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A Place Called Despair


At least 20 US soldiers have died in Iraq during the the month of May. By June 1, this number may be higher.

According to Iraq Body Count:

On May 1, seven Iraqi civilians were killed.

On May 3, eight Iraqi civilians were killed.

On May 4, 13 Iraqi civilians were killed.

On May 5, four Iraqi civilians were killed.

On May 6, 20 Iraqi civilians were killed.

On May 7, four Iraqi civilians were killed.

On May 8, one Iraqi civilian was killed.

On May 9, five Iraqi civilians were killed.

On May 10, three Iraqi civilians were killed.

On May 11, 15 Iraqi civilians were killed.

On May 12, nine Iraqi civilians were killed.

On May 13, nine Iraqi civilians were killed.

On May 14, 12 Iraqi civilians were killed.

On May 15, three Iraqi civilians were killed.

On May 16, 10 Iraqi civilians were killed.

On May 17, 22 Iraqi civilians were killed.

On May 18, 8 Iraqi civilians were killed.

On May 19, five Iraqi civilians were killed.

On May 20, 47 Iraqi civilians were killed.

On May 21, 27 Iraqi civilians were killed.

On May 22, four Iraqi civilians were killed.

On May 23, 11 Iraqi civilians were killed.

On May 24, 21 Iraqi civilians were killed.

On May 25, 14 Iraqi civilians were killed.

On May 26, 12 Iraqi civilians were killed.

President Barack Obama has said that Iraq is the wrong war. I wonder what the families of the Iraqi dead think of this.

Perhaps military personnel who deliver the words that cause fall-to-the-floor anguish to US families should say: “We regret to inform you that your loved one was killed in the wrong war.”

Obama really should explain why he’s decided to own the Bush/Cheney disaster after stating that our aggression and occupation have inspired terrorists. We’re certainly not winning friends in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and occupied Palestine either.

Quite often, I think of Michelle Obama’s remark during the primaries: “For the first time in my adult lifetime, I’m really proud of my country.”

And of Cindy McCain’s counter: “I have always been proud of my country.”

I am not proud. Instead, I feel profound shame.

Our troops are committing suicide in record numbers after multiple deployments. Their superior officers are “ordering” them to not do this.

Like dueling banjoes, Cheney and Obama are obtrusively symbiotic. And Dick’s mini-me daughter Liz is positioning herself for public office.

The USA is bankrupt, yet we have increments of billions that could become a trillion or more dollars for Wall Street bailouts, and billions of dollars for military aid to Israel in support of Zionism’s genocide of the Palestine people, while we’re borrowing money from China for illegal wars that will cost billions in interest payments alone.

Add to the endless assault on our senses the vocals of members of Congress, these caricatures with coifed, frozen hair and plastic faces whose mouths spew daily outrages and insults of miasmic obfuscation.

And the mainstream media, in an attempt to grip us in fear and pander to their corporate masters, serve a heaping helping of opinion with a small side of reportage. One of the most recent had CNN’s Wolf Blitzer and Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr furrowing their brows over North Korea’s nuclear tests and pondering the question of military action against the country, while a background video showed North Korea’s ominous marching army. The country has more than a million ground forces. Haven’t the so-called news anchors and analysts shoved down our throats enough bias for militarism in their failure to deliver honest journalism?

As our elected leaders misrepresent us, waging imperialistic wars and committing atrocities, crimes against humanity and torture in our names, we must demand justice for the dead, the wounded, and the psychologically scarred. Unless we indict those at the highest levels of government, the men and women who blatantly abused, and continue to ravage, the rule of law to take us to war’s hell and who changed forever the meaning of the words ‘enhanced’ and ‘harsh,’ we should all reside in a place called Despair.

Missy Beattie lives in New York City. She’s written for National Public Radio and Nashville Life Magazine. An outspoken critic of the Bush Administration and the war in Iraq, she’s a member of Gold Star Families for Peace. She completed a novel last year, but since the death of her nephew, Marine Lance Cpl. Chase J. Comley, in Iraq on August 6,’05, she has been writing political articles. She can be reached at:

Missy Beattie has written for National Public Radio and Nashville Life Magazine. She was an instructor of memoirs writing at Johns Hopkins’ Osher Lifelong Learning Institute in BaltimoreEmail:

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