Mzansi Afrika

From Johannesburg South Africa, a window on the world

Thursday, November 11, 2004


The writings of an American mother who's son is fighting in Iraq.

"First, the minor stuff: my constant feelings of dread and despair; the sweeping rage that alternates with petrifying fear; the torrents of tears that accompany a maddening sense of helplessness and vulnerability. My son is involved in a deadly situation that should never have been. I feel like a mother lion in a cage, my grown cub in danger, and all I can do is throw myself furiously against the bars...impotent to protect him. My tolerance for bullshit is zero, and I've snapped off more heads in the last several months than in all my forty-eight years combined.

For the first time in my life, and with great amazement and sorrow, I feel what can only be described as hatred. It took me a long time to admit it, but there it is. I loathe the hubris, the callousness and the lies of those in the Bush Administration who led us into this war. Truth be told, I even loathe the fallible and very human purveyors of those lies. I feel no satisfaction in this admission, only sadness and recognition. And hope that--given time--I can do better. I never wanted to hate anyone.

Then there is the wedge that's been driven between part of my extended family and me. They don't see this war as one based on lies. They've become evangelical believers in a false faith, swallowing Bush's fear-mongering, his chickenhawk posturing and strutting, and cheering his "bring 'em on" attitude as a sign of strength and resoluteness. Perhaps life is just easier that way. These are the same people who have known my son since he was a baby, who have held him and loved him and played with him, who have bought him birthday presents and taken him fishing. I don't know them anymore.

But enough of my whining. My son is alive and in one piece, unlike the 1,102 dead and 7,782 severely wounded American soldiers; which equals 8,884 blood-soaked uniforms, and doesn't even count the estimated 20,000 troops--not publicly reported by the Defense Department--medevacked out of Iraq for "non-combat related injuries." Every death, every injury, burns like a knife in my gut, for these are all America's sons and daughters. And I know I'm not immune to that knock on my door either."

As Micheal Moore, whether you like him or not, so rightly pointed out in Fareinheit 9/11, it's not the sons of priviledged congressmen who are going out to fight. Rather it's mainly those from poor and lower middle class families, for whom the army is the only "career" option that are going out to become cannon fodder. And the crazy thing is, George W Bush and his evangelicals have got them believing they're doing it all for God. Simply mind boggling!

Photo: A rosary hangs off the barrel of a machinegun mounted on a Bradley belonging to the 1st Cavalry Regiment 5th Battalion positioned on the outskirts of Fallujah, 10 November 2004. (AFP Patrick Baz). (Via Lawrence of Cyberia)

Not to mention the Iraqi civilian casualties, the last report I read mentioned 100 000 civilian deaths, that's a lot of people. So America went to war to make the world a safer place, something is not quite right right with this picture. Iraq has become a violent quagmire, a breeding ground for terrorists.

"Because the U.S. military occupation remains in place, the "transition" has failed to win Iraqi support or diminish Iraqi resistance to the occupation. According to Pentagon estimates, the number of Iraqi resistance fighters has quadrupled between November of 2003 and early September 2004, from 5,000 to 20,000. The Deputy Commander of Coalition forces in Iraq, British Major General Andrew Graham, indicated to Time magazine in early September that he thinks the 20,000 estimate is too low; he estimates Iraqi resistance strength at 40,000-50,000. This rise is even starker when juxtaposed to Brookings Institution estimates that an additional 24,000 Iraqi resistance fighters have been detained or killed between May 2003 and August 2004." (From the think tank Foreign Policy in Focus)


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