Blind over Iraq

In my father’s final years his macular degeneration progressed to the point that he was no longer able to read. When that happened, we signed up with a remarkable books-on-tape program offered by the socialist Library of Congress; a special tape player was shipped to him along with a thick socialist catalogue of book titles with detailed descriptions from which to choose. This catalogue of new books came every two months. For a few years, he and I went over each issue together, choosing his reading for the next two months. Eventually I did it alone. “You know what I like” he said. I placed his orders on the socialist organization’s website and the tapes began arriving immediately. Each title came in a rigid plastic case, which we faithfully dropped back in the socialist mailbox for return as soon as it was were finished.

Besides books – history, religion, fiction, true crime – there were news magazine in his mail very week and The New York Times weekly summary of the news. (His secret pleasure was People magazine and until this moment no one but me ever knew that.)

His favorite newspaper, the twice monthly National Catholic Reporter, was not avialble on tape. So I began to read it to him.

That how it came to be that I – the most secular of people – became such a fan of NCR that I made sure the subscription was redirected to me after his death. It offers fresh and thoughtful perspective on global issue. So, like I said, I’m a fan.

The April 29 issue has a powerful editorial on our forgotten war in Iraq. It’s not online, so no easy cut and paste or linkie. Here’s an edited summary with the gist of it:

. . . the Iraq war is as real today for millions of displaced Iraqis as it was the evening we launched cruise missiles over Bagdad . . . in this country of only 30 million people up to two million of them – the best and brightest – have fled to Jordan and Syria. Most will never return. Another two million have been uprooted internally . . .these mostly impoverished millions scramble for basic necessities – jobs, apartments, food, health care. It’s as if the residents of New York, New Jersey, Maryland and Pennsylvania had to leave and go to Canada.

The effects of war linger far beyond the battlefields of conflict. It took 20 years to settle the two million Vietnamese ‘boat people’. That war had complex roots, but the roots of the Iraq war are traceable right to the Bush White House. The United States then, carries unique responsibility for the displaced Iraqis. We cannot shirk our moral responsibility.

This is as good a time as any to mention that we’re in the ninth year of the war in Iraq and today is the 213th day of the tenth year of the War in Afghanistan. We’ve spent $1.2 trillion and lost 6000 troops. Casualty numbers are enormous as well.

21 responses to “Blind over Iraq

  1. Thanks Moe. As Thomas Merton said, 9/10th ‘s of all the news is trash, sometimes 10/10th’s . We move from one thing to another. Iraq has now been off the radar for a long time, yet we have not yet begun to process the evil we have wrought there. You’re reminder is a good start.


    • I’m in a thread over at pino’s, where some of our friends are insisting that ‘the enemy’ always hides behind women and children. And I reminded them of Bagdad in 2003 when we blasted a major metropolitain area. No response on that yet.


  2. Amen Moe…..and yes the action of hiding in plain sight behind civilans is alive and used often against Americans who try to follow the rules….


    • Right, they use it – but most of the civilians who are killed are not killed just because a terrorist is hididng behind them. They’re killed because they live in war zones.


  3. After being consumed with your socialist references in the first part of this post, you took an unexpected turn … (no complaints). I still remember the first day of Iraq. My wife and I were walking down the driveway to start our 2-mile walk through the neighborhood … and I said, “I sure hope they find the WMDs otherwise, this war isn’t right.” That’s not revisionist, but my thought at the time, at it seems my gut was right. Well done Moe!


  4. After having voting Republican in most elections, in 2008 I voted for Obama. I did it mostly, because 5 years into this fiasco, it seemed hardly any Republican would simply say: “even though I supported this war. I now know now it was mistake. While I still believe in vigorous and unapologetic use of America’s military might, that needs to be done much more cautiously than we did here. I’m sorry, but I’ll try to do better.”

    Instead, all I heard was amnesia or denial about weapons of mass destruction, unwillingness to discuss the rational for the war and chest thumping about the surge.

    Then Obama took us into Libya.

    What’s a guy to do???


    • I’m not happy about Libya though I’ll reserve judgement a short while. But it’s sure not Iraq bruce. That was a full scale invasion.

      Wait it out a little. If Libya turns into Vietnam or Korea, elvis help us. We can’t take another one of those.


      • Ultimately, it could look like a success, but I think the early signs are good.

        In some ways that it didn’t start out as an invasion might be worse. Why?

        Because I think we could be like that frog who famously get boiled by gradually raising the temperature (this is a myth by the way). I’m worried this will go something like: bomabarment, bombing, advisors, troops, more troops, etc.

        Time will tell. Let’s hope I’m wrong.


  5. I lament for $1.2 trillion and lost 6000 troops but those are all we can call as voluntary lost, right? What would we say about countless dead or injured child at same region? Are they also volunteered to die? That´s all our shame! I really feel the blood in my hands because I do wrongly vote and take a part in their dirty games ;( Thanks!


  6. Don’t forget a lot more than 6,000 Iraqis have died.


  7. You just made that point, so never mind.


  8. early signs aren’t good


  9. I can’t believe you betrayed your own father by laying bare his horrible secret. I mean People? The horror… the horror…


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s