FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Obama’s War Desk

Mr. Obama’s war desk is heavy with burdensome issues concerning Syria.  Given three minutes of his time I would share the following prospective – of which his advisors are ill-informed; that of a little girl and a soldier.

The choreographed chaos in our tent hospital in Iraq that evening of mid-March 2007 was ordinary – but I will never forget two patients; a little Iraqi girl and an American soldier.

The day prior, Nora was a happy, sweet child of nine. This night she was utterly bewildered, having just arrived via CH-47 helicopter with scores of other patients. She was disoriented by the blast, the loss of family, the arrival at a U.S. hospital, and the foreign language. I could see her eyes pleading to make some sense of the slaughter around her.

With the aid of an interpreter I was able to sit and talk with Nora and briefly hold her trembling hand, stained with her mother’s blood. Her hearing dimmed by the blast, her face smudged with bomb residue and tears, she was able to say little – the basic facts laid bare her family’s destruction.

Her father and two brothers were killed in the attack that targeted U.S. soldiers in Baqubah – the capital of Diyala province. Nora’s mother was severely wounded by the blast; she suffered broken bones, an amputated limb, burns, vascular and neurological damage.

Many soldiers were also killed and wounded that night. The soldier foremost in my mind was recruiting-poster-perfect – young, handsome and athletic. But this night both of his arms were traumatically amputated by the same blast that tore through Nora’s life. He was alert and acutely aware of his condition; we know this from his desperate pleading for doctors to let him die.

A decade following the U.S. invasion, Nora would be 15 – if alive. One wonders what legacy she will pass on to the next generation. Will her voice fuel Islamist jihad or that of reconciliation? Regardless, the U.S. has much to atone for in this region before true healing can start.

Today the President contemplates capricious endeavors across the globe; the legislative branch – in their blindness to the suffering – stumbles over themselves to fund unneeded weapon systems and redundant bases; and the Pentagon calculates hubristic options that discount the value of foreign lives.

We would do well to reflect on Voltaire’s observation that, “It is forbidden to kill; therefore all murderers are punished unless they kill in large numbers and to the sound of trumpets.” Am I alone in thinking that if this is the path we continue to choose, we will remain a nation sick at heart?

Perhaps if we nurture empathy for these victims of war – and human suffering outside our borders – we would more cautiously contemplate our military exploits.

Dave Lannen resides in Traverse City, Michigan and is a member of Veterans For Peace, and  served 21 months in combat hospitals in Iraq and Afghanistan.

 

More articles by:

November 12, 2018
Kerron Ó Luain
Poppy Fascism and the English Education System
Conn Hallinan
Nuclear Treaties: Unwrapping Armageddon
Robert Hunziker
Tropical Trump Declares War on Amazonia
John W. Whitehead
Badge of Shame: the Government’s War on Military Veterans
Will Griffin
Military “Service” Serves the Ruling Class
John Eskow
Harold Pinter’s America: Hard Truths and Easy Targets
Rob Okun
Activists Looking Beyond Midterm Elections
Binoy Kampmark
Mid-Term Divisions: The Trump Take
Dean Baker
Short-Term Health Insurance Plans Destroy Insurance Pools
George Wuerthner
Saving the Buffalohorn/Porcupine: the Lamar Valley of the Gallatin Range
Patrick Howlett-Martin
A Note on the Paris Peace Forum
Joseph G. Ramsey
Does America Have a “Gun Problem”…Or a White Supremacy Capitalist Empire Problem?
Weekend Edition
November 09, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Louis Proyect
Why Democrats Are So Okay With Losing
Andrew Levine
What Now?
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Chuck and Nancy’s House of Cards
Brian Cloughley
The Malevolent Hypocrisy of Selective Sanctions
Marc Levy
Welcome, Class of ‘70
David Archuleta Jr.
Facebook Allows Governments to Decide What to Censor
Evaggelos Vallianatos
The Zika Scare: a Political and Commercial Maneuver of the Chemical Poisons Industry
Nick Pemberton
When It Comes To Stone Throwing, Democrats Live In A Glass House
Ron Jacobs
Impeach!
Lawrence Davidson
A Tale of Two Massacres
José Tirado
A World Off Balance
Jonah Raskin
Something Has Gone Very Wrong: An Interview With Ecuadoran Author Gabriela Alemán
J.P. Linstroth
Myths on Race and Invasion of the ‘Caravan Horde’
Dean Baker
Good News, the Stock Market is Plunging: Thoughts on Wealth
David Rosen
It’s Time to Decriminalize Sex Work
Dan Glazebrook
US Calls for a Yemen Ceasefire is a Cynical Piece of Political Theatre
Jérôme Duval
Forced Marriage Between Argentina and the IMF Turns into a Fiasco
Jill Richardson
Getting Past Gingrich
Dave Lindorff
Not a Blue Wave, But Perhaps a Foreshock
Martha Rosenberg
Dangerous, Expensive Drugs Aggressively Pushed? You Have These Medical Conflicts of Interest to Thank
Will Solomon
Not Much of a Wave
Nicolas J S Davies
Why Yemeni War Deaths are Five Times Higher Than You’ve Been Led to Believe
Jim Goodman
We call BS! Now, Will You Please Get Over This Partisanship?
Josh Hoxie
How Aristocracies are Born
Faisal Khan
The Weaponization of Social Media
James Munson
The Left Has Better Things to Do Than Watch Liberals Scratch Their Heads
Kenneth Culton
The Political Is Personal
Graham Peebles
Fracking in the UK
Alycee Lane
The Colonial Logic of Geoengineering’s “Last Resort”
Kevin Basl
How Veterans Changed the Military and Rebuilt the Middle Class
Thomas Knapp
Election 2018: The More Things Don’t Change, the More They Stay the Same
Gary Leupp
Europe and Secondary Iran Sanctions: Where Do We Go Now?
Saurav Sarkar
An Honest Look at Poverty in the Heartland
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail