FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

The Illness of Victors

by KATHY KELLY

I suppose I’m more prepared than most of my companions for the grueling roar of warplanes, the thuds that threaten eardrums, the noise of antiaircraft and exploding “massive ordnance.” Compared to average Iraqis my age, I’ve tasted only a small portion of war, but I’m not a complete stranger, having spent nights under bombardment here in Iraq during the 1991 Gulf War, in Sarajevo in 1992, in the 1998 Desert Fox bombing, and last spring in the Jenin camp on the West Bank. I feel passionately prepared to insist that war is never an answer. But nothing can prepare me or anyone else for what we could possibly say to the children who will suffer in the days and nights ahead. What can you say to a child who is traumatized, or maimed, or orphaned, or dying? Perhaps only the words we’ve murmured over and over at the bedsides of dying children in Iraqi hospitals. “I’m sorry. I’m so very sorry.”

One of my fondest childhood memories is that of holding my baby brother, Jerry, and pointing his gaze toward a beautiful sunset. I wanted him to feel the awe I felt. I was a pious child, capable of great awe when genuflecting before the candle lit altar in our neighborhood church. Now the world’s greatest killing machine perversely appropriates the preserve of sacred awe as a sick smokescreen for inflicting terror.

Readying for the “Shock and Awe” coming our way, I’ve turned to David Dellinger’s accounts of travel in North Viet Nam when the US was strafing villages, mutilating civilians, and burning the earth. My beloved Karl says that Dellinger may be one of the finest human beings that has ever walked on our planet. I agree. Dellinger hated to see “just normal people” suffering from the illness of getting “pleasure” by harming people. It isn’t just the suffering of the victims that upsets him, but also the illness of the victors. We must labor to cure that illness. It’s a sad and tragic irony that on the eve of warfare we can presume that today may be the last day of the cruel, perverse sanctions regime. We had to starve you so that we could stop bombing you. Now we’ll bomb you so that we can stop starving you. Was that the logic of nearly thirteen years of an abysmally failed policy?

“Embedded media” traveling with US troops will no doubt show footage of Iraqis celebrating release from a brutally repressive regime, of horrible weapons caches discovered by advancing US troops. Years of murderous suffering preceding and following the “Shock and Awe” operation aren’t likely to preoccupy the victors whose illness goes undiagnosed in their antiseptic think tank settings.

But the momentum, globally, for curing the warlords, has grown substantially during this dramatic and critical time. “Ring the bell that still can ring. Forget your perfect offering,” croons Leonard Cohen in his song, “Anthem.” “There is a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in. That’s how the light gets in.”

KATHY KELLY is co-coordinator of Voices in the Wilderness and the Iraq Peace Team, a group of international peaceworkers pledging to remain in Iraq through a US bombing and invasion, in order to be a voice for the Iraqi people in the West. The Iraq Peace Team can be reached at info@vitw.org

 

More articles by:

KATHY KELLY co-coordinates Voices for Creative Nonviolence and has worked closely with the Afghan Youth Peace Volunteers. She is the author of Other Lands Have Dreams published by CounterPunch / AK Press. She can be reached at: Kathy@vcnv.org 

February 22, 2018
Mark Schuller
Haiti’s Latest Indignity at the Hands of Dogooders, Oxfam’s Sex Scandal
Jeffrey Sommers
Bond Villain in the World Economy: Latvia’s Offshore Banking Sector
Mark Schuller
Haiti’s Latest Indignity at the Hands of Dogooders, Oxfam’s Sex Scandal
T.J. Coles
How the US Bullies North Korea, 1945-Present
Ipek S. Burnett
Rethinking Freedom in the Era of Mass Shootings
Manuel E. Yepe
Fire and Fury: More Than a Publishing Hit
Patrick Bobilin
Caught in a Trap: Being a Latino Democrat is Being in an Abusive Relationship
Laurel Krause
From Kent State to Parkland High: Will America Ever Learn?
Terry Simons
Congress and the AR-15: One NRA Stooge Too Many
George Wuerthner
Border Wall Delusions
Manuel García, Jr.
The Anthropocene’s Birthday, or the Birth-Year of Human-Accelerated Climate Change
Thomas Knapp
Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Russiagate
February 21, 2018
Cecil Bothwell
Billy Graham and the Gospel of Fear
Ajamu Baraka
Venezuela: Revenge of the Mad-Dog Empire
Edward Hunt
Treating North Korea Rough
Binoy Kampmark
Meddling for Empire: the CIA Comes Clean
Ron Jacobs
Stamping Out Hunger
Ammar Kourany – Martha Myers
So, You Think You Are My Partner? International NGOs and National NGOs, Costs of Asymmetrical Relationships
Michael Welton
1980s: From Star Wars to the End of the Cold War
Judith Deutsch
Finkelstein on Gaza: Who or What Has a Right to Exist? 
Kevin Zeese - Margaret Flowers
War Preparations on Venezuela as Election Nears
Wilfred Burchett
Vietnam Will Win: Military Realities
Steve Early
Refinery Safety Campaign Frays Blue-Green Alliance
Ali Mohsin
Muslims Face Increasing Discrimination, State Surveillance Under Trump
Julian Vigo
UK Mass Digital Surveillance Regime Ruled Illegal
Peter Crowley
Revisiting ‘Make America Great Again’
Andrew Stewart
Black Panther: Afrofuturism Gets a Superb Film, Marvel Grows Up and I Don’t Know How to Review It
CounterPunch News Service
A Call to Celebrate 2018 as the Year of William Edward Burghardt Du Bois by the Saturday Free School
February 20, 2018
Nick Pemberton
The Gun Violence the Media Shows Us and the State Violence They Don’t
John Eskow
Sympathy for the Drivel: On the Vocabulary of President Nitwit
John Steppling
Trump, Putin, and Nikolas Cruz Walk Into a Bar…
John W. Whitehead
America’s Cult of Violence Turns Deadly
Ishmael Reed
Charles F. Harris: He Popularized Black History
Will Podmore
Paying the Price: the TUC and Brexit
George Burchett
Plumpes Denken: Crude thinking
Binoy Kampmark
The Caring Profession: Peacekeeping, Blue Helmets and Sexual Abuse
Lawrence Wittner
The Trump Administration’s War on Workers
David Swanson
The Question of Sanctions: South Africa and Palestine
Walter Clemens
Murderers in High Places
Dean Baker
How Does the Washington Post Know that Trump’s Plan Really “Aims” to Pump $1.5 Trillion Into Infrastructure Projects?
February 19, 2018
Rob Urie
Mueller, Russia and Oil Politics
Richard Moser
Mueller the Politician
Robert Hunziker
There Is No Time Left
Nino Pagliccia
Venezuela Decides to Hold Presidential Elections, the Opposition Chooses to Boycott Democracy
Daniel Warner
Parkland Florida: Revisiting Michael Fields
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail