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Sunday, October 09, 2005

Iraq (letter to editor)

Iraq was the "birthplace of civilization". The Sumerians. The Tigris and the Euphrates. Kuwait was historically a part of Iraq from about that time till the British took it over as a colony.

In the late 1950s, The CIA helped Saddam Hussein overthrow Iraq's leader. It was a strategic decision of the cold war. Years later, we (along with about 50 other nations) armed Iraq (and Iran) with weapons, including chemical and biological. Saddam's' reign was brutal and oppressive. He started a war with his neighbor, Iran. It was a war fought like World War I: trenches, human waves, and chemical weapons. It was bloody. There were executions at home, torture and intimidation.

Gulf War I: America lays a trap for Saddam and Iraq invades Kuwait. The daughter of the Kuwaiti ambassador to America goes before the American congress and pretends to be someone else and to have witnessed Iraqi soldiers throwing babies out of incubators. In reality, she wasn't in Kuwait, and a couple PR firms were paid to craft this story. America sends its bombs and armies into Iraq, killing about 100,000 - 200,000 civilians. The basic infrastructure is destroyed, including dams, water supplies, factories, electric plants, etc. 100 hours later, in the cease-fire, Saddam's Government is implicitly allowed to suppress rebellions in the north and south (whom the CIA promises it will aid, but does not).

In the next 10 years, economic sanctions on Iraq kill an estimated 1.5 - 2 million civilians through lack of food and medicine. Medicine. Babies die of common diseases. There is also the matter of the destroyed infrastructure. How many people die because of a lack of clean drinking water, or basic sanitation?

Roughly 10 years later and shortly after invading Afghanistan, America invades again, based on some lies. It's estimated that between 30 and 100+ thousand civilians die. Again, we target the infrastructure. Again, children are dying in the street.

And now, every day, American soldiers are killing civilians. Bombing, shooting, you name it. Practically every American soldier is fighting in the name of freedom. Fighting against what they're told are terrorists. How many are terrorists? How many fight because they see the American Empire interested only in their oil? How many insurgents have had family or friends killed unjustly by American bombs or bullets? In a city, bullets that miss their targets hit civilians. Bombs that miss their targets blow up civilians. Babies fly dead through the air because of some 23-year old pilot's error--casualties of War. How many times do you hit the bullseye when throwing darts? How often do you make the shot in a game of pool?

America went to war against Afghanistan and Iraq in the name of 9/11. A response to 3000 American deaths, it is claimed. Only terrorists would kill innocents, it is claimed. Hmm. How many Iraqi innocents have been killed by America? Oh, about 2 million, give or take a couple hundred thousand.

Some of you will hate me for this and you're going to respond with a belief: "We are fighting for democracy." "We are fighting the war on terror." "I trust my leader." Have you any idea what it is like to have one of the most powerful armies all over your land, killing your fellow citizens constantly? To hear bombs go off constantly? To walk down the street with the constant possibility of a stray American bullet? Or even a well-aimed American bullet because the young man wielding the rifle mistakes you for his enemy? After all, these are young American men, with little experience of Iraqi people, their language, or their customs. All they know is the constant danger of being shot at by some guy who looks like every other guy walking on the street.

Don't forget about this: a lot of the ammunition used in Gulf Wars I and II is made of depleted uranium. It is the likely source of the Gulf War syndrome, affecting 100s of thousands of American soldiers. This ammunition pierces anything, and makes everything it blows up radioactive. Iraq is littered with radioactive waste. Pieces of metal in the deserts and streets that will remain radioactive for a few BILLION years or so. How many soldiers and Iraqi civilians have got and will get cancer? Remember that recent iniative of Bush to construct more nuclear plants? That's where depleted uranium comes from.

You're going to tell me that this is in the name of FREEDOM? No, this is in the name of strategy. Strategy. Oil. Military bases in the Middle East. Bases on the southern flank of Russia and the western flank of China. Smack in the middle of the world's primary oil supply. And even possibly heroin. Afghanistan was the number one producer of the stuff before and after the Taliban. Some say that there are elements inside the CIA and the Military that smuggle the stuff. One could sure make a lot of money controlling the country that produces about 2/3 of the world's supply. First "liberation": #1 heroin-producing nation. Second "liberation": #1 oil-producing nation.

[letter to the columbia daily tribune:]

How can you people think that only terrorists, Saddam-loyalists, and religious extremists fight the American soldiers? What would you do if China was occupying this country? If you were randomly searched, if you were unjustly jailed, if your family members and friends were killed, and if radioactive bullets were lying all over the place? The insurgents are like me and you. They defend their homeland. THEY DEFEND THEIR HOMELAND. The foreign occupiers insult them, shoot up mosques, tread all over their customs, STEAL THEIR OIL, shoot up hospitals (yeah, that's right), and leave cancer-causing radioactive pieces of ammunition lying all over the place. The citizens have little electricity, clean water, medicine, food, oil, and most of all, security. At any time they could be shot by a soldier walking around on the street. Or by a criminal. Or by an Iraqi policemen. Ever been jailed for something unjust? Harassed by a cop? Had a vehicle-mounted machinegun pointed at your head?

I don't know about you, but I get really pissed off when a cop pats me down (feeling my crotch) and thinks that he can do whatever he wants because he represents the law and has a gun. Imagine a whole army doing that in your country. Imagine jets screaming overhead, never knowing when a bomb is going to drop and blow up the building next to you. Imagine some day watching your child be blown apart. Imagine riding in a taxi and getting shot and killed by a couple of 20-year olds manning a barricade. How many of you would fight back? I mean what are you going to do, just submit to all of the humiliation, death, and the rape of your country?

[end letter]

I think we can all agree that most of the American soldiers in Iraq are just doing their job, and doing it well. They are following orders and fighting bravely. They are told to fight the terrorists. The problem is, in war, people die. If it was happening to you, if your little baby got killed by shrapnel, I bet you wouldn't be so supportive of it.

Some day, after all this is over, when hundreds of thousands of American boys are churned through the hell of war, they'll come back to the states and sleep on the streets. The amputees and burn victims will walk downtown, and Iraq will be decimated. Of course, there's always the possibility that they won't come home, that America will invade Iran too. Maybe some country that we pick a fight with will put up some real resistance and kill thousands of American boys at a time, the way we killed thousands of Iraqi boys at a time.


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