A year in the life...

The face of war
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 - The face of war - Techno-Impressionist Museum - Techno-Impressionism - art - beautiful - photo photography picture - by Tony Karp

Three years ago today, under the command of the president, the mightiest war machine in the world attacked a sovereign nation that was, compared to us, defenseless.

Six weeks later, in what history will judge as the most bizarre photo-op in a presidency that seems to consist solely of photo-ops, the president diverted an aircraft carrier from returning to its home port so that he could stage an event where he declared the war over. It was a victory in the same way that a schoolyard bully stealing money from the smaller kids declares a victory.

But the world soon learned that the reasons for going to war were lies. And the war didn't end. It grew as the Iraqi citizens resisted the illegal occupation. Using only simple and improvised weapons, they extracted a terrible cost, killing thousands of US soldiers and wounding tens of thousands of others. In the end, the cost to our nation will be difficult to estimate. We have stained our reputation that took over 200 years to build. Our military has been seriously weakened and will take years to rebuild, and the sheer cost in dollars cannot be estimated. It will take generations to repair the damage to our country.

But these costs are insignificant in comparison to the havoc wreaked on Iraq. We have basically destroyed their country. Estimates of civilian casualties run to several hundred thousand. The country's physical and governmental infrastructure have been destroyed. Cities have been leveled. Hospitals, colleges, museums, and basic services have been destroyed and may never be completely rebuilt. Archeological sites, mentioned in the Bible, have been destroyed. Huge caches of conventional arms and nuclear material, now left unguarded, have supplied anyone willing to use them for their own purposes.

Soon, for political reasons, our troops will be withdrawn, leaving behind a nation that stands on the brink of a terrible civil war. The attempt, by a bunch of incompetent leaders, to reshape the Mideast will end through cowardly acts and refusal to admit responsibility. It will, once again, be someone else's fault.

The US has gone to war for a number of different reasons in the past, but this is the first time in our history that the country has been taken to war for the personal gain of the administration, with lives sacrificed solely to score a political and financial advantage. But the ultimate irony is that people who planned and sold this war were the most inept bunch of fools ever to plan a war and the ensuing occupation. They ignored advice and counsel from the military and from the experts, both here and abroad. Instead of working with our oldest allies, they turned them into enemies. Ignoring the established institutions that handle international conflicts, they acted unilaterally. Instead of being held responsible, the planners and sellers of the war were given medals and promoted to higher positions in the government.

That the current administration has committed war crimes, of the sort tried at Nuremberg, there can be no doubt. The Nuremberg indictments cited staging an aggressive war, mistreatment of prisoners, and mistreatment of civilians. To this you can add the use of banned and illegal weapons, defiance of international treaties and conventions, destruction of a country's cultural heritage, authorizing torture, and arrest and detention without charges or trial.

Under this administration, many of the amendments that make up the Bill of Rights have become invalid. Torture has been legalized as has domestic spying without warrants. To visibly protest is to risk swift punishment.

Note: The model for image above is a bust of Cain, the first human murderer, at the moment when he realized what he had done. I wonder if those responsible for the death and destruction in Iraq will ever realize what they have done, or will ever be called to account for their crimes.

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