Well, it’s been six years since the U.S. began its “shock and awe” campaign to destroy Iraq and oust Saddam Hussein on those bogus “weapons of mass destruction” claims.
My how time flies — except for those guys and gals who keep having their tours of duty extended, and the Iraqis still living under the American occupation.
For the American public, it’s apparently turned into one big yawn:
"This is already one of the longest wars in American history. There's nothing new in Iraq," said Steven Roberts, a professor of media studies at the George Washington University. "We've read the stories of instability in the government a hundred times. Every single possible story has been told, and so there is enormous fatigue about Iraq."
Yes, let’s skip all that and get into the really interesting stuff, like the latest celebrity to enter rehab and Michelle Obama’s penchant for sleeveless dresses.
Never mind those tedious details, like the $800 billion price tag and the 4,261 Americans killed in the war — a figure that I’m not sure includes the alarming suicide rate among ground troops in Afghanistan and Iraq. Oh yeah, and then there’s the Iraqi casualty count, which CNN says is “harder to ascertain because of the lack of formal record-keeping.” But it’s “reached at least 128,000,” by CNN's tally.
And let’s just totally gloss over the torture thing.
Democracy Now! had an interview yesterday with author, journalist and professor Mark Danner, who this past weekend broke the story that two years ago the International Committee of the Red Cross concluded in a secret report that the Bush administration’s treatment of prisoners “constituted torture” in violation of the Geneva Conventions.
In hearing the account of what happened to Abu Zubaydah, including beatings, cold temperatures, sleep deprivation, being kept in coffin-like boxes and waterboarding administered over the course of many weeks, I couldn’t help but think about what happened not only to the prisoner, but to the men who were doing the torturing.
I mean, what kind of mind set do you have to be in to systematically mistreat someone in such horrendous ways? How do you gear yourself up to go to work when that’s your job? And how do you ever go on to live a normal life?
Yeah, all of the above is the ugliness of war, the downside that most Americans don’t see and think about — and don’t want to see and think about.
Perhaps if they did they’d find it just a little bit inappropriate to have the crew of a target boat visiting Kalahelo elementary school as part of a “career development program.”
A photograph of a kindergartener being shown a piece of military equipment accompanies the story, in which Principal Erik Burkman chirps:
“It’s all about showing the students what kinds of opportunities are available to them once they leave school.”
OK, that’s fine, but while you’re also showing kids the war mongers dressed in their “smart black headwear, khaki-colored shirt and smartly pressed black slacks with black socks and black shoes,” how about showing them some of the amputees, or the guys who will never leave the VA hospital because of head injuries or the homeless vets living in the street or the ones whose lives are forever screwed up because they’ve got PTSD?
How about showing them photos of the kids just like them who are blown up and maimed and orphaned by American soldiers, sailors, Marines and suicide bombers fighting the occupation of their nation? How about showing them what happens to real people when the joy stick they’re operating isn’t controlling a video game, but a Predator drone?
But that kind of education might distress and depress the poor keiki, and perhaps even require parental permission. Far better to fill their heads with propaganda and nonsense to prime them at an early age to fight the next imperialistic war.