Monday, March 19, 2007

four years ago; shock and awe

four years ago today, i sat glued in front of the television watching cnn, waiting for the bombs to drop. waiting for the mother f*ing iraqis to get to know the great ol' u.s. of a. a little better. waiting for saddam to pay his dues for building up his arsenal of weapons of mass destruction. wmds. it was the new hip acronym. i sat there waiting for our revenge for 9/11 to finally be enacted.

finally the bombs dropped. the explosions were beautiful, magnificent, and destructive. i cheered. shock and awe. shock and mother f*ing awe.

four years later i look back and am sickened by the way i felt. i'm sickened by the way most of america felt. united we stood. united we stood and cheered on the slaughter of others. since that dreadful moment four years ago over 60,000 innocent iraqi citizens have died as a result of our invasion. that's the low estimate. some estimate it as double that number. if we take iraqi soldier and insurgent deaths, the number is five or six times as many. rather than getting better, each year the number of deaths exceeds the previous.

as of today 3,204 american soliders have died. over 32,000 have been injured. many of them no longer have the eyes to see their children's smiling faces. many no longer have the arms to wrap around their spouses. the legs to hike and travel the beautiful world with.

the fiscal cost of the war just exceeded $400 billion. that's a four with nine zeros behind it. that's enough to end global poverty for the next dozen years. enough to provide health care for every person in america. enough to educate all of our children. enough to take care of the elderly. and apparently enough to tear apart a country, kill many of its citizens, turn it into a hot pan for terrorism and civil war.

shock and awe. four years ago, i didn't know that it was the name of a decade old military strategy aimed at destroying a state's infrastructure, 'accidentally' harming its citizines, and demoralizing its people into accepting defeat. little did i know that the weapons of mass destruction, those wmds, were merely the fabrication of our administration and intelligence. little did i think about the great consequences that would arise.

shock and awe. a perfect way to describe my reflections as i look back at myself four years ago.

13 comments:

  1. how is it, that people seem to forget that Clinton's administration leveled the EXACT same claims of WMD's against Iraq. Somehow people overlook that every other major Country's intelligence agency (included but not limited to Spain, France, Germany, Britain and Russia) independently concluded that Iraq was building WMDs. Granted, some didn't think war was necessary (France, Germany, Russia) but still varified - independent of US intelligence - that Iraq possesed WMDs. How is that when one of Iraq's top Military Scientist defects and tells America / the World - Sadam has WMDs and he's smuggling them out of the country on commercial air liners to Iran, Syria, and Lebanon that we don't "count" that.

    I don't get how all of a sudden WMDs become this complete fabrication of our current administration. If they were fabricated by anyone - you would at least have to go back to the Clinton administration. Unfortunatly, there is to much evidence to state that they do exsist.

    I'm sorry that we haven't been able to "find" them in four years. We are dealing with a Country here, not a factory. Sadam buried people alive, you think he wouldn't hesitate to bury WMDs? We have MANY inteligence agencies independently coming to the same conclusion. We have his own people telling us he is doing it. We have his records of chemicals used in the creation of WMDs just dissapearing and all the can say is "we don't know what happened to them".

    The war in Iraq can be debated and I agree that it hasn't gone as smoothly as planned or promised - but that's a whole different issue here. As for the WMDs - let it go. There is to much evidence in the "he has them" corner to just even handedly blame the current administration with out right lieing to get into a war

    ryan

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  2. ryan,

    bush himself has said that iraq did not have wmds and that the intelligence failed. most other countries were using our intelligence that we through collin powell unfortunately fed them in the united nations.

    i don't know exactly what claims clinton made, so i can't comment on them. if he made the claim, then he was wrong.

    the record shows however, that many in intelligence questioned the existence of the weapons, but were overridden by cheney's demand to find evidence.

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  3. Ryan, it does not matter if it went back to Bush, Clinton, or Lincoln for that matter. The wrong doing is not vindicated by saying "it was clinton, not bush." The same goes for the "intelligence" reports from other countries. But this distracts from the original point, so i will not go further.


    As to the intended topic, I felt the same way. When I saw the statue of Saddam falling, I told myself "It's only a matter of time that he falls in the same manner."

