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Baby Victims -- Theirs & Ours: The Power of Photos
It is extremely interesting to compare the Trump administration's response to the use of chemical weapons in Syria and its apparent ignorance of similar weapons use by the U.S. and U.K. in Fallujah in March and November of 2004 under the leadership of Mad Dog Mattis, our current Secretary of Defense.
We all know about Mr. Trump's reaction a few days ago to the deployment of chemical weapons in Syria.In the face of denials by the Syrian government, and on evidence that remains undisclosed, the Trump crowd was determined to "punish" the al-Assad government for the heinous crime of using chemical weapons.
In his justification for "punitive measures" on April 6th, President Trump paid particular attention to the photographic evidence of chemical weapons use by the al-Assad government. Specifically, he reminded us of the child victims involved.The pictures Mr. Trump was referring to included these:
Haley Gas Victims
(Image by nydailynews.com) Permission Details DMCA
And this one:
(Image by on.addiyar.com) Permission Details DMCA
And this one:
(Image by abcnews.go.com) Permission Details DMCA
But what about the U.S.-inflicted atrocities behind photos like this one?:
(Image by islamicity.org) Permission Details DMCA
Or this one?:
(Image by democraticunderground.com) Permission Details DMCA
Or this one?:
(Image by uruknet.info) Permission Details DMCA
According to a study published in 2010,"Beyond Hiroshima -- The Non-Reporting Of Fallujah's Cancer Catastrophe," those are pictures of the deaths and birth defects directly resulting from "American" use of depleted uranium and chemical weapons including white phosphorous in Fallujah in 2004.
And it's not simply a question of birth defects.According to the same study infant mortality, cancer, and leukemia rates in Fallujah have surpassed the rates recorded among survivors of the U.S. atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945. Following the Fallujah offensives, the rates in question rose by 60%. Dr Mushin Sabbak of the Basra Maternity Hospital explained the rises as resulting from weapons used by the U.S. and U.K. "We have no other explanation than this," he said.
And the problem extends far beyond Fallujah. Increased cancer rates and astronomical rises in birth defects have been recorded in Mosul, Najaf, Basra, Hawijah, Nineveh, and Baghdad. As documented by Mozhgan Savabieasfahani, an environmental toxicologist at the University of Michigan, there is "an epidemic of birth defects in Iraq." She writes,
"Sterility, repeated miscarriages, stillbirths and severe birth defects - some never described in any medical books - are weighing heavily on Iraqi families."
Australian anti-war activist, Donna Mulhearn, who has travelled repeatedly to Fallujah, talking with Iraqi doctors as well as affected families, added to the list:"babies born with parts of their skulls missing, various tumors, missing genitalia, limbs and eyes, severe brain damage, unusual rates of paralyzing spina bifida (marked by the gruesome holes found in the tiny infants' backs), Encephalocele (a neural tube defect marked by swollen sac-like protrusions from the head), and more."
Several highly remarkable aspects of the situation just described immediately present themselves. For one there is the almost total silence of the media about the crimes of the U.S. and U.K. Then there is the lack of outrage (or even awareness?) on the parts of President Trump and U.N. ambassador, Nikki Haley.
And what about those members of Congress so concerned about damage and pain to unborn fetuses? (I mean, what we have here in effect is a massive abortion operation by the United States in an entirely illegal war which has already claimed more than a million mostly civilian casualties.)
However, what is most remarkable about the contrast between responses to Syria and Iraq is the continued surprise of "Americans" by reprisal attacks by Muslims, which continue to be identified by our media as irrational and evil "terrorist attacks." That is, on the one hand, the U.S. feels free to self-righteously rush to judgment and "punish" the suspected perpetrators of the Syrian attacks. But on the other, it downplays, classifies, or otherwise suppresses photographs and scientific reports testifying to its own much worse crimes. Once again, those outrages are carried out against unborn fetuses, living children, women, the elderly and male adults -- the very same population cohorts that so concern our "leaders" when they are attacked by designated enemies.
The logic is inescapable. What's good for the goose is good for the gander. If the U.S. is outraged by the killing of innocents and feels the need to "punish" the suspected perpetrators, someone else has the right to treat the United States in the same way. (We might not know of the crimes of our government and military, but the whole Arab world knows!)
So we shouldn't be surprised by any "terrorist" attacks that mimic on a comparatively small scale the U.S. response to the killing of the "beautiful little babies" that so concern Mr. Trump.
That's the cost of hypocrisy, double standards, wars of aggression, and the use of outlawed weapons of mass destruction. In war ghastly offensives elicit ghastly counter-offensives.
Mike Rivage-Seul is a liberation theologian and former Roman Catholic priest. Retired in 2014, he taught at Berea College in Kentucky for 40 years where he directed Berea's Peace and Social Justice Studies Program. His latest book is "The Magic (more...)