Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Iraq is a Pressure Cooker: One Morticians view of Bush's Success "Story"

Allegations that U.S. Marines massacred as many as 24 innocent civilians in Haditha provide a dire illustration of the psychological stresses and moral tests that service members face in their fight against Iraq's unrelenting insurgency.
But look at it from a morticians eyes! What Bush doesn't want you to hear about his created Hell for Iraqi civilians!

This is a war without front lines against an enemy who wears no uniform. Death can come at any moment, from the blast of a bomb hidden along a road or a mortar round lobbed onto a base. And often, in the angry moments after a comrade's life is ripped away, there is no readily identifiable enemy to confront - only a foreign population in which friend, foe and bystander may seem indistinguishable.

It's a pressure cooker. It's a 24/7 situation in which you're constantly worried about your safety, about danger," said Matthew Friedman, executive director of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs' National Center for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Haditha is focusing attention on civilian deaths at the hands of U.S. troops. But Iraqis have much more to fear from their own.

To understand just how brutal the war in Iraq has become, spend a day at work with Sheik Jamal al-Sudani. A Baghdad mortician, he travels to the holy city of Najaf every Friday to bury the capital's unclaimed and unknown dead--the scores of bodies that turn up every day, bearing no identifying characteristics save the method by which they were murdered.
On a typical trip to the Wadi al-Salaam cemetery last month, Sheik Jamal and a small band of volunteers unload the grim cargo they have brought 100 miles from the Iraqi capital in an old flatbed truck. Sheathed in powder-blue body bags are the remains of 72 men, many of them bearing signs of terrible torture.
Holes in the skull made by power drills, mutilated genitals, burns. They are the signature of the shadowy Shi'ite groups that have been kidnapping and murdering hundreds of men and boys, most of them Sunnis, in a campaign that has terrorized Baghdad's neighborhoods.

On any given Friday, Sheik Jamal inters Iraqis killed by roadside bombs ("I can tell how close they were to the blast from the extent of burning and depth of the shrapnel wounds"), execution ("Their hands are usually tied behind their back, and they've been shot in the head"), garroting and beheading.
He buries victims of U.S. air strikes, some of whose bodies have been fused together by the heat of the explosion "so you can't tell which limb belongs to which head." Every now and again, he will get a body bag with charred-black body parts, dismembered by massive explosions. Those are the remains of suicide bombers. "When you explode a bomb strapped to your chest," he says, "it tears up your body in a particular way."

Death comes to Iraq now in many new and terrible forms. Though there is outrage among many Iraqis about the alleged massacre in Haditha last November, the violence on Iraq's streets is so unrelentingly horrific that even the worst atrocities have lost their power to shock. Few Iraqis even know how many people have died by the bullets and bombs.
Definitive statistics are impossible to find in a country where the most violent provinces are out of bounds for journalists and human-rights workers, and where the state infrastructure--hospitals, morgues, police stations--is not up to the task of caring for the living, never mind counting the dead.
According to the Iraq Body Count project, the most frequently cited source, at least 38,000 Iraqi civilians have been killed since May 1, 2003, when President George W. Bush announced that "major combat operations" had ended.
More controversially, a study in the British medical journal Lancet in November 2004 put the toll at more than 100,000 since the invasion. Both studies say more than 4 in 10 of those deaths are attributable to U.S. forces.

Bush has freed no one! He has imprisoned millions in his created living Hell!

James Joiner
Gardner, Ma

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