The sudden U.S. victory in Iraq illustrates what has long been obvious: Military spending of $350 billion a year buys a lot of firepower. I'm not sure last week's events have clarified anything much beyond that.
But the pro-war lobby, strutting and preening in its bloodstained moment of glory, would have us believe that this conquest proves the rightness of its cause.
The justification repeatedly put forward by Washington in the months leading up to this war removing the threat of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction is now little more than a curious footnote.
Even so, as Iraq tumbles into chaos and lawlessness with the only really well-protected sites being U.S. military stations and the offices of Iraq's former oil ministry opponents of the war are being told to admit they were wrong and get on the bandwagon of the conquering army.
That's one bandwagon I'll gladly take a pass on.
Certainly, the notion that military conquest is proof of a war's legitimacy would be questioned by anyone but those happy to embrace whatever army parades through town with the biggest cannon.
Beyond that, the claim that the American war effort has been vindicated seems to rest on what we're now told this war was all about liberating the Iraqi people.
Of course, there has been some jubilation among Iraqis thrilled to see the end of a brutal tyrant; no one doubted that would be the case.
But how most Iraqis feel about having U.S. troops occupying their country and controlling their foreseeable future can hardly be determined from snippets of TV footage showing some celebrations.
Among the millions not filmed celebrating are probably many sitting home sullen or scared, or off looting, planning suicide attacks, searching desperately for food or water, burying loved ones, lying injured in hospitals or simply unavailable for comment.
The notion that we have some clear indication of how Iraqis feel about the American "liberation" is absurd.
Even the now-legendary toppling of the Saddam statue an orchestrated event initiated and carried out by U.S. marines in front of a relatively small crowd of Iraqis but lots of media wasn't the clear evidence of pro-American feeling that it was touted to be.
There was, of course, that embarrassing moment when the marines placed the American flag over the statue's head. Their decision to remove it was prompted not by a sudden twinge of cultural sensitivity but, as the BBC reported, by clear expressions of anger coming from the crowd.
If this is how those Iraqis felt on Day One of their liberation, imagine how they're likely to feel when American companies start operating their oil fields and thousands of missionaries from the Southern Baptist Convention, reportedly eager to begin working in Iraq, arrive with just what the hungry, thirsty, desperate Muslims of Iraq most need information about the superiority of Christianity.
As a war of liberation, this was never terribly convincing.
Are we to believe all that talk about weapons of mass destruction was just an attempt to distract world attention from Washington's real agenda liberating the Iraqi people and ensuring they benefit from their own oil resources? (That would fit with Washington's past policies of insisting Third World nations benefit from their own resources which explains why the Third World is so rich.)
The real issue remains the exercise of unilateral American power.
Once we discard the notion of the sovereignty of nations and accept that strong countries can invade weaker ones which they often do in the name of "liberation" we are signalling tolerance for a dangerous kind of international lawlessness.
Back home here, the American military triumph was portrayed as fresh evidence that Ottawa had been foolish not to back the winning horse. A Globe and Mail feature highlighting the war's "Winners and Losers" placed Jean Chrιtien among the "Losers."
Australians, by comparison, were among the "winners" because, The Globe explained, they "managed to get themselves in the good books of the United States without jeopardizing lives or budget dollars."
So, that's the aim getting into "the good books" of the U.S.? There's a goal we can rally behind as a nation currying favour with the world's ultimate superpower and doing so without jeopardizing lives or budget dollars.
It's hard to imagine why we ever bothered fighting those really difficult wars like World War I and World War II where we jeopardized lots of lives and spent plenty of budget dollars. I mean, what was in it for us? Whose "good books" were we scoring in?
Those are the questions we're supposed to ask, aren't they?
Linda McQuaig is a Toronto-based author and political commentator. Her column appears every Sunday.
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