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Commentary Last Updated: Mar 18th, 2008 - 23:44:16

Iraq: Five shameful years without shame
By Ben Tanosborn
Online Journal Contributing Writer

Mar 19, 2008, 00:24

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My contributory remembrance to this fifth anniversary of Bush�s infamous invasion of Iraq is neither a journalistic peace memorial to that holocaustic, still ongoing conflict; nor is it a disguised book review of Bilmes� and Stiglitz�s �The Three Trillion Dollar War.� It has little to do with the infamy of a man presiding over the annihilative power of the United States, and his incompetent, amoral administration; or, for that matter, with the cold economic tabulation of war costs made in unsustainable, borrowed greenbacks.

Instead, it has to do with a cost that Americans -- an overwhelming majority of the adult population of this nation -- are unwilling to acknowledge, much less face: that the Iraq adventurous fiasco may have started as a criminal act of a few, but it�s continuing as a criminal replication of the many . . . ultimately resulting in total hardening of the nation�s compassionate arteries, and a complete loss of conscience and national shame.

Why, why have Americans hardened their hearts, encrusted and cauterized them with an impenetrable wall to feelings, emotions and morality? Have Americans in their self-indulgence for material things become so callous to the needs of others? Or even to the pain and suffering of their fellow men, particularly those beyond America�s borders? Have our people reached the culmination of insensitivity by permitting death when life is always an option at hand?

Sixty-two years ago, with Adolph Hitler dead, the Allies tried to find justice in Nuremberg by putting on trial 24 key individuals from the Third Reich. These �dirty two-dozen� were indicted for crimes of conspiracy against peace; and/or, planning, initiating and waging wars of aggression; and/or war crimes; and/or crimes against humanity. And at the end of the trial, half of them were condemned to hang.

Now, with belligerence in full regalia -- not just in Iraq but Afghanistan, Palestine and Pakistan as well -- and George W. Bush still alive, continuing to inspire fear around the globe with his finger on the nuclear button . . . why is it that neither US courts nor any international tribunal will dare take on this renegade and bring him, together with his administration�s own �dirty two-dozen,� to some type of criminal trial?

Are we saying that Alfred Rosenberg, Hans Frank, Walter Funk, Ernest Kaltenbrunner, Wilhelm Keitel, Joachim von Ribbentrop, plus a dozen and a half others, were more criminally-prone, perhaps because of an ugly Teutonic gene, than today�s counterparts in America�s Reich? You know: Dick Cheney, Paul Bremer, Alan Greenspan, George Tenet, Donald Rumsfeld, Colin Powell, Condoleezza Rice, Alberto Gonzales and other villains from the Pentagon-Neocon brotherhood who many will attest are capable of holding their own if matched against the detested leadership of the Schutzstaffel (SS).

Of course, Germans will tell you, and one would be hard-pressed to disagree with their logic citing the application of different rules, that it�s just a matter of Siegerjustiz (�victor�s justice�). And in this particular case, since the empire has not lost the war, nor is in any danger of so doing, that there is hardly any relevance to even contemplate the prospect of indictments by an international court. At least for now, only Americans have the ethical and juridical duty to take care of its own monster, a monster of their own creation . . . something which they appear unwilling to do.

Just as survivors of the four-decade old My Lai massacre were evoking three days ago that horrendous war crime in which 504 villagers (children, women and elderly) were assassinated by an American army platoon -- a war crime incident for which justice was never rendered -- there will be others evocations reminding us of Iraq�s �My Lais.� From Basra to Mosul, there are cities and villages in this cradle of civilization that saw, and are seeing, war crimes perpetrated for which there won�t be justice done, and only token punishment given; such as those committed in Fallujah, Haditha and the very personal geography of those fallen victim to the evitable, yet shown as inevitable, collateral damage, as if discarded Siamese twins surgically removed by the invader�s weapons.

Five years . . . five years past both whim and planning of a barbaric man of war who claims to talk to God. But let�s ask ourselves . . . could such god see fit to bless a country where heart and conscience have so hardened? Could that god bless and protect a nation lacking in shame and repentance? The same god that Bush claims he talks to?

Has Iraq turned out to be the overheating factor causing America�s moral and financial meltdowns? It�s looking more and more that way.

� 2008 Ben Tanosborn

Ben Tanosborn, columnist, poet and writer, resides in Vancouver, Washington (USA), where he is principal of a business consulting firm. Contact him at

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