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The Dead, Injured, and Missing...For What?

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It's not "Breaking News" that George Bush and his administration chose war in Iraq and, then, demanded the tailoring of evidence to fit their plan. Many of us smelled a decaying rat from the beginning. The failure of our Mainstream Media to conduct any investigative reporting is monumental. Coiffed and eyelinered anchors contributed to the Iraq disaster by bombarding our senses with footage of lying leaders who spoke of "mushroom clouds" and "yellowcake."

Finally, CNN has aired a show, "Dead Wrong""Inside an Intelligence Meltdown," which chronicles the fabrications and misjudgments leading to war. Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, an adviser to Colin Powell, was interviewed for the documentary. Of his involvement in Powell's presentation to the United Nations that Iraq had a substantial WMD program, Wilkerson said, "I look back on it and I still say it was the lowest point in my life." George "slam dunk" Tenet emerges as just one among many who told the president only what he demanded to hear. For this, Tenet, along with Powell, was awarded the Medal of Freedom. Tenet declined to be interviewed for the "CNN Presents" broadcast.

But this is an hour of too little, too late.


Once, when marching in a peace parade, I saw a sign that said, "How would it feel to be the last soldier to die for a lie?" I've never understood this. The more appropriate poster would read, "Why should any soldier die for a lie?"

More than 2,500 American troops are dead and thousands are wounded because of lies and mistakes. We've destroyed a culture and killed and injured an unimaginable number of Iraqis. The casualties continue to mount as the president of our country is resolute with his "stay the course" platitude, a course whose only strategy is another meaningless platitude, "we will not step down until the Iraqis step up."

Two soldiers went missing last Friday and we've just learned that a group linked to al-Qaeda is claiming responsibility. The soldiers were taken from an area south of Baghdad called the "Triangle of Death."

It seems accurate that the entire country of Iraq is an area of death, a civil war despite George Bush's attempt to dress it in a tuxedo of incremental successes. This is not Fashion Week with the glamour of diaphanous organza layers to obscure reality. There is nothing pretty about this war or any war no matter how much charm the president oozes and how many times he grins and gives the thumbs up. There is no disguising the truth of the catastrophe although Dick Cheney has just repeated his utterly absurd belief that the insurgency is in its last throes.


I will never forget the morning my sister called to tell me our nephew had been killed in Iraq. She phoned because my brother, the father of my family's 21-year-old Marine, couldn't. She was on her way to tell our parents.

I've written about the effect my nephew's death has had and will continue to have on my family. But the unfathomable horror of knowing one's child has been captured by an enemy made more venomous because of our administration's deceptions and sanction of torture would be unbearable.

The consequence of our occupation of Iraq and the callousness of our government's disregard for human life conjures images I want to push from my consciousness. I can't imagine the despair the families of the missing must be suffering. Their agony is the responsibility of the criminals who chose the warpath and a failed MSM which refused to question. And the burden is also on the electorate.

George Bush insists we continue until we have complete victory.

Tragically, there is no such thing. Some individuals with ties to large corporations such as Bechtel and Halliburton are profiting from war. Those who have lost a loved one remain losers forever. Our families have been reshaped, our hearts pulverized. There is no getting over; there is only getting through. We do not honor the dead by burying more. Nor do we find the missing by offering money to people whose lives we have ruined.
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Missy Beattie lives in New York City. She's written for National Public Radio and Nashville Life Magazine. An outspoken critic of the Bush Administration and the war in Iraq, she's a member of Gold Star Families for Peace. She completed a (more...)
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