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Missing in Action

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Missing in action from the mainstream media, and your friendly neighborhood TV news, is the announcement by the Veterans Association that more than 150,000 members of our military are now receiving disability benefits. Reportedly, while there are fewer body bags coming home from tours of duty in Iraq than either in Vietnam or the WWII, "an extremely high number" of wounded soldiers are coming home amputees.

A surgeon with the California National Guard, Dr. Imbascini, told Inter Press Service how he even had to amputate the genitalia of a few men every day of his four month deployment, saying that treating some of his men made him just want to cry. If only the good doctor could be persuaded to take a snapshot of one of his patients, and show it to this President, so he can see what his resolve to increase his "troop" size has done, and continues to do to men in uniform, as well as what it may do to yet more young servicemen.

But no, our television screens will be bereft of lurid images of those wounded in action, and images of the now more than 3,000 flag-draped coffins returned to Andrews Airforce Base withheld from our cameramen, and instead America will be treated to the spectacle of the digital image of Saddam Hussein's neck snapping over and over again ad nauseum for, in the supermarket of corporate profit, there is no room on either aisle for images of those who pay the real, and everlasting price of this evil war on the axis of evil. For in the supermarket of corporate profit, only Iraqis bear witness to the horror of a civilian family gunned down more as a symbolic gesture than as an act of direct retaliation.

Consider this when you hear the plan, on Wednesday night, to increase the number of service men and women in Iraq by 20,000, or even by 2,000, the loss of life or limb is not symbolism, it is irrefutable. Their loss is our loss, as a country, as a civilization, as a human race. Consider the 150,000 veterans who have returned from Iraq to collect disability, whose lives have been ravaged and ruined while makers of bulletproof vests, Halliburton, and military contractor executives record gargantuan profits. Generations from now will question how we stood by while they continued to profit at the expense of our children's future, a future that is maimed, and broken by corporate greed.

Make no mistake, if this government is allowed to enact the next phase of its cruel and unusual punishment of that which defies its command, the future will record a nation, and a civilization that wreaks of infamy. We must cut off a snake from the head down. Congress must immediately stop funding this illegal, and immoral war.
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http://ladyjaynestahl.blogspot.com
Widely published, poet, playwright, essayist, and screenwriter; member of PEN American Center, and PEN USA. Jayne Lyn Stahl is a Huffington Post blogger.

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