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What the Rest of the World Watched on Inauguration Day

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ElsewheresDaughter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-29-05 04:47 PM
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What the Rest of the World Watched on Inauguration Day
http://www.nationalcatholicreporter.org/fwis /


By Joan Chittister, OSB A Benedictine Sister

Dublin, on U.S. Inauguration Day, didn't seem to notice. Oh, they played a few clips that night of the American president saying, "The survival of liberty in our land increasingly depends on the success of liberty in other lands."

But that was not their lead story.

The picture on the front page of The Irish Times was a large four-color picture of a small Iraqi girl. Her little body was a coil of steel. She sat knees up, cowering, screaming madly into the dark night. Her white clothes and spread hands and small tight face were blood-spattered. The blood was the blood of her father and mother, shot through the car window in Tal Afar by American soldiers while she sat beside her parents in the car, her four brothers and sisters in the back seat.


A series of pictures of the incident played on the inside page, as well. A 12-year-old brother, wounded in the fray, falls face down out of the car when the car door opens, the pictures show. In another, a soldier decked out in battle gear, holds a large automatic weapon on the four children, all potential enemies, all possible suicide bombers, apparently, as they cling traumatized to one another in the back seat and the child on the ground goes on screaming in her parent's blood.



No promise of "freedom" rings in the cutline on this picture. No joy of liberty underlies the terror on these faces here.

I found myself closing my eyes over and over again as I stared at the story, maybe to crush the tears forming there, maybe in the hope that the whole scene would simply disappear.

But no, like the photo of a naked little girl bathed in napalm and running down a road in Vietnam served to crystallize the situation there for the rest of the world, I knew that this picture of a screaming, angry, helpless, orphaned child could do the same.

The soldiers standing in the dusk had called "halt," the story said, but no one did. Maybe the soldiers' accents were bad. Maybe the car motor was unduly noisy. Maybe the children were laughing loudly -- the way children do on family trips. Whatever the case, the car did not stop, the soldiers shot with deadly accuracy, seven lives changed in an instant: two died in body, five died in soul.

BBC news announced that the picture was spreading across Europe like a brushfire that morning, featured from one major newspaper to another, served with coffee and Danish from kitchen table to kitchen table in one country after another. I watched, while Inauguration Day dawned across the Atlantic, as the Irish up and down the aisle on the train from Killarney to Dublin, narrowed their eyes at the picture, shook their heads silently and slowly over it, and then sat back heavily in their seats, too stunned into reality to go back to business as usual -- the real estate section, the sports section, the life-style section of the paper.

Here was the other side of the inauguration story. No military bands played for this one. No bulletproof viewing stands could stop the impact of this insight into the glory of force. Here was an America they could no longer understand. The contrast rang cruelly everywhere.

I sat back and looked out the train window myself. Would anybody in the United States be seeing this picture today? Would the United States ever see it, in fact? And if it is printed in the United States, will it also cross the country like wildfire and would people hear the unwritten story under it?

There are 54 million people in Iraq. Over half of them are under the age of 15. Of the over 100,000 civilians dead in this war, then, over half of them are children. We are killing children. The children are our enemy. And we are defeating them.

"I'll tell you why I voted for George Bush," a friend of mine said. "I voted for George Bush because he had the courage to do what Al Gore and John Kerry would never have done."

I've been thinking about that one.

Osama Bin Laden is still alive. Sadam Hussein is still alive. Abu Musab al-Zarqawi is still alive. Baghdad, Mosul and Fallujah are burning. But my government has the courage to kill children or their parents. And I'm supposed to be impressed.

That's an unfair assessment, of course. A lot of young soldiers have died, too. A lot of weekend soldiers are maimed for life. A lot of our kids went into the military only to get a college education and are now shattered in soul by what they had to do to other bodies.

A lot of adult civilians have been blasted out of their homes and their neighborhoods and their cars. More and more every day. According to U.N. Development Fund for Women, 15 percent of wartime casualties in World War I were civilians. In World War II, 65 percent were civilians. By the mid '90s, over 75 percent of wartime casualties were civilians.

In Iraq, for every dead U.S. soldier, there are 14 other deaths, 93 percent of them are civilian. But those things happen in war, the story says. It's all for a greater good, we have to remember. It's all to free them. It's all being done to spread "liberty."

From where I stand, the only question now is who or what will free us from the 21st century's new definition of bravery. Who will free us from the notion that killing children or their civilian parents takes courage?


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IdaBriggs Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-29-05 04:51 PM
Response to Original message
1. Kick. nt
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Nitrogenica Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-29-05 04:56 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. Then suddenly the US media turns to Spongebob as a top story.
Our media is sick. We need to cure it! Why don't people see how the mainstream US media f***s with your head? It's not right at all.
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Tace Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-29-05 08:02 PM
Response to Reply #2
9. World News Trust Is Trying
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ElsewheresDaughter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-30-05 09:55 AM
Response to Reply #9
10. WNT is a nice blog...tace thanks for the link
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Dylan Garcia Donating Member (361 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-29-05 04:59 PM
Response to Original message
3. It makes me so angry!
Moral values! They'll all burn in hell.
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Amy6627 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-29-05 05:04 PM
Response to Original message
4. This pictures are horrific! I can not believe our country is
responsible for this! It made me cry. These are the kinds of pictures America needs to see, maybe it will knock them out of their trance.
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ElsewheresDaughter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-29-05 05:26 PM
Response to Reply #4
6. these are the kind of pictures bush*s media will NEVER show anyone
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jdots Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-29-05 05:07 PM
Response to Original message
5. exellent KICK !
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Spinzonner Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-29-05 05:31 PM
Response to Original message
7. The only kind of Collateral Damage Shrub gives a damn about

is the kind to his assets
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ElsewheresDaughter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-29-05 05:41 PM
Response to Original message
8. i mail this with pics to every bush voter & supporter of this war i know
i hope you all do the same
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Toucano Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-30-05 11:30 AM
Response to Reply #8
13. Thank you.
Edited on Sun Jan-30-05 11:36 AM by Toucano
On edit: I realized I was incorrect about the source of the text.

The world will not let this wickedness go unpunished.
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Toucano Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-30-05 10:22 AM
Response to Original message
11. Kick
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anarchy1999 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-30-05 10:46 AM
Response to Original message
12. I've not been able to get this picture out of my mind for days.
I'm so sorry. I'm just so sorry, how do we stop this, there has to be a way?
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ElsewheresDaughter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-30-05 12:01 PM
Response to Reply #12
14. me either...can we keep this kicked just for today?
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ElsewheresDaughter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-30-05 04:43 PM
Response to Original message
15. one last kick
:cry:
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Neecy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-30-05 05:11 PM
Response to Original message
16. there are no words...
I saw the whole series of photos on Headline News a few days ago, and was sickened and horrified. Are any other outlets in the US carrying these photos?
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ElsewheresDaughter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-30-05 05:21 PM
Response to Reply #16
17. none that i have seen only the catholic reporter
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Neecy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-30-05 05:43 PM
Response to Reply #17
18. well....
The Headline News piece was DISGUSTING.

The corporate whore reporter said that the incident evolved from a 'combat mission' (the shooting of the unarmed civilian parents) to a 'humanitarian mission' (comforting the terrified children after holding them at gunpoint).

This groteque spin almost made me put my fist through the television set. They really think they can spin these photographs...they can't. The horror speaks for itself.
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