Recently, the number of U.S. soldiers killed in Iraq surpassed 4000. This occured with little mention. I guess this country is suffering from Iraq War fatigue and is preoccupied with the worsening economy. But, we must not forget our men and women in uniform who have fallen halfway across the globe in the hornets nest called Iraq. It may be that there is a drop in violence, but our soldiers are still dying, along with many Iraqis caught up in the vicious cycle of sectarian violence. The tragedy is that all this violence was unleashed by an invasion based on the lies and deceit of the Bush administration. By invading a country which posed no threat to the U.S. and which had no connection to 9/11 and Al-Qaeda, makes the U.S. the belligerent. The neo-conservative hijackers of our government, including Dick Cheney, have been itching for a fight with Iraq, ever since the first Gulf War when George H.W. Bush decided not to march on Baghdad and topple Saddam Hussein. This is one of the wisest things George Bush Sr. did (next to signing the Americans with Disabilities Act). He understood the terrible consequences of such a course of action. I guess the son was easily influenced by the neo-cons, and not his father.
After the terrible events of 9/11 the U.S. received much good will from around the world and even support to go into Afghanistan. But, this goodwill was soon squandered by our rush to war with Iraq and our subsequent invasion of a country which didn't attack us. They scared the American public with the catchphrase, weapons of mass-destruction, and visions of mushroom clouds over U.S. cities. They also tried to link Iraq to the 9/11 attacks and Al-Qaeda. What many people don't realize is that Osama Bin Laden detested Saddam Hussein. Al-Qaeda was not in Iraq until our invasion and occupation of that country. But, with that said, more of the attacks on U.S. personnel have been carried out by Iraqi insurgents who don't want us in their country. Attacks have decreased recently because we have paid off the Sunni insurgents with large amounts of cash. But, the violence goes on with little end in sight.
I look forward to the day when our troops can return home. This will not happen anytime soon. The problem of Iraq will be inherited by the next president. If it is John McCain, we can expect to be in Iraq until who knows when. If it is Barack Obama, there is a good chance we will begin a withdrawal. Hillary Clinton is also for withdrawal. But, I don't completely trust her. She voted for the resolution to go to war against Iraq. Barack Obama was against the war from the beginning and still is. This is one of the big reasons why I support Obama for president.
I grieve for our fine men and women who have given their lives in the service of this country. I feel that they have died in vain. Also, I feel for the families and friends of the fallen. I am sad for the sons, and daughters who have lost their fathers or mothers, brothers and sisters who have lost a sibling, mothers and fathers who have lost a son or daughter, wives and husbands who have lost a spouse, girlfriends and boyfriends who have lost their sweethearts, people who have lost good friends. War creates a chain of tears. While I mourn the dead, my thoughts also go to the 20,000 or more who have been added to the the ranks of the disabled, through loss of limbs, head injuries, etc. And, last but not least all the Iraqis who have lost their lives, or have been injured as a result of the violence. There is so much suffering all around. We must not forget this.
Monday, March 03, 2008
Today I went to the exhibit, A Day in Pompeii , at the San Diego Natural History Museum. The ancient Roman city of Pompeii was buried by the massive eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 A.D. In 1748, the city was discovered and archaeologists began to excavate the site which was very well preserved. I have always been interested in Pompeii and was excited to have the chance to see artifacts from this city, especially since I am unable to go to Italy and see it in person. The display of everyday items, such as jewelry, household items, statues, and colorful frescoes gave an insight into the daily life of the city. They also showed a video with computer recreations of what the city and its buildings probably looked like. But, the most interesting were the body casts of some of the victims in the positions they were in as they died. The bodies of the victims were encrusted in ash, and their bodies decomposed, but the form of their body remained. An archaeologist decided to pour plaster into the hollow shells to create the body casts. There was a man covering his mouth and nose in a futile attempt to protect himself from inhaling the thick ash, there was a guard dog that was so well preserved that even the collar was clearly visible, and the most touching was the forms of a man and woman lying together; the man was reaching out to shield the face of the woman to protect her from the ash. I could just imagine the fear of these people as they were overcome by the ash. This helped to bring me in touch with the past. It is one thing to read about it, but to actually see items used by the people of Pompeii, and to see actual people that lived there makes the history of Pompeii less of an abstraction and more of a reality.