Monday, March 24, 2008

Four Thousand

Just after the fifth anniversary of Operation Shock & Awe, the United States has hit yet another milestone: Four thousand citizens of the US serving in the armed forces have lost their lives.

While that is four thousand Americans too many, consider this:

The total loss of life for Iraqi civilians - ONE MILLION.

I'm a very wordy person. If there is something on my mind, I can almost always come right out and say it. However, in the rare case of the speechless horror I'm feeling right now, I turn to others.

As he addressed a Senate Committee on 5/17/05, British MP George Galloway said this:
"I gave my heart and soul to oppose the policy that you promoted. I gave my political life's blood to try to stop the mass killing of Iraqis by the sanctions on Iraq which killed one million Iraqis, most of them children, most of them died before they even knew that they were Iraqis, but they died for no other reason other than that they were Iraqis with the misfortune to have been born at that time. I gave my heart and soul to stop you committing the disaster that you did commit in invading Iraq. And I told the world that your case for the war was a pack of lies.

I told the world that Iraq, contrary to your claims did not have weapons of mass destruction. I told the world, contrary to your claims, that Iraq had no connection to al-Qaeda. I told the world, contrary to your claims, that Iraq had no connection to the atrocity on 9/11 2001. I told the world, contrary to your claims, that the Iraqi people would resist a British and American invasion of their country and that the fall of Baghdad would not be the beginning of the end, but merely the end of the beginning. [Ed. note: anyone remember my piece in the Seymour High School newspaper where I said just that?! In 2003!]

Senator, in everything I said about Iraq, I turned out to be right and you turned out to be wrong and 100,000 people paid with their lives; 1600 of them American soldiers sent to their deaths on a pack of lies; 15,000 of them wounded, many of them disabled forever on a pack of lies.

If the world had listened to Kofi Annan, whose dismissal you demanded, if the world had listened to President Chirac who you want to paint as some kind of corrupt traitor, if the world had listened to me and the anti-war movement in Britain, we would not be in the disaster that we are in today."

Three years later, those 1600 deaths Galloway spoke of has increased by 3400.

In spite of the subtle advert for a certain nutjob Libertarian OB/GYN from Texas (Congressman Ron Paul), this video hits the nail on the head.

Fields Of Agony by No Use For A Name

How many people, how many have died?
I'm feeling lucky and afraid at the same time.
How many times have you sat home and wondered why?
We always hear about the U.S.A. but not the other side.

In fields of agony everybody dies.

How many humans, how many does it take?
We get a cedar box they get a body rake, yeah.
How many lives will it take before we can end this war?
Bring Johnny home soon, he forgot what it was that they were fighting for.

In fields of agony.

[Donald Rumsfeld]
"There are known knowns,
There are things we know we know.
We also know there are known unknowns,
That is to say we know there are some things we do not know.
There are also unknown unknowns,
The ones we don’t know we don’t know."

I don't want to die or be sent home on a cargo plane,
A tag on my toe without my name because I'm one of a million.
A million, whoa.
How many weapons, how many do we need?
What about the economy, what about the economy?
You'll be the hero at the end of your catastrophe.
It can be stopped with unity with collaboration of
you and me, and human decency,
In fields of agony.

[George W. Bush]
"The evidence indicates that Iraq is reconstituting its Nuclear Weapons Program.
We cannot wait for the final proof, the smoking gun.
It could come in the form of a mushroom cloud."

I was too busy fighting back tears - and subsequently losing - to warn you of the graphic violence within the video.

I am sick of this fucking war. I am sick of this fucking monkey and all his little fucking minions, right on down to the paid-off propagandists masquerading as journalists and yes, every Congressman who opted for populism rather than common sense. It's all these morons can do now but tread water and say, "Based on the intelligence at the time, it was the right thing to do."

Really? REALLY? You mean the intelligence that was fabricated after Joe Wilson found NO evidence regarding Iraq importing uranium from Niger? Mind you, his findings were so controversial that Richard Armitage decided to leak the name of Wilson's CIA field operative wife (Valerie Plame) to conservative journalist Robert Novak, thus ending her career. Armitage was never charged. Nor was Novak. The one man found guilty, not of the actual act of compromising a CIA agent's safety/identity, but of perjury, was Lewis "Scooter" Libby. His sentence got commuted - read: pardoned - by President Bush, thus he served no jail time.

Or maybe you mean intelligence such as the Downing Street Memo?
7/23/02: "The Defence Secretary said that the US had already begun "spikes of activity" to put pressure on the regime. No decisions had been taken, but he thought the most likely timing in US minds for military action to begin was January, with the timeline beginning 30 days before the US Congressional elections.

The Foreign Secretary said he would discuss this with Colin Powell this week. It seemed clear that Bush had made up his mind to take military action, even if the timing was not yet decided. But the case was thin. Saddam was not threatening his neighbours, and his WMD capability was less than that of Libya, North Korea or Iran. We should work up a plan for an ultimatum to Saddam to allow back in the UN weapons inspectors. This would also help with the legal justification for the use of force.

The Attorney-General said that the desire for regime change was not a legal base for military action. There were three possible legal bases: self-defence, humanitarian intervention, or UNSC [United Nations Security Council] authorisation. The first and second could not be the base in this case."

To the 77 Senators and the 296 Representatives who authorized military force, I must ask: how do you sleep at night? Knowing that your vote secured your re-election, allowing you to decide to oppose the war once the "Mission Accomplished" photo op was said and done?

Moreover - how could you be so gullible? Aren't you supposed to be among the greatest minds in the country? For that reason were you not elected to hold the great responsibility of making decisions for millions of fellow citizens, decisions that impact not just your American brothers and sisters, but our friends, enemies, and so many others overseas?

For any of you reading (Forrest, m@) who might not be politically aligned with any of the opinions I've expressed, I have something upon which I feel all of us can agree.

Instead of me sitting here trying to make sense of all this, trying to present solutions from the mind a far-Left 21 year old whose solution to everything is to throw a brick through the proverbial window and incite revolution, I am leaving you in the hands of a master of rhetoric. He is a man most widely known for his skills of pantomime and physical comedy, though to me he will always be known for this above all else.

The man is Charlie Chaplin. His speech is from the 1940 film The Great Dictator, in which he steps out of character and addresses not the rally of troops before him, but us - his audience - and transcends party lines to promote not war bonds, not a candidate, not even capitalism, but the basic human freedoms of liberty and democracy.

May it be at least some consolation to you in these increasingly inconsolable times.

What more can I follow that up with besides just signing off?


Shelley said...

I'm speechless. It's just sickening, I wish things would change, but unfortunately things won't for at least awhile. Who ever is president next freaking better make a difference, it'd be ridiculous not to.

(I wish).

tkn said...

I went to the peace march here on Sat. Then Monday I caught the last 1000 of a reading of the names of the 4000 fallen. each name was accompanied by the ringing of a bell.
Then of course, I saw the latest Frontline.

I was against this war from day one. I was against bombing Afghanistan. And I'm against the official explanation of 9-11. It all comes back to that. Because everything was based on that day.

We're coming to the point where each of us needs to ask ourselves what we're willing to sacrifice to stop this war. The Vietnam protests involved millions of people reaching that point and putting themselves on the line, willing to sacrifice themselves for the sake of their country and the soldiers supposedly fighting on their behalf.

Remember, show your solidarity with ILWU (and all workers) on May 1. They're really sticking their necks out and we need to support them.