Casualties and the Stock Market



I hope the stock market gets hammered. I hope the Iraqis set fire to as many oil fields as possible. I hope oil prices in the United States surge and shortages persist. I hope the antiwar protestors become disobedient. I hope the economy never recovers. I hope Iraq doesn’t have weapons of mass destruction. I hope our troops make it home alive.

This is the only way to drive home the point that war is brutal no matter who the enemy is. After the bombs dropped on Baghdad and hundreds of Iraqi soldiers surrendered to U.S. and British troops, the pundits on CNN, Fox News and MSNBC reported that the war could end within a month.

“Nonsense,” I said.

This war would be an easy victory for the U.S. and its allies, the cable news outlets said. Kind of like watching the Los Angeles Lakers pummel the Los Angeles Clippers. Reaction here to the commentaries and the real-time images was swift. The stock market soared. Oil prices plummeted. It appears that the outcome of the war is measured by how well the Dow Jones Industrial Average performs

Since last Wednesday, I have been glued to the television, watching in shock and awe how the pundits on the cable news outlets reported on the conflict like it was some sort of sporting event. The television and print reporters covering the war failed to ask any questions about Iraq’s alleged weapons of mass destruction and where they were hidden. It’s as if the media forgot the reasons the Bush administration said we were invading Iraq in the first place.

Then last weekend, the realities of war set in. A few military helicopters crashed. U.S. and British soldiers died. On Saturday, a dozen American soldiers were captured and may have been executed in an ambush by Iraqi soldiers, which was aired on an Arab news station. President Bush warned that if U.S. soldiers were executed it would violate the Geneva Convention and that those responsible would be prosecuted for war crimes.

Excuse me for being cynical, but for a president who only last week promised to eradicate Saddam Hussein’s regime and everyone who fights on behalf of it, why would Iraqi soldiers abide by the rules of war? What’s the incentive? The way they see it they’re dead men walking.

Reaction here to the two-dozen U.S. and British casualties in the four-day war has been anger, frustration, even disbelief. And the ground war against Iraq’s elite Republican Guard—which promises to bring even more U.S. and British combat deaths—hasn’t even started yet.

What this proves is that the public can’t and won’t accept the loss of U.S. life in exchange for the Bush administration’s goal of overthrowing Saddam and liberating the Iraqi people. Nor should they.

Sure, the U.S. will prevail. We will win this war. Saddam will be history. Iraqi’s will be free. But it will come at a cost. Only when the reality of war sets in, when mothers lose their sons, wives lose their husbands and children lose their fathers and mothers will people start to question the motives of invading a country that so far has proved to be nothing more than a nuisance to the U.S., not a threat.

Yesterday’s Features

David Lindorff
Peacekeepers at Ground Zero

Diane Christian
Blood Sacrifice

Kathy Kelly
The Morning After Shock and Awe

John Stanton
US Bombs Iran

Wayne Madsen
How to Live with a Rogue Superpower

Anthony Gancarski
Iraq and the Death of the West

David Vest
Earth vs. Bush

Ahmad Faruqui
The Liberation of Iraq in Perspective

Robert Fisk
We Bomb, They Suffer

Website of the War
Iraq Body Count

Keep CounterPunch Alive:
Make a Tax–Deductible Donation Today Online!

home / subscribe / about us / books / archives / search / links /

Weekend Edition
November 27-29, 2015
Andrew Levine
The Real Trouble With Bernie
Gary Leupp
Ben Carson, Joseph in Egypt, and the Attack on Rational Thought
John Whitbeck
Who’s Afraid of ISIS?
Michael Brenner
Europe’s Crisis: Terror, Refugees and Impotence
Ramzy Baroud
Forget ISIS: Humanity is at Stake
Pepe Escobar
Will Chess, Not Battleship, Be the Game of the Future in Eurasia?
Vijay Prashad
Showdown on the Syrian Border
Dave Lindorff
Gen. John Campbell, Commander in Afghanistan and Serial Liar
Colin Todhunter
Class, War and David Cameron
Jean Bricmont
The Ideology of Humanitarian Imperialism
Dan Glazebrook
Deadliest Terror in the World: the West’s Latest Gift to Africa
Mark Hand
Escape From New York: the Emancipation of Activist Cecily McMillan
Karl Grossman
Our Solar Bonanza!
Mats Svensson
Madness in Hebron: Hashem Had No Enemies, Yet Hashem Was Hated
Walter Brasch
Terrorism on American Soil
Louisa Willcox
Grizzly Bears, Dreaming and the Frontier of Wonder
Michael Welton
Yahweh is Not Exactly Politically Correct
Joseph Natoli
A Politics of Stupid and How to Leave It Behind
John Cox
You Should Fear Racism and Xenophobia, Not Syrian Refugees or Muslims
Barrie Gilbert
Sacrificing the Grizzlies of Katmai: the Plan to Turn Brooks Camp Into a Theme
Rev. William Alberts
The Church of “Something Else” in “an Ecclesiastical Desert”
Andrew Gavin Marshall
Bank Crimes Pay
Elliot Murphy
Cameron’s Syrian Strategy
Gareth Porter
How Terror in Paris Calls for Revising US Syria Policy
Thomas S. Harrington
Jeff Jacoby of the Boston Globe and the Death of Ezra Schwartz
Michael Perino
The Arc of Instability
Yves Engler
Justin Trudeau and Canada’s Mining Industry
Tom H. Hastings
ISIS and Changing the Game
Lars Jørgensen
Vive la Résistance
John Halle
A Yale Education as a Tool of Power and Privilege
Norman Pollack
Syrian “Civil War”?: No, A Proxy War of Global Confrontation
Sheldon Richman
Let the Refugees In
James Anderson
Reframing Black Friday: an Imperative for Déclassé Intellectuals
Simon Bowring
UN Climate Talks 2009: a Merger of Interest and Indifference
Ron Jacobs
Rosa Luxemburg–From Street Organizer to Street Name
Aidan O'Brien
Same-Sex Sellout in Ireland
David Stocker
Report from the Frontline of Resistance in America
Patrick Bond
China Sucked Deeper Into World Financial Vortex and Vice Versa, as BRICS Sink Fast
Majd Isreb
America’s Spirit, Syrian Connection
James A Haught
The Values of Jesus
Binoy Kampmark
British Austerity: Cutting One’s Own Backyard
Ed Rampell
45 Years: A Rumination on Aging
Charles R. Larson
Chronicle of Sex Reassignment Surgery: Juliet Jacques’s “Trans: a Memoir”
Jeffrey St. Clair - Alexander Cockburn
CounterPunch’s Favorite Films
November 26, 2015
Ashley Nicole McCray – Lawrence Ware
Decolonizing the History of Thanksgiving