PUTTING A FACE ON IRAQ
I’m pretty skeptical. It’s hard to make me care. I’ve come to know that the world’s a hard place with plenty of suffering to go around, and nobody past infanthood is empty of deceit. Then I see this picture of an American soldier’s face in Iraq, and it gets in my head and won’t go away till I put it in my Blog. (See page 31 of Newsweek’s Sept. 20, 2004 issue.)
His face is bloodied, but it’s his eyes that get me. He’s on his back, and his eyes have lost focus. The trooper’s dying or he’s in deep shock. They’re working on his guts. He’s deep inside himself and going fast, and I want this shit to end. Not too long ago I tried to help a combat medic, Nam vet stop drinking. One of the things that haunted him was the look of the face of a dying man when he’d hold him while he died. Okay—gruesome enough? Just don’t tell me I’m on the side of the enemy because I want this man home and all his comrades.
Or, at least if we’re going to kill them, let’s aim them at the right target. Okay?
So this guy is dying or dead. For what?
Newsweek reports in the Fallows’s report that “impartial counterterrorism specialists. . . all agreed that the Iraq war has increased rather than decreased the threat to the United States.” (p. 29)
And Newsweek reports that “sixteen months after the war’s supposed end, Iraq’s insurgency is spreading.” Relief groups and some of our Coalition of the Willing are pulling out. Costa Rica announced just a few weeks back that it no longer supports the U.S. in Iraq. U.S. forces have conceded entire cities to the insurgents and last week the total of casualties reached 1,007.
On the same Newsweek page (p. 30), we are reminded that Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld once referred to America’s foes in Iraq as ‘dead enders’. But, what was once estimated to be 5000 insurgents is now grown to have ‘dozens of regional cells’ that can access about 20,000 fighters.
Also we hear that so many Iraqi professionals were seeking to flee the country last week that they mobbed the Baghdad passport office, ‘desperate’ to escape. Police fired shots in the air to control the pro. crowd.
Another detail I remember about Vietnam is how its capital, Saigon, was corrupted by the American presence until it became an Amerinam mongrel dog, full of prostitution, crime and black market activity. On page 33, we get a picture of the Green Zone inside Baghdad and see the beginning of that corruption too. The story which leaps out at me is the mental picture of “Sheik Fuad Rashid, the U.S.-appointed imam of the local mosque” who “dresses like a nun, dyes his hair platinum blond and claims that Mary Mother of Jesus appear to him in a vision.” (pp. 33-34)
Finally we learn that we are so unpopular now with all Iraqis that the provisional government wants us out, but the last executive fiat that outgoing bossman Bremer issued (Order No. 9) “extends the right of occupation forces to control properties until the Iraqi government decides otherwise.”
A fine kettle of fish, they used to say. And over it all, the eyes of that dying soldier looks on.
SOME ITEMS FROM "THE PASSOVER PLOT" BY SCHONFIELD
I introduce these ideas just to whet the whistle of anyone who might like to look a little deeper into the fictions of the Bible, accompanied by Bible scholars of the first magnitude. Go forth and read and know. . . .
Page 22: The messianic nature of Jesus's self-proclaimed mission, as interpreted and proclaimed by John, would be blasphemous to the Jewish Jesus. A Jew like Jesus could not have seen himself as replacing the Jew's monotheistic God, Yahweh. Jesus did see himself as the Messiah, but that meant to him only that he was a holy one who must be sacrificed before the Kingdom of God could be established on earth.
Page 24: For some time, the Jewish leadership imagined that the Kingdom of God couldn't return to earth until all the Jewish people were perfected. But time passed and they knew that all the Jews would never be perfected. At that time, they began to look for a few perfect ones, messiahs, to die as sacrificial lambs. Jesus saw himself as that Messiah.
Page 41: "The very term, the Annointed One, indicates a call to office." Hugh Schonfield's argument is that Jesus never saw himself as the Son of God but only as a Messiah come to earth to shepherd in the Kingdom of God. Jesus knew what he was doing and what he hoped would happen but he was quite wrong in what did happen.
Page 49-50: "With the birth stories [of Jesus and John the Baptist] we pass directly from the world of sober reality into the world of fairy tales. . . . they [the gospel writers] mingle the legends of the heroes of Israel and of Hellas, and draw upon these legends for their basic ingredients. . . . they suitably adorned and compensated for the meagre facts at their disposal."
Page 22: In Jewish legend, the coming of the Messiah was to be closely followed by the final age of peace and bliss, the Kingdom of God. Jesus believed the Kindgom of God was near and must have believed he was the Messiah predicted to come. He, of course, was quite wrong.
Page 23: Jesus said, "the time is fulfilled" and he meant that God was expected very soon. This literal reading of the passage cannot be denied. You can imagine the feverish expectancy which seized Jesus's followers at that time, a fever which eventually cooled when they discovered their "Messiah's" error.
"You can no more drive a fact into a Bushman's head than a car into space." —Geo (1937—?)