An Illegal and Catastrophic War

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The far most chilling account of war in Iraq I read actually came from the first Gulf War. It was in ‘The Nation’ and recounted the horrors of the highway of death. Other publications also recounted the little talked about massacre of retreating Iraqi soldiers.

I want to give testimony on what are called the “highways of death.” These are the two Kuwaiti roadways, littered with remains of 2,000 mangled Iraqi military vehicles, and the charred and dismembered bodies of tens of thousands of Iraqi soldiers, who were withdrawing from Kuwait on February 26th and 27th 1991 in compliance with UN resolutions.

U.S. planes trapped the long convoys by disabling vehicles in the front, and at the rear, and then pounded the resulting traffic jams for hours. “It was like shooting fish in a barrel,” said one U.S. pilot. The horror is still there to see.

Shooting fish in a barrel. That was 1991. It’s 2008, and where are we now? IN Iraqi – still killing them. It’s been 17 years since that massacre. (There were intermittent attacks even during the Clinton administration, no-fly zones, and other military doublespeak ‘operations.’ ) And according to John McCain’s estimation that only leaves 83 years.

I cannot express you how frickin’ close I came to an emotional/mental breakdown in the run-up to the Iraq war. If I could tell Colin Powell’s presentation to the U.N. was just a bunch of pictures of big-ass trucks blanketed in lies, how come no one could? If I could see Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice, and their cohorts were all liars, how come no one else could? No one else meant the general population of the U.S. The idiots who are more concerned with their nails, shoes, and cars to worry or even wonder if their government was baldly lying to them.

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Today, on CNN’s own front page, a poll conducted by CNN itself found “more than 7 out of 10 Americans think government spending on the war in Iraq is partly responsible for the economic troubles in the United States. . . . . In the CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll conducted last weekend, 71 percent said they think U.S. spending in Iraq is a reason for the nation’s poor economy. Twenty-eight percent said they didn’t think so.”

Do you want to see it in stark terms? The National Priorities Center will help. In Idaho – up to this point, “Taxpayers in Idaho will pay $1.2 billion for the cost of the Iraq War through 2007. For the same amount of money, the following could have been provided:

341,686 People with Health Care OR
1,026,482 Homes with Renewable Electricity OR
28,335 Public Safety Officers OR
23,517 Music and Arts Teachers OR
295,157 Scholarships for University Students OR
116 New Elementary Schools OR
11,417 Affordable Housing Units OR
796,655 Children with Health Care OR
162,110 Head Start Places for Children OR
21,985 Elementary School Teachers OR
By congressional district, 1 and 2 (Sali, Simpson respectively):
Taxpayers in Congressional District 1 (Sali) have paid $725.7 million for the Iraq War thus far.
Taxpayers in Congressional District 2 (Simpson) have paid $694.5 million for the Iraq War thus far.

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When this war is over and someone says to me, I guess I should’ve paid more attention. Or – ya know, I was just flat-out wrong about supporting Bush and the Iraq war. Or – ya know, Saddam Hussein was an asshole, but we shouldn’t have gone into Iraq . . . . you know what I’m going to say?

I’m working on an answer that won’t involve sputtering, spitting, and smacking the shit out of someone. Oh yeah, and one that won’t have the words “fuck you” in there either.

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