FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

The Truth of War’s Lies

by

I would do anything to save my child. I’d learn the language, read the books, delve into the mindset of the captors, cultivate a beard, if I could. Anything.

I walked fast down the busy street near my building, preoccupied with thoughts of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl and his parents. Encountering a mass of mostly young people waiting in front of a club, I zigzagged through the crowd and ran smack-dab into a memory: Times Square, May 2006.

I’d taken a bus from Highland Falls, NY after speaking on behalf of Gold Star Families for Peace at a rally to protest George Bush’s commencement address at the United States Military Academy that same afternoon. I returned at night and made my way home, walking the city blocks and negotiating the Manhattan energy field I miss so much.

That day at the end of May eight years ago, I stood before a group and gave the speech I thought George Bush should be delivering. I talked about the West Point honor code: “A cadet will not lie, cheat, or steal, or tolerate those who do” and then said, “Please break the code briefly and tolerate me as I apologize for my failures of mass proportion.”

Portraying Bush, I concluded with:

Today, I will turn myself in to be tried before a world court along with those in my administration who lied to sell this war. My co-defendants include members of congress who are still funding the war. Please forgive us all.

Of course, Bush was playing a part, performing his role of commander-in-chief, telling the cadets that we honor the dead by completing the mission. He closed his assignment that afternoon with, “This war began on my watch—but it’s going to end on your watch.”

Just three years before, Dick Cheney had said, “I’m confident that our troops will be successful, and I think it’ll go relatively quickly…Weeks rather than months.”

Same year, 2003, Richard Perle had said:

And a year from now, I’ll be very surprised if there is not some grand square in Baghdad that is named after President Bush. There is no doubt that, with the exception of a very small number of people close to a vicious regime, the people of Iraq have been liberated and they understand that they’ve been liberated. And it is getting easier every day for Iraqis to express that sense of liberation.

Six months after my Hudson Valley trip, the Democrats took control of both the House of Representatives and the Senate for the first time in a dozen years and I, along with my peace friends, celebrated, hoping war would end. I was disillusioned within months.

Finally, in December 2011, during the ninth year of the war, the U.S. completed its withdrawal of military personnel, but violence across Iraq continues with car bombings, assassinations, and suicide attacks. The invasion that was supposed to be a cakewalk is a catastrophe.

On May 28, 2014 Barack Obama spoke to the graduating class at West Point. He said, “I believe in American exceptionalism with every fiber of my being.” We know his fiber content. Know he once told his aides, “I’m really good at killing people”, referring to drone strikes.

We bear the shame of carnage, expanded drone warfare in Pakistan, Syria, Yemen, and Somalia.

Despite Joe Biden’s 2010 promise that “we’re going to be totally out of there, come hell or high water, by 2014”, Obama recently announced that 9,800 troops will remain in Afghanistan. The mission will continue through 2016. And so will the hell.

Now, back to Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl who sent an email to his parents on June 27, 2009. Here’s a portion:

I am sorry for everything here. These people need help, yet what they get is the most conceited country in the world telling them that they are nothing and that they are stupid … We don’t even care when we hear each other talk about running their children down in the dirt streets with our armored trucks … We make fun of them in front of their faces, and laugh at them for not understanding we are insulting them … I am sorry for everything. The horror that is america is disgusting.

Bill O’Reilly said on his show, “He [Bob Bergdahl, Bowe’s father] has learned to speak Pashto, the language of the Taliban, and looks like a Muslim.” Other “news” anchors have said Bob Bergdahl looks like a member of the Taliban.

When someone said something similar to me, that the mother’s appearance is normal but the father has that long beard and looks…, I completed the sentence with “Amish?”.

Bergdahl’s parents are receiving death threats from people who’ve judged their son to be a deserter, responsible for the deaths of fellow soldiers, instead of praising him as a man who saw the truth of war’s lies. Sad that Bowe Bergdahl may have been safer in captivity than at home in the exceptionally exceptional boiling pot of America.

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

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:
Weekend Edition
July 29, 2016
Friday - Sunday
Michael Hudson
Obama Said Hillary will Continue His Legacy and Indeed She Will!
Jeffrey St. Clair
She Stoops to Conquer: Notes From the Democratic Convention
Rob Urie
Long Live the Queen of Chaos
Ismael Hossein-Zadeh
Evolution of Capitalism, Escalation of Imperialism
Margot Kidder
My Fellow Americans: We Are Fools
Vijay Prashad
The Iraq War: a Story of Deceit
Chris Odinet
It Wasn’t Just the Baton Rouge Police Who Killed Alton Sterling
Brian Cloughley
Could Trump be Good for Peace?
Patrick Timmons
Racism, Freedom of Expression and the Prohibition of Guns at Universities in Texas
Gary Leupp
The Coming Crisis in U.S.-Turkey Relations
Pepe Escobar
Is War Inevitable in the South China Sea?
Norman Pollack
Clinton Incorruptible: An Ideological Contrivance
Robert Fantina
The Time for Third Parties is Now!
Andre Vltchek
Like Trump, Hitler Also Liked His “Small People”
Serge Halimi
Provoking Russia
Andrew Stewart
Countering The Nader Baiter Mythology
Rev. William Alberts
“Law and Order:” Code words for White Lives Matter Most
Ron Jacobs
Something Besides Politics for Summer’s End
David Swanson
It’s Not the Economy, Stupid
Erwan Castel
A Faith that Lifts Barricades: The Ukraine Government Bows and the Ultra-Nationalists are Furious
Steve Horn
Did Industry Ties Lead Democratic Party Platform Committee to Nix Fracking Ban?
Robert Fisk
How to Understand the Beheading of a French Priest
Colin Todhunter
Sugar-Coated Lies: How The Food Lobby Destroys Health In The EU
Franklin Lamb
“Don’t Cry For Us Syria … The Truth is We Shall Never Leave You!”
Caoimhghin Ó Croidheáin
The Artistic Representation of War and Peace, Politics and the Global Crisis
Frederick B. Hudson
Well Fed, Bill?
Harvey Wasserman
NY Times Pushes Nukes While Claiming Renewables Fail to Fight Climate Change
Elliot Sperber
Pseudo-Democracy, Reparations, and Actual Democracy
Uri Avnery
The Orange Man: Trump and the Middle East
Marjorie Cohn
The Content of Trump’s Character
Missy Comley Beattie
Pick Your Poison
Kathleen Wallace
Feel the About Turn
Joseph Grosso
Serving The Grid: Urban Planning in New York
John Repp
Real Cooperation with Nations Is the Best Survival Tactic
Binoy Kampmark
The Scourge of Youth Detention: The Northern Territory, Torture, and Australia’s Detention Disease
Kim Nicolini
Rain the Color Blue with a Little Red In It
Cesar Chelala
Gang Violence Rages Across Central America
Tom H. Hastings
Africa/America
Robert Koehler
Slavery, War and Presidential Politics
Charles R. Larson
Review: B. George’s “The Death of Rex Ndongo”
July 28, 2016
Paul Street
Politician Speak at the DNC
Jeffrey St. Clair
Night of the Hollow Men: Notes From the Democratic Convention
Renee Parsons
Blame It on the Russians
Herbert Dyer, Jr.
Is it the Cops or the Cameras? Putting Police Brutality in Historical Context
Russell Mokhiber
Dems Dropping the N Word: When in Trouble, Blame Ralph
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail