Wednesday, March 20, 2013
The picture above is from the height of the Iraqi insurgency in 2006. Click on the picture and magnify it. What it shows is a dead boy, 3 years old perhaps, with half his head blown off after an American raid in Baghdad. The flap of translucent scalp catches the sun's rays. His grandfather carries him from the morgue. All of us have an obligation to spend a few minutes staring at that picture. It is one of thousands.
This is what we did. That was a child we exterminated. WMD. Liberate Iraq. The one true incontrovertible crime of the 21st century so far. Aggressive war. Pre-emptive war. False pretences. It has been ten years since we charged into disgrace. Perhaps this ought to be a time for national reflection and collective shame.....
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People will avert their eyes. There will be countless excuses.
"I can't take looking at it, it'll stay with me forever and ruin my happiness".
"It can't be real anyway."
"Why stress out for things I cannot change?" (this is pure evil, especially if you're an American)
"Better happen to them instead of us, with all them WMDs and such, I don't even wanna see it, it needed to be done anyways." (refined pure evil)
The damage to children is ongoing. Orphaned, and/or homeless, with a bleak future to look forward to.
Am immigrant Iraqi doctor I once had a chat with asked me "Do you know how it feels to have a foreigner [American soldier] point a gun at you, yell at you, threaten you, and beat you, all of these after shooting at you through your car's windshield, in your own country? Simply because you refused being treated like sheep. And you remain utterly powerless. In your own country." Luckily I don't know.
At the end of it all there's the question: why? I don't think there's a proper answer to it. Nothing, nothing at all can serve as a reason to justify this picture. Absolutely nothing. Mindless brutality on the leash of blind greed is not a reason, it's the complete opposite of reason.
Collective shame? I did not sit in the room while a group of politicians, supposedly elected to serve the voters, decided to tell the public that WMD were real then concocted a scheme to invade Iraq.
The shame I feel is that my vote, was not enough to keep a moron like G W Bush from getting elected and perpetrating this crime on the world. And, that my tax dollars were used without my explicit permission, to fund an unnecessary war that I did not agree with. But, ironically, if I do not pay my taxes I will go to jail, albeit politicians who kill hundreds of thousands of Iraqis (based on a lie) do not have to answer for it.
I heard Richard Perle (former chairman of the Pentagon's Defense Policy Board)on NPR today saying that "they" relied on the best intelligence available at the time, that led them to believe there were WMD. They made a list of "potential threats" and that is how they decided to invade. Pretty flimsy,weak rationale, for a "world power", considering that hundreds of thousands paid with their lives. He considered the subsequent "occupation" (after the fall of Sadam),the worst decision of the war and would not comment on whether it was "worth it".
One underlying problem is that we, as a society, do not hold our elected official responsible for mistakes, lies, blunders, exploitation, corruption that goes on every day in Washington.
I often feel powerless to impact the governmental process; I don't have the resources to make big donations, I'm not a lobbyist, nor do I spend time writing hundreds of letters to senators...I am too busy working-- to pay my exorbitant >30% tax rate to support a government that is free to use my tax dollars for any purpose they see fit.
Don't mean to rant, but the US political process gets me down--nearly as much as the wanton ravages of war you included in your blog today.
As a grandfather, and as a father, I'm deeply moved by this picture.
As a physician conscientious objector in 1970, I have no direct experience of war, but a lifelong fascination with it nonetheless. I think the effects of war on decent people who wage it are deeper and more destructive than I can imagine. Read Nick Turse's new book.
And for all my self-righteousness, I am complicit in this picture. I paid my taxes, I obeyed the law, I was not jailed for protest, nor did I cast myself under the wheels of the machinery of destruction. I ranted ineffectively, said I'd done what could be done, and went on with my life -- my children and grandchildren alive and unharmed.
Don't kid yourself. The "why" is oil and money and the "how" is a dumbed-down, circus-besotted electorate who can't be bothered to ask the "why." Add in the media whores who shape what passes for "news" and the sick joke of organized religion. What a horror--but at a remove for us, right up in the face for the family of this poor child.
