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Thursday, January 20, 2005

 

The Face of War: What We Have Wrought in Iraq

Ladies and gentlemen. I'd like you to take a close look at the picture below, taken from this link posted on Salon's TableTalk message board on Wednesday the 19th of January.



Click on the link above and there will be a caption for the picture, explaining that the little girl's parents were killed by US troops who fired on their vehicle when it failed to stop at a checkpoint, despite warning shots being fired at it.

I am horrified when I contemplate what this picture represents. I can easily imagine the scene as cultures clashed for a moment and two Iraqis were killed, leaving behind a frightened little girl who is now an orphan, thanks to our troops.

I'm sure the car was just driving along the street, the occupants minding their own business. Perhaps they were trying to get home before the curfew began or perhaps they were rushing their little girl to the hospital because she might have been sick or something.

They come up to a checkpoint, manned by nervous US soldiers, some perhaps as young as 19 or 20; soldiers who shouldn't have been there at that checkpoint in the first place.

These soldiers had orders to stop and search every vehicle passing through the checkpoint. Iraqi civilians, most not familiar at all with military procedures, discipline, and bearing would have to get out of their cars and/or be searched themselves, under the gaze of nervous, fearful young American soldiers pointing guns at them.

Here comes this car. The soldiers hold their hands up to stop the car. It keeps coming. They fire a few warning shots. The car keeps coming because the driver does not understand what's happening, probably does not speak English, and therefore does not understand the orders being shouted at him.

The soldiers almost certainly have orders to shoot any and all vehicles that do not stop at the checkpoint.

They do so and two Iraqis are dead, leaving behind a little girl who, if she has the chance to grow up, will do so hating the American soldiers who did this to her and her country.

Not only that, she will hate America and all things American. This means she will hate you, me, George Bush, Donald Rumsfeld, John Kerry, Donald Trump, Harrison Ford, Bo Jackson, Barbara Boxer, Howard Dean, and all Americans because we are the infidels who killed her parents.

Her hatred of us will be nurtured by those extremist Muslim fanatical followers of Osama and his ilk who will now spread this picture all over the Muslim world to fan the flames of hatred against us; flames already fanned to great effect with the Abu Ghraib abuse scandal from last year.

This little girl will grow up to hate us and many, many of her fellow Iraqis will hate us even more when they see this picture, as will Muslims all over the world.

Congratulations, George Bush. You have just given Osama bin Laden another recruiting poster with which to use to bring even more angry, desperate young men to his cause. Young men who will now have even more reason in their minds to bring even more death and destruction to Iraq with their car bombs, suicide bombs, and attacks against our troops immersed in this awful quagmire.

There is nothing we can do or say to this little girl that will ease the hurt and anguish she feels right now. We took her parents away from her. That is something that cannot be undone. Words like "forgiveness" and "contrition" are empty words now. Perhaps this young girl may find it in her heart to forgive our country for what our soldiers did to her but probably not. We can only try our best to rectify the situation by getting our troops the hell out of her country so this sort of thing can't happen again.

That's not likely to happen any time soon. We can't do anything to "make this right" other than ensuring that this little girl gets the best possible medical care and is placed in a good, decent home with Iraqis who can raise her as their own daughter.

That's also not likely to happen anytime soon. What will happen is in a week or so, the soldiers will get a wrist-slapping "reprimand" and life will go on.

And in the meanwhile, this traumatized little girl will nurture a cold ball of hatred for us, a seed that will grow into a desire to visit revenge upon us someday.

And this wonderful little episode of American hubris was paid for by our tax dollars.

Congratulations, George Bush. You've outdone yourself with this one.

For all those people out there who seek to assign blame to the troops who did this, I say, "Don't." They were, after all, 'just following orders' and carried out those orders with dispatch and resolve. The result is two dead Iraqis and a traumatized orphan.

It's not the soldiers' fault that this happened. It's the fault of the people who put them there in the first place and it's the fault of those who support those people.

The blood of this little girl's parents is on your hands. I hope you can sleep at night knowing you voted for the man who is responsible for this crime.

For everyone else: as an American, I am sorry that this happened. I will, I must, work to see the day that George Walker Bush and the other high-ranking members of his neocon cabal are sitting in front of the International Court in the Hague, on trial for war crimes and crimes against humanity.

What they did is against every fiber of my being as an American. I disown them and urge my fellow citizens to do likewise because what they did excludes them now and for all time from the circle of existence that encompasses what it means to be an American.

What they did was wrong and I am sorry they did it in my name and that of America.

May God forgive us for what we have allowed to happen in our names.


Comments:
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Powerful words. Blogger Letterman does a great job in his post expressing much of what needs to be said about this haunting photo
 
Thanks for that comment, Julius. There are days when I wake in the morning and I literally cannot believe our country has sunk to this state.

God help us, this country is not the same country I grew up in.
 
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