FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Boston and Baghdad

by

Greater Boston and its citizens are the focus of media attention in recognition of the first anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombings that took three innocent lives and injured over 264 people, some of them severely. City leaders praised the heroism of the first responders and the deepened community spirit (“Boston Strong”). Addressing 2,500 invited Bostonians, including the bereaved families, Vice President Biden said “You have become the face of America’s resolve, not unlike what happened in 9/11…for the whole world to see. People know all about you. They know your pride, they know your courage, they know your resolve, they know who you are.”

There followed a procession down Boylston Street with bagpipers playing.

Meanwhile six thousand miles away in Iraq, there are terror bombings of innocent civilians almost every day. A sample:

On April 9, 2014, the New York Times reported that “The Iraqi capital, Baghdad, experienced a series of violent attacks on Wednesday when eight car bombs and two mortar shells killed as many as 25 people.”

On March 27, 2014, the Times reported that “A series of bombings in Baghdad killed at least 33 people and wounded dozens.” A 7 year old boy told his dad that he “had heard so many explosions that he could distinguish the different kinds of bombs.”

On March 9, 2014, the Times reported that a suicide bomber killed at least 45 people and wounded more than 100. A college student in the hospital remarked “my legs were no longer there.”

On March 6, 2014, the Times reported on bombings taking the lives of at least 30 shoppers and workers at public markets.

Such civilian deaths totaled 9,571 last year, according to the reliable group Iraq Body Count.

All this carnage, following the destruction of Iraq by George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, and the aftermath, is occurring in a country less than one twenty-third the size of the United States with less than one ninth the population, and far fewer emergency and hospital facilities.

And this bloodshed is happening almost every day over much of their torn apart country. Iraqis know this will continue to happen in the coming days and weeks with no foreseeable end. There is no annual commemoration to mark their losses. Their memories of loved ones are blurred by constant fear of what was and what comes, day after day due to violence, hunger, poverty, disease-bearing contaminated water, the collapse of critical public services from electricity to health care to safety. This has resulted in the flight of more desperate people out of Iraq.

Flash back to March 2003, when the fabrications, secret cover-ups and propaganda of the Bush/Cheney regime led to the illegal, unconstitutional invasion of Iraq. Under the tottering dictatorship of Washington’s former ally, Saddam Hussein, who presided over a poorly equipped army, unwilling and unable to fight, and was surrounded by three far more powerful neighbors should Hussein have made a menacing regional move. Iraq was no threat to the U.S., had no weapons of mass destruction, and was the mortal enemy of al-Qaeda.

Nonetheless, George W. Bush – of the self-styled “kick-ass” Bush clan – dispatched “shock and awe” against a defenseless population and replaced the dictator, Hussein, with brutal warfare, death squads and sectarian conflict, which has resulted in over a million lives lost, and millions of refugees (many of them children), amounting to a sociocide in that ancient land.

When President Bush’s chief anti-terrorism adviser, Richard Clarke, left the White House in 2003, he wrote in his memoirs that Mr. Bush’s invasion of Iraq was exactly what Osama bin Laden wanted to happen. Al-Qaeda did not have any presence in Iraq before the invasion, but the group is now wreaking havoc there, along with other affiliates in other countries due to Bush’s blundering. The U.S.’s empire-building both attacks and alienates local civilian populations, produces U.S. and foreign casualties and drains immense U.S. tax dollars needed here to rebuild our country.

History is cause and effect. Continuation of an Empire’s proclivity to wage war and regularly use force as a foreign policy will produce more far-reaching blowbacks. Waging peace, preventing conflict through diplomacy driven by justice – that great instrument of peace – has become an afterthought in Washington, D.C.

“Boston Strong” can be more than looking back on a tragedy with a stiff upper lip. It can nourish, from the cradle of the American Revolution, a rising sensitivity that tyranny abroad is a Washington export that defies our constitution and the better instincts of the people who stand against foreign wars for oil and an aggressive Empire unrelated to legitimate national defense.

