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:
June 27, 2016
Robin Hahnel
Brexit: Establishment Freak Out
James Bradley
Omar’s Motive
Gregory Wilpert – Michael Hudson
How Western Military Interventions Shaped the Brexit Vote
Leonard Peltier
41 Years Since Jumping Bull, 500 Years of Trauma
Rev. William Alberts
Orlando: the Latest Victim of Radicalizing American Imperialism
Patrick Cockburn
Brexiteers Have Much in Common With Arab Spring Protesters
Franklin Lamb
How 100 Syrians, 200 Russians and 11 Dogs Out-Witted ISIS and Saved Palmyra
John Grant
Omar Mateen: The Answers are All Around Us
Dean Baker
In the Wake of Brexit Will the EU Finally Turn Away From Austerity?
Ralph Nader
The IRS and the Self-Minimization of Congressman Jason Chaffetz
Gordon Smith
Goodbye UK, Goodbye Great Britain: What Next?
Martha Pskowski
Detained in Dilley: Deportation and Asylum in Texas
stclair
Headaches of Empire: Brexit’s Effect on the United States
Dave Lindorff
Honest Election System Needed to Defeat Ruling Elite
Louisa Willcox
Delisting Grizzly Bears to Save the Endangered Species Act?
Jason Holland
The Tragedy of Nothing
Jeffrey St. Clair
Revolution Reconsidered, Guest Starring Bernard Sanders in the Role of Robespierre
Weekend Edition
June 24, 2016
Friday - Sunday
John Pilger
A Blow for Peace and Democracy: Why the British Said No to Europe
Pepe Escobar
Goodbye to All That: Why the UK Left the EU
Michael Hudson
Revolts of the Debtors: From Socrates to Ibn Khaldun
Andrew Levine
Summer Spectaculars: Prelude to a Tea Party?
Kshama Sawant
Beyond Bernie: Still Not With Her
Mike Whitney
¡Basta Ya, Brussels! British Voters Reject EU Corporate Slavestate
Tariq Ali
Panic in the House: Brexit as Revolt Against the Political Establishment
Paul Street
Miranda, Obama, and Hamilton: an Orwellian Ménage à Trois for the Neoliberal Age
Ellen Brown
The War on Weed is Winding Down, But Will Monsanto Emerge the Winner?
Gary Leupp
Why God Created the Two-Party System
Conn Hallinan
Brexit Vote: a Very British Affair (But Spain May Rock the Continent)
Ruth Fowler
England, My England
Jeffrey St. Clair
Lines Written on the Occasion of Bernie Sanders’ Announcement of His Intention to Vote for Hillary Clinton
Norman Pollack
Fissures in World Capitalism: the British Vote
Paul Bentley
Mercenary Logic: 12 Dead in Kabul
Binoy Kampmark
Parting Is Such Sweet Joy: Brexit Prevails!
Elliot Sperber
Show Me Your Papers: Supreme Court Legalizes Arbitrary Searches
Jan Oberg
The Brexit Shock: Now It’s All Up in the Air
Nauman Sadiq
Brexit: a Victory for Britain’s Working Class
Brian Cloughley
Murder by Drone: Killing Taxi Drivers in the Name of Freedom
Ramzy Baroud
How Israel Uses Water as a Weapon of War
Brad Evans – Henry Giroux
The Violence of Forgetting
Ben Debney
Homophobia and the Conservative Victim Complex
Margaret Kimberley
The Orlando Massacre and US Foreign Policy
David Rosen
Americans Work Too Long for Too Little
Murray Dobbin
Do We Really Want a War With Russia?
Kathy Kelly
What’s at Stake
Louis Yako
I Have Nothing “Newsworthy” to Report this Week
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail