imc indymedia

Los Angeles Indymedia : Activist News

white themeblack themered themetheme help
About Us Contact Us Calendar Publish RSS
latest news
best of news




A-Infos Radio

Indymedia On Air

Dope-X-Resistance-LA List


IMC Network:

Original Cities africa: ambazonia canarias estrecho / madiaq kenya nigeria south africa canada: hamilton london, ontario maritimes montreal ontario ottawa quebec thunder bay vancouver victoria windsor winnipeg east asia: burma jakarta japan korea manila qc europe: abruzzo alacant andorra antwerpen armenia athens austria barcelona belarus belgium belgrade bristol brussels bulgaria calabria croatia cyprus emilia-romagna estrecho / madiaq euskal herria galiza germany grenoble hungary ireland istanbul italy la plana liege liguria lille linksunten lombardia london madrid malta marseille nantes napoli netherlands nice northern england norway oost-vlaanderen paris/Île-de-france patras piemonte poland portugal roma romania russia saint-petersburg scotland sverige switzerland thessaloniki torun toscana toulouse ukraine united kingdom valencia latin america: argentina bolivia chiapas chile chile sur cmi brasil colombia ecuador mexico peru puerto rico qollasuyu rosario santiago tijuana uruguay valparaiso venezuela venezuela oceania: adelaide aotearoa brisbane burma darwin jakarta manila melbourne perth qc sydney south asia: india mumbai united states: arizona arkansas asheville atlanta austin baltimore big muddy binghamton boston buffalo charlottesville chicago cleveland colorado columbus dc hawaii houston hudson mohawk kansas city la madison maine miami michigan milwaukee minneapolis/st. paul new hampshire new jersey new mexico new orleans north carolina north texas nyc oklahoma philadelphia pittsburgh portland richmond rochester rogue valley saint louis san diego san francisco san francisco bay area santa barbara santa cruz, ca sarasota seattle tampa bay tennessee urbana-champaign vermont western mass worcester west asia: armenia beirut israel palestine process: fbi/legal updates mailing lists process & imc docs tech volunteer projects: print radio satellite tv video regions: oceania united states topics: biotech

Surviving Cities africa: canada: quebec east asia: japan europe: athens barcelona belgium bristol brussels cyprus germany grenoble ireland istanbul lille linksunten nantes netherlands norway portugal united kingdom latin america: argentina cmi brasil rosario oceania: aotearoa united states: austin big muddy binghamton boston chicago columbus la michigan nyc portland rochester saint louis san diego san francisco bay area santa cruz, ca tennessee urbana-champaign worcester west asia: palestine process: fbi/legal updates process & imc docs projects: radio satellite tv
printable version - js reader version - view hidden posts - tags and related articles


by JOHN CHUCKMAN Thursday, Jun. 05, 2003 at 8:34 AM



John Chuckman

The saga of America's Private Lynch, no matter what the details of her movie-set escape prove to be, adds only banality to needless bloodshed in Iraq.

Another young American woman, Marla Ruzicka, went largely ignored. Ms. Ruzicka runs a non-profit organization that works to make accurate counts of a war's civilian dead. It is small wonder Ms. Ruzicka is not given the same coverage as Private Lynch, since, based upon detailed field work in Iraq, she says that between five and ten thousand civilians were killed.

Generally in wars, total casualties, which include wounded, crippled, and lost, are many times the number killed, often as high as ten times. I do not know what the appropriate ratio is for Iraq, but it's not hard to see that the United States killed and hurt a great many innocent people in a few weeks of "precision" war.

Of military losses, poor boys drafted to defend their homes, we as yet have no good estimate. In the first Gulf War, between sixty and one hundred thousand Iraqi soldiers were slaughtered. With Iraq's population being less than ten percent that of the United States, such losses must be multiplied by ten to get some feel for their impact on the society.

So while Americans, thirty years later, still weep at the Vietnam Memorial in Washington - a monument representing about sixty thousand deaths over ten years of war - they have inflicted on Iraq, in just three weeks, that same proportionate loss - all of them civilians. The one-sided slaughter of soldiers in the first Gulf War represented the equivalent of the U.S. having sustained between half a million and a million deaths just over a decade ago. No society recovers easily from such losses of its youth.

In a real war, a war in which most people agree there is some powerful motivating cause, the fate of an individual soldier like Private Lynch becomes almost unimportant. Soldiers in real wars are reduced to just about the status of soldier-ants in a war between two ant-nests.

But the public can be mercurial when it comes to invasions with flimsy excuses and gas-bag ideology. Public support can shift quickly or melt away entirely, so a little juicing-up may be prescribed. Besides, when there is almost no real news being reported, as was true in America for Iraq, you need a little something to satisfy the chips-and-television crowd anxious to be informed from their couches.

Since America's modern warriors are limited to follow-up after missiles and bombs have reduced everything to a vision of hell, much of the touching stuff that once inspired the home front is missing. There are no more pitiful and tragic images of young Americans falling in what seems a worthy cause.

So the Pentagon's prisoner-liberation simulation, like its staged statue-toppling in Baghdad, so suggestive of news photos at end of World War Two, served several purposes.

Is this how a great power behaves in the early part of the 21st century? Especially a power that enjoys reminding us at every opportunity - I suppose because it is so easy for the rest of the world, just watching its actions, to forget - that America stands for human rights and democratic principles? Yes, unfortunately, that is exactly how it behaves. Only, the complete picture is bleaker still.

Mr. Bush at the G-8 summit in Evian, France - a summit he considered not even attending and at which, in any event, he cut short his stay - made an effort at grand-poohbah statesman with, "We can have disagreements, but that doesn't mean we have to be disagreeable," a lifelessly trite line, but one certainly ranking at the peak of this President's eloquence.

Just a few days before (May 30), Bush abandoned the session with reporters that customarily precedes a G-8 summit, perhaps reflecting advisors' concerns that he would blow it with his anger when questioned about recent events. He left the session for his tactful National Security Advisor, Condoleezza Rice, to blow.

On the subject of Canada, Ms. Rice gave us, "I think there was disappointment in the United States that a friend like Canada was unable to support the United States in what we considered to be an extremely important issue for our security."

Does Ms. Rice read the newspaper? Her words about security come within days of reports of an interview with the Pentagon's Paul Wolfowitz in which he admits the business about weapons was an excuse for invading Iraq. His admission only punctuated weeks of reports about American forces not finding anything remotely suspicious and America's hack chorus of national columnists swelling their breasts to a theme about weapons not being important after all.

Canada has never stinted in helping Americans. Canada is the kind of neighbor any sensible people would want. But helping a scheme for "regime change" in someone else's country, unsupported by international law, is not quite the same thing as helping Americans.

Canada was never called a poor friend for not helping in the many shadowy "regime changes" the United States has conducted across the Caribbean and Latin America. Canada's values and interests do not lie that way. Why was the situation suddenly so different for an unthreatening small country on the other side of the planet?

The tough answer is that the United States government felt alone and naked in what it was doing over Iraq. It desperately sought international approval, which it did not get, leaving the harsh ideologues in the White House both embarrassed and angry at being embarrassed.

Ms. Rice went on to say differences with Canada had put bilateral relations through "some difficult times," and "that disappointment will, of course, not go [away] easily. It will take some time, because when friends are in a position where we say our security's at stake, we would have thought, as we got from many of our friends, that the answer would have been, 'Well, how can we help?' "

Does any honest person reading her words find them in keeping with Bush's G-8 stuff about "not being disagreeable"? They are clearly disagreeable, provocative, and even petty.

But Ms. Rice went even further concerning Germany, "I can't answer the question of whether personal relations between the President and the Chancellor will ever be the same. We will have to see."

As for France, "there were times when it appeared that American power was seen to be more dangerous than perhaps Saddam Hussein," Ms. Rice said. "I'll just put it very bluntly, we simply didn't understand it."

Well, to put it also very bluntly, American power, when it is used to bully others, in fact is more dangerous, far more dangerous, than Saddam Hussein ever was.

"We have been allies in great struggles in world wars," Ms. Rice said of the French. "The United States gave its blood to liberate France."

The United States gave its blood to defeat rivals Germany and Japan. Liberating countries like France was incidental, although the French have always scrupulously, respectfully maintained America's battlefield cemeteries and commemorated America's efforts as few others do.

The historical fact is President Roosevelt considered governing postwar France in a very high-handed manner. He pretty much detested De Gaulle, and France's empire was something the Roosevelt people never stopped sneering at and preaching about while merrily working to build one of their own. The situation was far murkier and less heroic than Ms. Rice would have you understand, but her purpose was to put another country on the defensive, not to teach history.

Are the world's statesmen so dense they do not understand true danger when they see it? Do they deliberately embrace evil? Of course not. Then, why Ms. Rice's language if the need for invading Iraq was clear? Precisely because the need was not clear, and it has only become even less clear now. Manipulative language here is a substitute for thought - we are given a form of aggressive marketing rather than an honest product - a practice to which this administration is addicted.

Just a week before the G-8 summit, another Bush-administration bully, Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld, gave us his version of "not being disagreeable." Rumsfeld informed the French air force that it would not be welcome at two upcoming international exercises.

Rumsfeld's version of "not being disagreeable" included declaring that the United States would heavily cut its involvement with the Paris Air Show, traditionally the world's most important show for aviation technology. As a Pentagon official so agreeably put it, "With troops eating military rations in the dust in Iraq, it's not appropriate for officers to be wined and dined in Paris."

Doesn't that sound reasonable? So, do you think they've stopped wining and dining in expensive Georgetown restaurants over all the fat new Pentagon contracts being handed out these days? Or do they just quietly put aside that disagreeable stuff about dust and rations on such happy occasions? Do you think they served military freeze-dried rations at the President's recent -million dollar fundraiser?

America's top diplomat, that disappointing baritone of dissimulation, Colin Powell, has gone around for weeks uttering threats and slights towards France. A couple of weeks ago, he said the United States would reconsider its links with France following disagreement over Iraq. Does that sound anything like being "not disagreeable"?

On CBC Radio some weeks ago, there was a fascinating little story. There is a manufacturer in Quebec who actually makes some of the fancy cowboy boots beloved in Texas. During the height of American irritation over Iraq, this boot-maker was asked by his Texas customer to supply a written statement that he did not personally support Canada's policy towards war in Iraq.

Can you imagine an American's furious response at being asked such an inappropriate, private, personal matter in a business transaction? In effect, he was asked to supply a kind of pledge of allegiance to someone else's foreign policy.

Something corrupt, dirty, and destructive is taking hold of America, choking even ordinary business with the sewerage of ideology. How does one talk of neighborliness, love of freedom, or democratic-mindedness while behaving like a blackmailer?

Report this post as:

Local News

Change Links September 2018 posted S02 10:22PM

More Scandals Rock Southern California Nuke Plant San Onofre A30 11:09PM

Site Outage Friday A30 3:49PM

Change Links August 2018 A14 1:56AM

Setback for Developer of SC Farm Land A12 11:09PM

More problems at Shutdown San Onofre Nuke J29 10:40PM

Change Links 2018 July posted J09 8:27PM

More Pix: "Families Belong Together," Pasadena J02 7:16PM

"Families Belong Together" March, Pasadena J02 7:08PM

Short Report on the Families Belong Together Protest in Los Angeles J30 11:26PM

Summer 2018 National Immigrant Solidarity Network News Alert! J11 6:58AM

Watch the Debate: Excluded Candidates for Governor of California M31 5:20AM

Change Links June 2018 posted M28 7:41AM

The Montrose Peace Vigil at 12 Years M22 8:01PM

Unity Archive Project M21 9:42AM

Dianne Feinstein's Promotion of War, Secret Animal Abuse, Military Profiteering, Censorshi M17 10:22PM

CA Senate Bill 1303 would require an independent coroner rather than being part of police M10 9:08PM

Three years after OC snitch scandal, no charges filed against sheriffs deputies M10 8:57PM

California police agencies violate Brown Act (open meetings) M02 8:31PM

Insane Company Wants To Send Nuke Plant Waste To New Mexico A29 11:47PM

Change Links May 2018 A27 8:40AM

Worker-Owned Car Wash on Vermont Closed A27 5:37AM


lausd whistle blower A11 6:58AM

Website Upgrade A10 10:02AM

Help KCET and UCLA identify 60s-70s Chicano images A04 8:02PM

UCLA Luskin: Casting Youth Justice in a Different Light A02 6:58PM

Change Links April 2018 A01 6:27PM

More Local News...

Other/Breaking News

Abolir l'économie S18 11:18AM

The Dictatorship of Corporations S17 5:26PM

18 Lethal Consequences Of Hunting S17 3:13PM

Paraphysique de l'outplacement déontologue S15 6:51AM

Creative Destruction Hack Mod Generator S15 3:49AM

Shopping du bashing S14 8:42AM

After Lehman Brothers, Experts Say Global Financial Crisis Can Happen Again S13 8:28PM

“Animaniacs in Concert!” Starring Voice Legend Rob Paulsen S12 9:30PM

Probabilités de fin d'humanité S12 6:49AM

Florida Area of Migrant Farmworkers Denied Right to Construct Health Clinic near NaplesCIW S11 2:57AM

Propagande de virus, virus de propagande S10 7:34AM

Steer clear of work morality! S09 12:10PM

Sweatshop Lodge Ceremony Continues in US Fed Prisons Led by Inmates S08 6:17PM

Paraphysique de l'origami S08 7:11AM

The Shortwave Report 09/07/18 Listen Globally! S06 11:23PM

August 2018 Honduras Coup update S06 12:28PM

Du réussissement putréfié S06 10:55AM

Brett Kavanaugh Filled The 5th Circuit With Execution Judges S06 6:14AM

Log S06 4:25AM

Augusta Georgia Woman Gets 5 Year Prison Sentence for Writing About Russians Crime Acts S05 8:29AM

Paraphysique de contextualité S05 8:29AM

Crisis Regulation in Global Capitalism S03 3:39PM

Ex-voto de réification S03 10:24AM

Please Oppose Warmonger, Execution and Torture Supporting Bush Operative Brett Kavanaugh A31 10:45PM

Paraphysique d'exploitation occultation A31 10:24PM

Ryan Zinke Is Charging Taxpayers For A Trophy Hunters' Council A31 2:10PM

Is the Financial Crash 2.0 Coming? A31 10:07AM

The Shortwave Report 08/31/18 Listen Globally! A30 11:44PM

More Breaking News...
© 2000-2018 Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Unless otherwise stated by the author, all content is free for non-commercial reuse, reprint, and rebroadcast, on the net and elsewhere. Opinions are those of the contributors and are not necessarily endorsed by the Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Running sf-active v0.9.4 Disclaimer | Privacy