Friday, March 16, 2018

What's to Celebrate? Iraq, 15 Years Later by Cindy Sheehan

SHOCKing and AWE-ful

On the morning of March 20th, 2003, the USA, under then Commander in Grief, George W. ("W" for WTF?) Bush began “SHOCKing and AWE-ful” against the already beleaguered population of Iraq.

The transformation of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein from
Rummy and Saddam when he was still their "son of a bitch"
“our son of a bitch” (Imperial trope to designate brutal dictators friendly to US interests) to an enemy of the US Empire began under George H.W. ("W" for War Criminal) Bush along with the lies that Iraqi troops were throwing “scores” of babies out of incubators in Kuwait. 

 There is overwhelming evidence that in 1990, then US Ambassador to Iraq, April Glaspie basically gave Saddam a green light to invade Kuwait and that there would only be “verbal condemnation” from the US, yet we all know what happened in the “First Gulf War.”

After Hussein became a garden variety “son of a bitch” under

H.W.  he was left in power in Iraq and during the regime of the Commander in Grief  Bill Clinton, the people of Iraq were devastated with crippling sanctions and active bombing. Moreover, Clinton’s Sec of State Madeleine “The Ghoul” Albright (in)famously told journalist Leslie Stahl that the deaths of 500,000 Iraqi children was “worth it.” First of all, that is a deeply perverse and vicious statement; and secondly, “worth” what? Not too long after Clinton was just a stain on the blue dress of history, the US was once again, in an even more intense way, bombing the crap out of Iraq which eventually led to the murder of Saddam Hussein and another million, or so, Iraqi.

In 2006, I spoke to an Iraqi woman who was a pediatrician in a Baghdad hospital during the sanction's period and she said due to lack of medicine, hygiene, food, clean water, and other shortages, it was over one million Iraq children who died during Bill Clinton.

As the 15th anniversary approaches of SHOCKing and AWE-ful and the 14th anniversary of my own son Casey’s death there on April 04, 2004, today I was asked by a media outlet to comment on the legacy of BushCo and the 2003 invasion of Iraq as we “celebrate” the anniversary.

I am sure the person didn’t mean celebrate in the way we celebrate fun things like the birthdays of dear loved ones, but the question hit me wrong.

The word “celebrate” and “war” should never go together. Here in the US we don’t even celebrate the ends of wars anymore. For example, Armistice Day (Nov 11, 1918), has been transformed into Veterans Day. “Support the troops,” right? Hardly, not all of them deserve respect, and not all of the time.

As I write this, it is also the 50th year since the My Lai massacre in Vietnam. We were reminded about the great Hugh Thompson’s heroic role in stopping that massacre by threatening to kill US troops that were murdering the villagers and brutally raping the women. My response to that is “pick any day during the year and I am sure that someone will be able find a US war crime to remind us about.”

The grim reality is that My Lai was not an aberration. War was a crime then and it is now. The obvious lies that led to the invasion of Iraq have been repeated since in other places and with other "our sons of bitches" and are the true legacy and pattern of the Imperial United States of America. In fact, one of the men who worked overtime to cover up My Lai also went to the UN in 2003 to show “proof” of Saddam’s crimes to try and justify a US invasion of Iraq: yep, that’s right: the war criminal/liar Colin Powell.

I have a rule of thumb, that really should be termed an “irrefutable fact.” When the US and its purveyors of fake news, The Pentagon Press Release Readers (otherwise comically known as “journalists) in the toady media are ginning up reasons to hate a country and/or its leader(s), THEY ARE LYING.

So what “legacy” do we “celebrate” on March 20th?

To call the 2003 US invasion and subsequent (and ongoing) occupation of Iraq a "mistake" would also be highly inappropriate. The US war machine and its "coalition" knew exactly what they were doing---the destruction of Iraq to seize the oil fields and enrich the war profiteers has been highly successful for them. The destructive US foreign policy is policy, not “oops, we just fell into a war and made a mess.”

The consequences for today are a horrid legacy of poverty and disease for the people of Iraq. Depleted uranium and poisoned water and land are still killing the people there and the US is still occupying the country despite the fraud of Commander in Grief Obama ending the war in 2009; as agent orange and unexploded land mines are still haunting the people of Vietnam, who "won" the war, but have lost the peace.

According to a real journalist Dahr Jamail in a 2013 article titled: Iraq: War’s Legacy of Cancer:

“Official Iraqi government statistics show that, prior to the outbreak of the First Gulf War in 1991, the rate of cancer cases in Iraq was 40 out of 100,000 people. By 1995, it had increased to 800 out of 100,000 people, and, by 2005, it had doubled to at least 1,600 out of 100,000 people. Current estimates show the increasing trend continuing.

As shocking as these statistics are, due to a lack of adequate documentation, research, and reporting of cases, the actual rate of cancer and other diseases is likely to be much higher than even these figures suggest.”

The destruction of Iraq has also left a legacy of the rise of IS or Daesh and the consequence of further destabilization in the Middle East and Northern Africa.

I hate to mention the legacy of Iraq here in the US, after all, didn't this country savagely and with no regard to loss of life, or the ruination of a culture, attack another country that was absolutely no threat to them, based on dozens of lies, for the profit of a few? Don't we here in the Empire deserve the blowback?

The very pitiable aspect of the almost incalculable negative effects on the people of this country is that the negative effects aren't even known by the people of this country. While the war killed or maimed thousands of US troops and while eight Iraq/Afghanistan veterans kill themselves each and every day, the average person in the US doesn't know these facts, or could not care less about them. 

However, while bridges are collapsing, trains are derailing, people are unemployed or underemployed, healthcare is still financially out of reach for tens of millions, children are being shot down in their schools, people of color are being murdered by cops in the streets, the environment is collapsing rapidly, and college tuition keeps climbing, the US has spent/lost/stolen a couple trillion dollars since the war OF terror began in 2001. All of the ills of the US can be directly traced back to the cruel barbarity of its foreign policy.

On October 21st, 2018 (51 years after the first huge March on the Pentagon), many of us are calling for another march on that cesspool of violence and money-pit of sorrow.

The Empire isn’t going to stop its legacy of death until we are organized in a much better way in solidarity with all of the occupied and oppressed people of the world to force it to stop.

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  1. Well said Cindy, thank you for the history lesson.

  2. I wish the average American would listen to Cindy and just think about what she says, rather than listening to government propaganda they hear on the news everyday. Our government doesn't go to war to defend our country. It goes to war to annex other countries.

  3. Though I was not in the Pelosi's district, this writing of yours serves as one reminder of why I remain grateful for your campaign against her a few years back.

  4. This writing is one reminder of why I remain grateful for your presence, especially when you ran against Pelosi.

  5. Excellent Cindy you summarised the whole war on terror in nut shell??

  6. Excellent Cindy u summarized in a nutshell the complex politics governing neocon agenda?


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