FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

The Arsonists in the West Wing

by MISSY COMLEY BEATTIE

I am imagining Southern California. I am imagining Southern California because I have been watching and reading about the devastation via television news and newspaper articles. I have seen the flames, the smoke, and the tears. Eighteen hundred homes have been destroyed by fire, over a half-million acres have burned, soot and ash cover the landscape, more than a million people had to be evacuated, and the death count, now at 14, is expected to rise. Long after the homes are rebuilt, those affected may struggle with health problems from asbestos and other toxins.

In my imaginings, I have deliberated on the transience of possessions, security, good health, and life.

I am also imagining the mind of an arsonist. Five arsonists have been arrested for having started some of the wildfires.

It is unfathomable to grasp that anyone intentionally would cause so much damage-unfathomable and inexplicable, except by reason of insanity. Only someone demented, bereft of humanity, could commit acts that cause this suffering and heartbreak.

Now, shift to Iraq and consider the irony.

We don’t know the number of homes destroyed by the occupation of Iraq and our “smart bombs.” We do, however, know that at least 4 million people have left their homes in a desperate search for safety both within Iraq and in neighboring countries. We also know that as many as a million Iraqi civilians have been killed and injured. We occasionally see images of Iraqi children, some of whom have been maimed during this hellacious war. Yesterday, I saw a photograph of a child whose arm was a bloody stump. Of course, this was by way of the Internet. Our mainstream media occasionally report the deaths of Iraqi civilians but they don’t show the mourning or the returning to the scene. Iraqi grief is hidden.

Not only is Iraq a humanitarian calamity, the country also is an environmental catastrophe as a result of depleted uranium and toxins from burning oil wells. See “Iraq’s Environmental Crisis” by Jeffrey St. Clair and Joshua Frank, CounterPunch, October 25th.

Back, again, to Southern California where George Bush toured the fire ravaged neighborhoods on Thursday. He spoke encouragement to residents, “We’re not going to forget you in Washington, D.C.” He signed a major disaster declaration on Wednesday to help homeowners who aren’t protected by insurance.

Iraq is the personal major disaster of George Bush and Dick Cheney. Both have forgotten the people there. Neither mentions the casualties or the cataclysmic destruction of a civilization. Instead, they chastise the Iraqi police and military for not “stepping up” so that our troops can “step down.”

George Bush and Dick Cheney are arsonists. And they are aided and abetted by the arsonists in Congress. They struck the match to start the conflagration in Iraq and continue fanning the flames of war, endless war that may end us all.

Missy Beattie lives in New York City. She’s written for National Public Radio and Nashville Life Magazine. An outspoken critic of the Bush Administration and the war in Iraq, she’s a member of Gold Star Families for Peace. She completed a novel last year, but since the death of her nephew, Marine Lance Cpl. Chase J. Comley, in Iraq on August 6,’05, she has been writing political articles. She can be reached at: Missybeat@aol.com

 

 

 

More articles by:

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

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

Weekend Edition
June 23, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Jeffrey St. Clair
Democrats in the Dead Zone
Gary Leupp
Trump, Qatar and the Danger of Total Confusion
Andrew Levine
The “Democracies” We Deserve
Jeffrey St. Clair - Joshua Frank
The FBI’s “Operation Backfire” and the Case of Briana Waters
Rob Urie
Cannibal Corpse
Joseph G. Ramsey
Savage Calculations: On the Exoneration of Philando Castille’s killer
John Wight
Trump’s Attack on Cuba
Dave Lindorff
We Need a Mass Movement to Demand Radical Progressive Change
Brian Cloughley
Moving Closer to Doom
David Rosen
The Sex Offender: the 21st Century Witch
John Feffer
All Signs Point to Trump’s Coming War With Iran
Jennifer L. Lieberman
What’s Really New About the Gig Economy?
Pete Dolack
Analyzing the Failures of Syriza
Vijay Prashad
The Russian Nexus
Mike Whitney
Putin Tries to Avoid a Wider War With the US
Gregory Barrett
“Realpolitik” in Berlin: Merkel Fawns Over Kissinger
Louis Yako
The Road to Understanding Syria Goes Through Iraq
Graham Peebles
Grenfell Tower: A Disaster Waiting to Happen
Ezra Rosser
The Poverty State of Mind and the State’s Obligations to the Poor
Ron Jacobs
Andrew Jackson and the American Psyche
Pepe Escobar
Fear and Loathing on the Afghan Silk Road
Andre Vltchek
Why I Reject Western Courts and Justice
Lawrence Davidson
On Hidden Cultural Corruptors
Christopher Brauchli
The Routinization of Mass Shootings in America
Missy Comley Beattie
The Poor Need Not Apply
Martin Billheimer
White Man’s Country and the Iron Room
Joseph Natoli
What to Wonder Now
Tom Clifford
Hong Kong: the Chinese Meant Business
Thomas Knapp
The Castile Doctrine: Cops Without Consequences
Nyla Ali Khan
Borders Versus Memory
Binoy Kampmark
Death on the Road: Memory in Tim Winton’s Shrine
Sam Pizzigati
Companies Can Either Make Things or Make CEOs Rich
Tony McKenna
The Oily Politics of Unity: Owen Smith as Northern Ireland Shadow Secretary
Nizar Visram
If North Korea Didn’t Exist US Would Create It
John Carroll Md
At St. Catherine’s Hospital, Cite Soleil, Haiti
Paul C. Bermanzohn
Trump: the Birth of the Hero
Jill Richardson
Trump on Cuba: If Obama Did It, It’s Bad
Olivia Alperstein
Our President’s Word Wars
REZA FIYOUZAT
Useless Idiots or Useful Collaborators?
Clark T. Scott
Parallel in Significance
Louis Proyect
Hitler and the Lone Wolf Assassin
Julian Vigo
Theresa May Can’t Win for Losing
Richard Klin
Prog Rock: Pomp and Circumstance
Charles R. Larson
Review: Malin Persson Giolito’s “Quicksand”
David Yearsley
RIP: Pomp and Circumstance
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail