Trump’s Blackwater pardons are the latest sign Iraqi lives don’t matter to Americans

It is facile to condemn Trump, but do the lives of Iraqi civilians matter as much, or at all, for most of those who will condemn this pardon? Iraqi lives certainly didn’t matter at all for the George W. Bush-era hawks who beat the drums of the war and supported it, and who have since rebranded themselves as part of the resistance in the Trump era. Iraqi lives didn’t matter for all the liberal pundits and scribes who joined the war chorus as they, too, parroted variations on the official narrative before and during the war from their platforms.

Most of them had already supported, or turned a blind eye, to what Joy Gordon called an “invisible war.” The U.S and U.K.-imposed sanctions, the cruelest in modern history, had killed hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians throughout the 1990s. But it was worth it, as Madeleine Albright infamously said on 60 Minutes.

Whether visible or invisible, waged under a Republican or a Democratic administration, the war’s civilian casualties remain, for all intents and purposes, invisible. Those that briefly make a rare appearance, every now and then, quickly disappear into the vast landscape of American amnesia — a landscape already crowded with other bodies, indigenous and Black, that rarely seem to matter.