Reality of the Reality

December 18, 2011

(Illustration found here).

In reality, a picture is indeed worth a shitload of words.

One haunting face, that 4-year-old Iraqi kid — the above photo has been on Google Images for years, and has always caused me to hurt whenever I spotted it (used it a couple of times on blog posts to epitomize, or something like that, of a simple-impact of war-reality) and as a parent, always felt an intense, emotional near-freak-out in seeing a child’s innocence near-saturated by fear.
The little boy over her shoulder, held by the woman in black, appears still clueless.
She’s not.

The US is horribly shamed, only if by once having any shame.
America’s history ain’t pretty — from the get-go in using the term, “massacre,” in waging war against against the native population (near-genocide); slavery as a national economic institution; deliberately infecting sexually transmitted diseases, including syphilis and gonorrhea to some unfortunate citizens of Guatemala; and so forth…
And now one can add the current, though, long-time running, US near-destroying Iraq — though, in this particular case, the cost for everybody on the planet is near-about incomprehensible.
Since March 2003 and through December 2011, between 106,000 and nearly 114,000 Iraqi civilians have either directly/indirectly been killed (via Iraq Body Count), with some estimates much higher — in 2006, a survey was published online by British medical journal, The Lancet, which reported 655,000 Iraqis or more than 500 people a day (have been killed) since the U.S.-led invasion.
George Jr. dismissed the numbers: “I don’t consider it a credible report.”
Of course, a year later George Jr. would also deny the onset of the current financial chaos.

The number is Iraqi children killed, separate from the rest, is hard to pin down, there’s just no list somewhere — I tried Googling all kinds of ways, but no real substance, and a guess would be in the thousands or more.
Last July, UNICEF said in a report marking the “Day of the Iraqi Child,” 900 children were killed in violence between 2008 and 2010 and more than 3,200 wounded — children accounted for 8.1 percent of all casualties in attacks during that period.
Not much info, but no surprise — Tommy Franks blubbered at the outset, “We don’t do body counts,” and left it at that.

However, even before March 2003, Iraq children were dying in droves.
The sanctions imposed by the US-led UN in the early 1990s claimed half a million children under the age of 5 — in 1996, Lesley Stahl of CBS60 Minutes asked Madeleine Albright, then U.S. ambassador to the UN, about this:

“We have heard that a half million children have died,” Stahl said.
“I mean, that’s more children than died in Hiroshima. And — and you know, is the price worth it?”
Albright replied, “I think this is a very hard choice, but the price — we think the price is worth it.”

Such US compassion.

And of the children of US peoples?
In 2008, the median age of US serviceman/woman was 28, though, almost 50 percent was between 22 and 30 — reportedly, the last GI killed in Iraq was a 23-year-old North Carolina boy.
These guys paid the local price.

Beyond the immoral, hard-to-grasp 4,484 US GIs killed, the more than 33,000 wounded, there’s the hardcase reality of a military that’s near busted — at least in its flesh and blood, the drones, of course, will continue to fly.
Due to Don Rumsfeld’s arrogant — “You go to war with the Army you have…,” and sorry about the inconvenience, war is war, “You can have all the armor in the world on a tank and it can (still) be blown up…”bullshit, the US military got blind-sided/ass-wiped by Iraq.
And in turn, blind-sided/ass-wiped the planet.

Not everyone was blind — Iraq was topic “A” 10 days after the inauguration – eight months before Sept. 11 for George Jr., who although handled cabinet meetings “like a blind man in a roomful of deaf people,” near-immediately after the WTC attack wanted to bomb IRAQ.
From a CBS interview with Richard Clarke, former top White House anti-terrorism advisor and directly after 9/11:

“The president dragged me into a room with a couple of other people, shut the door, and said, ‘I want you to find whether Iraq did this.’
Now he never said, ‘Make it up.’
But the entire conversation left me in absolutely no doubt that George Bush wanted me to come back with a report that said Iraq did this.
“I said, ‘Mr. President. We’ve done this before. We have been looking at this. We looked at it with an open mind.
There’s no connection.’
“He came back at me and said, “Iraq! Saddam! Find out if there’s a connection.’
And in a very intimidating way.
I mean that we should come back with that answer.
We wrote a report.”

Rumsfeld appeared surrealistic during meetings, like a horror-outtake from Monty Python:

“Rumsfeld was saying that we needed to bomb Iraq,” Clarke said to Stahl.
“And we all said … no, no. Al-Qaeda is in Afghanistan.
We need to bomb Afghanistan.
And Rumsfeld said there aren’t any good targets in Afghanistan. And there are lots of good targets in Iraq.
I said, ‘Well, there are lots of good targets in lots of places, but Iraq had nothing to do with it.
“Initially, I thought when he said, ‘There aren’t enough targets in– in Afghanistan,’ I thought he was joking.
“I think they wanted to believe that there was a connection, but the CIA was sitting there, the FBI was sitting there, I was sitting there saying we’ve looked at this issue for years.
For years we’ve looked and there’s just no connection.”