Our collective compassion is helped by the development of fact-based empathy. That horrible tragedy at the Boston Marathon last year can lead to a constructive rapport with the Iraqi people who have suffered at the hands of the Bush/Cheney government and the lethal forces which the vicious invasion put in motion.

Ralph Nader is a consumer advocate, lawyer and author of Only the Super-Rich Can Save Us! He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion, published by AK Press. Hopeless is also available in a Kindle edition.

Ralph Nader is a consumer advocate, lawyer and author of Only the Super-Rich Can Save Us! 

Weekend Edition
April 29-31, 2016
Andrew Levine
What is the Democratic Party Good For? Absolutely Nothing
Roberto J. González – David Price
Anthropologists Marshalling History: the American Anthropological Association’s Vote on the Academic Boycott of Israeli Institutions
Robert Jacobs
Hanford, Not Fukushima, is the Big Radiological Threat to the West Coast
Ismael Hossein-Zadeh
US Presidential Election: Beyond Lesser Evilism
Richard Falk
If Obama Visits Hiroshima
Ian Fairlie
Chernobyl’s Ongoing Toll: 40,000 More Cancer Deaths?
Vijay Prashad
Political Violence in Honduras
Margaret Kimberley
Dishonoring Harriet Tubman
Deepak Tripathi
The United States, Britain and the European Union
Eva Golinger
My Country, My Love: a Conversation with Gerardo and Adriana of the Cuban Five
Moshe Adler
May Day: a Trade Agreement to Unite Third World and American Workers
Paul Krane
Where Gun Control Ought to Start: Disarming the Police
Pete Dolack
Verizon Sticks it to its Workers Because $45 Billion isn’t Enough
Pat Williams
FDR in Montana
Dave Marsh
Every Day I Read the Book
David Rosen
Job Satisfaction Under Perpetual Stagnation
John Feffer
Big Oil isn’t Going Down Without a Fight
Murray Dobbin
The Canadian / Saudi Arms Deal: More Than Meets the Eye?
Gary Engler
The Devil Capitalism
Brian Cloughley
Is Washington Preparing for War Against Russia
Manuel E. Yepe
The Big Lies and the Small Lies
Dave Lindorff
The Push to Make Sanders the Green Party’s Candidate
Robert Fantina
Vice Presidents, Candidates and History
Mel Gurtov
Sanctions and Defiance in North Korea
Howard Lisnoff
Still the Litmus Test of Worth
Dean Baker
Big Business and the Overtime Rule: Irrational Complaints
Ulrich Heyden
Crimea as a Paradise for High-Class Tourism?
Ramzy Baroud
Did the Arabs Betray Palestine? – A Schism between the Ruling Classes and the Wider Society
Halyna Mokrushyna
The War on Ukrainian Scientists
Joseph Natoli
Who’s the Better Neoliberal?
Ron Jacobs
The Battle at Big Brown: Joe Allen’s The Package King
Wahid Azal
Class Struggle and Westoxication in Pahlavi Iran: a Review of the Iranian Series ‘Shahrzad’
Alice Donovan
Cyberwarfare: Challenge of Tomorrow
David Crisp
After All These Years, Newspapers Still Needed
Graham Peebles
Hungry and Frightened: Famine in Ethiopia 2016
Robert Koehler
Opening the Closed Political Culture
Missy Comley Beattie
Waves of Nostalgia
Thomas Knapp
The Problem with Donald Trump’s Version of “America First”
Jeffrey St. Clair
Groove on the Tracks: the Magic Left Hand of Red Garland
Ben Debney
Kush Zombies: QELD’s Hat Tip to Old School Hip Hop
Charles R. Larson
Moby Dick on Steroids?
April 28, 2016
Miguel A. Cruz Díaz
Puerto Rico: a Junta By Any Other Name
Alfredo Lopez
Where the Bern is Fizzling: Why Sanders Can’t Win the Support of People of Color
Peter Linebaugh
The Commons and the Centennial of the Easter Rising
Dan Arel
What Next? Can the #Movement4Bernie Accomplish Anything?
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail