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

Like What You’ve Read? Support CounterPunch
Weekend Edition
July 31-33, 2015
Jeffrey St. Clair
Bernie and the Sandernistas: Into the Void
John Pilger
Julian Assange: the Untold Story of an Epic Struggle for Justice
Roberto J. González – David Price
Remaking the Human Terrain: The US Military’s Continuing Quest to Commandeer Culture
Lawrence Ware
Bernie Sanders’ Race Problem
Andrew Levine
The Logic of Illlogic: Narrow Self-Interest Keeps Israel’s “Existential Threats” Alive
ANDRE VLTCHEK
Kos, Bodrum, Desperate Refugees and a Dying Child
Paul Street
“That’s Politics”: the Sandernistas on the Master’s Schedule
Ted Rall
How the LAPD Conspired to Get Me Fired from the LA Times
Mike Whitney
Power-Mad Erdogan Launches War in Attempt to Become Turkey’s Supreme Leader
Ellen Brown
The Greek Coup: Liquidity as a Weapon of Coercion
Stephen Lendman
Russia Challenges America’s Orwellian NED
Will Parrish
The Politics of California’s Water System
John Wight
The Murder of Ali Saad Dawabsha, a Palestinian Infant Burned Alive by Israeli Terrorists
Jeffrey Blankfort
Leading Bibi’s Army in the War for Washington
Geoffrey McDonald
Obama’s Overtime Tweak: What is the Fair Price of a Missed Life?
Brian Cloughley
Hypocrisy, Obama-Style
Robert Fantina
Israeli Missteps Take a Toll
Pete Dolack
Speculators Circling Puerto Rico Latest Mode of Colonialism
Ron Jacobs
Spying on Black Writers: the FB Eye Blues
Paul Buhle
The Leftwing Seventies?
Binoy Kampmark
The TPP Trade Deal: of Sovereignty and Secrecy
David Swanson
Vietnam, Fifty Years After Defeating the US
Robert Hunziker
Human-Made Evolution
Shamus Cooke
Why Obama’s “Safe Zone” in Syria Will Inflame the War Zone
David Rosen
Hillary Clinton: Learn From Your Sisters
Sam Husseini
How #AllLivesMatter and #BlackLivesMatter Can Devalue Life
Shepherd Bliss
Why I Support Bernie Sanders for President
Louis Proyect
Manufacturing Denial
Howard Lisnoff
The Wrong Argument
Tracey Harris
Living Tiny: a Richer and More Sustainable Future
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
A Day of Tears: Report from the “sHell No!” Action in Portland
Tom Clifford
Guns of August: the Gulf War Revisited
Renee Lovelace
I Dream of Ghana
Colin Todhunter
GMOs: Where Does Science Begin and Lobbying End?
Ben Debney
Modern Newspeak Dictionary, pt. II
Christopher Brauchli
Guns Don’t Kill People, Immigrants Do and Other Congressional Words of Wisdom
S. Mubashir Noor
India’s UNSC Endgame
Ellen Taylor
The Voyage of the Golden Rule
Norman Ball
Ten Questions for Lee Drutman: Author of “The Business of America is Lobbying”
Franklin Lamb
Return to Ma’loula, Syria
Masturah Alatas
Six Critics in Search of an Author
Mark Hand
Cinéma Engagé: Filmmaker Chronicles Texas Fracking Wars
Mary Lou Singleton
Gender, Patriarchy, and All That Jazz
Patrick Hiller
The Icebreaker and #ShellNo: How Activists Determine the Course
Charles Larson
Tango Bends Its Gender: Carolina De Robertis’s “The Gods of Tango”