Friday, December 12, 2008

My ‘morning reads’ are disturbing this morning

Michael Ware, CNN Correspondent, six years in Iraq.  At HuffPo the title is 'Michael Ware's Tortured World; I Am Not the Same F---g Person'...which links to the original article at Men's Journal titled ‘CNN's Prisoner of War'.

Michael Ware speaks to what he has witnessed and experienced.  He speaks to dehumanizing aspect of war, the war in Iraq in truth being now the war in Iran and was since beginning when U.S. troops crossed the Kuwait border, he speaks of  how Obama can bring the troops home and it may be at the expense of mortgaging our foreign policy in the Middle East. 

Read it for yourselves;  a few of excerpts;

"It's my firm belief that we need to constantly jar the sensitivities of the people back home," he says. "War is a jarring experience. Your kids are living it out, and you've inflicted it upon 20-odd million Iraqis. And when your brothers and sons and mates from the football team come home, and they ain't quite the same, you have an obligation to sit for three and a half minutes and share something of what it's like to be there."

It's an obligation now owed to Michael Ware, too.

excerpt from Men's Journal titled ' CNN's Prisoner of War'.

This freedom has helped Ware stay a year in front of conventional wisdom. In 2003, while others were covering the conquest of Baghdad, he talked with Iraqi policemen and soldiers, the men who would become the insurgency. Then in 2004, when Donald Rumsfeld was dismissing these insurgents as "dead-enders," Ware was reporting on their strength after seeing their training camps firsthand. Two years later, Ware was branding the conflict in Iraq a civil war while the Bush administration boasted about the results of Iraq's democratic elections. This year his obsession has been the extent of Iran's influence over the Iraqi government.

"From the moment the first American tanks crossed the Kuwait border, America was in a proxy war with Iran," Ware says. "The Iranians knew it, but it took the U.S. four years to figure it out. Now the Iraqi government is comprised almost entirely of factions created in Iran, supported by Iran, or with ties to the Iranian government — as many as 23 members of the Iraqi parliament are former members of Iran's Revolutionary Guard."

excerpt from Men's Journal titled ' CNN's Prisoner of War'.

As uncomfortable as he is with the idea of his leaving Iraq, if Ware were setting policy, American forces would be in Iraq for a very, very long time. He shudders at the idea of massive American troop withdrawals. Horrific genocide, he predicts; worse than Bosnia. "John McCain said, 'The war's going so well, so why stop now?' I say it's going so badly that we have to pay the price to prevent what's to come."

"The successes in bringing down the violence are undeniable, yet America hasn't been looking at the price to deliver these successes. Obama can bring American kids home tomorrow, but are you willing to mortgage your foreign policy future in that region? Are you willing to walk away from a stronger Iran that is gaining leverage to be a nuclear power? Are you willing to accept your diminished influence in the Middle East? As long as the American public is willing to ante up, then you can bring them home."

excerpt from Men's Journal titled ' CNN's Prisoner of War'.

"Then, for the next 20 minutes," Ware remembers, "all of us just stood around and watched this guy's life slowly ebb away in painful, heaving sobs for air, rendering him absolutely no assistance or aid. If that had been an American soldier, he would have been medevacked out and in 20 minutes would've landed on an operating table. Once an enemy combatant comes into your custody, you're obliged by the Geneva Conventions to render that wounded prisoner all aid. Even I — with my rudimentary medical training, I don't think his life could've been saved — but even I could've eased his passing.
"Instead a towel was laid over his face, making his breathing much more labored and painful, the taunts continued, and we just sat around and watched him die.

"And for some bizarre reason, it was just me and this platoon of soldiers, and I was able to see the dispassion of these kids in the way they just watched his life slip away. I was filming and worrying about the best composition of the shot, and I realized that I too was watching just as dispassionately. There's no blame to be laid here. That guy was a legitimate target who was rightfully shot in the head. But it made me realize, just once more, that this kind of dehumanization is what happens when we send our children to war."

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President George W. Bush's statement in March 2006 after 3 yrs of war "a future President will have to resolve war in Iraq"


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