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The War Against Ourselves

By Mumia Abu-Jamal  Posted by Hans Bennett (about the submitter)       (Page 1 of 1 pages)     Permalink    (# of views)   1 comment

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Listen to the radio-essay here. 
The War Against Ourselves
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[col. writ. 12/1/07]
(c) '07 Mumia Abu-Jamal
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    We often think, when we dare to do so, of the Iraq War as a war over there, against 'those'  people - folks other than Us.
    Depending on our political perspective, it is either a good war, or an evil war.  But, no matter our political, ideological perspective, time will determine whether it isn't a war against us all, as well.
    That's because for those tens of thousands  who survive, who are neither killed nor maimed, they will return to the U.S., with their minds twisted by an orgy of violence that will not easily be left 'over there.'
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    It is worthless to listen to any major political figures who speak of this war, for they are speaking with flowery words about unreality, with buzz phrases like, 'support our troops', 'they're fighting for our freedoms',  and other such nonsense.
    Several recent books, written not by brass but by low level non commissioned officers, tells a story that will never make it to CNN, to the networks, or to the daily press.
    That's because these reports, written by line soldiers, are striking in their absence of political jargon, and the illusions usually presented as war reporting.
    Do you remember reports about the notorious Iraqi house raids, ostensibly as searches for weapons? Paul Rieckhoff, a platoon leader of National Guardsmen describes how he and his men broke down doors, tied up all the men, and ransacked people's homes.  Of these raids, Rieckhoff wrote, in his book, Chasing Ghosts: Failures and Facades in Iraq: A Soldier's Perspective (NAL Caliber: 2007) these "were nasty business.  Anybody who enjoyed them was sick. Sometimes I felt like I was a member of the Brown shirts in Nazi Germany."
       Rieckhoff writes about men in his platoon stealing money from these Iraqi families, something he describes as not uncommon.
    In the corporate media's reflexive war promotion, and its overt message of 'support the troops', who knows what they are supporting?
    These books, written from the soldier's viewpoint, tell of the gratuitous killing of unarmed civilians, both by high level bombings, artillery, and ground level shootings.  Men, women, and children are shot with an abandon that would make a terrorist blush. One Texan, Marine lance corporal Jeffrey Carazales said, "Do you think people at home are going to see this -- all these women and children we're killing? F - -k no.  Back home they're glorifying this mo ----f----r, I guarantee you."*
    No politician, right or left, will describe them as modern day Nazis, riding roughshod over the Iraqi people, and indeed, creating a resistance that didn't exist at the time of the US invasion.
    That's how far politics is from the truth, a truth dripping out from soldiers, who are unafraid of self-description.
    In the years to come, when people trickle home, they will carry these nightmares into their work lives, and also into their personal lives.
    They will be cops, prison guards, politicians, merchants, teachers, and journalists.
    Within them will be these silent demons who will not rest in Iraq.
    American society was deeply impacted by the return of Vietnam veterans, and not for the better.
    We have yet to see the ripples from the war wash against the shores of this land.
    We will find that the blood of war, and the perversities of occupation will splash against us all.
--(c) '07 maj
{Sources: *Massing, Michael, "Iraq: The Hidden Human Costs, " The New York Review of Books. (12/20/07), pp.82 -7; Fick, Nathaniel, One Bullet Away: The Making of a Marine Officer, (Mariner: 2007); Wright, Evan, Generation Kill: Devil Dogs, Iceman, Captain America, and the New Face of American War (Berkley Caliber:2007.}


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Hans Bennett is a multi-media journalist mostly focusing on the movement to free Mumia Abu-Jamal and all political prisoners. An archive of his work is available at and he is also co-founder of "Journalists for Mumia," (more...)

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