraq War behind; it is seen as an embarrassing episode, best unmentioned in polite company. The Obama administration is stacked with liberal hawks who supported the Iraq War, and figures from the former Bush administration are signing book deals and making the rounds of press conferences and interviews, propagating meae culpae of the “mistakes were made” sort. A war of choice is being quietly transformed into an unfortunate but ultimately unavoidable mistake, one caused not by politicians and public intellectuals cocooned in their hubris and their reckless ideologies, but by an “intelligence failure.” >>>