It was a rare and memorable moment when the father of a soldier killed in Iraq accused then-President George W. Bush of being responsible for his son's death. This is especially true since few Americans ever have access to the dominant media and inner circles of American power, specifically the presidency and secretary of defense. But Fernando Suarez, whose 20-year-old son, Jesus, was one of the first fatalities of the ill-fated preemptive war in Iraq, was still able to rattle the powers that be with these unforgettable yet tragic words: "My son died because Bush lied," and "Neither my wife nor my family want more children to die in this illegal war."(1) But while most Americans were concerned only about U.S. soldiers dying in Iraq, the preemptive invasion of Iraq and occupation caused four million Iraqi refugees, some of whom died.
Twelve years after Bush lied, President Barack Obama lied, too, and refugees and soldiers died. To be certain, more than 50 intelligence analysts at the U.S. Central Command stepped forward claiming that they believe their work is being altered to portray the war against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) as more successful than it actually is.(2) Along with embellishing battle damage done to ISIS and the number of troops trained and battle ready, the overly optimistic conclusions of the reports do not match the content. Even worse, concise intelligence that revealed failed strategies and missions were deleted, including killing innocent civilians and causing a massive refugee crisis. Much like Iraq, America's need to dominate Syria has led to another four million displaced and banished people, many either languishing in refugee camps or fleeing to Europe.
Intentionally omitting important facts, misrepresenting reality, or practicing deception to maintain political power appears to be a permanent fixture in American politics. The 2003 Downing Street Memo, for instance, disclosed how Bush "made up his mind" to preemptively invade and militarily occupy Iraq, even fixing the facts to mislead the American people. In 2006, he alleged the troop "surge" was successful and the "war had been won."(3) It was a cunning lie. The situation, in reality, was "grave and deteriorating" as dozens-sometimes hundreds-of Iraqis were killed on a daily basis by sectarian violence. Four million more Iraqis had fled, becoming refugees in Syria which helped destabilize the country. Besides millions of internally displaced person, the Bush Administration concealed a request for 20,000 additional troops.
While the world witnesses millions of refugees fleeing war-torn Syria and Iraq, including Libya, Afghanistan, Egypt, and Yemen, it must be remembered that both Bush and Obama lied and refugees died. Not only are they and their administrations the main antagonists in forcing refugees to try and cross the Mediterranean waters and drown, but they are also responsible for refugees succumbing to sickness, hunger, disease violence, and rape. Their goal to remake reality through military and violent means, to create a New Middle East favorable to their empire's geopolitical interests, caused the deaths of thousands of refugees.(4) Their need to protect and validate their ethnocentric viewpoints caused mass unemployment and exploitation. The world must never forget, then, that Bush and Obama lied and that their "chaotic chaos" caused refugees to suffer and die.
Incredibly, another lie is being propagated by right-wing pundits. They claim the refugee problem is an Islamic scheme to overrun Europe and the U.S. with Muslims and radical Islamists. But in reality, they are like most political elites divorced from reality. They also epitomize ruthless and selfish behavior, a prerequisite for political or media success in America. Moreover, from national to state levels everyone must do the same as a survival strategy. As a result, mendaciousness and elaborate lies, disinformation, evasions, hoaxes, and institutionalized violence is commonplace. Consequently, in the process of drowning in lies and self deception, of trying to remake the world through imperial fabrications, refugees suffer and die. It is a perceptual way of life that must continually be maintained to either validate or protect ego- and ethno-centric thinking and values.
Although such irrationalities (mentioned above) play a significant role in human life, humans are in principle capable of thinking and behaving rationally. In order to achieve this, though, one must learn to respect contradictory evidence that challenges personal viewpoints. It is also important to empathetically enter into the viewpoints of others, in this case the refugees. Next, one should transcend ethnocentric illusions and egotistical attitudes by identifying and recognizing selfish and inadequate views. In other words, Americans need not always confuse their own divorced perceptions from the world's realities. Only through critical, empathetic, and accurate thinking, then, will Americans be able to properly scrutinize their leader's deadly geopolitical agendas and purposes, thereby preventing more refugees and soldiers from needlessly dying.
By the end of the year, it is estimated that one million more people from Syria will be displaced, meaning one more million suffering and dying refugees. The lesson here is that a proactive citizenry is needed, even demanded, in order to stop imperial sociopaths from preempting accurate assessments, assessments which lead to either preemptive wars or trying to sustain preemptive overthrows. And just in case citizens miss the opportunity to prevent their leaders from causing soldiers and refugees from dying unnecessarily, they are obligated to help resettle the refugees and care for their veterans. They are also required to utterly remove those in office who have lied, as the Suarez family suggested.