These last few days have been tense- gunshots, helicopters, and explosions. A couple of days ago, we counted around 23 explosions. My cousin, his wife and their two daughters were at our house when the commotion began. A few explosions were so loud, the windows began to rattle with each impact and I had flashbacks of March and April.
The kids reacted differently- the older one, ran to sit beside her mother, as far away from the living-room window as possible. She once confided to me that the glass terrified her; four of the windows at her grandparents' home cracked during the 'shock and awe' phase of the bombing and she still remembers the incident. The younger one was silent and stoic. You can hardly tell she's scared except that if you sit particularly close, you can hear her grinding her little teeth, which is what she does when she's frightened. It drives my cousin crazy because the kid loses herself in a sort of trance when she does that and it's all we can do to keep her mind off of whatever she's brooding about. At one point she asked, "Is it war again?" No, it isn't war, dear… the helicopters, tanks, missiles, rattling windows and explosions aren't war- they are 'protection': they are Operation Iron Hammer, not to be confused with war.
When it got particularly heavy, and the helicopters began hovering above, E. wanted to go out to the roof and see what was happening and what exactly was being bombed. My mother declared NO ONE would go up to the roof- the helicopters were flying low and the troops haven't been too discriminating lately when it came to civilians- especially the ones in helicopters and tanks.
What Iraq Will Get Isn't Self-Rule
Incompetence — exacerbated by imperial arrogance and cultural ignorance — turned the occupation into a nightmare.
Now, all those traits are in play in the American plan to ostensibly turn Iraq over to the Iraqis.
The decision to hasten self-rule has little to do with installing real democracy. That's the patina the president needs to cover the panic suddenly gripping the White House.
The insurgency in Iraq is growing in intensity and expanding in geography. It will get much worse, according to a bleak assessment just offered by the Central Intelligence Agency.
More than the terrorism of Baathist "remnants" and "bitter-enders," or even "the 200 or so foreign terrorists" that the administration has been harping about dismissively amid its happy talk of progress in Iraq, the CIA says a full-scale insurgency is underway, with a majority of Iraqis opposing the occupation.
Stan Goff: 'Hold on to your humanity: An open letter to GIs in Iraq'
They are your enemies--The Suits--and they are the enemies of peace, and the enemies of your families, especially if they are Black families, or immigrant families, or poor families. They are thieves and bullies who take and never give, and they say they will "never run" in Iraq, but you and I know that they will never have to run, because they fucking aren't there. You are
They'll skin and grin while they are getting what they want from you, and throw you away like a used condom when they are done. Ask the vets who are having their benefits slashed out from under them now. Bushfeld and their cronies are parasites, and they are the sole beneficiaries of the chaos you are learning to live in. They get the money. You get the prosthetic devices, the nightmares, and the mysterious illnesses.
So if your rage needs a target, there they are, responsible for your being there, and responsible for keeping you there. I can't tell you to disobey. That would probably run me afoul of the law. That will be a decision you will have to take when and if the circumstances and your own conscience dictate. But it perfeclty legal for you to refuse illegal orders, and orders to abuse or attack civilians are illegal. Ordering you to keep silent about these crimes is also illegal.
I can tell you, without fear of legal consequence, that you are never under any obligation to hate Iraqis, you are never under any obligation to give yourself over to racism and nihilism and the thirst to kill for the sake of killing, and you are never under any obligation to let them drive out the last vestiges of your capacity to see and tell the truth to yourself and to the world. You do not owe them your souls.
Come home safe, and come home sane. The people who love you and who have loved you all your lives are waiting here, and we want you to come back and be able to look us in the face. Don't leave your souls in the dust there like another corpse.
Hold on to your humanity.