Friday, March 22, 2013

The Horrors in Iraq Worse Than Hiroshima?

The American public continues to avoid facing the horrors done in their name in Iraq.  Horrors that involve not only the hundreds of Iraqis who needlessly lost their lives.  These horrors extend to babies being born horribly deformed thanks to the U. S. military's use of depleted uranium in weaponry.  The image above is horrifying.  So is what America did having fallen for the jingoistic slogans of war mongers and the lies of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney.  The horrors also extend to our military veterans some of whom will never recover physically and/or mentally.  Democracy Now looks at the continued horrors in Iraq where the deformities and inflated cancer rates are said to exceed those seen in Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan in the aftermath of the nuclear bombings. Sadly, many on the far right, especially the Christofascists, will not be moved to care.  After all, these victims aren't Christian and aren't white and, therefore in their sick minds are not even human.  Bradley Manning is facing criminal charges for trying to expose American atrocities and war crimes, yet those who caused this nightmare go un-prosecuted and unpunished.  Here is an excerpt from Democracy Now:

Dr. Samira Alani actually visited with doctors in Japan, comparing statistics, and found that the amount of congenital malformations in Fallujah is 14 times greater than the same rate measured in the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan in the aftermath of the nuclear bombings. These types of birth defects, she said—there are types of congenital malformations that she said they don’t even have medical terms for, that some of the things they’re seeing, they’ve never seen before. They’re not in any of the books or any of the scientific literature that they have access to. She said it’s common now in Fallujah for newborns to come out with massive multiple systemic defects, immune problems, massive central nervous system problems, massive heart problems, skeletal disorders, baby’s being born with two heads, babies being born with half of their internal organs outside of their bodies, cyclops babies literally with one eye—really, really, really horrific nightmarish types of birth defects. And it is ongoing.
Meanwhile, we see the far right in particular blathering on and on about American exceptionalism.  America is exceptional alright, but in a horrible way.  And the damaged lives extend as noted to many of our troops - those lucky enough to have not lost their lives for nothing.     But one example is Iraq War veteran Tomas Young who has written a letter to Bush and Cheney.  Here are highlights from Democracy Now:

Iraq War veteran Tomas Young was left paralyzed in a 2004 attack in Iraq. Released from medical care three months later, Young returned home to become an active member in Iraq Veterans Against the War. He recently announced that he will stop his medicine and nourishment, which comes in the form of liquid through a feeding tube — a decision which will hasten his death. Joining us from his home in Kansas City, Young reads from his letter, "A Message to George W. Bush and Dick Cheney From a Dying Veteran." Young says to Bush and Cheney:

To: George W. Bush and Dick Cheney

From: Tomas Young

I write this letter on the 10th anniversary of the Iraq War on behalf of my fellow Iraq War veterans. I write this letter on behalf of the 4,488 soldiers and Marines who died in Iraq. I write this letter on behalf of the hundreds of thousands of veterans who have been wounded and on behalf of those whose wounds, physical and psychological, have destroyed their lives. I am one of those gravely wounded. I was paralyzed in an insurgent ambush in 2004 in Sadr City. My life is coming to an end. I am living under hospice care.

I write this letter on behalf of husbands and wives who have lost spouses, on behalf of children who have lost a parent, on behalf of the fathers and mothers who have lost sons and daughters and on behalf of those who care for the many thousands of my fellow veterans who have brain injuries. I write this letter on behalf of those veterans whose trauma and self-revulsion for what they have witnessed, endured and done in Iraq have led to suicide and on behalf of the active-duty soldiers and Marines who commit, on average, a suicide a day. I write this letter on behalf of the some 1 million Iraqi dead and on behalf of the countless Iraqi wounded. I write this letter on behalf of us all—the human detritus your war has left behind, those who will spend their lives in unending pain and grief.

I write this letter, my last letter, to you, Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney. I write not because I think you grasp the terrible human and moral consequences of your lies, manipulation and thirst for wealth and power. I write this letter because, before my own death, I want to make it clear that I, and hundreds of thousands of my fellow veterans, along with millions of my fellow citizens, along with hundreds of millions more in Iraq and the Middle East, know fully who you are and what you have done. You may evade justice but in our eyes you are each guilty of egregious war crimes, of plunder and, finally, of murder, including the murder of thousands of young Americans—my fellow veterans—whose future you stole.
Your positions of authority, your millions of dollars of personal wealth, your public relations consultants, your privilege and your power cannot mask the hollowness of your character. You sent us to fight and die in Iraq after you, Mr. Cheney, dodged the draft in Vietnam, and you, Mr. Bush, went AWOL from your National Guard unit. Your cowardice and selfishness were established decades ago. You were not willing to risk yourselves for our nation but you sent hundreds of thousands of young men and women to be sacrificed in a senseless war with no more thought than it takes to put out the garbage.

I joined the Army two days after the 9/11 attacks. I joined the Army because our country had been attacked. I wanted to strike back at those who had killed some 3,000 of my fellow citizens. I did not join the Army to go to Iraq, a country that had no part in the September 2001 attacks and did not pose a threat to its neighbors, much less to the United States. I did not join the Army to “liberate” Iraqis or to shut down mythical weapons-of-mass-destruction facilities or to implant what you cynically called “democracy” in Baghdad and the Middle East. I did not join the Army to rebuild Iraq, which at the time you told us could be paid for by Iraq’s oil revenues. Instead, this war has cost the United States over $3 trillion. I especially did not join the Army to carry out pre-emptive war. Pre-emptive war is illegal under international law. And as a soldier in Iraq I was, I now know, abetting your idiocy and your crimes. The Iraq War is the largest strategic blunder in U.S. history. It obliterated the balance of power in the Middle East. It installed a corrupt and brutal pro-Iranian government in Baghdad, one cemented in power through the use of torture, death squads and terror. And it has left Iran as the dominant force in the region. On every level—moral, strategic, military and economic—Iraq was a failure. And it was you, Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney, who started this war. It is you who should pay the consequences.

I would not be writing this letter if I had been wounded fighting in Afghanistan against those forces that carried out the attacks of 9/11. Had I been wounded there I would still be miserable because of my physical deterioration and imminent death, but I would at least have the comfort of knowing that my injuries were a consequence of my own decision to defend the country I love. I would not have to lie in my bed, my body filled with painkillers, my life ebbing away, and deal with the fact that hundreds of thousands of human beings, including children, including myself, were sacrificed by you for little more than the greed of oil companies, for your alliance with the oil sheiks in Saudi Arabia, and your insane visions of empire.

I have, like many other disabled veterans, suffered from the inadequate and often inept care provided by the Veterans Administration. I have, like many other disabled veterans, come to realize that our mental and physical wounds are of no interest to you, perhaps of no interest to any politician. We were used. We were betrayed. And we have been abandoned. You, Mr. Bush, make much pretense of being a Christian. But isn’t lying a sin? Isn’t murder a sin? Aren’t theft and selfish ambition sins? I am not a Christian. But I believe in the Christian ideal. I believe that what you do to the least of your brothers you finally do to yourself, to your own soul.

My day of reckoning is upon me. Yours will come. I hope you will be put on trial. But mostly I hope, for your sakes, that you find the moral courage to face what you have done to me and to many, many others who deserved to live. I hope that before your time on earth ends, as mine is now ending, you will find the strength of character to stand before the American public and the world, and in particular the Iraqi people, and beg for forgiveness.

Tomas Young

The fact that Bush and Cheney - an senior military officers who engaged in torture, violations of the Geneva Conventions and outright war crimes remain unpunished speaks volumes about America and sadly the American people.  None of it is good.  Americans may want to close their eyes to the crimes done in their names, but the rest of the world is watching.  The far right worries about America's standing in the world and would say that Obama has lessened it when, in fact, it is they and their policies that have done America grievous harm.  Bush and Cheney need to be prosecuted, tried, and likely executed - at least if America applied the standards it used on Germans and Japanese officials after World War II.  Right now, I am not proud to be an American.

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