Something Quite Atrocious

I take the  Metro’s blue Line into DC from where I’m staying in Virginia.  Among the stops are the Pentagon and Pentagon City stations.  As the Metro rolls in to these, I see advertisements for military recruitment juxtaposed with a colorful  announcement of the Kennedy Center’s production of “Mary Poppins.”  Suddenly, the word supercalifragilisticexpialidocious is in my head, “even though the sound of it is something quite atrocious.”

But it’s not this word that’s atrocious;  it’s the wars, at home and abroad.  Wars against our environment, our working class, and against those who live in lands that are rich with the resources we covet.  It’s the breaking, entering, taking, and laying waste. It’s knowing that antiwar sentiment has risen, yet nothing has ended the wars. It’s hearing Barack Obama talk about “success” in Afghanistan.  It’s watching the tourists with their cameras and United States of America shirts and caps exit the train at the Arlington National Cemetery station where they’ll photograph the stone markers, each grave a failure of reason, failure of conflict resolution, of humanity, and of peace.

Nobody knows the number of civilians killed in the longest war in our nation’s history.

We don’t do body counts of the citizens who live in the countries our craven foreign policy destroys, but we know that, at least, 1,149 US troops are dead and many more than this have returned with traumatic brain injuries and PSTD.  Some will require a lifetime of care.

This is not “success.” Instead, “the sound of it is something quite atrocious.”

Atrocious, too, is the loss of rights in our country.  On Tuesday, when Peace of the Action (POTA) protested across from the White House, we were pushed back, far from the street where Benjamin Netanyahu’s motorcade was arriving.  Cindy Sheehan took the bullhorn and demanded that Obama arrest the war criminal. She, then, yelled for Netanyahu to arrest Obama for war crimes, followed with a request that the police enter the White House and arrest both Netanyahu and Obama.

Pushed back with us was a delegation of Orthodox Jews, present to protest Netanyahu.  They advocate the dismantling of the criminal state of Israel.  Their printed material says that they “hope and pray for a peaceful and speedy end to the Zionist state.  For more information, go to their websites: and

Despite the huge number–more than 2500 men–there was no mention of this action by the mainstream media.  Certainly, this is atrocious.

The day before, I had taken the bullhorn to ask Obama if we could use the Rose Garden for Cindy’s birthday party on Saturday.  “After all, you did tell us that your new residence is really the people’s house.”  Now, that would be pretty supercalifragilisticexpialidocious, and not atrocious, but there was no response, and that’s atrocious.

Today, Thursday, we assembled at Lafayette Park and walked a couple of blocks to the building that houses offices of General Atomics, manufacturers of unmanned aerial vehicles that, now, have killed an estimated 800 civilians in Afghanistan and Pakistan.  We hadn’t been on the sidewalk very long when the building’s security detail called 911.  Yes, that’s right–they actually dialed 911.  A police officer emerged from his cruiser to make sure we didn’t breach the peace.  Cindy used the bullhorn to let General Atomics, bringing incalculable  agony to so many, know that they are guilty of breaching the peace.  With their HELLFIRE MISSILES.  These breaches are “something quite atrocious.”

We members of POTA continue to demonstrate for a world without US imperialism, a world without war.  On Friday, we’ll be across from the White House at 9:00 AM for another action.  We work to end something atrocious. Our website is

Missy Beattie lives in Baltimore, Maryland.  Email her 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: