Real Cost of War

What war does to people and nations. 'Cost' is much more than a monetary valuation. War really costs most of us our Humanity!

Thursday, April 28, 2005
On this day:

What does it do to soldiers and civilians?

Combat situations tend to turn ordinary men and women into brutes!

They are put into a situation where they are under constant threat, when not actually being fired at by the opposing forces, of injury or death. They are also barraged by their superior officers and NCO's with the concept that their 'enemy' is sub-human and unworthy even of any right to existence. This fits in well in their current fear-based thinking mode to allow for them to destroy the 'enemy' without mercy - so as to preserve their own lives and that of their companions.

If, in addition, the 'policy' coming down from the 'top' not only condones, but encourages, torture and indiscriminate killing of anyone who dares oppose them in any way, or who even happens to be anywhere near where the troops are in an area, things get much worse for the 'enemy' population.

This tends to make them rather brutal under any circumstances and leads to the following behavior:

From Signs of the Times:

Amnesty International: Torture and Abuse Continue In Iraq
April 28, 2005

AMNESTY International blasted the United States today for failing to launch an independent probe into Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison scandal, a year after images of abused detainees first shocked the world.

The London-based human rights organisation also condemned signs of fresh torture and sexual abuse in the country by the Iraqi prison authorities.

"People around the world will be recalling the horrific images they saw a year ago and wondering what happened to those prisoners," said Amnesty secretary general Irene Khan, noting that only a handful of low-ranking US soldiers had been prosecuted or disciplined over the outrage.

"But what was the role of those higher up, including, for example, the US secretary of defence?" she said, referring to Donald Rumsfeld.

A year after the dramatic revelations of sexual and physical abuse at the prison on Baghdad's western outskirts were leaked to the media, only five of seven US guards have been punished.

The senior commander of the US military in Iraq at the time of the scandal, Lieutenant General Ricardo Sanchez, was cleared on Saturday of any wrongdoing by a US military probe.

"The US government must set up an independent inquiry into all aspects of the USA's 'war on terror' detention and interrogation practices," said Ms Khan.

Torture was unacceptable and any government taking part in such abuse destroyed the values that it claimed to protect, she said.

"When a major power like the USA resorts to torture or ill-treatment, other countries may see a green light to follow suit," said Ms Khan in a statement.

The US-led invasion of Iraq was designed to end the suffering inflicted by former dictator Saddam Hussein on his people, but instead has led to new reports of torture carried out by the post-Saddam Iraqi security forces, Amnesty said.

In February, three men died in custody after being arrested at a police checkpoint, the rights body said.

The bodies "were found three days later, bearing clear marks of torture from beatings and electric shocks", it said.

The rights group also spoke about cases of torture carried out at Iraq's interior ministry and claimed that the US authorities were aware of them.

It cited one former prisoner, Ali Safar al-Bawy - an Iraqi resident in Sweden - describing how he was given an electric shock while held captive for three weeks in July last year. The man also alleged that a child prisoner had been sexually abused by Iraqi guards.

Amnesty International called for the anniversary of the publication of the photographs from Abu Ghraib "to be marked by the strongest condemnation of all forms of torture by the US and Iraqi governments".

"One year on, the US authorities must establish an independent investigation into the abuses and bring the perpetrators to justice."

Tuesday, April 26, 2005
On this day:

Where are your kids headed?

War is not only costing us in 'dollars' but in real human tragedy - both of our own men and women in uniform and the many, many people of other countries.

I think the majority of 'Americans' of the US variety tend to discount people of other countries with different customs, cultures and religious beliefs as equal in value to themselves. This appears to me to be a totally ego-centric view of the world. Why is one 'life' more valuable than that of any other?

For those of you who will soon be entering military service or have children who will be or are in service, or even those who have been in the military the following article seems to explain fairly clearly what hazards you or your loved ones are going to be exposed to by those in powerful positions who care not one whit about the health and well-being of not only the victims of all the invasions they have undertaken, but thier own countymen and countrywomen who are naively doing the bidding of these people and becoming ill or dying for their trouble.

This article was posted at the Signs of the Times

By Sheila Samples

The empire of the Romans filled the world, and when that empire fell into the hands of a single person, the world became a safe and dreary prison for his enemies. The slave of Imperial despotism . . . expected his fate in silent despair. To resist was fatal, and it was impossible to fly. On every side he was encompassed with a vast extent of sea and land, which he could never hope to traverse without being discovered, seized, and restored to his irritated master. Beyond the frontiers, his anxious view could discover nothing, except the ocean, inhospitable deserts, hostile tribes of barbarians of fierce manners and unknown language. . . "Wherever you are," said Cicero to the exiled Marcellus, "remember that you are equally within the power of the conqueror." ~~Historian Edward Gibbon

My dad always responded to anything that was patently obvious with, "Well, yea-ah. Anybody with half sense and one eye knows that," which was his way of saying don't go with the flow, but look at facts and come to your own conclusions. He also said, "If you're determined to show your ass, make sure it's a clean 'un," or -- get those facts straight before you jump out there and start concluding...

Well, I've looked at heaps and piles of facts about what the deranged leaders of this nation are willing to do to the men and women who wear the US military uniform, and I've come to two conclusions. This country's most expendable commodity is its children and, with few exceptions, Americans appear to be both senseless and blind.

Give Us Your Young, Your Poor...

Of course there's going to be a draft, if for no other reason than George Bush has steadfastly promised there wouldn't be one.

They're coming after our children -- sweeping them all up -- bullying them at schools, stalking them, offering them big bucks to join the military. And there's no one to stop them. Servile Americans, even those who can still see, feel helpless. When faced with the decision to stand up and speak up, or give up their children, they are bombarded from all sides with strident demands for patriotism so, like their counterparts of empirical Rome, Americans await their fate -- their children's fate -- in silent despair.

There is nowhere to hide -- no one to turn to. The mainstream media has dropped all pretense of objectivity and has become a worthless tool of the state. The media's once envied "public service" to the people has become little more than applauding each new atrocity of this warmongering administration in the hopes of earning a share of the spoils. Vigilant no longer, the watchdog media has become, in the words of Czech novelist Milan Kundera, "a parade of people marching by with raised fists . . . shouting identical syllables in unison."

We can forget the Congress suddenly realizing it has a Constitutional mandate for oversight and restraint. Ain't gonna happen. The elected members of both parties are far too busy struggling under the weight of their own corruption to worry about the relentless dismantling of the republic or the worldwide chaos their lack of attention is causing. There's no indication that the injury, maiming or death of thousands of US servicemembers, or as Henry Kissenger describes them, "dumb, stupid animals" will appear on their radar as long as the media can prevent it from appearing on ours. They're not only cold, they're evil. Rotten to the core. Rotten from the core -- on in...

On February 8, President George Bush proudly bragged to Tim Russert on Meet the Press, "I'm a war president. I make decisions here in the Oval Office in foreign policy matters with war on my mind."

Do you hear that, moms and dads? If your president's juvenile, paranoid announcement doesn't cross your minds whenever you're loading up your sons and daughters and sending them off to Iraq -- perhaps it will as you unload their flag-draped coffins at your cemeteries when they return home...

Many foolishly believed Bush's signature legislation, the No Child Left Behind Act, meant that all children in this country -- all children -- would have equal opportunity for education. However, it didn't take long for those paying attention to realize that, as with anything Bush tells us, the opposite is true. The No Child Left Behind Act is little more than an increasingly harsh and punitive testing apparatus, the funding of which has been pushed off on states in a Catch-22 requirement -- either fund the program and meet the testing standards or face sanctions and, ultimately, closure.

Other than underfunding it, putting sanctions on schools, and wreaking havoc throughout the public school system, Bush has mostly ignored the Act's provisions -- with one exception. Buried deep within its 670 pages is a requirement that secondary school officials must provide contact information for every student as well as allow military recruiters unlimited access to their facilities, or lose federal aid. From the various sites these uniformed child abusers are setting up shop, primarily in minority neighborhoods and lower socio-economic areas, it's obvious whose children are being targeted. If Bush succeeds, none of them will be left behind.

Hi-Ho, Hi-Ho, It's Off To War We Go...

The empire is in the hands of a single madman who demands that we show our loyalty and patriotism by trading our humanity, our freedom, our dignity and, sadly, our children, for the mere illusion of safety in a world that is crumbling around us. [...]

As CNN correspondents like to say proudly, "this president" is having the time of his life. Given the grisly silence of the citizenry, of the judicial branch, the legislative branch and the mainstream media, Bush is under no pressure to justify the senseless maiming and killing spree upon which he is embarked, even if he could remember the reason -- or coherently describe the enemy who has no face. Shortly after the devastating assault upon Iraq in 2003, a self-satisfied Bush crowed, "We're on their trail. We're smokin' em out. We got em on the run. We're huntin' em down one-by-one. We're on a scavenger hunt for terror..."

A scavenger hunt for terror? This is why thousands of young Americans must give up their lives before they've had a chance to live them? Hundreds of thousands of innocents must die -- nations must be destroyed -- for no other reason than George Bush is off on a scavenger hunt? [...]

America -- do you know where your children are tonight? [...]

Getting the attention of the American people is, for the most part, a futile exercise -- like screaming into the wind. One wonders how many birth defects, such as babies born with no internal organs, fused organs, no brains, no eyes in empty sockets, will it take before Americans join their international counterparts and cry, "Enough!" When will we realize we are the terrorists, and our weapon of mass destruction is Depleted Uranium?

No one has screamed louder or longer than Dr. Doug Rokke, former Major and health physicist for the US Army. Rokke, the Army's nuclear expert, was sent to Iraq after Gulf War I to salvage tanks contaminated by DU. He admits he went into the project "with the total intent to ensure they could use uranium munitions in war," but says what he and his team of 100 found there cost one-third of them their lives, cost Rokke his job because he refused to remain silent about his discovery, and continues to wreak havoc with the team's health, the health of millions of civilians in the Gulf, and the health of hundreds of thousands of Gulf War I, and now Gulf War II, veterans.

"We can't do it," Rokke says fervently. "We can't keep sending our citizens into that toxic mess. It's a crime against God. It's a crime against humanity to use uranium munitions in a war, and it's devastating to ignore the consequences..."

Rokke's conclusion is that DU must be banned from the planet, for eternity, and medical care be provided for everyone, not just the US or the Canadians or the British or the Germans or the French but for citizens from Afghanistan and Iraq to Kosovo and Okinawa to Maryland and Indiana, and other US states where DU munitions are tested.

For Americans to remain silent as Bush hands down death sentences for their children and their unborn grandchildren is a war crime in itself. Arthur Bernklau, executive director of Veterans for Constitutional Law in New York cites a study done by eminent scientist Leuren Moret which names DU as the definitive cause of Gulf War Syndrome. Bernklau says of the 580,400 US Gulf War I soldiers, 11,000 are now dead. By the year 2000, when Bush and his draft-dodging warmongers were already planning Gulf War II, there were 325,000 military personnel on permanent medical disability. Currently, more than half of those who served in Gulf War I have pemanent medical problems.

This scandal is threatening to erupt, even as US officials continue to deny there are any long-lasting effects from DU radiation. Bernklau believes the Moret study may be the reason behind Veterans Administration Secretary Anthony Principi's recent and sudden departure. Bernklau says Principi was "aware that DU was causing illness and death as far back as 2000. He and the Bush administration has (sic) been hiding these facts, but now, thanks to Moret's report, is far too big to hide or to cover up."

Moret works tirelessly on the issue of depleted uranium and its effects upon the planet and its inhabitants, especially children. She wrote the Foreword to Discounted Casualties:The Human Cost of Depleted Uranium, by Hiroshima journalist Akira Tashiro. The book can be read online, and should be required reading for all Americans, especially those who still possess half sense and one eye.

Moret says the use of DU by the United States defies all international treaties, and will slowly annihilate all species on earth, including the human species. She describes DU as "the Trojan Horse" of nuclear war -- the weapon that keeps on killing for billions of years." There's no way to turn DU off. There's no way to clean it up.

Because we are Americans, it is not acceptable that our bloodthirsty leaders be allowed to continue to rain DU down upon the world with full knowledge of its destructive potential. We cannot allow Bush to continue to kill our children -- our unborn children -- as he whips up new candidates for death in his rollicking "scavenger hunt for terror."

It's time we stopped it.

Sheila Samples is an Oklahoma freelance writer and a former civilian US Army Public Information Officer. She is a regular contributor for a variety of Internet sites.: