What Else Is In Scott's Head?

The blog site for writer Scott C. Smith. Some observations on the world we live in and life in general. And maybe some politics.

Wednesday, June 30, 2004

The Human Cost of War

Tonight's Sixty Minutes II dealt with a subject most news media outlets avoid: the soldiers injured in the war in Iraq. There are thousands of them, young men and women that have had their lives changed because George W. Bush was so desperate to go to war in Iraq that he'd cook up any reason at all to take us there. At first the reason was Saddam Hussein's dreaded weapons of mass destruction. In speech after speech, Bush administration officials warned us, and the world, of the horrible arsenal of weapons at Hussein's disposal, ready to use against us and our allies, or to be sold to terrorist groups. Secretary of State Colin Powell appeared before the United Nations security council in Feb. 2003, armed with charts and graphs, to warn the world of Saddam's destructive capabilities. Months before the Congress was told of this danger to the world, and Bush was given congressional approval to fight his war.

And what a surprise, after being in Iraq for months, we could not find a single weapon. Where had they gone? No one seemed to know. The Bush administration remained confident that the dreaded weapons would be uncovered.

As the months progressed no weapons were found. After a while, the Bush administration simply stopped talking about the hunt for WMDs, and instead spoke of a war against terrorism. That was the war we were fighting in Iraq; it was no longer a hunt for deadly weapons.

The human cost of this war was largely ignored by the so-called liberal media. No one was reporting on the increasing number of injured soldiers, and now that number is in the thousands. Young men, mostly, their bodies battered, shattered and left paralyzed, many more left limbless, all left to recover invisibly at military hospitals.

Conservatives seem to operate by the mantra "out of sight, out of mind." They know that public support for Bush's war is dependent on Americans not seeing the flag-draped coffins of the dead or the bandaged bodies of the injured. Michael Moore's new film Fahrenheit 9/11 shares with America images of the young men who will now have to learn how to deal with bodies that have had limbs blasted off in battle. It's a long and difficult journey for this new group of veterans, out of sight, and out of mind, of the consciousness of the American people. The deaths and injuries will continue, despite our turning over sovereignty back to Iraq. And our president will continue to ignore these brave men and women. Oh, sure, he'll occasionally mention them in a campaign stump-speech. But beyond that, Bush and his arrogant administration will insist they know what's best for America, and for Iraq. The human cost of his war is something George W. Bush isn't particularly interested in, at least publicly, and certainly not in a way that might cost him the election.


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