Valenzuela's Veritas

In ominous times truth always finds a way out from darkness into light. Always. Through truth knowledge grows into the power and strength to question the actions of governance. In times that try men's souls it is those who seek enlightenment who are truly free. Given the choice of possessing ignorance or knowledge, even when ignorance would lead to an easier life, I would choose knowledge,thus escaping the life of sheeple, escaping the bondage of not knowing, not caring and not understanding.


Manuel Valenzuela is a social critic, commentator, Internet essayist and author of Echoes in the Wind, a novel now published by His essays appear regularly at various alternative news websites from around the globe. Mr. Valenzuela welcomes comments and can be reached at He encourages readers to surf the collection of over 100 essays he has written which can be found visiting his archives and by searching the Internet. He welcomes comments at

Thursday, November 27, 2003

Mission Accomplished

The Bush administration is "…the most corrupt and racist American administration in over 80 years... I actually think that Bush is the greatest threat to life on this planet that we've most probably ever seen. The policies he is initiating will doom us to extinction."
--- Ken Livingstone, Mayor of London

Air Force One had barely landed, its tires still warm from its reluctant touchdown onto English soil, and already raucously large protests had started amidst an army of 14,000 police officers, all welcoming King George and his 700-person personal entourage of aids and army of soldiers. Snipers, Secret Service, fighter jets, Blackhawk helicopters, a mini-gun tank, bullet-proof windows, concrete blast barriers and a host of other foot soldiers accompanied the King to London, capital of America’s staunchest ally in the war to oust Saddam and find those pesky immediate-threat, mushroom-cloud-spewing WMDs. Had not Big Ben been standing proudly overlooking the Thames, one would have been under the impression that King George was landing in Baghdad, Tehran or Damascus.

Such has become the traveling circus that is the President of the United States, relegated to visiting his few ally’s nations trapped inside a pretentious bubble – a creation largely of his own making. Even in the United Kingdom our bubble-trapped Commander in Chief must move around under constant and impervious protection by his ever-growing cavalry of human shields. The Bubble King’s experience when visiting foreign countries is that of a view surrounded by thick fog, far removed from its average citizens, their lives and its living environment. He travels sheltered, unable to do much more than meet with monarchy or government officials, in artificial settings and in pomp circumstances.

Far removed from the 100,000-plus very angry Brits protesting his numerous anti-world policies, King George smirked, toasted and celebrated in Buckingham Palace, all the while continuing to live in delusion, perhaps even denial. These same circumstances played out during his mid-October express tour of Southeast Asia and Australia, where he presumably spent more time trying to figure out the function of boomerangs and didgeridoos than in seeing any one nation – photo-ops excluded. His Asian trek was not so much an excursion of exotic lands as it was an experiment in stopovers due to the deep seeded worry about his safety. Under these conditions, it is doubtful the Bubble King sees the reality of what the world has become since he was crowned.

At no other time in American history has a President been so unpopular throughout the globe. He is unwelcome everywhere; in all cities, in all nations and throughout all continents. From billionaire George Soros to the inconspicuously average peasant farmer in Africa, King George and his policies have helped foster an animosity movement that has taken on a life of its own. Two people could disagree on everything and still find solace in their communal dislike of the American President. Wherever he goes, large numbers of protesters from all walks of life eagerly await his arrival, only to be forced far away from his majesty’s presence by security.
He is arguably the most disliked man on the face of the Earth. Polls conducted throughout the world attest to this growing phenomenon. Bush-hating is in vogue, a label proudly worn by peoples from the most primitive village to the most cosmopolitan capital.

Not surprisingly, as King George’s popularity among the fellowship of nations continues its precipitous fall, so to do the feelings against the United States. The two are not mutually exclusive, the latter having started as a result of the actions and personality of the former. Anti-Americanism is growing faster than McAl-Qaedazation franchising, the worldwide phenomenon proliferating thanks to our perpetual "war on terror." As a South American friend told me, "Stop monopolizing the term "Americans". Everyone in the New World is American, and you are giving us all a bad name." Ken Livingstone’s comments are not unique, and a worldwide realization is beginning to emerge through the nebula of deception and inertia that Bush is the most dangerous man on the planet and that his leadership is an enormous threat to world peace.
Being President of the United States means more than being "leader of the free world." It also means being the most powerful man on the planet. With the title, however, comes the enormous responsibility of leading the rest of the world by example. And at this, King George has failed miserably. Indeed, he has fostered and furthered policies that have placed every man, woman and child on the globe in peril, whether from never-ending war, economic genocide, market colonialism, incessant pollution, worsening global warming or the continued growth of the malignant tumor that is the corporate leviathan.

Beginning with his rather dubious anointment in 2000, Bush immediately began unilaterally withdrawing the U.S. from various world treaties, protocols and institutions. Among these were the following: the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, the Convention on the Prohibition of Landmines, the Kyoto Protocol on global warming, the International Criminal Court, a protocol to create compliance for the Biological Weapons Convention, decisions concerning the Chemical Weapons Commission, the UN framework Convention on Climate Change and the Convention to Limit the Sale of Small Weapons. The seeds of world discontent were beginning to be sowed as an alert world began seeing in King George a divider, not a uniter; nothing more than a puppet for the United Corporations of America and the Military Industrial Complex.

On September 11, 2001 the world forgot this massive bravado of arrogant unilateralism and was united with us in a never before-seen show of support. From the smallest village to the largest city, humans everywhere were with us, prompting the French newspaper Le Monde to declare "Today, we are all Americans." The feelings would not last long, however, as King George began eroding global support for us with his asymmetrical quest to attack Iraq less than a year after 9/11. The neoconartist designs for imperial domination were beginning to be firmly planted and the world was beginning to take notice.

Arrogantly, the Bubble King ignored overwhelming world opinion about Iraq – which coincidentally turned out to be right – and unilaterally launched an all-out assault against Iraq. The rest is history. The wannabe Emperor turned out to have no clothes, his puppet masters stumbled their way into a quagmire and the world collectively said "I told you so." Today, empire building will have to wait until the King and his court of neoconartist jesters learn the lessons of history and humanity and not those of self-absorbed illusion and pomposity.

United States foreign policy has created a cause-and-effect dislike for us throughout the world. Our trade policies have unleashed an economic jihad onto the developing world, causing extreme poverty, exploitation, suffering and resentment. Dictators and leaders we have supported and helped maintain in power – and whose loyalty we have monopolized for decades – have ineptly governed entire nations to ruination. WTO, World Bank and IMF policies, most spearheaded by the US, have favored the rich countries of the north while spreading poverty and decimation throughout the developing world, and billions are beginning to realize this. Al-Qaeda, its numerous franchises, Marxist movements and other radical groups around the globe all owe their birth to our self-serving policies and their hate-inducing consequences. A tidal wave of peoples rising up against these real injustices is growing ever stronger. There is valid reason the citizens of the world hate us, and for our sake we must acknowledge this fact quickly before the monstrous tsunami is unleashed and crushes us.

This hatred is amplified a hundred fold when King George rules with arrogance, malfeasance and unilateralism, concerned not for the planet’s worsening health or in improving the lives of billions but rather in enriching his friends and contributors, unleashing pre-emptive empire building through perpetual warfare and unilaterally deciding what course this planet takes. Bush is correct to point out that there is a "war on terror," that evildoers do exist. But these evildoer terrorists are not only those hiding in Afghanistan caves or in Asian jungles. Those unleashing destruction on our planet, exploiting both man and land, causing premature deaths to hundreds of thousands through toxins, weaponry, poverty, greed and through a callous disregard for the welfare of their fellow human beings are also to blame. We can combat both forms of terrorists, reaching deep down to uproot the causes of both; American foreign policy and worldwide poverty for the former and sheer corruption and crony greed-mongering capitalism for the latter. Our exit strategy from terrorism can start with the defeat of King George in 2004. Regime change must start at home. We owe it to the planet; its inhabitants, environment and ourselves.

King George has succeeded in uniting the peoples of the world against him. In that sense he is the uniter he claims to be. But he has also divided the US from the rest of the world in ways never thought possible, especially after 9/11. Billions of people worldwide can’t be wrong about our smirkin’ and struttin’ King George, right? Sometimes, however, when billions of people communally agree to oppose a war based on lies and deception, when they agree in unison that King George is nothing but bad news and when they shout with one very angry voice that Bubble Bush is the greatest threat to world peace and a growing danger to humanity and the planet, there is a sense that there is in fact a certain if not inalienable truth ringing out of the mountains and valleys, cities and villages. So many men, women and children, speaking out from all corners of the globe and walking together for one common cause cannot be wrong.

A pulsating energy, united in body and soul, is emanating from all corners of the globe, growing ever wider in its quest to restore balance to a polarized world. It is the universal calling for change, of realizing that one man and his court of jesters are bringing down the entire deck of cards along with them. If it takes a village to raise a child then it takes a world to save a nation. And right now, the world is trying to save our country, and in the process save us all as well. We must heed the trumpets resounding from our fellow humans. They see what we cannot, and that is the danger one man poses to us all.

King George III, you may remember, was the English monarch who lost the American colonies in the American War for Independence. Our present King George, quite similarly, and not to be outdone, has lost the entire world. It is an achievement of monumental ineptitude. George, from the start of your reign you have alienated us from a world that respects this nation less every day by imposing corporate and military power, dominance and interests throughout the planet that has cemented the entire human race into the most dangerous time in our history. Hail to the King! Mission Accomplished.

Perpetual War, Perpetual Terror

First published 27 November 2003

"In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together."
---- Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1961

In the United States last year there were over 11,000 deaths by firearms. No other nation comes even close to matching this appetite for death. That is eight thousand more than died on 9/11, but about the same number as those innocent Iraqi civilians that perished by our actions in Gulf War II. And the costs to society from injuries and death due to firearms you ask? More than $60 billion. Those who produce instruments of death in this country are not ignorant, however; they know the statistics, they simply brush them aside. Profit, after all, is much more important than stopping Americans from arming themselves to the teeth and killing each other. What else explains the gun lobby’s attempts to go against common sense? The Second Amendment must be honored and preserved, they say, even if the Founding Fathers lived in times of muskets, Indians, English threats and manifest destiny, never imagining the killing power of today’s firearms. It is no coincidence, then, that the same nation that allows so many of its citizens to die at the hands of loaded weapons would naturally export its appetite for human death abroad.

Today, the U.S. is responsible for 40% of all worldwide weapons’ sales. Tanks, fighter jets, artillery, helicopters, missiles, landmines, machine guns, mortars, bullets, grenades, guns, you name it, Guns’R’U.S. has it. Our nation supplies the world in instruments of death. The United States’ Military Industrial Complex (MIC) makes a killing from death, suffering and destruction. It exists only if people die. Its signature is everywhere; in the millions of landmines buried worldwide and the millions of amputee victims, many of them children. It can be seen in civil wars that ravage the developing world, from Africa to Asia to Latin America. From sea to shining sea, our weapons we can see, from the exponentially growing threat of WMDs – many of which were distributed at one time by our own government – to the military hardware of tyrants and dictators, war criminals and warlords.

The MIC’s front for assuring continual human violence is the US government, the Pentagon in particular. President Bush has just granted the Pentagon a military budget of $401 billion for the next fiscal year. That’s $400,000,000,000.00. This, of course, does not include our little warmongering expedition to the Fertile Crescent, which by last estimates had already cost an additional $160 billion more. With so much of our money going to the Department of War one has to wonder where our priorities are. Certainly not in education, healthcare or in the creation of jobs.

The Pentagon and the Military Industrial Complex are one and the same, having morphed over time to form the most lethal killing institution the world has ever seen. Through a sliding and revolving door that turns citizen soldiers into armament industry executives and company officers into military policy makers, the MIC has embedded itself into the military branch of the US government, thereby assuring itself of unlimited contracts, access, information and profit. Military industry executives and lobbyists have also slithered deep into top administration positions, occupying vitally important posts that decide national and foreign policy. Ex top government officials now sit on boards of today’s biggest suppliers of military might. One need only look to the Carlyle Group to find the marriage between government and MIC. George Bush the First had until recently sat on the board of this powerful yet clandestine group. This intertwined dancing tango of cronyism is exactly what Eisenhower warned about. Like a virus MIC has spread itself throughout the hallways of the Pentagon, penetrating from top to bottom through the disease called greed. Now one and the same, the Pentagon and MIC have a common interest, motive and ability to shape how funds are used and wars are waged.

The Pentagon is the Department of War, not Defense. It is in business to kill, kill, and kill some more. Without war, violence and weapons there is no Pentagon. And so to survive, to remain a player, wars must be created, weapons must be allocated, profits must be made and the Military Industrial Complex must continue exporting and manufacturing violence and conflict throughout the globe. And, as always, in the great tradition of the United States, enemies must exist. Indians, English, Mexicans, Spanish, Nazis, Koreans, Communists and now the ever-ambiguous Terrorists. The Cold War came to an end and so too the great profits of the MIC. Reductions in the Pentagon budget threatened the lifeblood of the industry; a new enemy had to be unearthed. There is no war – hence no profit – without evildoers, without terrorists lurching at every corner, waiting patiently for the moment to strike, instilling fear into our lives, absorbing our attention.

We are told our nation is in imminent danger, that we are a mushroom cloud waiting to happen. And so we fear, transforming our mass uneasiness into nationalistic and patriotic fervor, wrapping ourselves up in the flag and the Military Industrial Complex. We have fallen into the mouse trap, becoming the subservient slaves of an engine run by greed, interested not in peace but constant war, constant killing and constant sacrifice to the almighty dollar. Brainwashed to believe that War is Peace we sound the drums of war, marching our sons and daughters to a battle that cannot be won either by sword or gun.

We are programmed to see the world as a conflict between "Us" versus "Them", "Good" versus "Evil," that we must inflict death on those who are not with us and on those against us. The MIC prays on our human emotions and psychology, exploiting human nature and our still fragile memories of the horrors of 9/11, manipulating us to believe that what they say and do is right for us all. We unite behind one common enemy, fearing for our lives, complacent and obedient, blindly descending like a plague of locusts onto foreign land, devastating, usurping, conquering and devouring those who have been deemed enemies of the state, those who harbor and live among them, "evil ones," "evildoers" and "haters of freedom," all for the sake of profit and pillage, ideology and empire. Power unfettered and unleashed, our freedoms die and are released.

The so-called "War on Terror" is but a charade, a fear-engendering escapade, designed to last into perpetuity, helping guarantee that the Military Industrial Complex will grow exponentially in power. It is a replacement for a Cold War long ago since retired and unable to deliver a massive increase in defense spending. Terrorists and the countries that harbor them have replaced the Soviet Union and Communists as enemy number one. With a war that may go on indefinitely, pursuing an enemy that lives in shadows and in the haze of ambiguity, the MIC will grow ever more powerful, conscripting hundreds of thousands of our youth, sending them to guide, operate and unleash their products of death.

Rumblings of bringing back the draft are growing louder, and if you think your children and grandchildren will escape it, think again. In a war without end, in battles that do not cease, the MIC will need human flesh from which to recycle those who perish and fall wounded. Empire building needs bodies and drones to go with military might, instruments of death need trigger fingers and human brains, and, with so many expendable young men and women being conditioned in this so-called "war on terror," MIC will continue its reprogramming of citizen soldiers from peaceful civilians to warmongering killing machines. After all, "War is Peace."

Yet the Department of War, ever steadfast to use its weaponry, fails to realize that no amount of money will win this war if the root causes of terrorism are not confronted as priority number one. If you get to the roots, you pull out the weed. If not, it grows back again and again. But perhaps a perpetual war is what MIC has sought all along. A lifetime of combat, a lifetime of profit, a lifetime of power. Assembly lines of missiles, bombs, tanks and aircraft operate without pause, helping expand a sluggish economy and the interests of the Pax Americana. Profit over people, violence before peace, the American killing machine continues on its path to human extinction, and it is the hands and minds of our best and brightest building and creating these products of decimation.

While we look over our shoulders for terrorists and evildoers, the world ominously looks directly at us with both eyes intently focused on the armies of the "Great Satan" and the "Evil Empire," not knowing which nation will be attacked or on whom the storm of satellite-guided-missiles will rain down on next. Every action has an equal and opposite reaction. In becoming pre-emptive warmongers, we are also becoming victims of our own making, helping assure a swelling wrath of revenge, resentment and retaliation against us. If we kill we will be killed, if we destroy we will be destroyed. The MIC is leading us down a steep canyon of fury, making us a pariah, a rogue country in the eyes of the world. We are becoming that which we fear most, a terrorist state. As political scientist and ex-marine C. Douglas Lummis has said, "Air bombardment is state terrorism, the terrorism of the rich. It has burned up and blasted apart more innocents in the past six decades than have all the anti-state terrorists who have ever lived. Something has benumbed our consciousness against this reality." Today we are seen, along with Israel, as the greatest threats to world peace. When hundreds of thousands throughout the planet call Bush "the world’s number one terrorist," that less than admirable distinction is automatically imputed onto the nation as a whole and the citizens in particular. This can be seen in the world’s perception and treatment of us today.

When the day comes, not too far in the future, when one of our metropolitan cities goes up in a mushroom cloud or in a vapor of suffocation or when tens of thousands of citizens die of biological or chemical demons, we must dive deep into our national psyche and question why we allowed those in power to guide us down the road of cause and effect, action and reaction. And, in the end, we must realize that those same WMDs we once so gleefully created and exported have come back to our shores, haunting us and our children for the suffering we have helped spread onto the world through our idleness, impotence to act and automaton-like acquiescence.

Can you imagine spending $400 billion dollars to alleviate poverty in the Middle East, helping to educate millions who now get instructed by hate-spewing madrassas? Can you imagine spending $400 billion dollars to fight terror at its roots rather than at its extensions, helping to improve the lives of millions who today have nothing to live for, except martyrdom? Wouldn’t $400 billion dollars go further than perpetual bloodshed in the insidious war on terror if we alleviated the suffering, ignorance and poverty of the world’s poor, -- the roots of terrorism –- by helping to provide jobs, education and medicines which would in turn spawn a sense of goodwill towards the U.S.? Could it be remotely possible that our foreign policy, our support for puppet dictators and monarchs, our quest for empire and resources and our unyielding military, financial and political support of the dehumanization of the Palestinian people by Israel all leads to the subjugation, injustice, humiliation and misery of hundreds of millions of people? Could this be why we are so hated throughout a world where billions have nothing while we bathe in the spoils of abundance? As long as MIC acts in our name, as long as it plunders humanity we will be hated. Gandhi once said that "an eye for an eye only leads to more blindness." If that is so, then our nation is on a collision course with an ominous black hole whose darkness we shall not escape and whose exit we will never again see.

Tuesday, November 25, 2003

The Hidden Unseen War: The Reality of Bush’s Iraq, Part II: The Resistance

Contrary to White House, Pentagon and corporate media propaganda, Iraq today is an amalgam of Saddam loyalists, a few foreign fighters and an ever-growing number of ordinary civilians joining what Bush calls "terrorists" but that in reality are nationalists and insurgents fighting a resistance against our Iraqipation. To Iraqis and the rest of the world, they would be called "freedom fighters," much like the ones clandestinely trained, supplied and supported by the United States in their resistance against the Soviets in 1980’s Afghanistan.

They are modern day Iraqi mujahedeen, similar to the Afghan resistance fighters we at one time thought so highly enough of that we romanticized them in movies, books and in Beltway conversation. Among those freedom fighters, it must be remembered, was included one Osama bin Laden. From CIA trained freedom fighter to evildoer terrorist, all thanks to our government and all thanks to our jihad-inciting Middle East policies.

Today we are the new version of the Soviets, a new breed of Crusader invading Arab lands, bringing not the cross and the sword but smart bombs and crony capitalism. The neoconartist Pax Americana dream of world domination through bogus democracy and destructive capitalism has been unleashed, pointing missiles and guns at the Mideast, marching us to war, making both us and the world a much more dangerous place, where the only "smoking gun in the form of a mushroom cloud" will come as a result of our own chest-beating cause-and-effect actions.

Today one man’s terrorist is another’s freedom fighter. For the Bush administration, fighting against it, its allies or its interests will automatically get you labeled with the former, while among your people, fighting against US foreign policy and for freedom from its omnipresent tentacles will designate you a heroic patriot, a valiant martyr and a champion warrior. To Bush, it is patriotic for American revolutionaries to throw tea into the sea, revolt, kill and start guerilla war against their oppressors, but if Iraqis or anyone else tries the same, the now old, saturated and fear engendering-word "terrorist" is recycled and used yet again to brainwash the masses. This is nothing but a marketing ploy designed by those in power so that the American people cringe in fear and alarm at the sound of the word "terrorist," which has been implanted over and over in their minds and which immediately conveys images of "evildoers" and 9/11. Like Pavlovian dogs, we have been trained well to respond to our masters’ wishes. Fear is thus used to acquire submission, passivity, ignorance and acquiescence from us all. Iraq, it must be remembered, had nothing to do with Al Qeada. Their struggle against us has nothing to do with 9/11 or bin Laden and everything to do with resistance to occupation.

What the Bush administration cannot seem to grasp is that our Iraqipation is reviled in the country and throughout the Arab world. Perhaps the first obvious hint of this is the fact that Iraqis did not welcome us with arms extended as liberators, showering us with perfumed flowers and manna from heaven as the neoconartists, in their delusion of grandeur expected, but rather as an extension and indeed a mechanism of all those conquering entities that had come before, most notably the Turks of the Ottoman Empire and the English of the last century.

Ordinary Iraqis are not stupid, ignorant fools like those in the administration who concocted this failed experiment with "diraqcracy" seem to think. They smartly noticed that as American troops stormed Iraq, out of the dozens of Ministry buildings in Baghdad only the Ministry of Oil was protected by soldiers during the famous looting that took place during the first weeks of the war. Also, only the vast oil fields scattered throughout the country were secured while all that was sacred in the vast history of the Fertile Crescent was left to looting, pillage and destruction. It was pretty obvious what the conquering invaders were after.

Iraq’s citizens also remember Saddam as an American puppet in the 70s and 80s, shaking hands and meeting with none other than Donald Rumsfeld in a friendly exchange of ideas and products, oil for WMDs. These are the same WMD’s Bush can’t seem to find twenty years later and whose use our government gave the thumbs up to in Iraq’s war against Iran. Iraqis no doubt still recollect America’s willingness to abandon and sacrifice the Iraqi insurrection against Saddam in the immediate aftermath of Gulf War I, even after we wholeheartedly supported and encouraged it. That failed attempt at toppling Saddam led to the mass graves of 200,000 to 300,000 cadavers that today the Bush administration points to as reason for invading and occupying Iraq.

Of course we shouldn’t forget the decade of harsh collective punishment and economic genocide called UN sanctions, meticulously blessed, endorsed, supported and safeguarded by our government, that led to an estimated 500,000 Iraqi children deaths and to the deaths of countless tens of thousands more whose only crime was to be Iraqi. The Iraqis, it can be assured, have not forgotten. To many of them, Saddam was no doubt a murdering tyrant but we are much worse; we are evildoers, the real "terrorists," interested not in saving Iraqis but in securing both rich oil fields to quench our monstrous addiction for fuel and strategic locations from which to conduct perpetual warfare and impose American supremacy both in the Mideast and Central Asia. To many in the Arab world, we are the "Evil Empire," the "Great Satan," and many of our actions and policies give credence to this belief. To deny this truth is to deny reality.
Presently, the occupation, with its harsh treatment, numerous innocent civilian deaths, unevenhandedness and cultural insensitivities of Iraqis is creating more enemies than friends. The flowers our leaders blissfully and naively expected upon our triumphant entry as liberators have turned into clenched fists, RPGs and AK-47s, where only dead and wounded soldiers land at our feet. We have imported into the desert dunes cookie-cutter factories of resentment, hatred, animosity and revenge. This war to "liberate" has already resulted in more than 10,000 civilian deaths, each converting once peace-loving families and tribes into calculating seekers of revenge.

Every innocent dead Iraqi at the hands of our soldiers and our bombs, every home destroyed, crop razed, or humiliating act done against the populace is spawning a web of resistance that is growing and getting stronger, uniting against the occupiers who are building permanent bases for strategic interests, sucking Iraq’s precious natural resource out of the desert sands and making rich American corporations at the expense of every Iraqi man, woman and child. The battle for securing the hearts and minds of the Iraqi people is over, and "our side" has been soundly defeated, all thanks to the Bush administration’s incompetence and yearning for profiteering.

Let’s not live in our little escapist Hollywood world anymore folks. What we are seeing is the inevitable movement common to all occupations throughout history, namely the urge by the native population to resist an invading alien force intent on conquering man, resources and land. It is the drive for freedom all native peoples yearn for when they are confronted by a more powerful nation and army. Like many before, the Iraqi people are now dominated by a force alien to their beliefs, culture, religion and interests. They feel like prisoners in their own land, subject to American rule, humiliated and oppressed, and, already having experienced occupation and colonization by foreign powers, do not like being subjugated and having their collective destinies decided by Washington and its puppet collaborators. Think about it, if the US was suddenly and militarily occupied by an invading force many of us would resist and fight to expel it from our land. It is human nature; no population throughout time holds a monopoly on it.

In the natural progression of an occupation, the resistance continues to grow as more and more people become aware of what is being done to them and their land. The resistance knows it cannot defeat the monstrously powerful American army head on, but it can chip away at it little by little until its will and that of its people dwindles, until pressure is so intense on the leadership that it cracks. Like a growing storm, the Iraqi resistance, well armed, knowing the terrain, the people, its culture and language, and, more aware of what the lessons of history teach than its adversary, is becoming more powerful, more dangerous and more committed than ever. Its numbers continue to swell and its fighting spirit continues to skyrocket. This is the reality Bush does not want you to know, and the reason we can see his panic in the hastily decided new policies being implemented today. Iraqification equals desperation, especially in a re-election year and when the administration’s fantasy gives way to a neocon bubble-bursting reality that is the Iraqi quagmire today.

The United States is dealing with a resistance that knew all along it could not compete technologically, militarily nor economically on the desert plains or in urban warfare. Instead, it decided to play by its own rules, and today full-blown guerilla warfare is upon our men and women, striking them down one by one. The resistance is shadows, everyone and no one at the same time. It is as present as Mesopotamian sand and as unseen as its winds. It is as deadly as desert scorpions crawling through the night. It is under rocks, inside flora and in numerous homes and streets, ready to strike and fight stealthily and without warning. It will soon be everywhere, transforming itself into night and again back to day. Sadly, our troops will continue to fall, their energy swept away by sandstorms of explosives and bullets.

Our so-called leaders cry foul because they do not play by our rules, because this wasn’t what was supposed to happen. But the resistance plays with what it has, and, in the span of three months, has inflicted more death and injury unto American forces than at any time since Vietnam. It has neutralized the strongest and most powerful army in the world, rendering it susceptible to attack on a daily basis, not knowing who or what the enemy is or where it hides. No made-for-Americans, Hollywood-produced Iron Hammer production can change that. Our leaders were duped. Their arrogance and ignorance have created a monument to inefficiency that will lead to their demise. Mr. Bait-And-Switch Bush, meet Mr. Rope-A-Dope Iraq.

Thursday, November 20, 2003

The Hidden and Unseen: The Reality of Bush’s Iraq, Part I: The Dead and Wounded

First published 20 November 2003.

Autumn leaves continue to fall inconspicuously throughout the United States just like our cannon fodder troops fall dead, maimed and scarred in the Mesopotamian deserts of Iraq. Throughout our nation, lawns surrounded by white-picket fences and small blotches of green in concrete jungles are covered by dry and dead brown leaves signaling the change in the seasons, as warmth and comfort gives way to the dreaded doldrums of winter. As each day passes, more leaves fall to the ground, leaving bare the skeletons of wood around and above us, a stark reminder of the hibernation of life in the natural world.

In similar ways, the loss of life and limb of our soldiers in Iraq continues unabatedly in a far away land. Like our leaves, soldiers continue to fall and die, their bodies devoid of a life once so full of energy. More than 400 have died, and the number of injured is eight times that, conveniently hidden from Americans’ view, lest we see the horrors that our little war for oil has spawned. They might be called lucky to have escaped the claws of explosives, flying shrapnel or bullets whizzing by their heads were it not true that many will have to continue living without hands, arms, legs and feet or with severe burns, scars, brain damage and handicaps that will forever traumatize their lives.

Of course the hidden and much more debilitating scars, the psychological, emotional and mental ones will linger perpetually in the minds of thousands who will never be able to escape the terror of war. These demons will haunt them for the rest of their lives. And, lest not we forget, thousands of these brave and young men and women will carry with them back to their homes the pulverized remnants of depleted uranium from our bombs, missiles, ordinances and munitions, creating in them diseases and sicknesses that act like a time bomb, ready to afflict and decimate over the course of time.

Much like Gulf War I, where anywhere from 8000 to 9000 of its veterans have already died from mysterious illnesses including numerous cancers, and where hundreds of babies have been born dead or deformed in ways never seen before, today’s troops may suffer similar fates. One need only look inside Iraq, where thousands upon thousands of civilians alive in the early 1990’s have died from cancers and other diseases, and where thousands of babies have suffered the same fate as those born to those of our own soldiers. Knowing that tens of thousands of tons of bombs, ordinances, munitions and missiles made of depleted uranium have been used on Iraq in Gulf War II, it is a good bet that many more thousands of Iraqi civilians and American troops will suffer the same fate. The remains of depleted uranium are literally scattered throughout Iraq, – and lets not forget Afghanistan as well – contaminating land, air, water and humans. And we can’t seem to find WMD’s. I know where these WMD’s are: stockpiled in our bases, right inside our country. Right in front of our noses, and we attack Iraq with them. Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Iraq. Fertile Crescent no more. Are we such hypocrites?

Over 7000 soldiers already injured in some way, shape or form, but how quickly they are forgotten by an administration that will not dare go to funerals or hospitals for fear of awakening the presently placid storm called the American public. Men and women of the underclass, from rural and urban homes, their families supporting this adventure in empire building with their hard earned wages, fight for the interests of the upper class. What a dishonor to these fallen heroes to sweep them away into a dark closet, without mention or acknowledgement, used as nothing more than expendable pawns in Bush’s war. The United Corporations of America and the Military Industrial Complex are at it again, lying and manipulating, warmongering and profiteering, once more terrorizing the planet.

The administration bans cameras from showing dead soldiers returning in their flag-draped coffins. It uses its powers to hinder the media from showing armless and legless privates. This is done for the sake of brushing clean the horrors of war and anesthetizing a Hollywood conditioned citizenry into believing that this is just another PG-13 movie or violent video game where the good guys always win and never suffer anything but cuts and bruises. Quite simply, it is yet another fantasy that gets absorbed into our psyche. This is called the art of sanitized warfare, a good news-only policy of selling death and destruction to American citizens.

Everything is airbrushed to give the illusion that Iraq is a nation on the brink of a renaissance, that what combat does exists is insignificant, that it is under control and that a few "terrorists" are nothing more than bothersome pests. Nothing could be further from the truth. This is politics at its worst, cynically gone mad, a way to keep Bush’s poll numbers up in light of his re-election campaign, a way to keep citizens supportive of the war and designed to maintain the country ignorant to a reality that is the wickedness of war.

If we cannot see the reality of war, and are only allowed to see a fictional delusion of it then we will never empathize with the dead or wounded, we will never see death, blood and gore, its violent sounds or putrid smells nor the inextricable agony and suffering of a dying soldier or a maimed Iraqi child crying out in terror for her mother. In short, we will never see war, thus becoming immune to the all too real, chilling and sobering effects of man killing man with the most violent of weapons. War is made an abstract mirage, allowing the war machine to ravage foreign lands and innocent civilians with impunity and with little care for accountability.

Meanwhile, the American public, unaware of what is being done in their name thanks to government propaganda and corporate media filtering, remains dangerously incurious and passive while their loved ones in Iraq are subjected to a cruel game of Russian roulette. Congratulations George, you and your shadowy cast of characters have succeeded in curtailing outrage and furor by conditioning us through television shows, movies, video games, media lies, charades and delusion.

The thousands of physically wounded and mentally scarred survivors that return to our safe shores from the oil-filled deserts half a world away are swept under the rug of apathy by an administration concerned more for the President’s image than the sacrifices of those who left blood and limb in the sands of Mesopotamia. Stealthfully brought back into the country, mostly in the black envelope of night when we lay asleep so as to sneak in below the radar of attention, these men and women, along with their dead brethren, are quickly wished away, becoming not returning heroes but discarded statistics that are for the President more a liability than a symbol of what makes America great.

There is something rather perverse when a sitting President gives more importance to attending almost-daily $2000 a plate fund raising dinners around the country than to reassuring, sympathizing and helping to put at ease the thousands of walking wounded and hundreds of families of those whose spirit was unexpectedly taken away. Raising $200 million for his campaign from the wealthiest Americans seems to be of much more importance than showing compassion to middle and lower income citizens sacrificing both wages and loved ones to a war whose purpose and reason are not yet fully understood.

In these cold and dark days our dead citizen soldiers return home with eyes closed, never again to breathe the sweet crisp autumn air emanating from coast to coast. For these brave sons and daughters of our nation, America’s splendors, from its highest peaks to its magnificent valleys, will never be seen again as their once splendid energy, having been so deceitfully taken from them, exits the parameters of this great Earth in their journey to the unknown.

Meanwhile, our Commander in Chief, following not his heart but rather self-serving political decision-making interests, nonchalantly, purposefully and unapologetically forfeits a leader’s duty to help strengthen those who mourn and ail, comfort those children left without a parent and stand proudly next to the flag-draped coffins of the men and women he sent to die as they are forever laid to rest. This man should be forced to witness the sad tears and incredible pain and sorrow of those who have seen their loved ones for the last time. He should be forced to touch the frigid coffins of those whose bright lights have been extinguished. Perhaps then he will finally realize that the consequences of his actions come not in wrapping himself up victoriously in the flag but in seeing it draped over a coffin on a cold wet day and having it slowly folded up and handed to a bereaved wife or daughter as trumpets wail and thundering rifles roar homage to those whose ultimate sacrifices lie at his feet.