Sanitized News and Iraq

Say hello to Ali Ismail Abbas, 12, who was fast asleep when the Iraq war shattered his life forever. A US missile obliterated his home and most of his family, leaving him orphaned, badly burned and without both his arms.

“It was midnight when the missile fell on us. My father, my mother and my brother died. My mother was five months pregnant,” the traumatised boy said at Baghdad’s Kindi hospital. (source- see below)

The BBC reported on the tragic fate of Ali Ismail Abbas, but in general the major media outlets in the United States did not run the story.

Today I read that Brian De Palma is trying to do some consciousness-raising about the various crimes against humanity perpetuated by the war with Iraq.

“Redacted” stuns Venice

VENICE (Reuters) – A new film about the real-life rape and killing of a 14-year-old Iraqi girl by U.S. soldiers who also murdered her family stunned the Venice festival, with shocking images that left some viewers in tears….

Abeer Qasim Hamza al-Janabi was gang raped, killed and burnt by American soldiers in Mahmudiya, south of Baghdad, in March 2006. Her parents and younger daughter were also killed….

“In Vietnam, when we saw the images and the sorrow of the people we were traumatizing and killing, we saw the soldiers wounded and brought back in body bags. We see none of that in this war,” De Palma said.

“It’s all out there on the Internet, you can find it if you look for it, but it’s not in the major media. The media is now really part of the corporate establishment,” he said.

The film’s title refers to how, according to De Palma, mainstream American newspapers and television channels are failing to tell the true story of the war by keeping the most graphic images of the conflict away from public opinion.

“When I went out to find the pictures, I said (to the media) give me the pictures you can’t publish,” he said, adding that because of legal dangers he too had to “edit” the material.

“Everything that is in the movie is based on something I found that actually happened. But once I had put it in the script I would get a note from a lawyer saying you can’t use that because it’s real and we may get sued,” De Palma said.

Read more here.


I have opposed the war with Iraq from the beginning.  Disinformation about “yellowcake from Niger,” “mushroom clouds on US coasts,” “weapons of mass destruction,” “terror alerts” and other nonsense still ring in my ears.  And I still recall being stunned that the American people glibly went along with the “great switcheroo” — substituting (as Public Enemy Number One) Osama bin Laden with the USA’s former ally Saddam Hussein. 

What is most maddening to me about all of this is the apparently seared conscience of American Christendom.  When the war first got going (remember “Shock and Awe”?), I tried my best to warn friends and pastors about the atrocities of this unjust operation, but I was shouted down as being unpatriotic (or even worse).  I was quoted Romans 13…. and essentially told to “shut up and pray for our leaders.”  Even after Abu Ghraib broke, the Christian right in this country refused to bow its collective head in shame or repent for supporting the war.  Indeed, leaders like Jim Dobson continue to bang the drum for war and appeal to Christians to suppress the voice of their conscience by standing with Mr. Bush’s Hegelian vision. 

Now we are living in a virtual police state (been to the airport lately?) and I am waiting for the next major “terrorist” attack to occur on US soil so that all dissidents and “enemies of the state” can be rounded up as terrorists….  Do you think I am being paranoid?  Remember that Germany was once considered the cultural and intellectual center of Europe, but it fell under the sway of fascism.  It could easily happen here, and I am afraid that it already has begun….  

As a Christian, however, I do not live in fear of these things, and I am fully persuaded that God has matters fully at hand.  Nonetheless, I feel it my duty to try to awaken others who are likewise troubled regarding the evil path of destruction that this country is treading.

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