Still Waiting for Change

A few months ago, I received an e-mail response to an article I’d written in which I called for an end to the occupation of Iraq, Afghanistan, and Palestinian territory. The e-mailer asked how I could expect people to think or care about any of this when our economy has resulted in joblessness, home foreclosures, loss of health care, and poverty.

Certainly, I understand that We the People are outraged and that many are desperate. Because our government is reaching deeper and deeper into our pockets to shore up the mammoth establishments whose bonus pools are reflecting pools of corporate greed and corruption.

Still, we can’t allow the economic tsunami to submerge the humanitarian crises we’ve created with our conquest-oriented foreign policy.

Over seven years ago, we began the demolition of Afghanistan. This occupation continues. Six years ago, we shocked and awed Iraq. Considered a success story by Dick Cheney, the invasion has left the country a bloody, chaotic mess, where more than a million civilians have died. This occupation continues.

The president who promised change has amplified the Bush/Cheney agenda by including even more of the Middle East in his definition of the “right war.” Many troops will leave Iraq, but up to 50,000 may remain for an unknown period. Seventeen thousand will be added in Afghanistan. Areas of Pakistan are in our crosshairs as drones seek al-Qaeda targets and incinerate civilians.

And then there’s the question of Palestine, the pivotal issue in our foreign-policy debacles. Our support for Israel’s war crimes against Palestinians is one of the reasons our commercial airplanes were weaponized on September 11, 2001.

Will we remain indifferent to the suffering of those who are labeled “the enemy” by our Zionist “friends” in Israel? Unfortunately, too many of us will.

But “God bless America.”

Perhaps if our mainstream media delivered news of Palestinian casualties in Gaza, killed by Israel Defense Forces, we would be horrified and ashamed. Three thousand Palestinian civilians died near the end of the Bush Administration. Many were children. Why don’t Wolf, Rachel, Shep, and any of the other news-actors report this or the civilian casualties in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan? Why is information about our own “coalition” troop deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan shunted to the looping crawl?

One hundred and four coalition military men and women have died in 2009.

If you think our “Tent Cities” are where you’d least like to live, imagine being carpet bombed or having to comfort your children in the midst of military attacks with DIME, a dense, inert metal explosive containing tungsten, which was recently used on Palestinians in Gaza, or weapons with DNA-damaging white phosphorous.

Compassion may not be your thing right now because your personal situation is grim, but, at least, be aware that the US, using tax dollars, will give Israel $30 billion in military aid over the next ten years. Yes, that’s right. Thirty billion dollars.

However, if your anguish has made you more aware of the wretched existence of others, please understand that this huge sum of taxpayer money will be spent to sustain the military occupation of Gaza, East Jerusalem, and the Palestinian West Bank and on US-made weapons for use against the people of Palestine.

By slicing military spending and ending the conflicts that devastate humanity and inspire hatred, we could begin to mend some of the damage perpetrated by the Bush/Cheney reign of human rights abuses. We have lost so much during the last eight years. Sure, Barack Obama has veered from Bush on some important social issues. It appears, though, that he is choosing the Bush/Cheney predatory foreign policy path, moving us closer to not just financial collapse but to moral bankruptcy as well.

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:


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: