Friday, April 13, 2007

What's your kid worth?

It depends on whether the US forces who shot him or blew him up were involved in "security operations." If so, you get zip, momma. Otherwise it's no more than a few hundred bucks if you're lucky and you'd better be grateful for that. You're going to have "democracy" even if it kills you and the rest of your kids - that's the important thing.

Despite the ravings of Bush, I don't think the Iraqi people view the horror in the streets as a struggle for Democracy akin to the American Revolution, but as a struggle to stay alive, to preserve their families, protect their children from the chaos and destruction that define their lives. I wish George Bush could personally explain the necessity of all this to the parents of the countless dead children, the families destroyed because some soldier thought that book bag was a bomb, those grocery bags carried explosives, that car or boat looked suspicious or sometimes for no reason at all.

Our dysfunctional media have been shy about discussing Iraqi casualties caused by accident, malice, incompetence or design, but I read Greg Mitchell's article in in Editor and Publisher today about a flood of information coming out that not only illustrates the personal horror of this occupation in detail, but the sometimes heartless indifference to the atrocity that has resulted from George Bush's lies.

We are making an attempt to recompense some Iraqis for the loss of their family members, and payments are running into the tens of millions, but although the total seems large, the individual payments are insultingly small, as with the schoolboy shot for carrying books, whose parents got $500 -- and sometimes there is nothing at all as with the nine year old blown up by a bomb that we somehow dropped in the family orchard.

500 case studies obtained by the ACLU under the Freedom of Information Act are available on their web site but are, says Mitchell, only the tip of the iceberg. Some stories, he says, can make you scream -- as for example:
"Claimant alleges that her two brothers were returning home with groceries from their business, when U.S. troops shot and killed them, thinking they were insurgents with bombs in the bags. I recommend approving this claim in the amount of $5,000."

Although troops often hand out information cards telling survivors how to apply for payments, too often they are denied, says the New York Times today. The Tikrit fisherman shot by trigger happy troops as he reached for the switch to turn off his boat's engine. According to the Times:
"He and his companion held up the fish in the air and shouted ‘Fish! Fish!’ to show they meant no harm,” said the Army report attached to the claim filed by the fisherman’s family. The Army refused to compensate for the killing, ruling that it was “combat activity,” but approved $3,500 for his boat, net and cellphone, which drifted away and were stolen."

You can read it and weep, but I'm too tired of it all to scream. We have raped, looted and pillaged this country and plunged it into a nightmare of anarchy and destruction and hatred of the US while the nitwit neocons, their stupid president and the oilpigs vacation on their ranches, look down their noses at us with disdain and talk about democracy.


d.K. said...

I take your larger point, but I think there's a better way to describe the soldiers than "trigger-happy troops." I think they're battle worn and shell-shocked and homesick and very, very afraid. Yes the outcome is the same tragic one, but you make it sound like they're having fun. I'm quite sure they are not.

I hope you'll watch the "Ghosts of Abu Ghraib", if you haven't already, where former soldiers talk about the horror of events that they themselves participated in, obviously struggling to come to grips with it. Their frontal lobes aren't fully developed yet, and they are every bit as much victims of Mr. Bush's murderous, evil lies as other victims over there. I really believe that.

On another matter, I don't subscribe to the NY Times, so I don't get to read Maureen Dowd any longer, but I fully buy into her "Oedipal" explanation of GW Bush's deadly pathology. I don't think it would make any difference if he had to explain anything directly to the Iraqis -- he's dangerously deranged and wouldn't lose a wink of sleep over the event, I'm convinced.

Capt. Fogg said...

Perhaps a bad choice of words. An itchy trigger finger isn't proof of malice and I attribute it mostly to fear and panic too. It doesn't help though that we're putting more marginal people and felons over there.

Once again we're in an occupation where you don't know who wants you dead and who doesn't because it isn't a war with uniformed troops. It's enough to make anyone paranoid.

We don't belong there and doubly so if we put Bush's plan ahead of the lives and welfare of the people. Whether the future is a dictatorship, secular or religious or some kind of republic is less important to the Iraqis than their children's lives and their own survival. We're not going to sell them our ideas by killing their kids.

But Oedipus was a MF by accident. Bush is one by nature.

d.K. said...

I could not agree with you more!
Throw the Virginia based Peruvian mercenaries into the mix and what have we got over there? I cannot wrap my head around the magnitude of this crime.

d.K. said...

Capt Fogg:

You know, I've re-read what I initally wrote a couple of times. I probably respect the integrity of no other blog more than I do this one. I mean that honestly. I knew what you were trying to say, and I still didn't follow my own basic rule of walking around the block before responding to something that empassions me.

I'm sorry for my preachy, accusatory tone - I should also have approached that differently. To me, you add such a wealth of perspective and common sense, that I'd really hate to lose that. I don't think it rises to the level of a cheap shot, but I should have engaged you differently.

I have enormous respect for you and your ideas, and while you stand by what you said, and I too stand by what I meant, I wish I had responded with the benefit of a few minutes more consideration. That's all.

Capt. Fogg said...

Wow! praise is always welcome, even if undeserved. But you're right, "trigger happy" was a bad choice of words and I really took no offense at your comment.

Intellectual Insurgent said...

Is it pro-life to create a system to monetarily value lives?

Capt. Fogg said...

That unfortunate phrase "pro-life" is one of the most cynical euphemisms of our times. If it means anything at all it means authoritarianism; it means the authorities can tell you whose life is worth anything and how much.

It doesn't look like anyone's life is worth a lot if it stands in the way of Bush's ambition.