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{Originally published February 2005}

The truth is all around us. For some it is obvious, but for most it is perpetually invisible … a mystery shrouded in endless opinion.

It was most interesting to hear two back-to-back new stories this morning on the radio, one about Iraq, and one about WWII, unrelated, yet to those choose to think with our heads, it was a lesson that all others will simply ignore, for fear of having to cast aside their own emotional investment in the self-righteousness of the recent popular extremism.

Sixty years ago today began the bombing of the German City of Dresden by Allied forces. This year today, its mayor commemorated the event with words of remembrance, with words of warning lest they forget the evils of war brought on by Hitler and the Nazis.

Odd – I thought the 35,000 people killed were from American and British bombs with the help of Polish airmen. No official outcry against the “war crimes” of America for killing innocent civilians? (However, another news source tells of protestors in another part of town who belong to a revisionist political party downplaying the evils of the Third Reich and the Holocaust – the real final score in that trial of humanity.) But anyone with half a brain will see where I’m going, so hold that thought and switch gears for a moment.

Another war, another time. Completely different circumstances, right?

In America, I do not ever recall so many pleadings for everyone to vote as in the recent presidential election, with the contagion of attitude that all will be lost if one or the other party wins. Yet the turnout was no more impressive than usual. In Iraq (as the news story goes), with threats against voters across the country, backed in deeds by continued terrorist attacks on police and polling places, a turnout of over 65% of all registered voters was achieved. How many of us would have gone to the polls if our families begged us not to for fear that we would never come home?

The score is finally in. I don’t mean some growing conveniently accounted, uninterpreted death toll, blaming the liberators instead of the still-murdering terrorists (who according to some did not exist in Iraq in the first place). It is time for war mongers and peaceniks who have shouted political cries for or against the war from the safety of their keyboards and living rooms to shut the <heck> up and for once pay attention to the real meaning behind the events.

Some of us already knew the score, but we were mocked by one side or the other for not taking their relatively pointless sides. Anyone who can read the blogs and other stories of people who live in Iraq are not in denial that they desperately want what we gave them, and the population is thick with those who are outright thankful. There are no protests from the people, just often anonymous terrorist acts. Looking back, if the end did not justify the means, that’s history now and we can not withdraw our troops and pretend it never happened or is all better – the point is to leave the arguments in the classroom.

This is no longer (or perhaps never really was) about WMDs and Al Quaida and 9-11, or oil, Halliburton, and the Bush family, or even cultural differences. It is not about mistreating prisoners or failing to get UN consent, or DU controversy, or anything else at this point. Many of those were completely out of perspective to begin with, beaten as attention-distracting drums, important in and of themselves or not. The bottom line – the ultimate truth of the now-written history of humanity – is about real people halfway around the world who without the force of violence (in fact in spite of it) are embracing something the rest of the world thinks we pushed on them wrongfully.

If the Iraqis are truly the victims of American imperialism, let them decide the punishment. They’d probably throw a parade for us. And maybe in 60 years, there will be a commemoration in Baghdad, too, for our shock and awe to end the oppression of Saddam Hussein, making another of history’s war-mongering, fascist regimes just that – history. And let’s not rewrite history.