Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Nouri's blind eye to the suffering of the elderly

Many old people in Iraq live in the street because the severity of life. Some of them were wealthy and due to circumstances lost their wealth and some are abandoned by their beloveds. Anyhow life obliged them to live in streets as vagrants in rich country like Iraq . It is normal to find such cases in many countries but here in Iraq the new regime came raising the slogan of human rights that were violated during former regime. Six years passed after the collapse, and there are only 5 nursing homes in whole Iraq to taking care of these old people - the same number that was found during Saddam's time.
Living on the street maybe not be so uncommon in the world, but can you imagine such persons living in caves or in hovels in the desert where no one can reach out to help or offer food? Two Iraqi old sisters were found living in desert. One of them said to Arab TV "the whole family members died because starvation" she was talking about her two mentally handicap brothers and her mother who died recently.

The above is from "homes for seniors and others" (Inside Iraq) written by an Iraqi correspondent for McClatchy Newspapers. Greed is the story of the Iraq War. Greed started the illegal war and greed drives it to this day. That includes the greed of the thugs installed by the US government. And, barring Nouri (or another thug) becoming the new Saddam (which Nouri clearly wants to be), thereby shutting down any chance of an open society, the story after the US leaves, for years and years, will be how the very rich country of Iraq saw its assets stolen by its alleged 'leaders.' Iraq's borrowing from the IMF and no one really finds that shocking. No one stops to think about it. Iraq . . . 'backward' country. The xenophobia that allowed the Iraq War to begin allows the theft of its monies to go largely unnoticed. Billions and billions each year in oil revenues and where does that money go? It doesn't go to the people. Bringing in far less in oil revenues in Saddam's last years, the people received more government rations than they do today. Bringing in far less in oil revenues in Saddam's last years, the Iraqi people had a more reliable medical care system than they do today. Saddam was the problem -- labeled as such by Western countries. Saddam's gone. So where's the money? Where's the money really going? It's getting socked away in banks all across Europe by the 'leaders' bilking their own country.

You know it
I know it
Why don't you just show it
You've got a lot of money
But you can't afford the freeway
You've got a lot of money
But you cannot get your bills paid . . .
-- "Freeway," written by Aimee Mann, from her latest album, @#%&*! Smilers

A visitor e-mails insisting we need to "do what Associated press did" and issue a correction. There are many times I do a correction. But the AP's correcting itself for a detail about Ross Vogel III's death in Iraq. Click here to read it. We don't need to do such a correction because we never offered the detail that AP is correcting. AP explains they were told one detail regarding the death and now a spokesperson is stating that detail isn't true. (Which strikes me of a more of a clarification or added detail despite AP labeling it a "correction.") The detail AP's correcting? Honestly, I wasn't even aware of it until the e-mail. All that said, thanks for the e-mail because another aspect could have been corrected and, if so, we'd need to correct it here. But the detail mentioned isn't one I'd read of or heard of. (For those who need to check for themselves, Ross Vogel was mentioned in two entries, click here for both of them.)

The first US service member to die in Iraq this month was Paul E. Andersen. DoD announced yesterday: "Spc. Paul E. Andersen, 49, of Dowagiac, Mich., died Oct. 1 in Baghdad, Iraq, of wounds suffered when enemy forces attacked his camp using indirect fire. He was assigned to the 855th Quartermaster Company, South Bend, Ind." DoD's identify the fallen whose death was announced by MNF last week (for that announcement, see Friday's snapshot). He was on his second tour of duty in Iraq. Gabrielle Russon (Kalamazoo Gazette) notes his survivors include his wife Linda Andersen, "three daughters and three stepchildren" and Russon reports:

Paul Andersen wanted to give his grown stepdaughter his riding lawn mower, but it wouldn’t fit in the back of the car.
A spunky man of original ideas and childlike exuberance, Andersen decided to ride the mower several miles on the side of the road in South Bend, Ind., to deliver it to her house.
Whenever a police car drove by, Andersen pretended to be just a regular neighbor out mowing the grass.
"It was so funny, the look on his face," said his wife, Linda Andersen. "He was pleased and proud as can be, especially because he got away with it."
Such funny stories are what Linda Andersen holds on to after her husband was killed last week in Iraq, about a month before he was supposed to return home.

Erin Blasko (South Bend Tribune) reports that Linda Andersen and her husband had spoken online (using Skype) hours before he died. She explains the aftermath of the devastating news to Blasko as, "Hell. Tiring. Unbelievable. There are no words to describe how I feel. I take a deep breath and sometimes it helps, and sometimes it doesn't." Blasko notes that his survivors also include nine grandchildren.

Mia highlights this from Chris Hedges' "Celebrating Slaughter: War and Collective Amnesia" (Information Clearing House):

War memorials and museums are temples to the god of war. The hushed voices, the well-tended grass, the flapping of the flags allow us to ignore how and why our young died. They hide the futility and waste of war. They sanitize the savage instruments of death that turn young soldiers and Marines into killers, and small villages in Vietnam or Afghanistan or Iraq into hellish bonfires. There are no images in these memorials of men or women with their guts hanging out of their bellies, screaming pathetically for their mothers. We do not see mangled corpses being shoved in body bags. There are no sights of children burned beyond recognition or moaning in horrible pain. There are no blind and deformed wrecks of human beings limping through life. War, by the time it is collectively remembered, is glorified and heavily censored.
I blame our war memorials and museums, our popular war films and books, for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as much as George W. Bush. They provide the mental images and historical references to justify new conflicts. We equate Saddam Hussein with Adolf Hitler. We see al-Qaida as a representation of Nazi evil. We view ourselves as eternal liberators. These plastic representations of war reconfigure the past in light of the present. War memorials and romantic depictions of war are the social and moral props used to create the psychological conditions to wage new wars.
War memorials are quiet, still, reverential and tasteful. And, like church, such sanctuaries are important, but they allow us to forget that these men and women were used and often betrayed by those who led the nation into war. The memorials do not tell us that some always grow rich from large-scale human suffering. They do not explain that politicians play the great games of world power and stoke fear for their own advancement. They forget that young men and women in uniform are pawns in the hands of cynics, something Pat Tillman's family sadly discovered. They do not expose the ignorance, raw ambition and greed that are the engine of war.
There is a burning need, one seen in the collective memory that has grown up around World War II and the Holocaust, to turn the horror of mass murder into a tribute to the triumph of the human spirit. The reality is too unpalatable. The human need to make sense of slaughter, to give it a grandeur it does not possess, permits the guilty to go free. The war makers--those who make the war but never pay the price of war--live among us. They pen thick memoirs that give sage advice. They are our elder statesmen, our war criminals. Henry Kissinger. Robert McNamara. Dick Cheney. George W. Bush. Any honest war memorial would have these statesmen hanging in effigy. Any honest democracy would place them behind bars.

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