Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Pottersville Mailbag

Every once in a great while, I get letters from people who are either in Iraq or claim to be serving in Iraq or Afghanistan. My regular readership may recall the letter that I'd gotten near New Year's from a 20 year-old Marine in Iraq who'd received my CARE Xmas package.

I didn't know what to say to the kid. I couldn't in good conscience laud his efforts nor his participation in an illegal and unjustified war nor could I risk angering him or waking him up to the realities that we can see with the objectivity of stateside civilians.

But in my inbox tonight I found the following screed from someone who'd written me with a Marine Corp email client so I'm assuming that this is legit (although it could just be someone just using a terminal on a Marine base. Who knows?). It's in response to a post I'd written last February about Jennifer Parcells, the young lady who was killed in a suicide bomb attack, a girl who just wanted to follow her big brother into the Marine Corps.

The letter starts off with the word "Ungrateful", an ugly salutation that immediately made me see red. Now I'm no longer so concerned about possibly subverting the mission by speaking truth to someone caught up in the massive web of lies and deception that is Iraq. I no longer care about incurring the wrath of someone who still believes in the legitimacy and righteousness of his mission. Since he now claims to be back stateside, I have no compunctions about letting him have it, Cheney-style, with both barrels. I no longer care about insulting even someone who's served in Iraq who remains so blatantly and willfully ignorant, someone who assumes that I'm disrespecting the USMC and hate Iraqis in general. Obviously, this person (whose name and email address will be withheld) knows nothing about what I write here in Pottersville or what my stance is on this war.

I trust once he reads this, he'll be better educated.

Here's his letter, followed by my rejoinder:

"Dear Ungrateful

Sorry I didn't get to tell you this sooner. I am a marine that was out In Iraq the same time as Jennifer Parcell as a matter of fact I knew her before we went out to Iraq we were in the same Bn in Japan and I can promise you all you thought on the war is what pisses all of us in the military off we are there for a reason and it's not oil. Not all Iraqi people are bad in-fact some of them are very nice people so if you don't know shut your mouth and stop causing more pain for those who knew and loved her. She was doing her job and saved the live of at least two other marine's.

Respectfully etc etc etc."

"Ungrateful"? Yeah, that's respectful.

OK, Sparky, listen up. I don't know if you're just some Republican flack writing this from Mommy's basement, your pajamas smeared orange from last night's Cheetos or if you are who and what you claim you are but either way I'll try to type this in small words so you can keep up:

In my two posts about Jennifer Parcell, I never said that she was anything less than a hero. It's not the nobility of the mission that defines heroism. Jessica Lynch proved that. It's how honorably one conducts oneself regardless of the legitimacy of their circumstances.

And never did I say that all Iraqis were bad. Far from it. They are a constantly occupied, brutalized people who have had enough of Anglo-American brutality and oppression, not to mention homegrown dictators who usurp power.

If you ever read the rest of my blog beyond my posts about Jennifer, you'd know that I have an unending reservoir of compassion for the Iraqis, people who have sacrificed much more during this fucking illegitimate war than we can ever imagine (and have). We're the type of people who sigh and drum our fingertips on our Escalade steering wheels if we sit in the drivethrough at McDonalds for more than three minutes.

You say that we're not there for the oil but for other reasons, reasons that you tellingly don't specify in your barely legible message.

So let's take stock of what those reasons could possibly be, shall we?

Uh, WMD? Just because we haven't found them after four and a half years, 3700 lives and half a trillion dollars doesn't mean they're not there. Maybe you should try digging in Syria. Perhaps Curt Weldon and Peter Hoekstra can lend a hand.

Ongoing revenge for Saddam's complicity in 9/11? Sorry. Not a single shred of evidence for that exists, nor did it ever, that such a complicity ever existed. You want to know who was involved with 9/11? Our friends the Saudis. Our friends the Pakistanis.

Ongoing revenge for Saddam's complicity with al Qaida? Sorry, that was a bogus story, too. You want to know who is supportive of al Qaida? Our friends the Saudis. Our friends the Pakistanis. See a trend here, leatherneck?

Uh, reshaping the Middle East? Democracy for Iraq? Yeah, that template's working out real well:

Bomb the shit out of the country for eight months just as we're gearing up to fight terrorism in Afghanistan, even as Dear Leader is telling us after the Downing Street Minutes meeting with Tony Blair that he hasn't given up on diplomacy and committed to military action. Then bomb the shit of them some more before sending in 100,000 more troops. Smash then disband the military, creating a ready-made insurgency for you guys to fight, making the borders porous for terrorist infiltration. Not bomb the terrorist training camps (the only places, it seems, in Iraq that we haven't bombed the shit out of) that are springing up faster than Starbucks franchises, allow those proud graduates to cross the border so they can import their newfound skills to other countries.

Inflame places like Fallujah by slaughtering innocents, close down their newspapers, have Blackwater joyride all over the fucking place in unarmored SUVs like the stereotypical ugly Americans that we are, get them killed through reckless greed, kill some more of them, solidify and motivate the insurgency outraged over our needless and blatantly illegal occupation, kill more of them.

Then, once we've established this safe and stable haven for democracy, set up "free" elections by having local elections officials withhold food ration cards until the people vote. Forget the fact that most of the candidates had to campaign in secret for fear of their lives so that when election day came on January 31, 2005, no one knew who the candidates were, what their names were or where they stood on the issues.

Take the ballots out of the country into Jordan in plastic Wal-Mart containers so the coerced votes can be counted in relative security and make the people wait anxiously in an uneasy state of anarchy for months before the results are announced. It's free democracy, after all, and soon will be the template for democracy all over the Middle East, a region in the world where Islam is hostile to democracy in general, especially our so-called tenets of separation of church and state.

Hold more elections later on, propping up a puppet like al-Maliki, a guy so universally hated outside his Shiite allies that even Republicans are calling for his ouster and Sunni lawmakers boycott the government, leaving their constituents without political representation. Ensure that every cabinet official is in control of his own death squad, such as al-Jabr, head of the Finance Ministry who oversees disbursements to over 100,000 government workers.

Meanwhile, our diplomatic corps stands idly by while Sunnis and Shiites and Kurds kill eachother while you guys are too busy ducking mortar shells, bullets, IED's and flying body parts to try to instill any semblance of order.

Then when one of those flying body parts turns out to be yours, you can get sent to Walter Reed and be made to live in filthy conditions, have your mail undelivered for a year at a time since that, too, was outsourced to Halliburtoin clones and then be told when the story breaks to shut up and suffer.

Then send Dick Cheney abroad in a business suit so he can then browbeat these exasperated, ignored and likely targeted Iraqi officials and say, "Don't go on vacation until you hand over all your fucking oil", not that that's the primary reason for our presence in Iraq any more than it was the Great British's during their own occupation almost 90 years ago. I'm sure we'd still be there if Iraq had bean fields instead of oil and natural gas fields.

Yeah, that sounds like a good plan for the nation building that Donald Rumsfeld would've fired anyone four years ago for even mentioning.

Oh, and the only thing the Bush administration has succeeded in doing from the outset was in enriching Dick Cheney's "former" company Halliburton, not to mention over 400 other contractors like Blackwater at taxpayer expense.

So what do I have to be grateful for?

Now, I don't know how many websites or which ones you're allowed to visit on military servers but I imagine that if you're allowed to see my blog, then you're allowed to go to other sites that also give the facts. Maybe you guys are just in a bubble like President Bubble Boy. Maybe you don't know that over half the United States is now against this war.

But it may hearten you to know that even Democratic presidential candidates such as Hillary Clinton are essentially saying that the party will continue for at least a couple of more years because, well, we just can't gracefully exit right now (read: We're all jockeying for position to be the savior of this war and whoever gets to pull us out without leaving too much more flesh behind gets to be a hero. Better to be perceived as a chickenhawk than a dove and who cares about the troops?).

And I hate to have to be the one to break this to you, Sparky, but everyone who has ever died in Iraq, whether American, Iraqi or Coalition, died for no reason. Their lives were wasted just as surely as we've wasted half a trillion dollars to get our hands on oil reserves that the Iraqis still don't want to hand over to us.

We don't blame you for making the world and our nation a less safe place from the reach of Muslim terrorists. The Bush crime syndicate must assume the blame for that. You in uniform were merely the instrument for the will of a spoiled, petulant, ill-bred, uneducated little sociopathic rube with a messianic complex who had the audacity to think that he could reshape the entire Middle East because God told him to.

Where I blame you, Lance Corporal, is in remaining willfully ignorant, stupid and hostile toward the truth of the matter, a truth that is out there if you but seek it. Yes, I may be the first person to come right and say it in plain words: Those who have died in Iraq since George W. Bush, that smirking, shiftless jackal, loped through the back door of the Oval Office died in vain. Your lives were completely wasted. You left friends, loved ones and body parts behind so Halliburton's stock could rise to $64 a share. So Blackwater could make a killing on the killing of countless Iraqi civilians and the killing of their own kind.

You are helping to perpetuate a dialogue firmly rooted in falsehoods, fabrications, half-truths and outright lies that have looooong since been proven bankrupt of truth and reason.

And the only reason, and I mean the ONLY reason why so many families of war veterans are still supporting Bush's selfish folly that is not paid for by any personal sacrifice is because this truth is intolerable to them, the truth that their loved ones died in vain, that they were maimed so others could profit beyond the wildest dreams of avarice.

You did your duty as a Marine and, I assume, did so honorably. Now it's time to do your duty as an American and to wake the fuck up and smell the bullshit.