Friday, December 23, 2011

The War’s Over – Who Cares?

I just came across an article in that Gary Kamiya, executive editor and one of its founders, wrote a week ago on the end of the war in Iraq. Kamiya articulates so well the absurdity that the United States went to war for all the wrong reasons and ten years later our attitude is clearly one of national shame. We are pretending it didn’t happen.

We followed a third-rate president into war led by neo-con dreams of empire. Two administrations fought it with other people’s children, killing nearly 4500 Americans, beggared the economy with a three trillion dollar cost, denied or ignored the death of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, played into the hands of the Iranians, probably set back the Arab Spring by many years, and now we’re pretending it never happened.

We have a plutocracy where a democracy once functioned, a Congress that barely one in ten Americans thinks highly of, one of our political parties has become proto-fascist in its thirst for power at the expense of truth and the national welfare, and we’re eating the seed corn, shutting down schools and other educational activities, ignoring the decaying infrastructure, rescinding health care reforms, and dragging our feet on protecting the environment. We’re an I’ve-got-mine, screw-you society where our idea of good news is that it turns out the claim that 50% of Americans live below the poverty line is false. It’s only about 30%.

While the war was going on, Americans at home were going on with business as usual. Police around the country are called in to fight crowds lining up to buy the latest Michael Jordan shoes, the Air Jordon 11 Retro Concord. It might be worth getting pepper-sprayed over, of course, since word is you can then sell them on e-bay for $605.

That example of American lust and greed on the micro level is nothing compared to the macro level where the banks who screwed us all financially now own the government and can get the Federal Reserve to authorize the purchase of nearly three billion dollars (it can’t be “trillion,” can it?) of worthless mortgage-backed securities. Just checked the original article I got this from. It does say trillion. That's got to be wrong. That's the same as the cost of the ten-year war, and the amount of money it would take to make us rich and happy once again, giving all kids a universal education, providing health care, yada yada dream on...

The rich continue to get richer. Dark Chocolate truffles are on sale, 25 for $463.65. Or you can save if you buy 250 for $4,213.86, if you have a big family. Choice of gold or silver gift box. Allow 9 business days to process order. Choice of layout id. Choice of style. Choose a typestyle for your company name.

Marks and Spencer’s $1500 Christmas basket (that’s what it cost in 2007), can now be had for just $1000. Looks like they’re aiming to reach some of us now in the 99%.

And while we go about our business, war facts continue to be ignored. How many Americans can tell you how many war casualties there have been? And how many can go beyond the war casualties to the other, sometimes hidden, effects of the war? Besides those with lost limbs and long-term psychological damage, there are the nearly 4 million uprooted Iraqis, nearly half of whom became refugees outside Iraq, including some 40% of the middle class. It doesn’t include the 360,000 American troops with traumatic brain injuries. And if you dig a little bit into the way the war was conducted, other casualties appear. We couldn’t have a draft, for example. Americans wouldn’t have it. The result is we had to use National Guard forces, thus putting the states at risk in an emergency. And we had to keep sending the same troops back for another tour, which resulted in an unusually high number of suicides and mental disorders.

It’s not that people haven’t tried to get Americans to recognize the harm inflicted on the world in their name with this war, and with their treasure. Ted Koppel devoted one of his Nightline programs to reading the names of 721 troops killed, back in 2004, long before it reached the 4500 number of today. The program was shut down. Censored. Nobody saw it.

But I’ve drawn attention away from Kamiya’s article, which I really wanted to recommend to you.

Let me repeat that link here. The last word, I think, should be his.


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