The life of one American

Posted on August 2, 2009

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Just had to comment on this. One forgotten mendacity on the pyre of lies that the Bush administration built to con the American public to fall in love with the idea of invading Iraq: the lie that Hussein was holding one of our boys captive, when of course, it was quite obvious that he had died ten years earlier. From today’s Washington Post:

Then-president George W. Bush, in a September 12, 2002, speech to the U.N. General Assembly, had cited Speicher’s possible detention as part of his case for post-September 11 action against Iraq, along with allegations that Saddam was developing banned weapons of mass destruction and was sponsoring terrorism.

The Iraqi government had maintained from the start that Speicher died in the crash, although his remains had gone unrecovered, fueling conspiracy theories.

The Iraqi who told Marines about the remains said he knew of two Iraqi citizens who recalled a U.S. jet crashing in the desert. One said he had been present when Speicher was found dead at the site and buried there by Bedouin tribesmen. The Iraqis led the Marines to the crash site.

Speicher, the “first” American pilot to be shot down and killed over Iraq during our primary democracy-producing and glorious invasion of that country in 1991, was suddenly, after ten years an MIA.

There’s a deeper problem here, though. Because even if Speicher had been alive, the narrative that one of our soldiers is worth the lives of thousands of people from other countries is one of the most damaging to our country. When did we begin to believe that its actually a good idea to risk the lives of thousands of other Americans to get back one soldier, even if there’s a good chance he’s dead?  Why is it that when one soldiers dies, we don’t question the wisdom of having sent him/her to war in the first place, but lodge yet another grievance against a world that fights back when we attack them, and place that in the huge d-base of grievances that we maintain to justify almost anything we do in the developing world? From McCain to Bergdahl, all righteously empowered individuals who met nefarious attacks from people who simply should have laid down and let us do what we wanted to do to their country in the first place.

Hopefully, the disgusting way in which the Bush administration manipulated Speicher’s death, and tortured his family and loved ones by giving them false hope long after any was justified, simply to gin up jingoistic fervor for a war of political expediency, will make people stop and think. Perhaps Americans will decide to innoculate themselves against such tactics, by taking a good hard look at the rest of the world and putting themselves in their place–and remembering that the very Muslims that we demonized, saw fit to give an invader charged with wreaking death and destruction on them, a proper burial.

To be honest, I’ve long since given up hope that the average American is capable of such introspection. But I’m open to being surprised.

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