Obscenity in Baghdad

It was an outrage, an obscenity
  Robert Fisk
March 27, 2003


It's one thing to see the latest reports on the telescreen about the 
"coalition" forces in Iraq; the war seems scarcely different from a video 
game. In fact, some cynical company is advertising a combat video game 
using simulated desert combat footage. Reporters "embedded" in U.S. combat 
units are naturally circumscribed from telling us anything that might make 
the prosecutors of this war look bad, and the few reporters who try to 
find stories independently are not treated well by Imperial authorities.

Thus it's all too easy to overlook the fact that ordinary people are being 
hurt by President Bush's war. But think for a moment. What would it be like 
if our own neighborhoods were hit by bombs, in a war we had nothing to do 
with and had no power to stop? Think of the horror, shock and outrage you 
would feel if your local shopping mall were hit by a stray missile, and 
your neighbors blown to pieces. As reported by veteran journalist Robert 
Fisk in the British INDEPENDENT, that's what's happening in Iraq now: 

> It was an outrage, an obscenity. The severed hand on the metal 
> door, the swamp of blood and mud across the road, the human 
> brains inside a garage, the incinerated, skeletal remains of an 
> Iraqi mother and her three small children in their still-
> smouldering car. Two missiles from an American jet killed them 
> all -- by my estimate, more than 20 Iraqi civilians, torn to 
> pieces before they could be 'liberated' by the nation that 
> destroyed their lives.

Interestingly, this happened in a neighborhood of Shi'ites -- people who 
are oppressed by the Saddam regime and have every reason to want to see it 

> ... Three days ago, an entire family of nine was wiped out in 
> their home near the centre of the city. A busload of civilian 
> passengers were reportedly killed on a road south of Baghdad 
> two days ago. Only yesterday were Iraqis learning the identity 
> of five civilian passengers slaughtered on a Syrian bus that 
> was attacked by American aircraft close to the Iraqi border at 
> the weekend.

Imagine such events happening here: a foreign power "liberating" us from 
the dictator George Bush. What would be our attitude towards our 
liberators? Would we love them? Or would many of us  especially those who 
had seen our houses, livelihoods, families, friends destroyed -- swear 
vengeance against the occupying power?

Remember the American outrage over 9/11. Why should we think the Iraqis 
would feel any differently about what the Empire is doing to them?

Unsurprisingly, the popular "uprising" against Saddam predicted by the 
Bush regime is nowhere to be seen. Instead, Iraqis -- including the 
Shi'ites -- seem to be angry at their liberators. And now the "coalition" 
is advising us that the war may take a lot longer than the couple of 
weeks they were hoping for at the outset -- perhaps months longer. 

Is this a catastrophe in progress? And what price will Americans 
ultimately pay for the murderous hubris of our rulers?

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