Manuel Valenzuela: The Cradle of Devastation
The Cradle of Devastation
By Manuel Valenzuela, Contributing Editor AxisofLogic.com
Aug 30, 2004
"How do you ask a man to be the last man to die in Vietnam [Iraq]?..How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake?”
- John Kerry, 1971
"How will he [Bush] meet his god having slaughtered so many men and women? He has committed so many crimes… I want to defend my home. If a stranger invades America and the people resist, does that mean they are terrorists?...Everyone [in Falluja] has been labeled a terrorist. These are all lies.
- Ahmad Manajid, Iraqi Olympic Soccer Team Member
"You cannot speak about a team that represents freedom. We do not have freedom in Iraq, we have an occupying force. This is one of our most miserable times….Freedom is just a word for the media. We are living in hard times, under occupation."
- Head coach Adnan Hamad, critical of George Bush’s exploitation of the Iraqi Olympic team in recent re-election advertisements
Gunboat soldiers of wars past and brutal, bitter at the truths spoken thirty years ago, have taken us back to bloody deltas and haunting demons, purposefully smearing one man and making an entire nation relive memories still too fragile to exorcise from the collective mind of the American people. Traversing waters of painful history so that we ignore the now toxic waterways of the Tigris and Euphrates, tools of proxy and pawns of convenience have only succeeded in reminding us of the putrid morality and dishonor residing in mansions old and white that have and continue to stain the once bright American beacon of light.
Taking us back to the jungles of Vietnam so that we can forget the present debacle in the deserts of Iraq, gunboat soldiers and their puppeteers wish to deviate an amnesia-riddled populace from the lands of the once Fertile Crescent, manipulating our short-attention span away from a foreign policy blunder more and more resembling a cocktail offering equal opportunity to an amalgam of failure, including a massive debacle, quagmire, catastrophe and collapse rolled into one.
Iraq is on the verge of implosion, a pussing scab never to heal, forever to pain America through the salts of bitterness and the unyielding defeat of failure. The inevitability of failure cannot be denied nor can it be questioned. It is only a matter of when, not if, as alien lands and divergent peoples resist and revolt imperial armies and crusading delusions. How can the sinister intentions of the few, nothing more than a malignant cluster of miscreants at the top, bring down a nation of so much splendor and potential, belonging to the total spectrum of humanity, not just the sewers of the elite?
Trapped in the sand dunes of Mesopotamia the American dream has awoken to, unable to extricate one soldier from an occupation besmirched by the leadership of George W. Bush and his neocon vultures. Condemned soldiers of misfortune find themselves in, their caste of indigence and lack of opportunity helping seal their fates, fighting and dying for mistakes, furthering the power trips of the elite, suffering through the indifference of their anointed leaders and sacrificing for the welfare of another nation. How many more will have to die or have their extremities ripped apart for a mistake and a fight sought by few to the detriment of the many? How many more sons and daughters will we have to bury, when the world entire smells the decaying smell of failure and sees the maggots prospering in our carcass?
Something has gone terribly wrong when the same people you are claiming to have liberated, showering them with the mirages of American freedom and democracy, exhibit nothing but animosity and hostility toward you. Such is the situation in Iraq, vividly exhibited by members of the Iraqi Olympic Soccer Team, who echo the sentiments of the vast majority of their countrymen. To understand the comments emanated, with the strong emotions and powerful words used, Americans must see themselves through the eyes of Iraqis. We must empathize with and place ourselves inside their lands and cities and homes. Only then will we understand why members of Iraq’s soccer team, like so many of their fellow citizens, feel the way they do, spouting bitterness and animosity towards the devastation enveloping their nation, and why the debacle that George W. Bush and the neocons have created will inevitably be doomed to fail.
The question thus becomes how many more American soldiers and Iraqi citizens need to die for a mistake? How much more suffering, death, destruction and human evil, both here and in Iraq, needs to arise from the rotting flesh of a minute cabal of lunatics that took two nations to war and hundreds of millions of people towards division, hatred and perpetual conflict? Who will be the last person to die for the mistake of an inept and ignoramus leader? How much more human energy need be extinguished until the people of America have their insatiable hunger for conflict, revenge and blood satisfied?
Yet statements such as those made by members of the Iraqi Olympic soccer team will never be disseminated to the American people who continue to be trapped in the quicksand of propaganda and mass manipulation delivered by a complicit corporate media loyal only to its parent companies and the government they own. Once more, it seems, the truth of what the Iraq debacle is will be sequestered, never to see the light of day and forever to be altered so the masses remain clueless to the implosion about to befall the American occupation of Iraq.
Iraq has become a phantom that is not seen, lingering in our midst yet invisible to the conscious. The intensity of guerilla war and the devastating attacks by Iraqi freedom fighters and the resistance routinely go unnoticed, instead only making a ten second sound bite proclaiming the death of dozens of dead-enders, thugs, Baathist remnants and foreign fighters. It seems the reality of who it is American troops are fighting cannot be blurted out since it was our forefathers who waged the same kind of war for Independence more than 225 years ago. We would not want to call the Founding Fathers and their army of patriots ‘terrorists,’ would we?
The fact is we have become the occupiers, the Red Coats exploiting and subjugating the Iraqi people, and today their George Washington’s, their patriots and minutemen are waging battles to rid their lands of us. And so the nonsense about bringing ‘freedom and democracy’ to Iraq fails to disappear as straight-faced journalists and anchors who know better continue disseminating lies that mask a truth that can never be uncovered. Because if we are today’s Red Coats, and Iraqi freedom fighters are yesterday’s American Revolution, wouldn’t that make us the bad guys, nothing more than imperial thugs seeking out world conquest for natural resources and human exploitation? Would not invaders and occupiers lose all altitude in the moral high ground, waging war and destroying an entire society so that the thirst for black blood can be quenched and the geo-strategic goal of empire building satisfied?
The Bush administration would rather distort the success of the soccer team in its favor, politicizing and spinning its triumph of the human spirit, like it does everything else, airing an advertisement exploiting those that despise what it has unleashed, even while team members openly condemn what the occupation has done. The administration, with its legions of spinmeisters, professional liars, propagandists, manipulators and marketers is also doing everything in its power to muzzle the truth from ever escaping the deserts of Mesopotamia. Iraq is such a mess, such a cesspool of chaos that any news coming out of there inevitably damages a president whose sole preoccupation is how best to politicize, spin, connive, lie and corrupt himself and his pack of wolves back into office.
With an occupation that resembles the very real and frightening nightmares we desperately seek to wake from and never experience again, with every decision made only succeeding to make volatile an already highly flammable situation, the question must be asked if American foreign policy knows what it is doing, both to the present populace and the future to come. Every action leads to reaction, every cause has its effect, and just as butterflies flap their wings, typhoons of rampage can we expect. What is our purpose in the lands of the Tigris and Euphrates? Who is the greatest beneficiary in this failed experiment? Why did we invade, based on lies and deceptions? For what reason must so many, on both sides, keep dying and getting injured, forever to be maimed, if not in body then in soul?
The need to preserve in the American mind the illusion of American grandeur and the façade of the occupation’s noble intentions prevents the corporate media and its minions from reporting the gravity of the situation. The very idea of America the Beautiful must remain intact; the illusion of bringing freedom and democracy to ‘barbarians’ must be made to persevere. For if the truth of what America and its military have done to Iraq and its people is ever made known, mirages of grandeur and virtue would vanish like a morning fog, and the dream of America as the enabler of liberty, human rights and worldwide peace and harmony would come crashing down with the force of ten thousand Tomahawk missiles raining from the sky above.
The American people would see that our government is not what it portends to be. We would finally see the devastation upon land and man that the greatest military machine unleashes in the name of freedom and democracy. We would see our soldiers winning the battles but losing the war, losing their humanity amidst the growing hatred of the Iraqi people. One step forward and one-hundred back, the United States’ only success is in exporting death and importing shame, in bringing misery and returning bodies devoid of energy. It has only achieved the monumental rage now boiling in Iraq and the Middle East that only grows and that will last entire generations, forever condemning our presence in their lands and infiltration into their affairs.
If allowed to see truth, we would finally be privy to the images denied us for decades, of third-world countries decimated and poisoned, their people slaughtered and laid to waste, rotting among cesspools of misery and mechanisms of slavery. Destroyed homes, cratered cities, unending cemeteries and children playing in raw sewage would only begin to erode the blinders that have for too long hidden us from a world devastated by our government’s foreign policies and military interventions. What our eyes have never been allowed to see would finally blind us in shame.
Hospitals lacking medicines, the infirm dying, doctors who can no longer use their ability to save condemned ‘collateral damage’ and a healthcare system in shambles might finally open our minds to the evils our government does in our name. Malnourished children, bloated babies, all with lower immune systems and all with severe mental deficiencies that have and continue to foster stunted intelligence thanks to a decade of economic genocide imposed by the US continue to suffer. Those sanctions, you may recall, left over one million Iraqis dead, over half of them children.
Genocide by clandestine economic depravity is still genocide, under the name of sanctions or under the rubric of containment of one man. One man for one million deaths plus the destruction and impoverishment of a once flourishing society is a formula created by sinister men and only understood by the malevolent that walk among us. All in a day’s work for a government we trust and military we cherish, both of which unleashed the fires of hell on a nation that had nothing to do with 9/11 or the so-called fiction labeled the ‘war on terror’. And we wonder why they hate us?
In this present imperial exercise in futility for natural resources, strategic base construction and war by proxy, anywhere from 10,000 to 40,000 innocent Iraqi deaths and hundreds of thousands of severe injuries have been estimated thanks to America’s invasion and subsequent occupation. Given that the population of the nation is 25 million, this is an alarming number, signifying a huge percentage of the population. The United States, on the other hand, lost 3000 energies on 9/11, out of a population of 285 million. What we have done to Iraq pales in comparison to the World Trade Center, in essence superceding 9/11 on a magnitude 1000 times worse, reaching titanic proportions of death, destruction and incredible and ongoing suffering. So much suffering for a nation 9/11-innocent and WMD free, so many monstrosities created to enrich the military industrial complex and the Corporate Leviathan.
Crimes against humanity have been omnipresent, thanks to the human evil festering in Washington and a complicit media whose failures betray its motives. The warmonger junta and its minions belong at The Hague, or better, Texas’ death row. For the Iraqis, unlike America, their 9/11 still festers, never healing or dissipating, continuing to murder, contaminate and decimate on a daily basis, each day becoming greater in scale as the terrorist invasion and occupation upon their nation continues to send them further down the sewer of eternal damnation. Their nation and society will take generations to recover; their hatred of America may never erode.
The devastation has been so severe, and the destruction of an entire society so systemic, that to awaken the fiction-living, bubble-inhabiting, fantasy-aspiring, chemically-altered, stupor-existing, pill-popping American mind from its catatonically endemic state with the unfiltered truth of the wasteland created in Iraq would send shockwaves through our brainwashed and acquiescent society. We have been led to believe in victory, in altruism and the exportation of the American way of life abroad. Deceived we have been conditioned to think all is well in Iraq, that the occupation is only temporary, just as long as is needed to ‘stay the course’, and that only a few bumps in the road are in the way of instilling freedom and democracy on a people ever-thankful for their liberty.
Through the manipulations of both the media and the Bush administration the charade that is the Prime Minister and the Interim government breathes life, gorging on our naïve belief that sovereignty has been passed. Never mind that 140,000 American troops remain, going from holy city to holy city to unearth the seeds of Armageddon from the embittered population. Never mind that the Iraqi economy has been privatized to serve American corporate interests, that democracy is another term for crony capitalism and that ‘advisers’ sit at every ministry, becoming the overlords of the Iraqi government. Never mind that oil revenues are being pilfered, that it is being usurped by American oil conglomerates and that much needed profits are going not to the people of Iraq but to Bush cronies, contributors and profiteers.
The biggest scam in the history of the world is taking place, with Iraqi oil that should belong to Iraqis disappearing, its revenues enriching American interests, while only two percent of $18 billion in reconstruction money has been spent. Where, then, is all this remaining money? Where is the much marketed reconstruction of Iraq, meant to alleviate the painful life of the average Iraqi citizen? Where are the schools, the medicines and the improved infrastructure? Where are the electricity and the security once promised but yet to be delivered? The trail of sorrow, the trail of corruption and of highway robbery begins with Halliburton and others like it, nothing but fronts to the greatest misappropriation of American taxpayer funds and Iraqi oil revenues ever devised. The criminals in office, through their abuse of power, are orchestrating the complete looting of the American treasury, giving our hard earned wages to the American and Israeli military industrial complexes and the Corporate Leviathan.
Getting rich has never been this easy, and, with an unquestioning and indifferent American public who refuses to ask for transparency or accountability, the pilferage of their taxes will likely persist and the evisceration of education, healthcare and social services gutted.
Officially, the one-thousandth soldier has now died, his ‘transfer tube’ clandestinely sneaked back under cover of warm darkness and cold indifference, surpassing a barrier few ever thought reachable. Thanks to Kevlar vests, 6,500 can claim to be alive, though forever destined to live with the demons of missing appendages, seared bodies and tortured souls. Unofficially, however, the tally of dead and injured is much higher, easily pro-rated by the day or week through the macabre accounting schemes of the same criminals sponsored by Enron and at the helm of Halliburton. The American public, after all, naively believes every distortion and propaganda spewed by the Department of War, even when the first casualty of war is the truth and when deception is part of and indeed a major tool of war. Can we possibly imagine the same administration that lied to us into war, concocting bogus and sexed up intelligence, that has not once told the American people the truth about anything it has ever done and whose president can be psychoanalyzed as a compulsive liar would ever tell us the truth about deaths and injuries? Hiding bodies under cover of sky lit night and sneaking the maimed and burned under the radar should be proof enough that our men and women are getting slaughtered and torn to shreds in Iraq.
When there has been a pattern of incessant lies coming from the Pentagon and White House, at the same time that a barrage of propaganda streams into our conscious, it seems unbelievable American citizens take the word of their government as if descended from the heavens above. Perhaps ingrained in each of us is the belief that governments are altruistic entities with our best interests as their main focus. Maybe it is denial that leads us to trust what cannot be trusted, a refusal to acknowledge that we are being used and taken advantage of.
In the end, it is possible that we do not want to learn the truth for fear of what it might divulge, awakening us to the failure and chaos, the unrelenting guerilla war that will never subside and whose tenacity will only escalate, the incessant war crimes being committed in our name and the proposition that America will lose yet again to a “third-world, rag-tag, decrepit waste of a nation.” It is pride that bites the most, and it could help explain why the vast majority of us would rather dwell in the fields grazing like sheep, seeking to be led by our shepherds in government, wanting no part in escaping the fiction we have been living for so long.
History, for those who heed its lessons, is against the occupying forces who invade another people’s land. When history repeats itself, as it is now, it is because those who sought what could never be achieved failed to learn or understand the codes of human mistakes littered within the verses of man’s short recorded time. The sands of time were not consulted, and the price of ignorance are we today suffering. Man does not change over short periods of time; indeed, mentally our brains and bodies haven’t for hundreds of thousands of years. We are prevented from rapid leaps of change by the inertia of evolution, both mental and physical. The same creature of violence, territorial competition, instinct of survival (selfishness), hierarchy, sexual drive, and animal passions and emotions resides inside us. Is it any wonder war, death, violence and destruction are endemic in our collective history and civilization, regardless of which corner of the globe we reside from, as common in humanity as the television and movies we watch, saturated to the brim with images and plots mirroring the symptoms of our disease?
The devastation of the Cradle of Civilization is but the latest resurrection of the virus we cannot purge from our human nature. And it will not be the last, for it will continue as long as we fail to realize the reality of who and what we truly are.
Lingering in the sands and air of Iraq are remnants of the malevolence of human evil. The nation whose rivers Tigris and Euphrates helped spawn human civilization has been poisoned by toxins so deadly and disease-ridden that it will take billions of years to once more be cleansed. Thousands of tons of Depleted Uranium (DU) munitions have been used by the US military in the invasion and occupation of Iraq, not to mention in Gulf War I also. The equivalent of thousands of Hiroshimas has been unleashed upon the peoples of Mesopotamia, not to mention the hundreds of thousands of US soldiers as well. Depleted Uranium is radiation, overwhelmingly dangerous, and enormous amounts of it now taint the environs of Iraq. As a result, cancers, leukemia and pandemics of disease have increased exponentially, only to grow more pronounced in the coming years and decades. Child deformities that have never been witnessed are now commonplace, so grotesque are the babies born to send chills down one’s spine. The genetic code and DNA sequence of Iraqis is being destroyed, mutating due to the radiation in the air, the ground, the water and the food. The United States has unleashed nuclear war onto millions of innocent people.
This devastation cannot be seen on television or read in newspapers, it will never be mentioned by a government intent on covering up the greatest mass genocide in history. Hundreds of thousands, perhaps even millions, are dead men, women and children walking, waiting for America’s radiation, the ultimate WMD, to strike them down with one disease or another. Entire generations of children will be born deformed or with mutated genetic codes. Deformities in newborns will continue to rise, becoming prevalent with the passage of time. Iraqis have been poisoned, just as Vietnamese once were (toxic defoliating chemicals) and continue to be. They have been sentenced to death and perpetual misery thanks to the murderers in Washington, the Pentagon and the military-industrial complex.
And if you think they do not know what they have unleashed or what is transpiring, think again. Once more, our government covers up what it does not want the masses to know. One of the most devastating implications of DU is the fact that hundreds of thousands of American soldiers have been exposed to the radiation emanating from the same bombs, munitions, bullets and artillery they have fired. What is happening to Iraqi civilians can also be seen in the men and women of Gulf Wars I and II. Already, 11,000 veterans of Gulf War I have died, most of them in the prime of their lives, and over half of those who served, about 325,000 out of 580,400, suffer various medical ailments related to their time in the Middle East. The same symptoms are starting to be seen with military personnel returning home from Iraq. Child deformities, cancers, disease, premature death and ceaseless pain and suffering are the sacrifice America’s soldiers and new veterans must endure to do the dirty work of the elite in government and those who run the vast military-industrial complex.
Once again, however, the corporate media refuses to do its job. It refuses to inform the American public or to report the truth of the devastation that our government and military have condemned Iraq and its people with. It fails yet again to report the betrayal of American soldiers by their government, many of whom have been sentenced to death by their exposure to DU. Our corporate media serves no truth telling purpose. On the contrary, its only role is to disseminate propaganda and lies, manipulations and brainwashing material. It hides a reality we are not supposed to see, distracting us with brainless fiction and purposefully guiding us down the wrong path so that lost we remain inside forests of disinformation and ignorance. The system is at work, and its great accomplishment can be seen in the total control of the dumbed-down, worker-bee, short-term memory, amnesia-laden, ignorant-conditioned and apathetically-subservient creature called the average American citizen.
In worlds once teeming with happiness and vibrancy disease now prospers. In rivers that once birthed life only sewage and toxins now flow. The Cradle of Civilization is now the Cradle of Devastation; its deserts glow with radiation, not human warmth; its cities crawling with trash, not commerce; its oil is disappearing into the pockets of westerners, not transferred to the purses of breadwinners; its economy has been neo-liberalized and privatized, assuring market colonization and economic strangulation; untold thousands have died and many more have yet to perish, their children now born mutants and deformed creatures fated by human evil; occupation will last years, if not decades, tormenting Iraqi society every second of every day; guerilla war has been reincarnated, sure to outlast the invading army.
The inevitable failure continues and the futility of persisting will only exacerbate the loss of life, limb and mind. The defeat of military might is already assured while winning battles yet losing the war. History does not lie, nor does the strength of the human spirit. Freedom fighters, the resistance and Iraqi patriots will not relent, they will not stop fighting until the last group of American combat boots leaves the sand-filled ground they love. Their land has been invaded, exploited, occupied and robbed. Their people have been humiliated, carpet bombed, raped and dehumanized. Their holy cities have been destroyed through the sacrilege of bombs and bullets. Entire neighborhoods have been made to vanish, tens of thousands now lie buried.
Human history and nature does not deceive, it does not manipulate and it certainly does not lie. The path has been forged for millennia, leading to constant battles for freedom and wars for sovereignty. Those invaded and occupied never stop against those thinking themselves overlords of alien lands, peoples and resources. The human spirit never alters, from the dawn of time, it refuses to be conquered. Iraq is no different, and is why through the study of history we can see the inevitable failure and defeat of the United States.
It is already happening, and it will only continue, snowballing until ego-driven leaders see the fallacy of their power trip and the corrosiveness of their mistakes. Until then, the prolonged march of death down the road of perdition will go on, killing, maiming and destroying minds, forever scarring lives and futures.
Who will be the last man or woman to die for a mistake? Who will be the last to die for the ineptitude of leadership and the corruption of morality of those at the top? We can stay the course and thousands more can be killed, thousands more can be maimed in body and mind, and thousands more mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, wives and husbands can forever mourn the death of their loved ones. Or we can learn from history, learn from our mistakes, see the writing on the wall and get the hell out of the debacle that Bush and the neocons have manufactured.
The cause is lost, the war has been determined and the inevitability that is American defeat now lingers in the air we breathe, becoming the foul odor penetrating our lungs. We can get out, saving thousands of lives on both sides, moving on with our lives, preventing the blowback that is sure to come, or we can remain, thinking in our omnipotence and our pride, thinking of fake freedom and democracy, in our macho chest-thumping that victory is near, and slowly but surely becoming entangled in a battle extending its cruel tentacles outside the borders of Iraq from which our world may never return. Thousands more will die, thousands more will suffer and the great American Empire will come tumbling down.
The choice is up to us. It is up to America. Remember history and its many lessons, for in it can the mistakes and errors of man be deciphered. Remember the lasting images of the last days of Vietnam, and the 58,000 Americans and millions of native inhabitants who lost their energies in a war of madness. Watch The Battle of Algiers (1965), a great and educational movie about the colonization of Algeria by the French and the urban guerilla warfare that followed. Focus your attention to Chechnya and Palestine, for that is what Iraq is to become if America stays. Gaze upon human nature, and realize the inevitable war of attrition that is to come by freedom fighters against American soldiers who are trapped in an unending vicious circle of devastation not of their own making.
Only the people can act, for those in government will not, for they care not an ounce for you or I or the hundreds of thousands of cannon fodder soldiers now risking life and limb that call urban and rural communities home. They are but pawns in the game of power and control, mere expendable grunts doing the military-industrial complex’s dirty work. Those sitting pretty in houses old and white and in the bordello called Congress would rather your son or daughter die than declare that a mistake has been made and a debacle is taking place. Those that represent and those that we elect are cowards, some of the most immoral and dishonorable people to walk the green grasses of Earth. They will do nothing, and so we must.
Upon the radiation-filled deserts of Babylon can the ruins of invaders past be seen. In the streets and faces of Iraq the truth is hidden. Like a giant maze that must be traversed and understood reality awaits. From the mouths of soccer players can the writing on the wall be seen. Who will be the last person to die for a mistake? The cradle of devastation eagerly awaits our reply.
© Copyright 2004 by AxisofLogic.com
Manuel Valenzuela, 29, is social critic and commentator, activist, writer and author of Echoes in the Wind, a novel to be published in Spring of 2004. His articles appear weekly on axisoflogic.com where he is also contributing editor. Mr. Valenzuela welcomes comments and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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