We are all guilty
We are all guilty
Nightline is going to read the name of every American soldier killed in combat on Friday. The Newshour with Jim Leher and This Week with George Stehpanopolous note the dead every week, but no one has read all of the known dead at one place and one time.
It would be nice if we could do the same for the Iraqis, but since there is no real government, they don't collect the names of kidnapped, raped and murdered girls, the crime victims and those gunned down by American troops. We many have killed 8000 people, but the occupation may have killed twice that many. Not even the anti-war movement sites those other, incidental deaths as our fault, but they are. The lack of security is as much our fault as an errant artilery shell.
There was a debate on Atrios yesterday, where some people tried to claim that the soldiers dying in Iraq weren't dying in their name because they opposed the war.
Well, that's a nice fanatsy, but the AC-130 pounding the shit out of Fallujah doesn't have a sign saying "Sponsored by Rush Limbaugh and EIB". It is an American plane, crewed by American citizens, not just like the readers here, but who may well have been readers here or be readers here. They don't come from caves, but nice homes, with nice American parents, and they live in America, supported by American tax dollars.
We would like to say that because we opposed the war, those horrible things happening in Iraq are not our fault. But they are.
We are all guilty.
It will be to our everlasting shame that we watched Bush get elected, then watched him lie about 9/11, prostituting it so badly that Karen Hughes could compare the pro-choice movement to terrorists. An idea Osama Bin Laden and other Muslim fundamentalists, who are rabidly anti-family planning, would agree with.
What was our response?
We let some anti-semitic wackjobs from ANSWER define much of the anti-war movement for a long time. With their "out of everywhere" signs and their refusal to let supporters of Israel speak, many of us were far too silent about their excesses. Now, no one says much, even as Bush's insane tough talk ensures more Americans will die. Our Congress looks for some kind of fix so this won't end like George Bush's others failures. Maybe if he hid in Alabama for a year and took Dick Cheney with him, we might salvage this.
The troops fight in our name because we cannot opt out of that. They fight for us because that is what you do when you take that oath. We can't say "oh no, I disagree with the war, so they don't die for me."
They die for you because the people you voted for sent them to Iraq, and your tax dollars keep them alive. They don't get to choose where they go or what they do there, except at the sharp end of the weapon, where every choice comes down to your morals.
The sad reality is that our troops are attacked, every day, while Iraqis stand around and watch these men die. When people bemoan Iraqi casualities, they forget a good portion of them were trying to kill Americans, and many others are killed in response to combat. The majority of Iraqis say nice things in polls, but the IED's still get planted, the militias still roam the streets and American soldiers die. This is a pointless exercise, a futile one, because you cannot fix anything when the reaction is indifference and silence.
We are all guilty. The bombs dropped and the bullets fired come from Americans no different than you or me. It does not matter to an Iraqi family if we oppose the war when their son is killed. Americans killed him. Our tax dollars are making their lives hell. Almost no one in our Congress wants to end this madness. So why should an Iraqi care if there is an anti-war movement. It isn't stopping the war for them.
The only way to reedeem ourselves is to force Bush from office and force Kerry to end the war.
We don't get to pretend the troops didn't die for us, that the bombs dropped aren't our fault. We pay our taxes, we obey the law, we let Bush wage this war, they died for us. Can you blame Iraqis if they aren't exactly impressed if you opposed the war personally. It isn't helping them. Our Americn soldiers are kiling their children and our lives remain undisturbed. The Iraqis have no such luxury.
The sad part is that we can't end the war on our own. But neither can we opt out of the consequences of waging it. We can't pretend we, as Americans, aren't stakeholders in this awful, as all wars are awful, war. We are all guilty and will be until it ends.
posted by Steve @ 8:50:00 AM