Lessons unlearned

I watched the rhetorical run-up to war in Syria, with a sinking sense of fascination.

I wondered if the nation (or perhaps more aptly, the nation’s leaders), learned anything from the crippling debacle of Iraq.

Sadly, it seems not.

For politicians love few things better than microphones, and the media love few things better than servicing them, egging them on.

It’s like a soundtrack slips in, with very little editing; just changed names.

Assad replaced Saddam as “madman,” “brute,” “war criminal.”

It’s the same old game; first curse them — then kill them.

Only the American people weren’t on board this latest race to hell.

Polls showed shocking rates of opposition, saying with a loud voice: “This ain’t our problem!”

President Barack Obama saw his support erode even more among Democrats, as the media enlisted in a war that they could safely fight from their computer screens.

As former U.S. President Herbert Hoover once said, “Older men declare war, but it is youth that must fight and die.”

Iraq, alas, is yesterday’s news. As useless as yesterday’s newspaper.

Gone and forgotten are the carnage, the lies, the loss and the pain — the death.

Iraq should be a harbinger — a dismal warning of the costs of Imperial arrogance.

It isn’t.  It doesn’t exist for millions.

And for millions abroad, it is the fuel lighting the chasms of hatred, the stuff of wars to come.

This edited version is from a Sept. 15 audio column posted on prisonradio.org.