...and, as round numbers such as 10 oblige us to write the usual
autopsies of abortions like Iraq, we have to read and listen to everyone
give their spin on Iraq on this, the tenth anniversary of the day
George W. Bush gave the order to take back the oil fields that were
readership of Pottersville these days and the inexplicable turning away
in droves of what used to be a readership of close to 1000 a day made me
desist from my original intention of writing a larger, more
comprehensive post. I have better things to do with my life than
metaphorically pull out the rib spreaders and scalpels in order to
transiently amuse or bemuse those who are either for or against the
invasion and occupation. I, for one, am heartily sick and tired of
casting pearls before virtually nonexistent swine.
We'd learned nothing from Vietnam and Iraq's invasion and occupation
was one of the blackest days in the history of a nation already spottier
than a Ralph Steadman cartoon. You don't need me to say that.
That's not to say we ought to turn our backs on these largely invisible
and silent victims of our countless atrocities 6000 miles away. And
what you do need me to say is the effect these war crimes for
which many wealthy men need to be charged, convicted and executed for
had had on the children of Iraq.
Everyone will have their own particular spin and focus on this tenth
anniversary. More pragmatic-minded people will abstractly refer to the
plunder of treasure, the loss of our international credibility and
trust. Wingnuts who still think Vietnam was worth 58,000 American lives
will insist invading a sovereign nation, smashing their infrastructure,
disbanding their military and otherwise dooming these people to even
greater poverty and privation than they'd ever suffered under Saddam was
all worth the nearly 4500 American lives and (according to some human
rights organizations) over a million Iraqi lives that were squandered.
Limousine liberals will hail the Chief who finally got us out of
Iraq... after nearly three years in office and just before an election
year. Satirists coming out of some self-imposed exile or another will
finally think we've established some remove to make savage funny over
the whole sordid ordeal.
thinking of the here and the now as well as what will become in the
decades ahead as regards Iraq's youth. How can children healthily grow
up in a nation that's one big war zone, in which death, decay and
destruction in countless forms has become a normal way of life?
The children, our most precious resource as a species, are the very
last considerations of calm madmen who plot war games and strategies and
offensives and counter-offensives in harshly-lit climate-controlled
rooms far from the actual theater of combat. In the massive geopolitical
scheme of things seemingly propelled by the awesome juggernaut of the
corporate interests of petroleum cartels, who cares about a few thousand
collateral damages that we, as Rumsfeld once callously told us
, don't bother to count?
No one ever truly gets used to war because war is at once a natural yet an unnatural state of human affairs.
Sure, we've been waging war on each other since one tribe of cavemen
decided the other tribe's caves and hunting grounds were more desirable
than their own. But no one gets used to war, particularly children who
rightly expect a happy world of classrooms and playgrounds and lots of
No one gets used to war.
We merely adapt and are eventually warped by it. And none are more
warped by it than those members of human society who are the least
psychologically equipped to do so: The children.
What will they turn into? Militants, terrorists? It would be fatuous to
reasonably expect them to not harbor a burning hatred of the United
States after we'd used their nation as a blood-soaked excuse to bloat
private industry, a private industry that had once held such sway over
Congress that our usually slothful legislative body rushed through its
hallowed halls a measure allowing 363 tons of cash
shrink-wrapped in bricks of thousand dollar bills and loaded on pallets
to be dropped in a war zone because they had to get paid now
These war-warped children will grow up with a keen sense of their own
nation's history as surely as African American children grow up learning
of their forbears' slave status. They will grow learning how George W.
Bush tried to rush elections and a Potemkin village illusion of
political and economic normalcy in early 2005 even while sectarian
forces were literally tearing each other to pieces, during a long period
in which our most awesome military couldn't even secure the single
highway leading to the airport in Baghdad.
You would think an 18 year-old just months removed from high school and
in their first day in Poli Sci 101 would know you don't try to set up a
government or even hold elections before that nation has been pacified
and the hearts and minds of the indigenous people were won.
But we persist in electing idiots who do not heed the lessons of
history, the basic rules of diplomacy, the most rudimentary dictates of
political science. Then, as that senior Bush administration official
once infamously said, we get to sit back and watch the dumb show put on
by these actors as they warp and alter reality and then create new
realities. Then, when the whole charade of humanitarianism blows up like
a prank cigar, we get to write blog posts about war crimes hatched and
carried out by the very same people we insist on electing time and time
and time again, infinitum ad nauseum.
But in the midst of these abstract and hugely important geopolitical
and socio-economic concerns rolled out to us by Very Serious and Learned
People, hardly anyone even mentions the effect these gargantuan games
of shadows has on the most vulnerable: The children.
Yes, countless thousands of American and British children have had to
go to the gravesides of their mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters,
aunts and uncles who were killed in Iraq. But at least it can be said
they were spared the horror of actually watching them get killed and
But don't listen to me. Do a Google search
using the words, "Iraq, child" and report back to me how many pictures come up of happy Iraqi children.