Mimi I couldn't agree with you more. Noam Chomsky has a long history of writing on United States hegemony and the role of media. See Chomsky's books "Manufactured Consent", "media Control" and "hegemony or Survival". In Chomsky's book Media Control he refers to the people as the "bewildered herd" where the media has to "manufacture consent". You don't need to read any of Chomsky's books to realize that what's happened. Really all you need to be is undistracted and paying attention. Our government is a POS.
Mimi speaks the very simple truth. It's only about those who gots it and those who wants it.
All power struggles (religion is only a power struggle) ... are, about getting what you want, which always in the end is money.
They stopped showing the harsh realities of war on TV after the Vietnam conflict if I'm not mistaken.
Saw this earlier today on this blog, which I generally enjoy, and I've been thinking about it as the day goes on.
I'm not going to comment on the political position of your piece rather, I'm going to comment on the use of the image. I know what you're trying to do, you're trying to shock us, to prompt the type of visceral reaction that makes most all of us abhor whatever subject is being described. It's horrible and pointless. Shocking images can and are used to espouse nearly any argumentative position, and as such they are a poor tool. The type of reaction they produce is instinctual and fleeting, and most often not germane to the merits of the argument itself. One can take the same image and slap a new caption on it with additional or different information on it and suddenly the image is not what you thought it was.
If you're going to use an image like this without adequate context, as you do here, reality doesn't matter, only the projection reality as perceived by the author of the caption.
When an innocent child dies, it's always a tragedy. To use a graphic image of that child's corpse and his family's pain to espouse your political views is putrid. I guess I was just expecting more out of a post on this blog. There are many other ways to make your point without resulting to an unnecessary sensationalist display.
BigD nails it. This picture is porn, anti-war porn. Put up Daniel Pearl's picture for a balanced view of what war causes.
Or better yet, how about some of the photos of those shredded Iraqis Saddam randomly took off the street and played with. Or the many, many photos of Kurds used for genocide practice. Where do you think Saddam got his weapons for the mass destruction of 60,000 Kurds?
I have problems with the way the Turkish govt set us up to fail by pulling the rug out from under us at the last minute,when it was too late to change our entry strategy. That was tailored just to snare those like you who only pay fitful attention and Turkey should've been severely sanctioned for it.
We went to the UN how many times to ascertain what should be done? At least 40. Meanwhile, when Saddam realized it was going down, those WMD went to Syria - where they are still.
...and waaay down the line, we tried to retrieve the many assault weapons we'd scattered across Libya for Ghaddafi'a enemies to aid his overthrow. For WHAT? So we could then draw down security for our own ppl in Benghazi?
Either REALLY study the long and perfidious history of the Middle East, say for as long as you studied medicine, or stick to your scalpels.
A miserere appeal is one of the most tawdry rhetorical fallacies out there. It has cheapened public discourse beyond repair.
I can't control what other countries do. In no way shape or form do I condone the atrocities committed by others. But as citizen of the United States I do feel an obligation to draw attention to our own sins. It's our tax dollars that paid for that missile that took off half that boy's face. Call it war porn if you like. I call it looking in the mirror.
There are more responsible arguments than using image of dead children. As someone with chronic PTSD I would request that you consider the impacet of photos like that- perhaps you can put them on another page so the casual reader has a choice whether or not to be triggered.
I thought I'd come onto a blog to read about medicine/surgery.
As someone who has studied our response to the changed world after 9/11, I would suggest that you read the ways in which we were set up to fail - yet again. And perhaps some reasoned alternative to Saddam's takeover of Kuwait? I had a friend there - a blond young woman who did not fare well.
One of your commenters claimed we went in there for the oil. A risible idea. That's why were in Afghanistan too no doubt?
The involvement of the West in the ME began with the French and British. Just as we were handed the French failure in Vietnam, we were put over a barrel by our Western allies re the instability of Iraq.ME leaders wanted him out.
In fact the Brits made many of the more egregious errors in Iraq...we were the clean-up crew. And our men were sandwiched between the murderous mujahedeen and the p.c. insanities of their officers.
Have you treated any of those who survived Iraq? Do you notice the other places people are still being blown up? A friend, an Austrian surgeon, has been sent to Mali by the UN. None of his equipment or even personal clothing has arrived. His 11 y.o. daughter has decided not to sleep till he is safely home again. She is The Sentinel...
War is hard on everyone.
its really sad..
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