• Monthly
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $other
  • use PayPal

CounterPunch needs you. piggybank-icon You need us. The cost of keeping the site alive and running is growing fast, as more and more readers visit. We want you to stick around, but it eats up bandwidth and costs us a bundle. Help us reach our modest goal (we are half way there!) so we can keep CounterPunch going. Donate today!
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

The Arsonists in the West Wing

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

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

May 21, 2019
Jeremy Kuzmarov
Locked in a Cold War Time Warp
Roger Harris
Venezuela: Amnesty International in Service of Empire
Patrick Cockburn
Trump is Making the Same Mistakes in the Middle East the US Always Makes
Robert Hunziker
Custer’s Last Stand Meets Global Warming
Lance Olsen
Renewable Energy: the Switch From Drill, Baby, Drill to Mine, Baby, Mine
Dean Baker
Ady Barkan, the Fed and the Liberal Funder Industry
Manuel E. Yepe
Maduro Gives Trump a Lesson in Ethics and Morality
Jan Oberg
Trump’s Iran Trap
David D’Amato
What is Anarchism?
Nicky Reid
Trump’s War In Venezuela Could Be Che’s Revenge
Elliot Sperber
Springtime in New York
May 20, 2019
Richard Greeman
The Yellow Vests of France: Six Months of Struggle
Manuel García, Jr.
Abortion: White Panic Over Demographic Dilution?
Robert Fisk
From the Middle East to Northern Ireland, Western States are All Too Happy to Avoid Culpability for War Crimes
Tom Clifford
From the Gulf of Tonkin to the Persian Gulf
Chandra Muzaffar
Targeting Iran
Valerie Reynoso
The Violent History of the Venezuelan Opposition
Howard Lisnoff
They’re Just About Ready to Destroy Roe v. Wade
Eileen Appelbaum
Private Equity is a Driving Force Behind Devious Surprise Billings
Binoy Kampmark
Bob Hawke: Misunderstood in Memoriam
J.P. Linstroth
End of an era for ETA?: May Basque Peace Continue
Weekend Edition
May 17, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Melvin Goodman
Trump and the Middle East: a Long Record of Personal Failure
Joan Roelofs
“Get Your Endangered Species Off My Bombing Range!”
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Slouching Towards Tehran
Paul Street
It’s Even More Terrible Than You Thought
Rob Urie
Grabby Joe and the Problem of Environmental Decline
Ajamu Baraka
2020 Elections: It’s Militarism and the Military Budget Stupid!
Andrew Levine
Springtime for Biden and Democrats
Richard Moser
The Interlocking Crises: War and Climate Chaos
Ron Jacobs
Uncle Sam Needs Our Help Again?
Eric Draitser
Elizabeth Warren Was Smart to Tell FOX to Go to Hell
Peter Bolton
The Washington Post’s “Cartel of the Suns” Theory is the Latest Desperate Excuse for Why the Coup Attempt in Venezuela has Failed
Doug Johnson Hatlem
Analysis of Undecideds Suggests Biden’s Support May be Exaggerated
Peter Lackowski
Eyewitness in Venezuela: a 14-year Perspective
Karl Grossman
Can Jerry Nadler Take Down Trump?
Howie Hawkins
Does the Climate Movement Really Mean What It Says?
Gary Leupp
Bolton and the Road to the War He Wants
Jill Richardson
Climate Change was No Accident
Josh Hoxie
Debunking Myths About Wealth and Race
David Barsamian
Iran Notes
David Mattson
Social Carrying Capacity Politspeak Bamboozle
Christopher Brauchli
The Pompeo Smirk
Louis Proyect
Trotsky, Bukharin and the Eco-Modernists
Martha Burk
Will Burning at the Stake Come Next?
John W. Whitehead
The Deadly Perils of Traffic Stops in America
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail