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by C/O Diogenes
Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2003 at 7:15 PM
It was Gulf War I, and I was marching up the old Post Rd. in Connecticut for Peace. I carried a sign reporting on the number of our soldiers that had been killed thus far, when a sleek, silver BMW pulled up alongside me. The profusely sweating, purple faced man, his bejeweled ringed, sausage fingers, tightly gripping the hand tooled leather steering wheel, spit in my face screaming, "You no-good, unemployed, Communist faggot!"
'You No-Good, Unemployed, Communist Faggot'
By Judith Moriarty
It was Gulf War I, and I was marching up the old Post Rd. in Connecticut for Peace. I carried a sign reporting on the number of our soldiers that had been killed thus far, when a sleek, silver BMW pulled up alongside me. The profusely sweating, purple faced man, his bejeweled ringed, sausage fingers, tightly gripping the hand tooled leather steering wheel, spit in my face screaming, "You no-good, unemployed, Communist faggot!" Never one to miss a chance for a flippant answer, I replied, "Hey, I have a job!"
This was a first time experience for me of the rabid, frothing, mindless, frightening vindictiveness that people are capable of. I had never been a part of the Vietnam era protests, but knew that if ever given the opportunity I would stand against the insanity of war. I had watched the parade of citizens on our downtown city streets screaming that Saddam needed to be killed. The news reported that he was comparable to Hitler! He was evil personified and needed to be wiped from the face of the earth.
I knew that up until a few weeks before Kuwait slant drilled into Iraqi oil fields, that we (government officials) had no problem doing business with this evil despot, supplying both Iraq and Iran with weaponry during the Iraq-Iran War, plus all kinds of chemicals, and weapons and agricultural credits. It was rather confusing how the gassing of citizens by both the Iranians and Iraqis had been benignly overlooked in the mid-eighties, but now he was evil! What was he before?
I demonstrated against war, for I knew, that if chemicals or biological weapons were used, our soldiers didn't stand a chance nor would any civilians. The magnitude of what might be unleashed in such warfare was too horrific to imagine! Kuwait hired one of America's most prestigious public relations firms to market the war. They are the ones who came up with the stories of babies being thrown from incubators, rapes etc. This came out months after the war in Senate Hearings.
What wasn't made known at this time was that victory as victory is imagined was never meant to happen. The war ended as abruptly as it had started, but not before the rag tag peasants of Saddam were incinerated at war's end escaping from Kuwait by taxi, busses, wagons, cars, and trucks. No, hardly Saddam's royal troops. Just impoverished peasants, not even having uniforms and many shoeless. In Iraq one doesn't have the option or privilege of refusing to go to war. You go or you and your family will be killed!
Unheralded, was the fact that Depleted Uranium was being used for the first time. No, our men, were not informed. Depleted Uranium is 99.5 percent of what is left when the most fissionable isotope is extracted from naturally occurring uranium. The extracted uranium is used in nuclear weapons or nuclear fuel or nuclear reactors. The 99,5 percent that is discarded cannot be put back into the mines, because after crushing and processing, the volume is greater than before it was removed. It is very radioactive and dangerous to all living things.
The Department of Defense got the idea to use depleted uranium in weapons because: it is very dense, has great penetrating power to cut through tanks like butter; it is "pyrophoric', which means that upon impact, it explodes into fire and smoke, creating submicroscopic radioactive particles which travel great distances. The United States has hundreds of thousands of tons of depleted uranium piled in heaps outdoors at Department of Energy facilities. War is a cheap way of disposing of it.
The half life of uranium is 4 billion years. It will continue acting internally on living things long after a war is finished. In 45 billion years it will no longer be a danger! The Army A-10 Thunderbolt II, the 'Warthog" fired most of the depleted uranium munitions in the Gulf War, between 300 to 800 tons. The Abrams Tank, the Marines M60, the U.S. F-16 and U.S. Apache helicopters have been fitted to fire Depleted Uranium munitions. Many cruise missiles contain Depleted Uranium balance weights.
The use of Depleted Uranium is no secret but the health hazards are denied. Gulf War Syndrome not only killed, maimed and made soldiers sick, they brought it home. See hearings held by Congressman Christopher Shays (R-CT.). In a study of 251 Gulf War veteran's families in Mississippi, 67 percent of their children were born without eyes, ears or a brain, had fused fingers, blood infections, respiratory problems or thyroid and other organ malformations. The U.S. has manufactured and tested depleted uranium in 39 states. The cleanup bill---just for the depleted uranium---at the Jefferson Proving Ground in Indiana would be .8 billion!
The United States has used Depleted Uranium weaponry in the Gulf, Kosovo, Serbia, Vieques Island, Torishima Island near Okinawa, and Afghanistan. It has sold Depleted Uranium to at least 23 countries. See Akira Tashiro's new book, "Discounted Casualties, The Human Cost of Depleted Uranium".
The millions upon millions demonstrating throughout the world; called "Communists, anti-Americans, crazy, left wingers, full of crap and not having a grasp on reality", have taken the initiative to study the issues of Depleted Uranium and the horrific consequences. Many have been on the front lines and not directing war from the sterility of a Nintendo War-room. They've seen their buddies blown apart. They know better than some bloated couch potato calling in to TV screaming, "Blow'em to kingdom come---nuke'em!" Wars have long echoes.
These "Commie-anti-Americans" didn't miss the march that the media missed on February 12th in Washington D.C., when hundreds of military retirees protested the loss of their promised medical care! The procession formed at Union Station and proceeded all the way to the steps of the U.S. Supreme Court, where they held a vigil. This was done in hopes that the nation's highest court would act favorably on the veteran's rejected plea to the government to restore their promised lifetime earned health care. The retired servicemen and their families were 'promised' this care as one of the benefits for 20 or more years of service to their country!! They want Americans to know that the bravest and best of its citizens are being refused treatment in their old age by the same government they defended during their most productive years. The legal system now declares that these promises made to these men do not carry the weight of the law! What promises are being made to today's naive youth? These men who marched in that parade of Gray Lions on February 12,'03, want America to know, as she waves hundreds of thousands more off to war, that more than 1,000 retired service personnel who served during World War II and Korea are dying each day, while not receiving the medical attention theywere promised! Thomas D. Segel, MGSGT USMC (Retired) of Harlington, Texas can tell you. He was there. Easy to wave men off to war but who remembers them maimed, poisoned, alone in VA hospitals, sick, living under bridges, or in abandoned cars? Everyone loves a parade few will enter in with those suffering.
And speaking of 'reality' what of the costs? Apparently all those salivating for war (who aren't going) won't mind bearing the brunt of the costs when they see their communities devastated. Apparently they have no problem with leaving a legacy of untold debt to their children and children's children? We spend 40 billion on children's health care, 34 billion on children's education, 15 billion on higher education, 7 billion on job training, 29 billion on affordable housing, 8 billion on environmental protection, 355 billion and rising on the Pentagon budget. According to William Nordhaus, an economics professor at Yale University, in an article Dec 5 New York Review of Books, he notes that the Bush administration has not produced any official estimates of the cost of a war. The need for a substantial occupation and peacekeeping force is substantial. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that occupation could cost between US -45 billion per year! If the post war environment is hostile it would be much higher.
Then there is humanitarian assistance--taking care of the sick, the wounded and refugees. Nordhaus estimates that between 1 and 5 million people would require assistance. Depending on the duration, say of one to four years, the cost could reach 10 billion. Even if Iraqi oil revenues could be increased to 3 million barrels a day, it would only yield billion annually. Much of that would be required for imports of food and medicine. Plus, Iraq still has war claims against it by other nations totaling over 0 billion, little of which has been paid off. And unlike Desert Storm, there is little likelihood of other nations helping to pay the bill.
Nordahus writes, "In virtually every country where the US intervened militarily over the last four decades, it has followed a "hit and run" philosophy by which bombing runs have seldom been followed by construction crews. The latest war in Afghanistan is a striking example. The US spent billion on the war effort. By contrast, the total Pentagon effort committed to civil works or humanitarian aid has totaled only million."
Iraq could destroy much of their oil fields, as they did in Kuwait in '91, or even contaminate them with chemical or biological weapons. The cost of oil imports could increase to 0 billion per year in the US, and the resulting shock and inflation would likely set off a recession. Nordhaus finds that while the US may be militarily prepared, it is not economically prepared. Since President Bush took office, the annual federal budget surplus of 0 billion has been eliminated.
City, state and school budgets across the country are in shock. Retirement, and college savings have been decimated. Hundreds of thousands lost their pensions with little on the domestic scene to show that anyone will, or is ever going to be held accountable! For 55 billion we could provide all of our public schools with state of the art computer systems. For 6 billion a year, we could provide health insurance for all those children without it today. For 2 billion a year we could provide Head Start for the hundreds of thousands of eligible kids who can't get into the program. For another 2 billion a year we could double fund for clean and renewable energy. Instead of multi-billions for exotic weaponry blowing other lands and their people apart, we wouldn't have to witness our elderly cutting their medications in half, or being unable to afford fuel or proper nutrition. No veteran should be living in a shelter, under a bridge or without the very best in medical attentions! Homeland (American) Security could cost between billion and 8 billion in 2003. No, individuals wishing duct tape and plastic, must purchase these items from their own funds! One can imagine even now the private contractors positioning themselves at the public trough!!
