EXPERT ADVISORY: 20 March 2023 – R0024
It has been 20 years since the U.S. invaded Iraq to end Saddam Hussein’s dictatorship and locate weapons of mass destruction. In that time, there has been a significant shift in the way the war is now perceived as part of history, says Martin Danahay.
“A majority of Americans now think the Iraq War was a mistake and there is much soul searching in the media as to why and how this misguided war started in the first place,” says the Brock Professor of English Language and Literature, who was living in the U.S. when the war broke out in 2003.
Danahay’s 2022 book, War Without Bodies, relates his personal experience “on the ground in Texas being opposed to the war but overwhelmed by pro-war propaganda.”
Through his analysis, he hopes to help prevent a similar invasion from happening again.
War Without Bodies explores how war is represented in ways that minimize damage and death to make it more acceptable. It examines the use of communications technologies to make war more ‘real’ and present while simultaneously refraining from showing the corpses of soldiers and civilians.
Time has shed a new light on the Iraq War, changing the way it is remembered by not only the public, but also those directly involved — and emboldening them to step forward, Danahay says.
“Recent media coverage has interviews with Iraq veterans and some of the people responsible discussing why the Iraq War started. There is much regret among some, but not all, responsible,” he says. “When the war started, it was impossible to voice doubts about the war without being called a coward or traitor.”
The war was supposed to “liberate” the people of Iraq and create a pro-American democracy, Danahay says.
“Instead, Iraq is in much worse condition now than before the invasion because the war created internal warfare that was not there before,” he says. “The war was supposed to be part of America’s ‘war on terror’ but, ironically, it opened the door for anti-American terrorist groups to establish themselves. Afghanistan is in much the same position now.
“Only by learning from mistaken wars like this and being alert to attempts to manipulate us into unjustified attacks through fear can we prevent this from happening again,” Danahay says.
Brock University Professor of English Language and Literature Martin Danahay is available for media interviews on the topic.
For more information or for assistance arranging interviews:
* Maryanne St. Denis, Manager, Content and Communications, Brock University email@example.com or 905-246-0256
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