What I Heard About Iraq
A month ago, on the 20th of March, it was the annivrrsary of the "Political Lie" In response, readings of the text "What I heard about Iraq" were organized in cities around the world, including Athens, Basel, Berlin, Bruxelles, Calcutta, Durban, Frankfurt, Los Angeles, New York, Prague, Zurich and other cities. One of those places was Beloit, Wisconsin.
I attended this reading, and now a month later there are parts of it that I want to quote here. You can read the whole text, by Eliot Weinberger, here. I must warn you that it is long, but totally worth it. It quotes the American administration's lies, and American soldiers, and ordinary Iraqi citizens. It's a good reminder of the reality of the what happened inIraq after 9/11.
Here are the parts that I thought were most important:
I heard the vice president say: "I really do believe we will be greeted as liberators"
I heard the president tell the Iraqi people, on the night before the invasion began: "If we must begin a military campaign, it will be directed against the lawless men who rule your country and not against you"
I heard the Pentagon spokesman say that 95% of the Iraqi casualties were "military-age males"
I heard the Red Cross say that casualties in Baghdad were so high that the hospitals had stopped counting.
As the riots and looting broke out, I heard a man in Baghdad market say: "Saddam Husseins greatest crime is that he brought the American army to Iraq"
I heard it would be a matter of months before Starbucks and McDonalds opened branches in Baghdad. I heard that HSBC would have cash machines all over the country"
I heard Colonel Nathan Sassaman say: "With a heavy dose of fear and violence, and a lot of money for projects, I think we can convince these people that we are here to help them"
I heard that 7% of all military American deaths in Iraq were suicides.
I heard the president say "I wouldn't be happy if I was occupied either"
I heard Makki Al-Nazzal, who was managing a clinic in Fallujah, say, in unaccented English: "I have been a fool for 47 years. I used to believe in European and American civilization."
I heard an American soldier say: "It's kind of bad we destroyed everything, but at least we gave them a chance for a new start"
I heard that the American ambassador, John Negroponte, had requested that $3.37 billion intended for water, sewage and electricity projects to be transferred to security and oil output.
I heard 100,000 Iraqi civilians were dead.
I heard the US military had purchased 1,500,000,000 bullets for use in the comming year. That is 58 bullets for every Iraqi adult and child."
Let's not forget what this political lie has led to!