FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

The Standard

For several days, I’ve read, written, deleted, read more, written more, deleted. I confess. I don’t know exactly what the hell is going on in Iraq except that this War of Terror is an epic clusterfuck and that the US armed Syrian jihadis who now have entered Iraq to join Sunni extremists in slaughtering Shi’ites.

Perhaps that George Bush “Mission Accomplished” photo op was a celebratory slam-dunk to commemorate Middle East destabilization—a goal that was supposed to lead to another: neo-liberalizing Iraq.

On Friday, June 13, early afternoon, my brother Mark called. CNN’s Pamela Brown was interviewing Marine Staff Sargent Mitch Beeler who served with my nephew Chase (killed in Iraq on August 6, 2005) about the current Iraq situation. Pamela and Chase were friends, grew up together in Lexington, Kentucky, saying they’d marry someday.

Late Friday, Mark sent a link to the CNN video. After watching it, I lay awake, thinking of Chase’s death scene. Witnesses had told Mark that Chase was leading a convoy when a vehicle approached. Chase stood, aiming his rifle. Loaded with explosives, the vehicle slammed into Chase, blowing off his face. I closed my eyes and saw him, standing with his rifle, aimed at the driver that moved closer, closer, closer. I know Chase knew, had time to know he was going to die. And I couldn’t sleep.

It’s been almost nine years since Chase died. I think of him often, but not the way I did Friday night. Usually, I see the child, adorable and little-boy naughty. Never in that amphibious assault vehicle thousands of miles from home, because I don’t want to dwell on that, the choice he made to enlist, engaging in whatever he was trained to do, whatever, whatever, whatever. Whatever we know troops are trained to execute in dehumanizing another person and therefore dehumanizing themselves. I can’t bear to think about his death and what he was ordered to do in my name, in our names.

Many times when I lived in NYC, I took the train to Baltimore to either attend or speak at a DC peace rally. Mark called the evening before one of these, one at which I was scheduled to speak. He said an acquaintance, offering condolences, told him Chase died protecting his country. Mark responded, “No, Chase did not die protecting his country. The suicide bomber who killed Chase died protecting his country.” I knew this would be the bulk of my speech, brief yet powerful—my brother’s words spoken in painful truth.

These words are with me now, were with me on my morning run when I went out to sweat some anxiety but returned still carrying oppressive apprehension. I’ve heard the fear mongers, those predicting more attacks here at home, the jingoists, artful in frightening the public to juice up American nationalism. No acknowledgement from them about Iraqi sacrifice. No recognition that Saddam Hussein kept the balance; that the 2003 incursion and the dictator’s overthrow resulted in chaos. The mainstream media are complicit partners, interviewing not just the same bloodthirsty endorsers of violence but also veterans, like Staff Sargent Beeler who said we can’t allow a breeding ground for terrorism after we provided a safer environment, liberated women and children.

Again, I don’t understand exactly what’s happening, but it’s reported that there’s a new and meaner bin Laden, leader of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS or ISIL), Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, with a $10 million US bounty on his head. There always will be someone to scare us stupid, replacing the villain eliminated by a team of US special operatives after which Americans can chant, “USA! USA! USA!”

Earlier this week, I read that Obama’s deployed troops to Iraq and that more are on standby, combat ready.

It’s Wednesday night. The DC death dealers convened today to strategize. Despite calling Iranians “thugs and killers”, Lindsey Graham, who customarily errs on the side of aggression with Congressional thugs and killers, called for dialogue with Iran, diplomacy.

White House spokesperson Jay Carney said administration lawyers are examining the legal implications if Obama chooses military action and doesn’t seek Congressional approval.

Gen. Martin Dempsey said, “… anytime we use US military force, we use if for those things that are in our national interest. That’s the standard.” When asked if the US will honor Iraq’s request for air power, Dempsey said, “It is in our national security interest to counter ISIL wherever we find them.”

Insert: No surprise that Obama has announced the deployment of up to 300 military “advisers” to Iraq.

