David Rossie: 'Nation in a persistent torpid state'
March 27 @ 09:33:02 EST
By David Rossie, Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin
"And here, in silence, are seven more."
That is how Jim Lehrer has ended many of his News Hour broadcasts during the last two years. The reference is to American military men and women killed in Iraq and Afghanistan; their names, faces, ranks, hometowns, and service branches are presented, one by one. There is no background music or commentary. Only the mournful numbers vary.
As the war enters its third year and casualties continue, the question will not go away: What will it take to end the silence, to rouse the public from its torpor?
Disclosures about systematic torture of Iraqi prisoners by American military and CIA interrogators at Abu Ghraib prison, along with physical and psychological abuses of detainees at the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base in Cuba?
Disclosure that Pentagon neocons ignored intelligence provided by reliable sources concerning Saddam Hussein's nuclear, biological and chemical weapons capabilities and relied instead on information provided by frauds such as Ahmad Chalabi to justify their rush to war?
The Bush administration's refusal to give an honest accounting of the number of wounded coming out of Iraq to hospitals in the United States?
Disclosures of overcharges in the millions of dollars by Kellogg Brown and Root, a Halliburton subsidiary operating with a sweetheart contract to provide services to our military in Iraq?
Failure to provide sufficient body armor for soldiers and Marines fighting in Iraq. Failure to provide enough armored vehicles for those same troops?
Disclosure that the Pentagon has failed to supply Army units with enough simple tourniquets to save the lives of men and women who sustain severe arm and leg wounds?
Disclosure that the war in Iraq has cost American taxpayers more than $200 billion so far, after administration officials told Congress two years ago that "liberation" and stabilization of that country would cost the U.S. $1.7 billion tops, with Iraqi oil exports covering the remaining costs?
Disclosure that National Guard soldiers, who now make up nearly half the Army's strength in Iraq (the highest ratio since World War II), some of whom are in their second tour of duty, may be called upon to do a third tour, despite the extreme hardship experienced by the families of those Guard units?
Disclosure that suspected (but not proven) terrorists are being shipped, with the approval of White House and Pentagon officials, for interrogation to foreign countries that have no qualms about using torture to extract information?
More than 1,500 American men and women killed -- 99 percent of them since Bush proclaimed an end to major combat during his victory strut aboard the Abraham Lincoln -- in a war that was begun under false pretenses, and continues with no end in sight?
The silence of the sheep.
Rossie is associate editor of the Press & Sun-Bulletin.
© 2005 Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin
Reprinted from Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin: