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A Reason to be Proud

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Larry Parker
Message Larry Parker
Every day now more and more Americans are waking up to the realization of a fact that many of us were aware of, that most of the rest of the world was aware of, as far back as early 2003 - the fact that sending our military into Iraq would be a disastrous mistake, that it would cut a wound so deep and so wide throughout the Muslim world, decades would pass before healing would ever be possible. But the deed was done, and the consequences are now shaping up to be even worse than those of us who opposed the war had anticipated. Death, suffering, poverty, disease, and conflict are going to plague the Iraqi people for many years to come. And yet those responsible don't seem to be overly concerned about the destruction they've wrought. Is this possibly because their priorities, carved in stone some twenty or thirty years ago, have always been about control of the region's resources and never about the welfare of it's inhabitants. Motivated not so much by greed as by fear really, are they trying desperately to stave off an impending approach of the peak oil phenomenon? Is it their hope to grab up as much of the world's remaining fossil fuels as they can so that, when the wells begin to dry up, we Americans, along with those we call allies, will be assured an extra degree of comfort while the rest of the world scrambles about for diminishing supplies of heat, electricity, water, and food? If so, then what a proud day it is for all of us in whose name this is being done.

But the unending repercussions of these atrocities aren't limited to whole populations or communities. For it is the countless personal stories of individuals and families which are, without question, the most tragic of all consequences. There is, for example, the incident which took place earlier this year in Mahmoudiyah, Iraq.

Her name was Abeer Qassim Hamza al-Janabi, and for some time she'd been harassed and propositioned by a small group of American soldiers who manned the checkpoint which she passed through every day. I can only imagine how she must have prayed to God that there were some other way she could have travelled to reach her home, how she must have lain awake at night, fearing what these animals in uniforms might one day do to her. Then on March 12th, her worst fears came to pass, and, in a matter of minutes, an innocent family of six was brutally reduced to two. The parents and the two girls shot to death. The two boys orphaned, their lives changed forever.

I sit here now and wonder how much coercion Green found it necessary to employ before the others, spurred on by their desire, gave way to his appeals and agreed to join his crusade. Did the devil in sheep's clothing (or Army fatigues in this case) sit amongst his "pals", innocently playing a game of cards, knowing exactly which strings to pull, which buttons to push? And once committed, they formulated their plans, donned their disguises, and proceeded to traverse the short distance it would take to relieve their yearnings and quench their lust. I can just picture the five of them fantasizing themselves to be on a "mission", thereby heightening their sense of danger and excitement. And emboldened by the knowledge of their superior strength they invaded the sanctity of Abeer Hamza's home, the sanctity of her body, and the sanctity of her very life.

I wonder also if the four "recruits" to this mission were aware beforehand that murder would be on the day's menu. Oh well, too late to worry about that now. Now they sit in their cells and wait. Now there's no shortage of time for them to contemplate the events of March 12th and to regurgitate over and over again in their minds the actions they chose to pursue that day.

And what of the provocateur himself? Well, though there are a few things I would like to say about Mr. Green, I think instead I'll just let him speak for himself.......

"I came over here because I wanted to kill people." (1)

"all Iraqis are bad people." (2)

"I'm gonna go over there and kill 'em all." (3)

"The truth is, it wasn't all I thought it was cracked up to be. I mean, I thought killing somebody would be this life-changing experience. And then I did it, and I was like, 'All right, whatever.' " (1)

"I shot a guy who wouldn't stop when we were out at a traffic checkpoint and it was like nothing," (1)

"Over here, killing people is like squashing an ant. I mean, you kill somebody and it's like 'All right, let's go get some pizza.' " (1)

Yes indeed, what a proud day it is for us all.

May the souls of Abeer Hamza, her parents, and her sister rest in peace.

(1) Andrew Tilghman (30 July, 2006) "Encountering Steven Green" washingtonpost.com

(2) Kirk Semple (06 August, 2006) "Iraq Rape-Murder Hearing Focuses on Role of Ex-G.I." The New York Times

(3) Sarah Childress and Michael Hirsh (07 August, 2006) "An Itchy Finger" MSNBC/Newsweek National News

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To learn more, please visit The Vanguard Portal. Larry Parker is also author of the following weblog: "A Heartfelt Examination of the Plight of Today's Farm Animals"
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