An armored vehicle patrols "liberated" Fallujah.
"If the cause be not good, the king himself hath a heavy reckoning to make, when all those legs and arms and heads, chopped off in battle, shall join together at the latter day and cry all 'We died at such a place;' some swearing, some crying for a surgeon, some upon their wives left poor behind them, some upon the debts they owe, some upon their children rawly left. I am afeard there are few die well that die in a battle; for how can they charitably dispose of any thing, when blood is their argument? Now, if these men do not die well, it will be a black matter for the king that led them to it...."
John Kreisel of Vadnais Heights, Minnesota lost both of his legs in Fallujah last December. A roadside bomb detonated beneath his Humvee, killing two of Kreisel's buddies, Spc. Bryan McDonough, and Spc. Corey Rystad. Kreisel is a man in his mid-20s; he has a lovely wife, Katie, and two disarmingly cute sons, Elijah and Broden. A foundation has been established to help Sgt. Kreisel's family, which will have to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to build a handicapped-accessible home.
Thanks to a newly inaugurated ad campaign, Sgt. Kreisel will soon become a national celebrity of sorts. A Republican front group calling itself Freedom's Watch has created a campaign featuring Kreisel -- along with other wounded Iraq veterans, and relatives of troops lost in Iraq -- intended to fortify support for continuing the war.
The ads will not be directed at the unpersuaded public: Most of them will run on Fox "News" and national radio programs that already retail the White House line -- such as Sean Hannity's daily three-hour "You're A Great American" circle-jerk. The purpose of the campaign is to pressure wavering Republicans in Congress to resist any effort to end the occupation of Iraq.
At the end of the ads viewers and listeners are provided with a toll-free number (1-877-222-8001). When I called it, I heard the following recorded message: "Thank you for calling Freedom's Watch. Our operators are currently helping Americans call Congress in support of our war on terror. We will get to you as soon as possible."
An activist who actually contacted a live operator has reported that once this happens "you're expected to take part in a survey before she puts you through to Congress. But there's a catch. The question asked goes something like this: Do you believe the Iraq war is important to the war on terror?... If you say no, the operator immediately thanks you but doesn't connect you to Congress."
The "Freedom's Watch" campaign is fronted by former White House spokesliar Ari Fleischer and funded by, among others, Mel Sembler (a major Republican fundraiser who headed the Scooter Libby Defense Fund and also founded a chain of "drug rehab" clinics that specialized in child torture). It is being conducted as a counterpoint to the anticipated release of the report documenting the "success" of the "surge," which will be presented by the Military Messiah du jour, David Petraeus -- even though it is being composed by the White House propaganda directorate.
It is a reflection of George W. Bush's omnivorous sense of entitlement, and the depraved ingenuity of the War Party's propagandists, that this campaign's first advertisement features Sgt. Kreisel, who displays the same misplaced devotion to Bush that Nicolas Chauvin purportedly demonstrated toward Bonaparte. By using Kreisel and others who have suffered in this needless war, Bush and his handlers are neatly inverting the warning from Henry V: The cause must be good, precisely because men have lost their limbs, minds, and lives in its service.
It wasn't enough that these corrupt, craven creatures -- none of whom has ever sacrificed anything on behalf of anybody -- staged an unnecessary, immoral war that deprived Kreisel of his legs, thereby leaving his young sons with an invalid father. Now they wish to extract from Kreisel's tragedy the last full measure of political advantage by using him to reinforce the prejudices of the Dear Leader's dwindling cohort of cult followers:
This squalid exercise perfectly encapsulates "Freedom" as defined by the Bushcisti:
Freedom consists in adhering to the Dear Leader's will in all things -- at whatever cost to you and your family; and since only those who echo the Dear Leader's voice are truly free, they alone should be allowed to participate. The purpose of the legislature is to ratify the Leader's decisions, and to appropriate money to carry them out.
Every totalitarian movement -- and by now it is clear to any honest and rational person that Bush-era "conservatism" deserves that description -- depends on the eager and energetic participation of the willfully ignorant; as the doxology of Orwell's dystopia recognized, "Ignorance is strength." The invincibly ignorant people who compose Bush's core constituency will have no difficulty swallowing and regurgitating the refrain "They attacked us" as a rationale for continuing the war on a country that had no connection whatsoever with 9-11. The only connection between Iraq and 9-11 is the outrage provoked in the Arab world as that country absorbed ten years of war (including criminal attacks on civilian infrastructure), bombing campaigns, and murderous sanctions dealt out by Washington.
As Orwell -- who understood the difference between patriotism and nationalism -- pointed out: "The nationalist not only does not disapprove of atrocities committed by his own side, but he has a remarkable capacity for not even hearing about them."
Because of the White House agitprop campaign, millions of people who already support the Dear Leader's war will "know" that Sgt. Kreisel lost his legs in a "terrorist" attack in Fallujah. Not one in ten thousand of them will know, or care about, the thousands of families living in that city who have been killed by American weapons since February 1991.
Hey, cheer up, kid -- you're being liberated!
An Iraqi child, oddly ungrateful for America's generosity and sacrifice, laments the death of his friends from a U.S. airstrike against Fallujah.
For such people, outrage over the roadside bomb that mangled Kreisel and killed two of his friends cannot co-exist with disapproval of the indiscriminate killing of Fallujans in 2004 in a campaign to "pacify" the city. That act of "liberation" included the use of White Phosphorus as what an official Defense Department essay called "a potent psychological weapon against the insurgents...."
White Phosphorus is a hideous high-yield chemical weapon: A WP munition can create a kill zone as much as a quarter of a mile wide, within which victims are burned and suffocated. A U.S. soldier who witnessed the use of that weapon in Fallujah recounted: "It seemed like just a massive killing of Arabs.... Burned bodies. Burned children. Burned women. White Phosphorus kills indiscriminately."
They made a desert and called it "liberation":
Fallujah, as seen from space, shortly after "Freedom" arrived in the form of White Phosphorus bombs and other high-performance explosives.
In the Bu'ushist lexicon, it is "terrorism" to employ improvised weapons against occupation troops in Fallujah, while the use of high-yield chemical weapons by occupation forces against the city's civilians is "liberation." Just before commencing the "liberation" of the city, Lt. Col. Brennan Byrne, a Marine commander in Fallujah, explained the matter with admirable concision: "What is coming is the destruction of anti-coalition forces in Fallujah. They have two choices: Submit or die."
It is in the service of that vision of "freedom" that Sgt. Kreisel lost his legs.
(My thanks to Eric Larsen for providing me with the indispensable term "Bushcisti.")
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