Courtesy Cindy Sheehan, t r u t h o u t | Guest Contributor
â€œOut of war nations acquire additional territory, if they are victorious. They just take it. This newly acquired territory promptly is exploited by the few – the selfsame few who wrung dollars out of blood in the war. The general public shoulders the bill.
â€œAnd what is this bill?
â€œThis bill renders a horrible accounting. Newly placed gravestones. Mangled bodies. Shattered minds. Broken hearts and homes. Economic instability. Depression and all its attendant miseries. Back-breaking taxation for generations and generations.â€
– Major General Smedley Butler, War Is a Racket
I met the aunt of Number 3291 today. I was sitting in seat 11E and a flight attendant gave me a note from a woman in seat 33C: â€œMy nephew was killed in Iraq yesterday. I would like to meet you.â€
Seat belt light or not, I headed back toward the rear of the airplane. We held each other and she said: â€œWhat can I do? My brother was in the Army and he initially supported the effort. Yesterday, he made a sign with a picture of his son saying: â€˜Murdered by George Bush.â€™â€ I prayed for the Universe to give the families strength yesterday, as I do every day our soldiers are killed, as I pray for the Iraqis and their families, who are also murdered unnecessarily. I donâ€™t often get to meet the people I pray for in such a timely manner.
Four of our brave and abused troops were killed in King Georgeâ€™s escalation of the conflict in Iraq. Ten over the Easter weekend while George was hiding out at his ranch in Crawford. George Bush and his bloody gang of war bandits have caused so much pain and heartache in the world without so much as a blink of the eye. Number 3291â€™s aunt recounted how she heard her sister â€œscreaming for her son,â€ on the other end of the phone. Number 3291â€™s family is just beginning to realize the true meaning of broken heart and betrayals.
Number 3291 has a name: Brian. The only thing I know for sure about Brian was that he was in the Army, he was probably blown up by an IED (which could have been avoided with an IED detector in his vehicle), and he has a loving aunt named Sheryl. His family lives in North Carolina, and thatâ€™s where his body will be returned – under the cover of darkness to hide the shame of the Bush regime.
Brian will never be a number to his family or friends. To the few people in this country who still, incredibly, support this horror and his war, Brianâ€™s sacrifice will be noted as â€œfreedom isnâ€™t free,â€ or â€œhe volunteered.â€ To the antiwar movement, Brian will be commemorated in a candlelight vigil when the 4000th troop is killed in Iraq. To the man sitting next to me in seat 11D, Brian is a nonentity because he has no opinion on the occupation one way or the other, because he has â€œno time to worry about it.â€ Trust me, though, thatâ€™s all Brianâ€™s mom did for the entire time he was in Iraq, and there are 160,000 moms who lie awake at night worried about their child, and Iraqi moms who never know when the last â€œI love you,â€ is the last one forever.
To me, Brian represents a failure. I have been struggling with all my energy and resources to ensure that Brianâ€™s mom never had to fall on the floor screaming in agony, or that Aunt Sheryl would never have to take a sad and lonely trip across the country to be with her family in this terrible occasion for mourning. Every death since Caseyâ€™s has hit me with a fresh assault of suffering. How can my wounds heal, when so many new ones are being opened up on a daily basis in three countries that are being devastated by the Bush doctrine of inflicting immeasurable damage, with his war for profit being masqueraded as a war on terror?
The antiwar movement is failing in many areas. First of all, like the man sitting next to me, there are too many apathetic people in this country. How can anyone still be so indifferent to so much death and destruction? Even the people who are still confused and support the war have an opinion. The antiwar movement is also failing in its lack of influence on the policymakers. When such pro-occupation entities as MoveOn are being hailed as the â€œantiwar leftâ€ and our Congressional leaders are listening to them and using their corrupt polls as tools to hammer theoretically antiwar reps into voting for a bill that would extend our troop presence in Iraq indefinitely, then the true antiwar movement has not been effective in getting our message out.
Another goal that the antiwar movement should have would be to move the overwhelming majority of Americans who are against the occupation of Iraq off their couches and into the streets. The leaders of our country are in the obscenely deep pockets of the war machine and are exceedingly comfortable there. Only a massive electoral revolt will be able to pick the pockets of the war profiteers and force our elected officials to represent us, not the wealthy.
Brianâ€™s family, my family, 3293 other families, our military families who are financially and emotionally strapped by the constant deployments and getting ready for deployments are sacrificing too much on the altar of greed. The Iraqi people who did not ask for Bushâ€™s help are sacrificing horribly on this imperial altar. The rest of this nation is not sacrificing the way that so many others have. I am working so you donâ€™t have to.
But if we, as a nation, want to end the farce of false patriotism to justify wars for profit and empire, we will have to sacrifice until it hurts. In this cleansing act will come redemption, because then we can be assured that all of the children of the world are safe and sound. If we donâ€™t work to end the absolute stranglehold of violence we are clutched in, then we deserve what we get.
Our movement has to move toward peace … at all costs.
Please go to The Camp Casey Peace Institute for info on things we can do to end this occupation!