Years ago, Henry Kissinger said, “Military men are just dumb, stupid animals to be used as pawns in foreign policy.” My nephew was among the 4500 US pawns killed during use in Iraq, where millions of Iraqis have been murdered, maimed, or displaced by Empire. You know, for “those things that are in our national interest,” but actually, really, ultimately aren’t.

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

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

June 20, 2019
Robert Hunziker
The Dangerous Methane Mystery
David Schultz
The Intellectual Origins of the Trump Presidency and the Construction of Contemporary American Politics
Sabri Öncü
Thus Spoke the Bond Market
Gary Leupp
Japanese and German Doubts on U.S. Drumbeat Towards Iran War
Binoy Kampmark
The Fragility of Democracy: Hong Kong, China and the Extradition Bill
Doug Johnson
On the Morning Consult Poll, Margins of Error, and the Undecideds in the Democratic Primary
Laura Flanders
In Barcelona, Being a Fearless City Mayor Means Letting the People Decide
Martha Rosenberg
Humor: Stop These Language Abuses
Jim Goodman
Current Farm Crisis Offers Opportunity For Change
Kim C. Domenico
Lessons from D.H. : A Soul-based Anarchist Vision for Peace-making
Jesse Jackson
Mobilizing the Poor People’s Campaign
Wim Laven
We Need Evidence-Based Decision Making
Cesar Chelala
Health Consequences of Overwork
June 19, 2019
Matthew Stevenson
Requiem for a Lightweight: the Mayor Pete Factor
Kenneth Surin
In China Again
Stephen Cooper
Abolishing the Death Penalty Requires Morality
George Ochenski
The DNC Can’t Be Allowed to Ignore the Climate Crisis
John W. Whitehead
The Omnipresent Surveillance State
William Camacaro - Frederick B. Mills
Guaidó’s Star Fades as His Envoys to Colombia Allegedly Commit Fraud With Humanitarian Funds for Venezuela
Dave Lindorff
What About Venezuela’s Hacked Power Grid?
Howard Lisnoff
Try Not to Look Away
Binoy Kampmark
Matters of Water: Dubious Approvals and the Adani Carmichael Mine
Karl Grossman
The Battle to Stop the Shoreham Nuclear Plant, Revisited
Kani Xulam
Farting in a Turkish Mosque
Dean Baker
New Manufacturing Jobs are Not Union Jobs
Elizabeth Keyes
“I Can’t Believe Alcohol Is Stronger Than Love”
June 18, 2019
John McMurtry
Koch-Oil Big Lies and Ecocide Writ Large in Canada
Robert Fisk
Trump’s Evidence About Iran is “Dodgy” at Best
Yoav Litvin
Catch 2020 – Trump’s Authoritarian Endgame
Thomas Knapp
Opposition Research: It’s Not Trump’s Fault That Politics is a “Dirty” Game
Medea Benjamin - Nicolas J. S. Davies
U.S. Sanctions: Economic Sabotage that is Deadly, Illegal and Ineffective
Gary Leupp
Marx and Walking Zen
Thomas Hon Wing Polin
Color Revolution In Hong Kong: USA Vs. China
Howard Lisnoff
The False Prophets Cometh
Michael T. Klare
Bolton Wants to Fight Iran, But the Pentagon Has Its Sights on China
Steve Early
The Global Movement Against Gentrification
Dean Baker
The Wall Street Journal Doesn’t Like Rent Control
Tom Engelhardt
If Trump’s the Symptom, Then What’s the Disease?
June 17, 2019
Patrick Cockburn
The Dark Side of Brexit: Britain’s Ethnic Minorities Are Facing More and More Violence
Linn Washington Jr.
Remember the Vincennes? The US’s Long History of Provoking Iran
Geoff Dutton
Where the Wild Things Were: Abbey’s Road Revisited
Nick Licata
Did a Coverup of Who Caused Flint Michigan’s Contaminated Water Continue During Its Investigation? 
Binoy Kampmark
Julian Assange and the Scales of Justice: Exceptions, Extraditions and Politics
John Feffer
Democracy Faces a Global Crisis
Louisa Willcox
Revamping Grizzly Bear Recovery
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail