[this is a re-post from 9-14-09]
The only war the United States seems to be winning is the one on EMPATHY. Time to reverse that one, and end the two in the Middle East. Obama, eager to win some influence on health care reform with the Republican neocons, has begun to get approval from them for the escalation of the war in Afghanistan and the non-withdrawal withdrawal in Iraq.
How much longer will we allow the continuation of this trauma and destruction to the American citizenry as well as citizens of the Middle East? How many more fresh hells until we earnestly and massively protest? Our government not only sadistically and lawlessly tortured Middle Eastern detainees, it continues to betray and exploit its own patriotic youth, putting them in harm’s way to be traumatized mentally and physically, wounded and/or killed. They are trapped in hell. They are crying out for help or giving up to suicide, addiction, emotional illness.
And we as a country have destroyed the lives literally and figuratively of hundreds of thousands of Middle Eastern citizens in their own homelands.
Time to respond. Time to stop this insanity. Enough. Please consider the following (this list of 20 random statistics and/or assertions was assembled from disclosures of Gareth Porter, Dahr Jamail and Haroon Siddiqui. Links will follow.):
1) The U.S. has four massive military bases in Iraq and an embassy the size of Vatican City. (withdrawal is a myth)
2) Brookings Institute reports that 73% of Iraqis oppose the presence of coalition forces and 63% of U.S. citizens oppose the continuation of the occupation of Iraq. (apparently the will of the majority of citizens in both countries does not matter to their governments)
3) 437 Iraqi were killed in June, the highest death toll in 11 months.
4) The Pentagon announced 131,000 troops will be maintained in Iraq through at least 2010. (withdrawal is a myth)
5) Army Desertion was nearly 4,700 in 2007. (the highest rate in 27 years)
6) The Stop-Loss program (a program used to keep soldiers enlisted beyond the terms of their contracts) has affected over 185,000 soldiers since Sept. 11, 2001.
7) Between 2003 and 2007 there was an 80% increase in overall desertion rates in the army.
8) 19,000 U.S. soldiers have been added to the occupation of Afghanistan.
9) Military contractors are paid 10X more than military personnel. They do not have to abide by UCMJ or International Law.
10) 8,000 soldiers in Iraq have rap sheets. Standards have profoundly dropped. (Skinheads have been recruited. People with serious medical issues.)
11) Alcohol and drug abuse have spiked among the military, along with mental problems. The highest rate of suicide has been reached within the Army since records started being kept 3 decades ago. Suicides are up 31% in the first 6 months of 2009 against that same period in 2008.
12) 38% of all army personnel in Iraq and Afghanistan have served multiple tours of duty.
13) By October 2007, the army reported that approximately 12% of all combat troops in Iraq were coping by using antidepressants and/or sleeping pills (psychotropic drugs).
14) The Rand Corporation released a study in April 2005. Nearly 20% of military service members who have returned from Iraq and Afghanistan, 300,000, report symptoms of PTSD or major depression. Most don’t seek treatment.
15) Sexism is rampant in the military. (claims Jamiel: “If a woman is considering joining the US military today, she basically is guaranteed that she’ll be raped or sexually assaulted.”)
16) For every soldier killed, it is estimated that 8 are wounded. (ratio in Vietnam was one killed to three wounded)
17) The Kabul regime in Afghanistan, propped up by the U.S., has had only one economic success. The restoration of the opium trade. Afghanistan is the world’s leading producer of opium and heroin.
18) The Afghan presidential election had serious irregularities and rather than stabilizing Afghanistan it wounded the credibility of Hamid Karzai.
19) The two wars have cost the U.S. 5,000 American lives and $1 trillion.
20) It is estimated that perhaps 1 million Iraqi civilians have been killed, and 4 million displaced. There are at present no credible estimates of Afghans dead, injured and displaced.
Enough. To borrow from Mr. Jamail’s new book title, we must rally our “WILL TO RESIST!”