Friday, December 17, 2004

This War Has Two Fronts

"If you kick their butts hard enough, their hearts and minds will follow" A military slogan frequently heard during the Vietnam war.

It may occasionally prove true, in the short run, but in the long run, the pure force tactic will create more enemies than any military force can handle. Bitter, highly motivated enemies. The worst kind.

On the war front:
Another courageous young man has come forth with his own story and photographs of the casual violence and contempt with which imperial American forces are encouraged to treat Iraqis.

Aidan Delgado, a young mechanic in the Army reserve, recently honorably discharged, has come forth with his story of having applied for CO status while in Iraq. He turned in his weapon, explained his intentions and purpose and began the long grueling process. During that time, Delgado worked as a mechanic at the Abu Ghraib prison. He witnessed and heard of incidents and brought back a number of photos taken inside the prison. His story, at Democracy now, is very disturbing

When you hear these stories, appearing from a variety of sources, when you examine the photographs closely, you must wonder how the Iraqi people could not hate the US forces.
Imagine if North America were invaded by a brutal, heavily armed force that destroyed your electric grid, sewage lines and disposal plants. Took over or shut down hospitals, destroyed the local police and city administration, schools, churches and public services.

Imagine that occupying force forbade any protest of those imposed conditions and regularly incarcerated men, both fighters and civilians, including male children. Then, imagine that you learned that the people detained by the foreign troops were systematically tortured and abused in the most horrific and perverse manner possible. Sexual tortures, rape, S&M type tortures of the sort you would read about only in the most sordid fetish magazines.

Do you not believe you would be compelled to resist such barbarism? For barbaric is the correct word to describe American behavior in Iraq. Immoral, perverse, barbarism. The spirit of Caligula's Rome resurrected by a twenty first century 'Christian' potentate. A horror to behold if you look at it's actions on the ground, if you think of the terror inflected on the people who live there.

Life under evil Saddam was never so terrible. Yet, Americans think they are the 'good' guys. While Saddam, whose brutality was never acted out on such a broad crippling scale, was manifestly evil. Can you really imagine that the people whose lives have been destroyed, whose homes, schools, businesses, and professions no longer exist, are not enraged by how they are treated and by revelations of such barbaric actions on the part of the occupiers? Occupiers who dare call themselves liberators.

On the home front:
Neither Americans or Canadians would sit as passive witness to their own demise, to rape, torture, mutilation, and deaths of citizens and children, detained whether they are combatants or not.

At least I don't think Americans would tolerate such treatment. However, the government that is committing these crimes in Iraq has been passing laws and gaining powers that will allow them to use the same people to do the same things at home.

The government is doing things, on a regular basis, that only a few years ago would have been soundly denounced, by all Americans as things that only happen in foreign dictatorships. The old Soviet Union, for instance.

Police in Virginia recently visited the home of an 11 year old boy who had been reported for making "anti-American" remarks, at school. 11 years old, mind you. The child's parents were interrogated by police for three hours. The police wanted to know, among other things, if the parents knew any foreigners who harbor anti-American ideas.

The child's mother, Pamela Allbaugh, described the police interrogators as " like George Orwell's …thought police". She was quoted as saying, "If someone would have asked me five years ago if this was something my government would do, I would have said never."

Well, five years ago, I would have agreed with her. The rules have been hurriedly rewritten by people whose loyalties are in line with their own political and financial purposes rather than with the democratic principals and the constitution that were once what the U.S. of A. was about. Sometimes mistakenly so, with dire consequences, but in the end, the checks and balances system did eventually right the ship of state.

No more. That system is in tatters, as key positions in all branches of government are being filled, by often unqualified and compromised appointees, based solely upon their correct political loyalties. Their willingness to go along with this new vision of an authoritarian imperial America. Corporate and government power freed from the shackles of the constitution, that pesky document that has stood, so long, between the naked power of vested interests and the rights of private citizens in this country.

It remains to be seen just how far these people, this adminsitration, are willing to go in furthering and protecting their political coup and the powers they have taken for themselves.


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