Sunday, July 8, 2007


237 is the number of Iraqis killed as reported by AntiWar.Com this past Saturday, July 6, 2007. They died while the McCains, Giulianis and Liebermans of this world slept and while G.W. Bush rambled on about the surge and the need to win “so that they don’t follow us back home.”

One hundred and fifty died in a single truck bomb explosion. Every person who supported this war should have these people's deaths on their conscience. This war, this toppling of a regime, this ongoing futile attempt at parsing the Middle East to the pleasures of the West is, has been and will be recorded as a crime against humanity.

How do Iraqis see us, we in the West with our lofty ideals of democracy and our righteousness? I’m pretty sure I know how we see Iraqis. Last night a friend told me that there were videos posted by the military showing eerie night vision scenes of men engaging in sex acts with animals coming out of Iraq. I’m sure for half a trillion dollars I could obtain similar material from the mountains of Tennessee or the Kansas plains but this material confirms our deepest desire that we are better than them and their deaths are unimportant. How do Iraqis see us?

Three American soldiers were kidnapped recently by Iraqi nationals, unleashing the biggest manhunt in Iraq since the war started. Thousands of troops comb through fields, rivers and brush to find a trace of the missing men, because every man counts. ‘No man left behind’ is the credo.

A bomb goes off and a soldier is wounded. Helicopters arrive as if from nowhere to evacuate him whilst he is tended to by several men. The world news reports the incident. He is awarded a medal.

A soldier dies and his body is recuperated. The men in his platoon pay homage to a small shrine in his name and weep at his passing. His body is placed in a casket and flown home for around $20,000 to his relatives, where a large gathering of people including men at arms who never personally knew him gather. They speak about the loss and the dreams that will not be fulfilled. His remains are lowered into a grave to the tune of a bugle and the flag that draped his coffin is accurately folded and handed to his family whilst seven men fire their weapons three times into the sky. At his head is a carved tombstone stating who he was and when he lived and died.

237 Iraqi civilians are shredded by bombs, bullets and knives. Their deaths are reported in a small article which does not, can not even mention their names. They are carried in trucks to the morgue, heaped upon each other like animals dying of a plague, nameless and numberless. They are not even a statistic. They lie in rows, blood drying on them, flies and maggots infesting them until some relative somewhere can identify them. They are wrapped in rags or whatever is at hand and laid to rest in makeshift, sometimes common graves with a misshapen lump of rock as a headstone.Why do we still think that these people can understand what we want? How can we tell Iraqis that what we did was for them? How do we have the gall to even face them and look them in the eye? In the corridors of power people bandy words around like "benchmark" and "milestone" and "democracy". But in the small village of Amerli in Iraq, a mother just wants to know why her son has been reduced to a smoldering corpse and why no one in the West cares.

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