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OK, so who's got the ace of peace?

Stateside with Rosalea

OK, so who's got the ace of peace?

By Rosalea Barker

Many aspects of Operation Iraqi Fiefdom have shocked me. Its very existence is as if my host's dog, Lassie - which I've been trying to understand and like and thought I was friends with, even after discovering it was a pitbull - has turned around and ripped off half my face. Aquaintances are shocked by other things - for example, at the affront to their Christian principles by being pushed into murdering someone. That from a scientist being drafted into the US weaponry effort - which is ratcheting up, not down, by the way. He was contrasting the rationale of removing Saddam Hussein from power by murdering him from a great height, and the Biblical commandment not to kill.

If only there was some kind of conscientious objector status that scientists and engineers could claim - but you have to look elsewhere for that kind of courage. Even when Einstein saw what had been wrought in Nagasaki and Hiroshima by his 1939 suggestion to Roosevelt about using recent discoveries in physics, he didn't say: "I wish I'd had an ounce of intelligence to see what the result would be of suggesting the idea, and the wisdom to encourage my fellow scientific community not to develop such weapons." No. He said: "If I'd known they were going to do this I would have become a shoemaker." But, hey, stupidity and admitting you'd rather run from your responsibilities than accept them have their rewards - Einstein got named person of the century by 'Time' magazine, didn't he?

You have to look elsewhere for such wisdom and courage. It comes from the armed forces themselves, from veterans. In a full page ad in the San Francisco Bay Guardian this week Veterans Call to Conscience asks active duty troops and reservists "to make your choices based on your conscience. If you choose to resist, we will support you and stand with you because we have come to understand that our REAL duty is to the people of the world and to our common future." Naturally, there is a website

Which brings me back to what I think is the most shocking thing yet that has happened in Operation Iraqi Fiefdom - the issuing of a deck of cards to US soldiers in Iraq showing the pictures of the 55 most wanted individuals. I basically couldn't believe it when I heard it, it is that shocking a concept to me. It is turning murder into a game, and who will get murdered? Anyone unfortunate enough to bear a resemblance to one of the people on that deck of cards, even anyone on any pretext, for the soldier can just say: "Oops! I thought it was the ten of spades."

Quite apart from the pathetic, laughable cowboyish aspect of it, it's deeply sacreligious. Has the army never heard the song 'The Deck of Cards' about the soldier who takes a deck of cards into church and is reprimanded for it? Taken before the Provost Marshal, the soldier explains that they are his Bible, almanac and prayer book, and then he goes through the cards one by one explaining what they mean to him. You can find the lyrics on many websites, one of which is at

Or is the connection with the Christian Bible the very reason the army has issued that deck of cards?

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