Bridgethought of the Day: Hell on earth has a life of its own, like cancer, impervious to the needs or nature of its unwilling host. Welcome to the consequences of invasion. We are building a killing field.
Dahr Jamail, the great reporter on Iraq, has written an article describing the current situation in Iraq as having created schizophrenia - social schizophrenia - from living in two diametrically opposite worlds: the killing fields in Iraq, which have gone from horrors-come-true to gruesome constant survival failures; and the "Disneyland" bubble-world of the United States, or what I call "Island America". Here, as he so eloquently put it, we can simply mouseclick to another web page, essentially "eliminating" the "disturbance" of what really is going on in Iraq, and go back to our creature comforts and entertainment, distanced by this huge moat.
"In January 2004, I traveled through villages and cities south of Baghdad investigating the Bechtel Corporation's performance in fulfilling contractual obligations to restore the water supply in the region. In one village outside of Najaf, I looked on in disbelief as women and children collected water from the bottom of a dirt hole. I was told that, during the daily two-hour period when the power supply was on, a broken pipe at the bottom of the hole brought in "water." This was, in fact, the primary water source for the whole village. Eight village children, I learned, had died trying to cross a nearby highway to obtain potable water from a local factory.
In Iraq things have grown exponentially worse since then. Recently, the World Health Organization announced that 70% of Iraqis do not have access to clean water and 80% "lack effective sanitation." This from Mr. Jamail's own experience. But you can sense more from an excerpt from an email sent to a friend of his from her friend in Iraq:
"I called my cousin in the al-Adhamiya neighborhood of Baghdad to check if they are still alive. She is in her sixties and her husband is about seventy. She burst into tears, begging me to pray to God to take their lives away soon so they don't have to go through all this agony. She told me that, with no electricity, it is impossible to go to sleep when it is 40 degrees Celsius unless they get really tired after midnight. Her husband leaves the doors open because they are afraid that the American and Iraqi troops will bomb the doors if they don't respond from first door knock during searching raids. Leaving the doors open is another terror story after the attack of the troops' vicious dogs on a ten-month old baby, tearing him apart and eating him in the same neighborhood just a few days ago. The troops let the dogs attack civilians. The dogs bite them and terrify the kids with their angry red eyes in the middle of the night. So, as you can see my dear Gerri, we don't have only one Abu Ghraib with torturing dogs, we have thousands of Abu Ghraibs all over Baghdad and other Iraqi cities. "
This insightful article is prefaced by Tom Englehardt's reference to a breaking story in The Nation on how American soldiers in Iraq are both traumatized by the situation there and at the same time some of them are committing atrocities against civilians. You need to read it to really grasp all the consequences of our unnecessary and horrific decision to invade Iraq to "liberate" and "democratize" them against their will. Do we blame the soldiers or first blame the criminals in office who sent them there and then botched their mission by typical bureaucratic mismanagement and political lie-mongering?
Everything else I was thinking about came to a standstill when I read these articles. We are sitting here in comfort while on the other side of the world is hell on earth - made in the USA, planned and executed from the remote control comfort of America - Island America - nole mi tangere.