Are we righteous now?
10 years of war in Iraq. So how’s that gone for the West then?
Remember the gung-ho NZers who crowded the airwaves to declare that we should follow America into its ill fated war against a nation who had nothing to do with the terror attacks of September 11?
The US war in Iraq has cost US$1.7 trillion with an additional US$490 billion in benefits owed to war veterans, expenses that could grow to more than US$6 trillion over the next four decades counting interest.
…let’s remember the dead…
The war has killed at least 134,000 Iraqi civilians and may have contributed to the deaths of as many as four times that number, according to the Costs of War Project by the Watson Institute for International Studies at Brown University.
When security forces, insurgents, journalists and humanitarian workers were included, the war’s death toll rose to an estimated 176,000 to 189,000, the study said.
…let’s remember the other wars America engaged in…
The 2011 study said the combined cost of the wars was at least US$3.7 trillion, based on actual expenditures from the US Treasury and future commitments, such as the medical and disability claims of US war veterans.
That estimate climbed to nearly US$4 trillion in the update.
The estimated death toll from the three wars, previously at 224,000 to 258,000, increased to a range of 272,000 to 329,000 two years later.
…don’t forget we don’t include the indirect deaths or costs…
Excluded were indirect deaths caused by the mass exodus of doctors and a devastated infrastructure, for example, while the costs left out trillions of dollars in interest the United States could pay over the next 40 years.
..and what did brave John Key have to say at the time???
…that’s right, Key’s concern was that if we didn’t rush into this immoral war with America we may miss out on a free trade deal.
A money man who knows the price of everything but the value of nothing.
Where are the weapons of mass destruction? Where is the democracy? Where is the freedom? We were sold lies to justify a war for corporate and geopolitical strategic reasons.
We should hang our heads in shame this ANZAC Day that we have remembered none of the lessons from those who have given their lives.
A poem for John Key on 10th anniversary of the war he so badly wanted to join…
The Gunner’s Lament
A Maori gunner lay dying
In a paddyfield north of Saigon,
And he said to his pakeha cobber,
“I reckon I’ve had it, man!
‘And if I could fly like a bird
To my old granny’s whare
A truck and a winch would never drag
Me back to the Army.
‘A coat and a cap and a well-paid job
Looked better than shovelling metal,
And they told me that Te Rauparaha
Would have fought in the Vietnam battle.
‘On my last leave the town swung round
Like a bucket full of eels.
The girls liked the uniform
And I liked the girls.
‘Like a bullock to the abattoirs
In the name of liberty
They flew me with a hangover
Across the Tasman Sea,
‘And what I found in Vietnam
Was mud and blood and fire,
With the Yanks and the Reds taking turns
At murdering the poor.
‘And I saw the reason for it
In a Viet Cong’s blazing eyes –
We fought for the crops of kumara
And they are fighting for the rice.
‘So go tell my sweetheart
To get another boy
Who’ll cuddle her and marry her
And laugh when the bugles blow,
‘And tell my youngest brother
He can have my shotgun
To fire at the ducks on the big lagoon,
But not to aim it at a man,
‘And tell my granny to wear black
And carry a willow leaf,
Because the kid she kept from the cold
Has eaten a dead man’s loaf.
‘And go and tell Keith Holyoake
Sitting in Wellington,
However long he scrubs his hands
He’ll never get them clean.’
James K Baxter