2007

12 September 2007: Iraq v. 9/11

Iraq v. 9/11: The greater harm to America?

It is now six years and a day since the horrific September 11
attack, and President George W. Bush has failed to bring Osama Been Forgotten
to justice. That has been by design. The only question is whether Bush has
chosen to “ignore” bin Laden—as he admitted, “I rarely
think of him”—because, being the decider, decapitating the old
Bush-family nemesis, Saddam Hussein, was more in the “interest of the
U.S.” or because bin Laden is part of the Saudi Arabian bin Laden clan,
close Bush-family friends.
With 1,000 more American deaths to date in Iraq than on September
11 and thousands physically and psychologically wounded, maimed, and injured,
the question relative to the two catastrophes is which has been more devastating
to the American nation. One can look at the problem both from a geo-political
and an ethical perspective.
If one concludes the Iraqi Invasion has made us less safe, then
it follows Bush’s actions have been more adverse for the American nation
than the September 11 attack. Those who associate September 11 attacks with
Saddam Hussein and Iraq are as intellectually dishonest as Holocaust deniers.
In either case, the proponent is denying the actual historical evidence in
front of him in pursuit of a political point.
From an ethical perspective, it forces one to compare bin Laden
with Bush: Which has wrought the greater degree of pain and suffering? “Outrageous!”
Bush’s ardent defenders will scream. For Americans, perhaps, who may
be squeamish to consider the actions of their president relative to those
of the world’s mastermind of terror; but for the rest of the cosmos,
it may not be so black and white.
In its July 30/August 6 2007 edition, The Nation ran an extensive
article titled “The Other War.” In it, the authors graphically
describe the killing field of Iraq at the hands of American soldiers and marines,
based on direct testimony from veterans who, once returning home, began to
come to terms with the atrocities they and their fellow soldiers and marines
committed.
The writers stress that the killing, rape, and abuse of Iraqis
were committed by a minority of soldiers and marines and are not blaming the
soldiers and marines themselves. “These combat veterans, some of whom
bear deep emotional and physical scars, and many of whom have come to oppose
the occupation…described a brutal side of the war rarely seen on television
screens or chronicled in newspaper accounts,” write Chris Hedges and
Laila al-Arian.
I am convinced that if the American public were truly made aware
of the horrors being committed rather than the sanitized, visually acceptable
for dinner-time viewing version the networks put out, the outrage would be
such that the matter of time tables would be moot.
Staff Sgt. Timothy John Westphal of Denver commented after detailing
a particularly gruesome scene that the night it had occurred became the “turning
point” for him. “I just remember thinking to myself, I just brought
terror (my emphasis) to someone else under the American flag, and that’s
just not what I joined the Army to do.”
Specialist Garett Reppenhagen of Manitou Springs said, “It
just gets frustrating. Instead of blaming your own command for putting you
there in that situation, you start blaming the Iraqi people…So it’s
a constant psychological battle to try to, you know—to stay human.”
In summary, Specialist Jeff Englehart of Grand Junction stated,
“Just the carnage, all the blown-up civilians, blown-up bodies that
I saw, I just—I started thinking, like, Why? What was this for?
Bush plans to hand off this disaster to his successor hoping
to mitigate the judgment of history. Like everything else he has touched,
that will fail. In the legend of yore, there was a king who had a golden touch.
Bush is his counterpart. From Iraq to New Orleans, from the budget surplus
to the collapse of the working and middle classes, Bush is a failure. A question
to be posed to each Republican presidential candidate: “Knowing everything
you know today, do you still stand by your support for George W. Bush in 2000
and 2004?”
You can access the entire article online at www.thenation.com.

Program note: Join me Saturday, September 15 at 2:00 on KYGT
for a discussion of the
war with representatives from Military Families Speak Out and Iraqi Veterans
Against the War.

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