A little more than 18 months later, the US rolled into Iraq.

And out came a worn-down military machine with lots of burned-out cogs.
Due to the puzzlement of George Jr.’s crowd of incompetent people on what to do after the fall of Baghdad, the GI suffered, and suffered, dragging in the poor National Guard, 37,000 of which served in Iraq, where they were one-third more likely to be killed in combat than regular soldiers.
In Iraq, 140 Guardsmen were killed: A total of 94 Army National Guardsmen and no reservists were killed out of 58,209 U.S. deaths in Vietnam. (A reason the Guard was a ticket to safety in them days).

(Illustration found here).

And with current veterans — a reality figure of 800,000 — one in five — suffer from PTSD (although only 46 percent seek medical help), which might account for a higher-than norm suicide rate.

And the shit is so bad: “The four-legged, wet-nosed troops used to sniff out mines, track down enemy fighters and clear buildings are struggling with the mental strains of combat nearly as much as their human counterparts. By some estimates, more than 5 percent of the approximately 650 military dogs deployed by American combat forces are developing canine PTSD [post-traumatic stress disorder].”
Dogs of an illegal and much-bungled war — a war which made the world a much-more dangerous place.

And Saturday morning, the last of US troops rumbled out of Iraq and into Kuwait in a 123-truck convey while a drone circled quietly overhead — the operative word, ‘quietly‘, no shock and awe here.
In its wake, a country shot to shit and back.
Iraq nowadays is a contradictory nightmare — despite economic growth at a China-like 9.6 per cent and about the same forecast for the next five years, Iraqi peoples get just 7.6 hours a day of electricity; only 30 per cent of homes are connected to sewerage; just 38 per cent of households rate availability of drinking water as “good” or “very good”; and one in eight Iraqis who dealt with a civil servant over the past year was obliged to pay a bribe; and this from Firas Naeem, a 37-year-old owner of a clothing store in central Baghdad’s busy Karrada Out shopping street: “…but anyone who is honest has to admit that life for ordinary people is still harder now than it was before (the invasion in) 2003.”
Another man-made horror.

Chris Floyd, who can be passionate, got so in a post on Friday concerning the Iraqi catastrophe:

This is the reality of what actually happened in Iraq: aggression, slaughter, atrocity, ruin.
It is the only reality; there is no other.
And it was done deliberately, knowingly, willingly.
Indeed, the bipartisan American power structure spent more than $1 trillion to make it happen.
It is a record of unspeakable savagery, an abomination, an outpouring of the most profound and filthy moral evil.
Line up the bodies of the children, the thousands of children — the infants, the toddlers, the schoolkids — whose bodies were torn to pieces, burned alive or riddled with bullets during the American invasion and occupation of Iraq.
Line them up in the desert sand, walk past them, mile after mile, all those twisted corpses, those scraps of torn flesh and seeping viscera, those blank faces, those staring eyes fixed forever on nothingness.
This is the reality of what happened in Iraq; there is no other reality.
These children — these thousands of children — are dead, and will always be dead, as a direct result of the unprovoked act of military aggression launched and sustained by the American power structure.
Killing these children, creating and maintaining the conditions that led to the slaughter of these children, was precisely what the armed forces of the United States were doing in Iraq.
Without the invasion, without the occupation, without the 1.5 million members of the American volunteer army who surrendered their moral agency to “just follow orders” and carry out their leaders’ agenda of aggression, those children would not have died — would not have been torn, eviscerated, shot, burned and destroyed.
This is the reality of what happened in Iraq; you cannot make it otherwise.
It has already happened; it always will have happened.
You cannot undo it.

One would also like to bring George Jr. and all his lackeys to justice — it’s obvious to anyone with walking around sense they’re war criminals.
No way, however.
Instead of the real culprits, President Obama is going balls-to-the-wall after Julian Assange via a sad US serviceman, Bradley Manning, whose first court appearance was on Friday.
Read about Manning’s inhumane trip here, and the secrecy bullshit here.
In reality, all to make an example: Other young soldiers thinking of telling the truth about America’s wars must by now have surely gotten the message: if you see something, don’t say something. Meanwhile, Manning couldn’t be faulted for wondering why he did not just take a cue from his commander-in-chief and kill some innocent foreigners like a good American boy. Instead of facing a lifetime in prison, he might have been up for a medal.

Reality ain’t fragile.

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