Joined: Sat May 29, 2004 11:46 pm
Dennis Rahkonen: 'Endless Iraq occupation: How many lives per gallon?'
By Dennis Rahkonen, Online Journal
The Terri Schiavo affair and the pope's passing served a useful diversionary purpose for Washington warmongers. Let's get our attention back to the empire-building oil grab that we, the American people, have an abiding duty to end.
Now into the Iraq fiasco's third year, it's admitted there were never any weapons of mass destruction.
We also know George W. Bush is not the son who'll tote the gun, just as he hasn't attended any funerals of American kids he needlessly sent off to die.
Perpetual conflict? Endless occupation? How many lives per gallon?
As of this writing, nearly 1,600 of our troops have been killed and many thousands more severely wounded. Untold numbers require emotional treatment for post-traumatic stress. Tomorrow that grim tally will increase.
More than 100,000 Iraqi civilians no longer breathe the bracing air, because their souls have been liberated from their bodies, courtesy of Donald Rumsfeld's Pentagon. That's almost double our country's loss in Vietnam.
Five billion dollars are squandered on Iraq each month, added to another $134 billion in tax cuts slated for the wealthy. Got unattended potholes in your street, and neighborhood schools being boarded up? Is your quality of daily life crumbling? Do the math.
Just as two wrongs don't make a right, extending a singularly abysmal wrong doesn't miraculously transform it into something worthy.
If anyone on the face of this planet can tell antiwar activists how Bush's unprovoked, illegal, immoral invasion of Iraq substantively differs from Mussolini's rape of Ethiopia in 1935, please reveal what they're missing.
Try to convince them that staying in Iraq beyond any point past yesterday is either wise or decent.
Sleeping down the hall in our households tonight will be children still in school who are oblivious to the wanton horror half a world away.
But the no-exit reality of what neocolonialist reactionaries plainly intend for Iraq and the surrounding area means that, in a few fleeting years, they may well be permanently sleeping under Middle Eastern sand.
We didn't raise our beloved kids to be wasted in greedy corporatists' acquisitive bloodbaths.
For far too long we've allowed a crass manipulation of the 9/11 attack, combined with false patriotism and our own craven unwillingness to challenge what we know to be terribly wrong, to keep us quiet. Our silence has enabled and facilitated an awful human catastrophe.
To a large extent, we ourselves are responsible for a despicable, damned war that virtually everyone in the entire world opposes. Except to a decisively visible degree in Everytown, USA.
All that has to change.
Both in moral terms and in a broad array of material aspects, Bush's folly is flushing our country down the tubes.
A single insistence emanating from the American heartland must begin to echo loudly through corridors of misguided power:
I lived through the Vietnam era, attending my first antiwar rally while bearing a homemade placard declaring: "44,000. Enough!" That's how many Americans had perished up to that time.
Over subsequent years—while a stubborn sector of our conservative citizenry continued to believe in outrageous lies and myths—that death toll soared, finally finding its end in the last name chisled on a sprawling, polished-granite memorial in D.C.
Visit that monument. Gaze at its surface until your focus shifts from the 58,000 names to your own reflected face. Feel the tug at your heart and that awful sensation in the pit of your stomach.
Then try to imagine what a future Iraq War commemoration etched in massive stone will look like. Think of those you know who are presently serving, and those likely to do so before long.
Will it be larger than the existing wall? Will it bear even more names?
Finally, reflect upon the thinly disguised deceit and insincerity you see as George Bush issues pitiful platitudes on the televised evening news.
Ponder the preposterous absurdity of "democracy" being supposedly built for a foreign populace under constant threat of an occupying superpower's ongoing shock and awe and Abu Ghraib style repression. People who can summarily be blown away or tortured for manifesting true, independent desires are, obviously, not free at all. Hitler said he was bringing liberation to the lands he conquered, too.
These inescapable facts must give rise to a Vietnam-era level of radicalization here at home.
A full repeat of that period's mass resistance is clearly called for. From floodtides of protest in the streets to soldiers refusing to fight, with every imaginable tactic in between, the American people must stand up.
Or get shot down . . . over succeeding generations, in a series of rich man's dirty wars for which Iraq is but the bloody, interminable "model."
Dennis Rahkonen of Superior, Wisconsin, was a regional coordinator for the nationwide People's Coalition for Peace and Justice during the early '70s.
Reprinted from Online Journal:
Reference: http://news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u ... mi_ea/iraq
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