    I too am ashamed at my emotionally fueled feelings of the time. How we Americans "patriotically" approve such spending on the war astounds me. Loyd points out many ways this same amount of money can be made beneficial- and it is sad to see these things never coming to fruition.

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  4. I had this big long response. But I'm not sure anyone would care. So I copied it and am saving it - if you want me to post it I will, if you would rather I not cause you think I'm one of "those" people that just doesn't get it and my replies just annoy you, that's cool to.

    ryan

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  5. of course i want you to post it

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  6. The Silent Observer3/21/2007 3:28 PM

    Disarming Saddam was only one of the reasons we went into Iraq. I know it's difficult to keep perspective when you have "that liberal media" pooh-poohing the war effort every five minutes, but for the sake of balance let us tell the other side of the story too.

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  7. All I was trying to point out is that I'm sick of everyone putting all the blame then some on our current administration. Yeah, a lot of money is being spent that could be used for other things. I'm not debating that, I'm trying to express my problems with the "Blame President Bush" mentality.

    As for the war I'm sorry you two seemed hungry for blood. I knew then like I know now that the war was necesarry. One of the many places I get lost is this there seems to be a general trend that Iraq is a cival war so we have no business being there. Yet in the same breath they talk about how we need to go in and help out in Darfur because they are in the middle of a cival war, and then they cite the US's in-action in Rwanda as justification for helping out in Darfur. So we are jack-asses for not helping out in a cival war and we are jack-asses for helping out in a cival war.

    And you can't say "well we started the cival war in Iraq" No we didn't, they did! We toppled their regim and tried handing their government back to them (which they have proudly taken and according to the most recent polls out of Iraq the majority of Iraqis support). They had free elections, they have more electricity, education, and medical aid available to them now then every before. Their economy is going through the roof. Kurdistan is working on rebuilding their national parks ... if a country is really being blown apart as our media likes to portray Iraq, where on their list of "to do's" falls rebuild the national park?!?! Kurdistan alone has two international air-ports open that are state of the art - high tech wonders. They are building a university and naming it after us - for freeing them! The list goes on and on and on.

    It's true they realized that once Sadam was gone they could go wild. No one was there anymore to enforce the eye for an eye law like Sadam. That's when they started their own cival war. That's also when their newly elected government asked us to stick around and help them. It took Germany and Japan how many years to rebuild after WW2 and we expect Iraq to be up and running with a completely different government and economic structure in a couple years?

    I've talked to the soldiers that have been there - including my sister. The Iraqis love us. We are their heros. It'll take time, but soon they will stabalize and we will have a very strong economic "buddy" that we can trade and do business with.

    If you want to look at the numbers even with the increase of spending for our "surge" we are still spending less on the military than we were in the early 1990s. Also, do the increase in revenue cause by President Bush's tax cuts have cause total miltary spending to be a smaller and smaller portion of GDP. I believe anyone that was serious about saving money for the poor would start with DC. There is so much waste in DC alone. Start there, campaign to reform wel-fare so it can't be abused the way it is. Does Nancy Pelosi need a private jet to fly around the US in? Do any of our elected officals need the amount of money they make?

    Thanks for that video Silent - I'd seen it before and it's always a good reminder.

    ryan

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  8. This war is a terrible, terrible mistake and an even more terrible tragedy. Why people continue to try to justify it (especially Christians) is beyond me?

    The decision to go to war was ideological and political. It had nothing to do with any kind of imminent threat, WMD, or ties to Al-Qaeda. It also had nothing to do with "freeing Iraqis." When there was nothing left to cling to that became the rationale, but it's a lie. Anyone who looks into it knows it's a lie.

    This war at first seemed necessary to me, then questionable, then wrong, then sad. Now it makes me furious. I have lost a close friend who was only 19 and no one can tell me that his death was necessary to ensure our freedom.

    This war is a big lie and I'm counting down the days till Bush and Co leave office and Barack Obama restores integrity and hope to America.

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  9. The Silent Observer3/23/2007 8:05 PM

    It also had nothing to do with "freeing Iraqis." When there was nothing left to cling to that became the rationale, but it's a lie. Anyone who looks into it knows it's a lie.

    I don't know how you can say that. Congress voted overwhelmingly to invade Iraq and cited many reasons as justification.

    If "Operation Iraqi Freedom" had nothing to do with freeing Iraqis, it's quite magical that they were able to come up with that name such a long time before there was "nothing left to cling to."

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  10. SO,

    Have you ever heard of BushSpeak?

    War is Peace, Ignorance is Strength, Freedom is Slavery

    No administration has manipulated words' meanings more than the Bush Administration.

    Do you honestly think Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, and the gang had this insatiable humanitarian urge to "free" the Iraqis from oppresion? Why didn't we go to Africa? Why not free the Chinese or North Koreans?

    Well, I'll tell you one thing: say they did go in for humanitarian reasons, they apparently didn't understand that you don't win the hearts and minds of a people by "shock and awe." You don't establish peace and stability via bombs and tanks and killing hundreds of thousands of innocent people. Our prolonged presence in Iraq has only caused more death, more suffering, and more chaos.

    Why in the world would you continue to try to justify such a terrible tragedy?

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  11. The Silent Observer3/24/2007 6:27 PM

    Hey Joe,

    Have you ever heard of GroupThink?

    For you, the war is predicated on a lie and you honestly believe that no reasonable person could possibly think otherwise. There is nothing new or unanswerable about the questions you ask. But you'll probably have to go outside your regular spheres of influence for the answers.

    You could probably start with the link to the Iraqi War Resolution in my earlier comment and see how many of the reasons in that list applied to Africa, China, or North Korea at the time. (HINT: Not very many.)

    During the year of debate that preceded the invasion, the main question in my mind was this very issue of whether or not we were dismantling the worst dictatorship over there. In Europe I knew many Iranian asylum seekers who recounted the horrors of the Ayatollahs, but no Iraqis. However, after the invasion the mass graves, rape rooms, and terrorist training camps were uncovered and that was the end of that question for me.

    This isn't to say that mistakes were not made; war is war, and every casualty is an unspeakably horrible loss. But seriously, given the situation what are the alternatives?

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  12. This isn't to say that mistakes were not made; war is war, and every casualty is an unspeakably horrible loss. But seriously, given the situation what are the alternatives?

    This is the question we should have explored before invading Iraq and in all countries where human rights violations are occurring. See, S.O., the thing you and so many others who support the war assume is that if you want to solve a problem, a full-out war is the only answer.

    To be honest, that's what took me a while to condemn the Iraq war. I didn't want to be a "neutral observer" to a horrific dictator that brutalized his people. I didn't want another Rwanda.I am by no means an isolationist that just says, Hey that's their problem.

    My point is this: to solve or help a foreign conflict we have to be smarter. We have to learn from the past. We can't always make violence the answer. Sometimes it's necessary. But very rarely is a full-scale war and prolonged occupation the solution for long-term peace and stability.

    Rwanda would have taken maybe 10,000 UN soldiers to stop the slaughtering, and then the world community would have to look at the roots of the problem and address them. With Iraq, our military presence isn't helping; we have increased the chaos, death, and suffering. So clearly war wasn't the answer. Taking out Sadaam may have been right; bombing selected facilities may have been necessary. Sanctions, diplomacy, regional pressure, etc. all could have produced a more favorable outcome to a very real problem.

    So S.O., for you to claim that a full-scale war and occupation is the only alternative is simply disingenuous. In addition, for you to pretend that this administration went to Iraq for human rights displays either extreme naivete or some strange desire to cover up what 70% of Americans now know to be a big lie.

    The reality is most Americans would not have supported this war unless they felt Iraq presented some kind of imminent threat (that was the lie). Americans, including myself, may have supported various methods of intervention In Iraq (and in rwanda and Darfur).

    What we wouldn't support is several hundred thousand troops occupying a country that continues to get worse and worse every day. Not a war that accomplishes absolutely nothing and results in the unnecessary deaths of thousands of young people.

    Honestly S.O., think about what's happened since we invaded in 2003 and tell me honestly: Was it worth it? Was it the right thing to do?

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  13. The Silent Observer3/26/2007 9:50 PM

    Hey Joe,

    My response is on your blog.

    Obsequiously,

    The Silent Observer

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