Thursday, October 27, 2005


It seems like an eternity ago that there were only 2000 soldiers killed in Vietnam. I use the word "only" knowing it is an emotionally charged word. But that is the word I am hearing from my more bellicose and heartless acquaintances. Some assume that 2000 American lives is not too large of a sacrifice to achieve the goals of the government's foreign policy. The President said as much yesterday when he said more sacrifice would be needed in the war on terror.
The number 2000 certainly pales beside the number killed in the Pakistani quake, or the total number of hurricane victims in this deadly year. But those killed in natural disasters were simply in harm's way. There is a great deal of difference in dying by the hand of God than by dying by the hands of those who would intentionally put you in danger. There is no longer any denying that the Iraq war was a war of choice planned by men who intended to topple Saddam Hussein from power, even before they took power themselves.
There is irony in the fact that Saddam now stands trial for murders committed in his name in 1982. Is the United States not complicent in these murders because the Reagan administration financed and armed Saddam at that time? If there were executions, there is a good chance that they were carried out with American weapons. Saddam was fighting Iran then and the enemy of my enemy is my friend. Plots hatched by the Bush41 CIA to assassinate Saddam resulted in a botched attempt and more purges of the Iraqi regimes' enemies and the attempted assassination of Bush Sr. on a visit to Kuwait.
Had the current President only come before the American people and said, "aside from the
fact that he is also my father, Saddam Hussein planned and attempted the murder a former President of the United States. This government considers that an act of war and we mean to retaliate against the Iraqi dictator." That would have been a war they could have sold without the snake oil and most people would have supported it. Instead, this administration manufactured evidence to go to war, an act both immoral and illegal. They might have borrowed a play from Poppy's playbook and tried to surgically remove Saddam like Bush Sr. did with Manuel Noriega. Anything would have been better than the current atrocity being waged in our names. Like anyone, I would like to see a favorable outcome in Iraq for this country and the world's sake. But I don't believe it will happen while the Bush government is in power. There is too much blood on their hands for the Iraqi people to ever forgive them. And the 2000 dead, like the 58,000 Americans who died in Vietnam, will have to wait for other election cycles to discover if their sacrifice was worth the lies that killed them.


gregg grinspan said...

I immediately developed that squeezing sensation in my throat when I saw the title of your piece today. As I grow older I have become more and more appreciative of the miracle that is this life. Its unnecessary loss, the ripping apart of families, the orphaning of children, the destruction of habitations and the application of fear and vulnerability, are defined as tragedies by anyone who is unfortunate enough to have the experience. My guts and brain are repulsed by any who, out of their ignorance of the experience, or out of their incapacity to empathize with it, create it. A psychotic armed highwayman may rape and kill a few at a time. This is horrible. A group of men with the means to kill and maim tens of thousands, who do it are criminals of life itself. We see these crimes throughout history. The perpetrators need the most compelling punishment of which we are capable.

gregg grinspan said...
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