From 1980 through 1988, hundreds of thousands of Iranian adolescents were massacred as literal cannon fodder during last century’s longest conflict, and one of its bloodiest – the Iraq-Iran War.
It would be easy to feel bad about the slaughter of these children, but you don’t when you realize that they’d been told they’d be going to Paradise as martyrs to Islam following their gruesome deaths. No, you don’t feel bad. You feel worse.
And you don’t feel bad when you learn that their government actually gave these kids little plastic keys which they were assured would allow them to open the gates of heaven once they got there. No, you don’t feel bad. You feel like being sick.
All of that is shameful and ugly in the extreme. But it takes the additional knowledge that these keys were manufactured on an Israeli kibbutz to truly drive home the criminal insanity of modern war.
No clearer case is imaginable to demonstrate the way in which powerful people and powerful interests prey upon the innocent and turn them into political tools to realize the former’s ambitions for wealth and power. Because these innocents are naive, or frightened – or, most harrowing of all, genuinely patriotic – such predators are cynically able to turn their very bodies into industrial war machine resources, no different than steel or silicon. Attach Part A (weapon) to Part B (weapon operating tool, a.k.a. human being). Deploy on battlefield.
Sadly, ‘twas ever thus. Not for nothing did Europeans come to call war, “the sport of kings”.
Of course, that could never happen here. Not now. Surely our young (and, in this war, not so young) soldiers are never called upon to fight in the interests of elites, interests so nefarious that they would have to be hidden under stacks of lies concerning national security threats, and behind a barrage of patriotic platitudes. Surely America’s bravest are never treated as expendable cannon fodder by leaders who could care less about their welfare. Surely they’re not trotted off the war like so many Iranian children, clutching a plastic key to heaven in one hand, and a fairytale of how much they’re truly valued in the other.
More surely, that was a lot more believable even a week ago than it is today.
For even if you had miraculously somehow managed to hang on to the myth of the Iraq war as a just and necessary invasion for purposes of American national security, that fantasy must surely have been burst with the revelations of the Walter Reed scandal.