Monday, August 29, 2005

The war goes on

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These are the remains of Iraqis in a Baghdad morgue, waiting to be claimed by their families. Photo by BENJAMIN LOWY/Corbis

Salon.com pulled together this and other photos from Iraq that you just won't see anywhere.

I thought about just posting the link, but I frankly think we need to see images like this. The horrors of Iraq aren't just the abused prisoners in our soldiers' hands. They're in the streets and hospitals. The head and legs of a suicide bomber lying in a macabre collage, like a person born without a torso. The baby killed in a bombing raid. The man dying in front of the camera after a helicopter fired into a civilian crowd. The child being washed before burial after a cluster bomb killed four siblings at play.

The dead American soldier lying on a Fallujah floor.

These are what war looks like. If you can't look at them in good conscience, you can't let yourself look away. You need to force yourself to look at them every day, because every day we fight this war, more things just like this are happening.

I don't know who those men are in the photo. They had parents, friends, maybe spouses, children or grandchildren. They had jobs, skills, ideas, hopes and dreams. They had futures. Maybe they were insurgents, maybe they shot at Americans. Maybe they lived on the top floor of a house and a sniper fired from the roof, and we fired back and killed them. Maybe they got mugged. Maybe they were police who got shot for helping us. Maybe they were too afraid of the fighting to go out and get help when they fell sick.

Maybe they had heart attacks and died. Maybe they gave up hope.

All they are now is dead, all they will ever be is gone. Their blood is in all of our hands, just as the blood of Spc. Tomas Young is on our hands, and Casey Sheehan, and the rest of 1877 dead and 13877 wounded soldiers. We sent them to a war without the leadership or the planning that could bring them home whole and alive. We sent them without adequate armor, without planning for the reconstruction.

We let our leaders cut the State Department out of the process of rebuilding the institutions of Iraq. We pissed off every ally who could actually help us on the ground.

Look for Senators to raise these and many similar points when Don Rumsfeld is called before the Armed Services Committee this fall.