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28 July 2006

A Time For Anger

One of the things I hate most about being an American, and there are plenty such things, is our ignorance, naivety, and historical amnesia. As a culture, we’re very individualistic, very wrapped up in ourselves. A logical extension of that is we don’t know much about the world around us. We have a hard time grasping the subtleties and nuances of context. When someone crashes planes into our buildings, it’s hard for us to grasp that they might have reasons for wanting to do so, reasons that have little to do with hating freedom. It might be, rather, that they are upset about specific actions and policies of the United States.

For a lot of people in the United States, we are the good guys. When we invade other countries, we do it because we have good intentions. We do it because we want other people to be free. When our soldiers torture, rape, and kill civilians in those countries, obviously those are isolated incidents, even when those multiple isolated incidents begin to stack up.

It’s a strange thing, how the United States in five years has gone from the sympathetic outpouring following September 11 to the intense waves of hatred we see today. But really, it’s not all that hard to understand why. Just ask someone from Iraq:

Rape. The latest of American atrocities. Though it's not really the latest- it's just the one that's being publicized the most. The poor girl Abeer was neither the first to be raped by American troops, nor will she be the last. The only reason this rape was brought to light and publicized is that her whole immediate family were killed along with her. Rape is a taboo subject in Iraq. Families don't report rapes here, they avenge them. We've been hearing whisperings about rapes in American-controlled prisons and during sieges of towns like Haditha and Samarra for the last three years. The naiveté of Americans who can't believe their 'heroes' are committing such atrocities is ridiculous. Who ever heard of an occupying army committing rape??? You raped the country, why not the people?

In the news they're estimating her age to be around 24, but Iraqis from the area say she was only 14. Fourteen. Imagine your 14-year-old sister or your 14-year-old daughter. Imagine her being gang-raped by a group of psychopaths and then the girl was killed and her body burned to cover up the rape. Finally, her parents and her five-year-old sister were also killed. Hail the American heroes... Raise your heads high supporters of the 'liberation' - your troops have made you proud today. I don't believe the troops should be tried in American courts. I believe they should be handed over to the people in the area and only then will justice be properly served. And our ass of a PM, Nouri Al-Maliki, is requesting an 'independent investigation', ensconced safely in his American guarded compound because it wasn't his daughter or sister who was raped, probably tortured and killed. His family is abroad safe from the hands of furious Iraqis and psychotic American troops.

It fills me with rage to hear about it and read about it. The pity I once had for foreign troops in Iraq is gone. It's been eradicated by the atrocities in Abu Ghraib, the deaths in Haditha and the latest news of rapes and killings. I look at them in their armored vehicles and to be honest- I can't bring myself to care whether they are 19 or 39. I can't bring myself to care if they make it back home alive. I can't bring myself to care anymore about the wife or parents or children they left behind. I can't bring myself to care because it's difficult to see beyond the horrors. I look at them and wonder just how many innocents they killed and how many more they'll kill before they go home. How many more young Iraqi girls will they rape?

Why don't the Americans just go home? They've done enough damage and we hear talk of how things will fall apart in Iraq if they 'cut and run', but the fact is that they aren't doing anything right now. How much worse can it get? People are being killed in the streets and in their own homes- what's being done about it? Nothing. It's convenient for them- Iraqis can kill each other and they can sit by and watch the bloodshed- unless they want to join in with murder and rape.

Comments on "A Time For Anger"

 

Blogger Black Sheep said ... (7/28/2006 09:12:00 AM) : 

And this from the New York Times this morning.
Sergeant Tells of Plot to Kill Iraqi Detainees :

"As with similar cases being investigated in Iraq, Sergeant Lemus’s narrative has raised questions about the rules under which American troops operate and the possible culpability of commanders. Four soldiers have been charged with premeditated murder in the case. Lawyers for two of them, who dispute Sergeant Lemus’s account, say the soldiers were given an order by a decorated colonel on the day in question to “kill all military-age men” they encountered."

 

Blogger jasdye said ... (7/28/2006 09:32:00 AM) : 

i had thought, back in the day, that america had learned its lessons in Vietnam. that maiming, torturing, raping the land and its people would turn the tides of the civilians, nation and war (no matter how 'just' our cause is) against us.

not a lick...

damn.

 

Blogger rusty shakelford said ... (7/28/2006 10:35:00 PM) : 

Where you strapping a bomb to yourself when you wrote this post?

 

Blogger jasdye said ... (7/31/2006 12:51:00 PM) : 

no, shakleford. that would be un-American, not anti-American.

very few Americans would qualify to be self-bombers. it ends all comfort, the moment you strap yourself with a live bomb. a typical American would free-speech himself or herself by merely burning a flag. maybe eating babies and shooting at random truckers off the interstate. but certainly not auto-explode.

i thought far-wing conservatives would know this.

 

Blogger Marcguyver said ... (7/31/2006 04:01:00 PM) : 

You know, I think any act of murder, rape, assault, etc is wrong, wrong, wrong!
But to condemn the entire United States of America, or the entire Armed Forces for these possible isolated acts of a few whackos, is just as bad as saying everyone from West Virginia is an inbred, white-trash, sheep molestor!

Where were you're outcries when Saddam's own relatives were raping, murdering, and pillaging innocent civilians???

This is 'labeling' and 'generalizing' at its worst!

 

Blogger Roy said ... (7/31/2006 08:27:00 PM) : 

you don't love the people who commit atrocities.
clanging symbols.

 

Blogger jasdye said ... (8/01/2006 09:33:00 AM) : 

macguyver,

again, i'm defending a position i'm not fully sure i wholeheartedly agree with (there's way too many hard-working, truly patriotic, brave and loving servicemen and women to cast the baby with the bathwater. and there are a lot of servicemen/women trapped in some difficult positions. and i love being an American, even if i hate our naivety, ignorance, hyper-individualism, and sense of ahistory).

but the case is that the atrocities reportedly committed by americans in iraq (which, i don't think we can doubt, is an occupied land - not ours, but has a history, like much of the middle east, of being occupied by hostile forces. but that's a different argument for a different day.) are systematic. there is a growing sense of unrest in the military - all the way up to all the way down. you can see that with all of the generals who are retiring. you can sense it from military personnel serving now who are worn-out and obviously fatigued - as my fiancee's friend's husband.

and i think it stems from a feeling of worthless fighting. my brother's a navy technician, so he's not seen any fighting, up close at least. which is fine by me! (why would i wanna lose anybody for a war that has nothing to do with us?) but he also recalls the frustration of the 'rescue' attempts at new orleans last year. a big ol' ship, and they can't do anything but watch. shit!

if this is what this current regime is about, then i'm sorry i ever voted for them or defended them. i can't speak for anybody else, but i'm starting to believe those bumper stickers - if we wanna support our troops, we need to impeach bush.

and the culture of war and death that's so prevalent therein.

 

Blogger jasdye said ... (8/01/2006 09:48:00 AM) : 

sorry, misspelled your name again, marcguyver.

but to actually address your concerns:

1) the atrocities are systematic. as wj noted here, they start piling up. and when they pile up enough, it becomes evident that the 'prince of the powers of the air' has infiltrated, that what is happening is systematic and social sin and needs to adressed as such. i feel for the innocent servicemen/women. but i also feel that more need to stand up. but there is that fear of retribution.

2) much like yourself, i wanted saddam out for the sake of that nation. but at least with saddam, iraqis knew what to expect. we're the US of A, for cryin' out loud! we're supposed to represent freedom and liberty and the pursuit of happiness and all that. not rape! not pillaging! not randomly f***ing shooting anything that moves! it's all making me sick and i'm tired of defending the indefensible!

sorry, but i don't think it's right, i don't think it's true, i don't think it's Godly, and i don't think it's what we - whether we identify ourselves as Americans, conservatives, liberals, moderates, whites, blacks, puerto ricans, civilians, middle class, lower class, upper class, Christians, etc. - should be supporting.

and roy,

yeah, we need to love people who commit atrocities. but with that admission comes the reminder that - as Christians - we have enemies. and, as waspy has suggested in the title - there is an appropriate time for anger.

 

Blogger Wasp Jerky said ... (8/01/2006 01:20:00 PM) : 

Iraqis have every right to be angry with us. We've invaded their country based on a series of lies. Now we're supposedly there to bring them freedom. But Iraqis are at least in some ways now less free than they were before we invaded. Riverbend, the female Iraqi blogger I quoted, was, before the invasion, a student who earned as much as her male colleagues (something many women in the States can't even say). Now she can't go outside without wearing head covering or being escorted by male relatives. Now she's lucky if she gets 24 hours of uninterrupted water and electricity. Now many of her friends and relatives have been killed because of our invasion and occupation of her country. And we wonder why there are terrorists.

I'm fully aware that Saddam was a madman, but I'm also fully aware that he was our friend, and that we sold him weapons and gave him aid, until it became disadvantageous for us to do so.

 

Blogger Wasp Jerky said ... (8/01/2006 01:26:00 PM) : 

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

 

Blogger Marty said ... (8/02/2006 11:07:00 PM) : 

I've been reading Riverbend's blog for about 2 years. I've not yet read all of her archives, but am in the process of doing that. I notice the same kind of progression in her posts as I do in my son's letters. Both started out sympathetic, but as time wore on feelings changed.... hate toward the Americans.... hate toward the Iraqis...that's the tragic consequence of war. And it never leads to peace. We need to bring our troops home now.

 

Blogger Pastor Paul said ... (8/04/2006 10:33:00 AM) : 

I wonder, politics aside (if that's possible), if both sides could be true? Could it be that there are some great US military over there doing some fantastic things, and there are some real jerks over there doing some awful things? Having three siblings in the Army, and they all went over there, I've heard good and bad stories about people in our military. For some of the Iraqis, we are doing some great things. For others, obviously, we are creating hell... and I know it's not just for the bad guys. Should we pull our guys out? Not for the reasons listed.
In response to jasdye, I don't think the sense of unrest is from fighting for nothing... or, maybe I should say I don't think that's the only or primary reason. Maybe I'm cynical (okay, sometimes there's no maybe about it), but I am of the opinion that many are getting out because they simply don't have the stomach for actually fighting or doing what they signed up for. How many times have we heard the statement, "I joined the army to pay for college, not to fight in a war." So, again, it's not any one reason, but a complex list of reasons, some good and some bad.

 

Blogger jasdye said ... (8/07/2006 10:12:00 AM) : 

in the early days of the war, Pastor Paul, i would've agreed with you. way too much whining coming from people who deliberately signed up for the US ARMY - for pete's sake. there's always preeminent danger of America being on the offensive or defensive, or some combination thereof. so, why complain?

but then the combat, career-oriented generals started getting out.

as for the good and bad American soldiers, that's a gimme. the problem is that there's a lot of culpability flying around. in the sense that many of my black and latino friends don't trust cops in chicago (and i tend to be suspicious) in general b/c of historic and prevelant attitudes and actions of the 'bad apples', iraqis have as much reason - if not more certainly - to distrust US servicemen.

 

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