FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

War Zones

by MISSY BEATTIE

Imagine you’re there, eager, exuberant. You look at the sky and gasp at its beauty. It’s a perfect day for a life-affirming event.

Suddenly you hear. You hear, but what you hear really doesn’t register as frightening. After all, this is a celebration. And then you see. You see a curling cloud of smoke. You watch, noticing the way it dances, changing shape. And then, there’s another sound, followed by screams. Your gaze shifts. You look up, staring into the face of someone whose eyes speak horror. You turn, to see. A leg, missing its foot. A body, without legs. Your spouse’s. Your child’s.

I’ve just described a wedding party in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, any place exploded by war.

On Monday, the tragedy happened to occur in Massachusetts where the FBI searches for answers. As I write, there’s been an announcement—a suspect seen in a video.

Early in April, the heartbreak you heard little or nothing about took place in Afghanistan, when a NATO airstrike killed 20. Among the dead were 11 children.

There is no hunt for the murderers of civilians killed by “pressure cookers” manufactured by huge weapons corporations. Occasionally, we hear or read the understatement “collateral damage” as an expression of regret for what’s done in our names, but the decision yielding that euphemism is deemed justifiable by some. American exceptionalism, you know.

A few minutes ago, I viewed photos of two of Boston’s dead. One revealed a beautiful young woman. The other was an adorable little boy.

Barack Obama made this statement:

Any time bombs are used to target innocent civilians, it is an act of terror. What we don’t yet know, however, is who carried out this attack or why, whether it was planned and executed by a terrorist organization—foreign or domestic—or was the act of a malevolent individual.

Of course this is an act of terror. It terrorized. That was the intent. Whether the perpetrator is homegrown or foreign grown, acting with an accomplice, or among a membership dead set on roosting the chickens, people are afraid—despite Obama’s ridiculous statement: “The American people refuse to be terrorized.”

The US government demands our fear, exploits our emotions—to commit its own acts of terror.

My first thought as I read the news was a question:  What country will bear the brunt of revenge if the attack is not domestic? This is the reality that makes me weep with despair—that people, within the borders of the red, white, and blue, are so afraid that they enthusiastically demonize and dehumanize an entire group of people.

Meanwhile, experts are debating how to ease the fears of America’s children. Singing a moving rendition of the National Anthem at a ballgame is not the solution. Rather, we should be demanding an end to injustice, an end to war. Because Boston is daily for those who live in areas of “overseas contingency operation”. Yes, that’s another euphemism, conceived by the Pentagon, for AfPakIraq conflict.

Obama said: “If you want to know who we are, what America is, how we respond to evil, that’s it—selflessly, compassionately, unafraid.”

Ask the people whose countries we invade if America is selfless, compassionate.

Violence is a circle that returns vengeance. Our culture of hatred, of objectifying others, of mighty righteousness has blown back with calamitous potency.

Mothers and fathers in the Newtowns and Bostons and malls and on city streets never know, when they kiss their loved ones goodbye and send them off to wherever, if they’ll be called to identify a body at some morgue or to the school or hospital to learn the severity of the injuries. “Not my child. Please, not my child.” Saying this over and over with little or no consideration that parents, human beings, in the countries we ravage with war, cry for their own, love their children just as much as we love ours.

Missy Beattie can be reached at missybeat@gmail.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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: missybeat@gmail.com

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

May 24, 2017
Paul Street
Beyond Neoliberal Identity Politics
Daniel Read
Powder Keg: Manchester Terror Attack Could Lead to Yet Another Resurgence in Nationalist Hate
Robert Fisk
When Peace is a Commodity: Trump in the Middle East
Kenneth Surin
The UK’s Epochal Election
Jeff Berg
Lessons From a Modern Greek Tragedy
Steve Cooper
A Concrete Agenda for Progressives
Michael McKinley
Australia-as-Concierge: the Need for a Change of Occupation
William Hawes
Where Are Your Minds? An Open Letter to Thomas de Maiziere and the CDU
Steve Early
“Corporate Free” Candidates Move Up
Fariborz Saremi
Presidential Elections in Iran and the Outcomes
Dan Bacher
The Dark Heart of California’s Water Politics
Alessandra Bajec
Never Ending Injustice for Pinar Selek
Rob Seimetz
Death By Demigod
Jesse Jackson
Venezuela Needs Helping Hand, Not a Hammer Blow 
Binoy Kampmark
Return to Realpolitik: Trump in Saudi Arabia
Vern Loomis
The NRA: the Dragon in Our Midst
May 23, 2017
John Wight
Manchester Attacks: What Price Hypocrisy?
Patrick Cockburn
A Gathering of Autocrats: Trump Puts US on Sunni Muslim Side of Bitter Sectarian War with Shias
Shamus Cooke
Can Trump Salvage His Presidency in Syria’s War?
Thomas S. Harrington
“Risk”: a Sad Comedown for Laura Poitras
Josh White
Towards the Corbyn Doctrine
Mike Whitney
Rosenstein and Mueller: the Regime Change Tag-Team
Jan Oberg
Trump in Riyadh: an Arab NATO Against Syria and Iran
Susan Babbitt
The Most Dangerous Spy You’ve Never Heard Of: Ana Belén Montes
Rannie Amiri
Al-Awamiya: City of Resistance
Dimitris Konstantakopoulos
The European Left and the Greek Tragedy
Laura Leigh
This Land is Your Land, Except If You’re a Wild Horse Advocate
Hervé Kempf
Macron, Old World President
Michael J. Sainato
Devos Takes Out Her Hatchet
L. Ali Khan
I’m a Human and I’m a Cartoon
May 22, 2017
Diana Johnstone
All Power to the Banks! The Winners-Take-All Regime of Emmanuel Macron
Robert Fisk
Hypocrisy and Condescension: Trump’s Speech to the Middle East
John Grant
Jeff Sessions, Jesus Christ and the Return of Reefer Madness
Nozomi Hayase
Trump and the Resurgence of Colonial Racism
Rev. William Alberts
The Normalizing of Authoritarianism in America
Frank Stricker
Getting Full Employment: the Fake Way and the Right Way 
Jamie Davidson
Red Terror: Anti-Corbynism and Double Standards
Binoy Kampmark
Julian Assange, Sweden, and Continuing Battles
Robert Jensen
Beyond Liberal Pieties: the Radical Challenge for Journalism
Patrick Cockburn
Trump’s Extravagant Saudi Trip Distracts from His Crisis at Home
Angie Beeman
Gig Economy or Odd Jobs: What May Seem Trendy to Privileged City Dwellers and Suburbanites is as Old as Poverty
Colin Todhunter
The Public Or The Agrochemical Industry: Who Does The European Chemicals Agency Serve?
Jerrod A. Laber
Somalia’s Worsening Drought: Blowback From US Policy
Michael J. Sainato
Police Claimed Black Man Who Died in Custody Was Faking It
Clancy Sigal
I’m a Trump Guy, So What?
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail