Cannon fodder: What will happen next in Iraq -- and America?
I'm typing this on a very slow computer at an American airbase in Kuwait. My plane leaves back for America tonight. So. What have I learned over here? That the situation in Iraq is more complicated than I had thought. "Complicated!" shouted the journalist sitting next to me. "Complicated? That's the best you can come up with?" Yeah. "You coulda learned that from watching Fox News back in the States!"
Maybe. Maybe not. On the one hand, there are the Americans, who are conscientiously trying to re-build the very thing that they themselves have destroyed. And on the other hand, they are obviously doing something very wrong out there beyond the walls of the Green Zone because after four freaking years, Iraq is STILL living in a terrible nightmare. Only this nightmare keeps getting worse.
"Jane, you are not being objective," said my fellow reporter. "You are allowing yourself to get to angry." Angry! I'm WAY beyond angry. I'm hecka pissed off! People are DYING here! Americans are dying. Iraqis are dying. This is no time to be calm!
First let me lay some basic home-truths on the "insurgents" -- or terrorists or rebels or patriots or whatever the freak you are. "Guys! When you kill your fellow Iraqis and fellow Muslims, that's not heroics or resistance or fighting back or religion. THAT'S PSYCHOSIS! That's insanity." Guess what? Your actions look more like you are gangstas out gangbanging than worshipers of God. Don't give me any of that "holier-than-thou" crap. I don't buy it. And neither would Mohammed (PBUH).
And what about the American troops and their Iraqi Army clones? They aren't exactly saints either, sweeping through neighborhoods with tanks and machine guns in the middle of the night like they was Al Capone. Doors being kicked down and homes searched, even in the "good" parts of town? Collateral damage ignored? What's with that? Have the "good guys" become gangbangers too?
And are all these weapons-toting Old Gangsta wannabe factions in Iraq's new turf wars happily chewing each other new arseholes at the expense of the people of Iraq? Duh, yeah.
Wanna know what else I am angry about? What REALLY gets my knickers in a twist is how Bush and Cheney are obviously using our troops as cannon fodder so that they can line their Swiss bank accounts. Cannon fodder! Cannon fodder! That's just not right.
When I first came to Iraq, I was thinking that American troops should come home, like, right now. And then I decided that they were doing some good things over here -- like preventing a bloodbath between the Sunni nutcases and the Shia nutcases, restoring electricity, building schools, that whole Marshall Plan route. But two things that I have seen here changed my mind. The first was when I actually saw the results of warfare up close -- innocent people all bleeding and raw. And the second was when I came here to Kuwait and started watching platoon after platoon of young raw recruits getting ready to board transports to "surge" off to Iraq after, according to the San Francisco Chronicle, only two weeks of training. When I saw them standing for roll call outside their tents every morning, the words "cannon fodder" just kept popping back into my brain.
Did you know that most of these kids here are stereotypical all-American boys? I've never seen so many Norman Rockwell blue-eyed blonds, straight from small towns in Tennessee and Nebraska and Wyoming and upstate New York -- places that depend on Fox News. Fresh clean kids, idealists, here to help God-and-country. Heroic youths. Poorly trained, inappropriately equiped -- and wasted on this freaking "war". Cannon fodder. Cannon fodder. Cannon fodder.
Gangsta wannabes control the streets of Baghdad. And gangsta wannabes have taken over America's government too. You guys all want to gangbang? Don't do it on our dime. Get a job. Get a life.
Am I finished being angry yet? Not even close.
"Ta hell with Iraq," I told my fellow jounalist. "Let God-slash-Allah sort it all out. It's high time for Americans to start watching out for America instead." It is time for America to pull back, stop depending on strong-arm tactics and extortion rackets to bully the world into giving the Bush gang its lunch money, stop picking at the scabs of Iran, put Bush and Cheney in jail, become self-reliant, learn how to manufacture all our own stuff, fix the environment, solve the housing-bubble problem and hunker down for the long run. We can't afford to let a whole generation of fresh-faced boys be forced to turn into gangsta wannabes in some foreign country just to benefit the Bush/Cheney de-Americanization fund. We need our troops at home. Here. Now.
PS: I asked a soldier sitting next to me at lunch today if he would read this and comment on it. After he read it he said, "It sounds about right to me -- except for the cannon fodder part. I would prefer not to end up as cannon fodder if you don't mind." I don't mind. Not at all. No more "cannon fodder" for George? Works for me.
PPS: My plan to eat healthily over here seems to be working, despite numerous DFAC (dining facility) temptations. The secret is to only eat high-fiber foods such as salads, oatmeal and steak. But, you may ask, does pumpkin pie count as a high-fiber food? Who cares! This is a war!