Dying to be Saved
An Op-Ed piece in the Nov. 27, 2004 New York Times entitled, “Saving the Iraqi Children,” by Nicholas D. Kristof, is an example of the bankruptcy of the arguments in favor of the continued American occupation of Iraq.
After claiming, “Among Iraqis, the risk of death by violence was 58 times greater after the war than before, and infant mortality also nearly doubled.” the author argues, “If U.S. troops leave Iraq too soon, the country will simply fall apart.”
While the article accurately exposes the depth of the mayhem this war has brought to the people of Iraq, especially its children, the author’s convoluted reasoning leads to more occupation, more bombing, more troops, more of the same.
In his article, Kristof tells us that, “…acute malnutrition among children under 5 soared to 7.7 percent this year from 4 percent before the war. Those are preliminary figures, but they suggest that 400,000 Iraqi children are badly malnourished, and suffering in some cases from irreversible physical and mental stunting.”
He goes on to conclude his argument against the withdrawal of U.S. troops by claiming, “The best answer to that question, I think, is that our mistaken invasion has left millions of Iraqis desperately vulnerable, and it would be inhumane to abandon them now. If we stay in Iraq, there is still some hope that Iraqis will come to enjoy security and better lives, but if we pull out we will be condemning Iraqis to anarchy, terrorism and starvation, costing the lives of hundreds of thousands of children over the next decade…. Those hundreds of thousands of Iraqi children, whose lives we placed at risk by invading their country, are the reasons we should remain in Iraq, until we can hand over security to a local force. Saving hundreds of thousands of lives is a worthy cause to risk American lives for, even to die for.”
The antiwar movement must counter this sinister argument by demanding that all the troops be withdrawn from Iraq and Afghanistan immediately. The American antiwar movement in unity with the world movement must demand that the entire U.S. military budget be wrested from the hands of these warlords. We must insist that these billions of dollars be used, instead, for massive humanitarian aid to the people of Iraq and Afghanistan; as well as for healthcare, education, jobs, affordable housing and social services here at home.
There is enough money to pay for all of this if we do away with this filthy, illegal, immoral war and the giant U.S. corporate war machine that controls and profits from it.
As musical artist Michael Franti says, “You can bomb the world to pieces but you can’t bomb it into peace.”
The world is at a great turning point that will determine the fate of all life on Earth. The time for the worldwide antiwar movement to stand united is now. If we wish to prevent genocide against the entire planet by the greedy few who seek to own the wealth of the world through force of violence, we must organize masses of people in unity against them.
The extent of the cynicism expressed by Kristof in this apology for the continued bombing and killing of Iraqi children is astounding. Killing children in order to “save them” is reminiscent of the argument given to justify the massacre of entire villages in Vietnam. “We had to destroy them in order to save them,” was the argument used by the U.S. military at that time, too. It was used as the excuse for the massacre at My Lai, where approximately 500 unarmed villagers were murdered by rampaging US troops. More importantly, this argument can be applied wherever resistance to U.S. domination arises.
The deadly implications behind Kristof’s reasoning stands as a clear mandate to all of us who are horrified by it to gather all of our forces together to bring this war to an end!
All Out January 20th—Bring The Troops Home Now!
— Bonnie Weinstein