To see pictures of President George W. Bush in Iraq this week belies the reality of what life is like in that war-ravaged country.
The fact that Air Force One was able to land at Al Asad Airbase in Anbar Province, a no-man’s land for Americans just one year ago is hailed as a sign of progress that Mr. Bush’s “troop surge” is making the country more secure. No one in any of the pictures with the President is wearing flak jackets or any other kind of body armor.
Well, duh…soldiers and marines and sailors, just clear a swath of land for a photo opportunity, like the “Mission Accomplished” aircraft carrier landing in 2003 with Mr. Bush piloting a fighter plane, like the kind he avoided flying by going AWOL for most of his time in the National Guard during the Vietnam War.
At virtually every other time and place, Americans, press people, diplomats–even commanding General David Petraeus–all wear helmets, all the time, even inside the supposedly “secure” Green Zone, where the Iraqi Parliament and some U.S. civilian installations are located. It’s a war zone. A real, untamed, uncontained war.
In fact, the entire region is so hostile to the immoral U.S. aggression in Iraq, there is nowhere within 1,000 miles where an American soldier can just walk the streets and pick up souvenirs for the folks back home…or pick up prostitutes like they did during the immoral war of aggression in Vietnam 40 years ago.
Americans are certainly not welcome in neighboring Iran which shares the longest border with Iraq. They’re not welcome in Syria. Not in Saudi Arabia. Maybe they could take some R & R in tiny Kuwait or Jordan or in Turkey. But even in those locations, they couldn’t have fun in the rowdy, drinkin’, cussin’, brawlin’ manner to which U.S. forces are accustomed. They’d have to go Egypt or Israel to have the kind of “fun” usually associated with the presence of U.S. military personnel. And with the British removing their last troops from Basra, Iraq’s second largest city the day the President landed (with the entire British force to be removed from the country by Christmas), the United States is left virtually alone, and completely isolated in Iraq.
And when you look at pictures of U.S. troops in action, with all their body armor, and gear, and night-vision goggles, and armor-plated vehicles, and M-16s, and every other high-tech killing device you can imagine, there is no way to believe that the President’s recent secretly executed stopover in Iraq on his way to a meeting in Australia, was anything except an elaborately staged photo-op. Period.
When I look at all the super-armed U.S. troops, I wonder why they don’t just drop Robo-Cop, and Superman, and Batman, Spiderman, and The Flash, and The Justice League, and all the other super-heroes who always take care of the villains in Hollywood movies into Iraq? I wonder why they don’t drop all those “Bad Dudes” in, to clean that place up in 48 to 72-hours-movie-time (always less than two hours on the screen).
But the illegal, immoral, U.S. war of aggression in Iraq isn’t a movie, and alas, despite all the most sophisticated weaponry ever conceived (“…connecting the dots in the global war…” as they say in the TV commercial), the greatest military force ever assembled is not able to defeat the Iraqi resistance to the U.S. occupation, which has no Humvees, no barracks, no aircraft carrier groups, no airplanes with “smart bombs,” no Blackhawk helicopters. A resistance perpetrated by people regarded as “towel-head,” “sand ni**ers” in the minds of most Americans. Oh how the mighty have fallen!
So, what do the beleaguered U.S. troops do to combat the collective will and hatred of them by all the Iraqi people, including most Iraqis on the U.S. payroll? At first it was Abu Ghraib and the Haditha massacre, but those were called aberrations. Not! Most American forces seem to consider their mission, simply to get home safely. And all that means is: “Shoot first. Ask questions later.”
If that means shoot and abuse and kill Iraqi civilians, children, women, no matter. Forget about the “rules of war.” Forget about the Geneva Convention. Who wants to take a chance that the suspicious-looking person they didn’t kill or maim was an enemy who might have turned around and killed them or one of their fellow soldiers, rather than simply someone who happened to be innocently in the way of the military juggernaut when it rolled up on their street? Tough luck Iraqi civilians. American troops have job to do. Bring peace and stability to your country.
As it turns out, 10,000 pages of new documents released by the American Civil Liberties Union recently, regarding crimes committed by U.S. soldiers against civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan detail a troubling pattern of troops failing to understand and follow the rules that govern interrogations and deadly actions (or maybe they did understand and were just operating on the law of the jungle). The documents show repeated examples of soldiers believing they were within the law when they killed local civilians.
Hey: “Kill or be killed! There’s a war going on!”
After all, the “Prime Directive” of the U.S. forces says they can’t turn on their own commanders. None of them want to be there, so they have to take it out on somebody, and the only people left to teach a lesson, are those poor Iraqi civilians who are in no position to fight back. The Iraqis are getting it from both sides–their fellow countrymen who hate Americans so desperately they’ll kill themselves and their own brothers and sisters, in order to kill the hated “infidel invaders,” and from the “Buck Wild” American troops who are still vowing to “Remember the Alamo.”
So, it ends up that the entire American military presence there is like “bad Robo-Cop.” Robo-Cops without the movie super-powers that is, who also sustain casualties, so far to the tune of 3,700 American military dead and more than 20,000 severely injured. For what?