Viewpoint: The eagle screams fraud in Iraq

StoryImage( ‘/Images/Story//Auto-img-113276611530774.jpg’, ‘Photo courtesy of’, ‘CNN correspondent Ralph Begleiter sued to get release of pictures of the returned fallen. "I think they've pulled off a really big lie by pretending to be supportive of the military," he said. "They've been able to get away with not supporting the military in the most important way, showing respect for those who've made the ultimate sacrifice."’);

America faces some serious problems this Thanksgiving. The world has changed dramatically, and we are not the same country we once were. We will be even more different when we emerge from winter next spring.

The holidays will be tinged with deep sadness for many American families whose progeny have died in Iraq. People like Paul Shroeder of Ohio. His son, Augie, was one of 10 members of Lima Company of the 325th Marine Regiment. He and another young Ohioan went to Iraq last March. Only one of them came back alive in October. Augie didn’t make it.

He was killed last August in a Marine sweep of a small village, searching for the Iraqi guerrilla fighters who ambushed a leatherneck convoy and killed six Marines. Augie was in a patrol when his vehicle struck a hidden explosive device and was blown to bits. Fourteen Marines died.

“His body came back in a casket, had to be closed, could not see him,” Shroeder told Deborah Davis, a reporter for the British newspaper, The Observer, who was following the experiences of some soldiers’ families.

Augie grew up in New Jersey and Ohio, he said. “He had two homes, and the nature of his injuries are such that he will be buried in two places,” Shroeder said. “And when Lima Company came home,” he said with his voice cracking, “we received a third part of him in an urn. We don’t know where to put that yet.”

That is the reality of war, but President Geroge W. Bush has worked diligently to keep it from the American public. More than 2,000 U.S. troops have died since we invaded Iraq in March 2003, but Bush has not attended even one funeral.

That is the reality that is prompting more and more Americans, noted or not, to speak out against this pointless obscenity. U.S. Rep. John Murtha, D-Pa., fired a broadside at the administration and touched off a mini-revolution in the U.S. House. He had stated many of his observations in a speech last Oct. 17. The text of Murtha’s remarks was posted on .

“For two-and-a-half years, I’ve been concerned about U.S. policy and the plan in Iraq,” Murtha said. “I’ve addressed my concerns with the administration and the Pentagon, and I’ve spoken out in public about my concerns. The main reason for going to war has been discredited. The war in Iraq is not going as advertised. It’s a flawed policy wrapped in illusion. The American public is way ahead of the members of Congress,” he said.

More than 60 percent of Americans are said to be against the war, and many favor a withdrawal of U.S. troops. Murtha’s scorching attack on our Iraq policy drew a quick retort from Vice President Dick Cheney. “The president and I cannot prevent certain politicians from losing their memory, or their backbone—but we’re not going to sit by and let them rewrite history,” according to an article in The Nation.

In reply, Murtha noted that he was the one who donned a Marine uniform and took his chances in Vietnam while Cheney did everything he could to avoid military service and has never been regarded as a friend of the military. Neither he nor George W. Bush ever served in a combat zone.

Murtha let Cheney have it with both barrels. “I like guys who got five deferments,” he said, “and (have) never been there and send people to war, and then don’t like to hear suggestions from guys who were there about what needs to be done.” Murtha has a Bronze Star and two Purple Hearts.

Ironically, Murtha, in the past, was a strong backer of Cheney and gave him able assistance when President George H. Bush in 1989 chose Cheney to be Secretary of Defense. Cheney said then: “I don’t know a blankety-blank thing about defense.”

Today, we’re told that we are at war. Well, George W. Bush and Donald Rumsfeld are, but it is doubtful the nation is. A large part of the upper echelons of the military have more than a few doubts, too. Murtha, a long-time hawk and supporter of the military spending, observed: “This is the first prolonged war we’ve ever fought with three years of tax cuts without full mobilization of American industry and without a draft.”

Former President Jimmy Carter, who is very concerned about the direction of the country, said: “…unlike during other times of national crisis, the burden of conflict is now concentrated exclusively on the heroic men and women sent back repeatedly to fight in the quagmire of Iraq. The rest of our nation has not been asked to make any sacrifice, and every effort has been made to conceal or minimize public awareness of casualties.” He must be speaking of “embedded” reporters, and the lack of open, graphic coverage of the carnage by our major networks and newspapers.

Back in Ohio, Peggy Logue, mother of the other soldier referenced by The Observer article, said of Mr. Bush: “He came here when he needed votes. When the Marines were killed, there was no sign of him, and if he should come now, I’d be sickened. Does he think we give up our young so cheaply? He wasn’t here for the death and the pain, why should he be here for the glory?”

That reality has been the target of a strong cover-up effort by the Bush administration. They don’t want us to see the rows and rows of flag-draped caskets. It’s the Disney war, nobody dies, nobody bleeds.

An angry journalism professor and veteran CNN correspondent, Ralph Begleiter, sued to get release of pictures of the returned fallen. “I think they’ve pulled off a really big lie by pretending to be supportive of the military,” Begleiter told a reporter. “They’ve been able to get away with not supporting the military in the most important way, showing respect for those who’ve made the ultimate sacrifice.”

In his remarks on the House floor, Murtha said the administration and the military agree that the fight in Iraq cannot be won militarily. “Our military’s done everything that has been asked of them. The U.S. cannot accomplish anything further in Iraq militarily. It’s time to bring the troops home,” he said.

Despite such strong stands for withdrawing the troops, President Bush continues to reject all such ideas. Apparently, he hasn’t killed enough young Americans yet. He wants to “stay the course” without knowing what the course is or where it ends.

Back in February 2003, the French Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dominique de Villepin, addressed the United Nations assembly in New York. He told the delegates: “No one today can claim that the path of war will be shorter than the path of inspections. No one can claim that it would lead to a safer, more just, more stable world; for war is always the sanction of failure. Would this be our sole recourse in the face of the many challenges at this time? Would such intervention today not be liable to exacerbate divisions between societies, cultures, peoples, divisions that nurture terrorism?” Brigitte Schon, writing for Common, noted the reaction from the Bush administration and its fundamentalist following was to heap scorn, derision and contempt on the French.

But who has spoken the truth—Bush or the French foreign minister? Schon, who lives and works in Austria, commented: “We considered it a huge pity that nobody in America seemed to know a thing about Iraq BUT was at the same time unwilling to listen to those who did.”

On this holiday, let us give thanks that America is waking up, and the common sense of our good and decent citizens is speaking out for a rational course while our military serves with honor the disastrous course of horrible policymakers.

Bush and his minions cry, “Freedom!” Then they have secret prisons around the world and sanction torture. Bush and his minions cry, “Terrorism!” Then they drop us in a quagmire, with dismal planning, no exit strategy and create a terrorist training ground that makes Afghanistan and the Taliban look like Disneyland and Mickey Mouse. All this makes much of the Arab world want to get their own deadly ticket to this ever-growing “amusement park” of the failed pre-emptive policies of the dark lords of this n

eo-conservative nightmare.

God bless our service men and women. May all of them enjoy next Thanksgiving and Christmas at home.

Editor & Publisher Frank Schier contributed to this editorial.

From the Nov. 23-29, 2005, issue

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