Our Secretary of Defense has a plaque on his desk that says, "Aggressive fighting for the right is the noblest sport the world affords." I don't believe the Gray Lions marching on February 12, 03, saw war as a 'sport'. Ask those paralyzed, missing limbs, sterile, with deformed babes about the 'sport' of it all. Ask the mothers, fathers, wives and brothers and sisters of those missing in action about the 'sport' of it all. Napalmed children, vaporized mud huts, lands and rivers radiated forever is not 'sport'. The people trapped in these impossible situations, unable to escape, are not anticipating that their supposed 'liberation' with the firing of hundreds of missiles and possible nuclear bombs is 'sport'. Sun Tzu, who wrote the Art of War in 490 BC states, "Therefore the skillful leader subdues the enemy's troops without any fighting; he captures their cities without laying siege to them; he overthrows their kingdom without lengthy operations in the field." i.e. (occupation for years).
Medical and public health experts have reported that a U.S.-led attack on Iraq will result in between 48,000 and 260,000 deaths during the first three months of combat. Post war health effects could take an additional 200,000 lives. The report, Collateral (that's people) Damage: The Health and Environmental Costs of War on Iraq, was issued by International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, recipient of the 1985 Nobel Peace Prize.
Dr. Amy Sisley, a Professor of Surgery at the University of Maryland Medical System stated, "In an era where images of combat are beamed from aircraft, it is too easy to forget about the direct, physical consequences of war. Bombs deafen, blind and blow apart people, riddling them with shrapnel, glass and debris. They collapse buildings on victims, including hospitals and clinics. Unexploded ordinance left behind kills and maims and battlefield toxins can contaminate the environment for decades (with depleted uranium 45 billion years).
Recommendations from the group are: First Do No Harm...the need to ensure that Iraq is disarmed of its weapons of mass destruction does not warrant an attack which will result in massive civilian and military casualties. Prevent Further Suffering....a plan must be in place to ensure the supply of food, water and basic services such as health care to the people of Iraq who more than anyone else, have suffered under Saddam Hussein. Prohibit Pre-emptive Military Action...the U.S. should not launch a pre-emptive, unilateral war against Iraq, nor should the U.N. Security Council condone a pre-emptive military action. Support Effective Inspections...provide sufficient resources and backing to U.N. teams to ensure that the Iraqi regime is disarmed. Director Michael Christ concluded, "Neither Iraq's suspected weapons programs nor Saddam Hussein's tyranny provide moral or military justification for risking the lives of massive numbers of innocent civilians. We urge all nations to spare the innocent in favor of full and effective inspections."
Millions upon millions of people from Switzerland, Spain, Great Britain, Italy, South Africa, Australia, Sweden, the Antarctic, Greenland, Mexico, South America; to hundreds of cities across the United States, have raised their voices in cries for Peace. Numerous city councils have passed resolutions against going to war. The Pope, Archbishop Tutu, Nelson Mandela. priests, ministers, politicians, Rabbis, Israeli youth, Union leaders, poets, artists, musicians, doctors, nurses etc., have come together to cry Peace!!!
If to be against vaporizing bombing, cluster bombs, depleted uranium, micro-wave weapons, mines, missiles, and nuclear bombs is to be identified as a "No good, unemployed, Communist faggot....a left winger, anti-American, out of touch with reality, looney-tune" then I guess I'm in pretty good company.
It is impossible to imagine with the genius, the creativity, the talent, the intellect, and the gifts that exist in all lands, all people, all classes, all religions; that we embark upon the 21st Century as barbaric savages!! We, who have encouraged our young to reach for the stars, and touch distant planets. We now send our brightest and best, our hope for the future, off to foreign lands to kill other mother's sons!! What madness is this? What insane 'sport' sees depleted uranium poisoning the whole of the earth? And where are all those, who so salivate over war and it's mayhem, for our returning veterans?
Unstudied, uninformed, ignorance labels and heaps insults on that which they don't understand. A true American welcomes debate, discourse, and the freedom to voice one's opinion! The hunger for Peace-Justice-Liberty-and Freedom for ourselves, our children, and our brothers and sisters in foreign lands, is not a partisan/class issue. War today, unlike any other time in history, now has the potential to annihilate multitudes throughout the earth and destroy a beautiful planet...a one of a kind marvel! No, this is not the time for infantile--blood lust, but sincere thoughtfulness on every level, of what we are about to unleash, for once unleashed there's no turning back. "What passing bells for those who die as cattle? Only the monstrous anger of the guns. Only the stuttering rifles' rapid rattle can patter out their hasty orisons--no mockeries for them from prayers or bells, nor any voice of mourning save the choirs---the shrill demented choirs of wailing shells; and bugles calling them from sad shires. What candles may be held to speed them all? Not in the hands of boys, but in their eyes shall shine the holy glimmer of good-byes. The pallor of girls' brows shall be their pall; their flowers the tenderness of silent minds, and each slow dusk a drawing-down of blinds. Kyrie eleison". Text of the War Requiem
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