February 26, 2003
By Christian Dewar
has been reported that between 77,000 and 100,000 body bags
have been delivered to the US military. 6000 coffins are available.
The Pentagon planned to cremate the bodies of our servicemen
killed by chemical or biological weapons and bury them in
anonymous graves in the Iraqi desert to avoid further contamination
until veterans groups protested.
The US Navy recently offered $6000 signing bonuses for morticians
who enlist. Chicken hawks who lust for war say that if we
don't attack Iraq, Bush will loss credibility.
George W. Bush has never been to war. With twelve days remaining
before his student deferment was to expire, Bush was accepting
into the Texas National Guard, leaping to the head of a year-and-a-half
waiting list. Powerful friends had intervened on his behalf.
On his application to the guard, Bush checked the box indicating
that he would not volunteer for service abroad. He was assigned
an obsolete jet which ensured he would never see service in
Bush was made a second lieutenant without the mandatory active
duty requirement and officer candidate school. He had numerous
unexplained absences. He appears to have gone AWOL during
the last seventeen months of his commitment. Vietnam veterans
have offered substantial rewards for anyone who can prove
that Bush actually was present at the National Guard base
he claims to have been stationed at during those months.(see
He was banned from flying after refusing to submit to a physical
exam which included drug testing.
Unlike Bill Clinton who protested against a war which has
since been declared a 'terrible mistake' by one architect
of that debacle, Robert McNamara, Bush claims his fellow frat
boys never discussed Vietnam. He simply didn't want to die
in the rice paddies of South East Asia.
George Bush's daughters will not be going to war, either.
Jenna and Barbara will be sucking down beers and drinking
$250 dollar bottles of wine on the coast of France. Jeb's
children won't be serving.
Cheney received five deferments and claimed he did not enlist
because he had "other priorities". His daughters will not
be fighting this war.
Scalia's son will not be there. He has a comfortable job
in government. Rehnquist's daughter won't be fighting or dying.
There are only three children of members of congress who are
now in the military.
These little souls who thirst for war with Iraq but avoided
service when their country beckoned include Michael Reagan,
Spencer Abraham, Elliot Abrahams, John Bolton, Andrew Card,
Asa Hutchinson, Tim Hutchinson, Bob Barr, Richard (The Prince
of Darkness) Perle, Tommy Thompson, Paul Wolfowitz, Ted Olsen,
Jeb Bush, Tom Delay, Newt Gingrich, Trent Lott, Charles Krauthammer,
Bill O'Reilly, George Will, Bill Bennett, Jerry Falwell, Frank
Gaffney, Karl Rove and others. Rush Limbaugh escaped the draft
because the had 'anal cysts.' For these 'Leaders of Men' who
proved their valor on the frontlines of Washington's think
tanks, war is merely an intellectual exercise much like the
board games Risk or Chess.
Has Ann Coulter volunteered to lead the charge on Iraqi positions?
Mike Kelly? Tim Russert? Mike Savage? John Fund? These champions
of war will not be dying in Iraq. They will be dining in fine
restaurants, playing squash, meeting friends at the country
club and discussing policy over martinis while our children
There are brave veterans from both sides of the aisle who
did serve with distinction. It is ironic that the government
officials who did risk the ultimate sacrifice are the ones
who advocate caution and moderation. Generals including Wesley
Clark, Schwarzkoph and Zinni urge caution. We honor those
soldiers who served. Having seen the carnage of war, they
are not the voices who condemn the dissenters from this futile
Bush cannot open his mouth for an unscripted moment without
revealing his profound lack of understanding of the English
language. His gaffes and mistakes are the fodder of late-night
comedians. However, these ridiculous flights of linguistic
fancy also have grave consequences; his pronouncement that
the United States would defend Taiwan in the event of an invasion
from mainland China set off a furor.
George W. Bush's extraordinary ignorance of history and foreign
policy are a matter of record. It has been alleged that he
completed his major in history while at Yale. Presumably,
he did not study about "Grecians" and "Kosovarians".
His father, George H.W. Bush, and his generals were praised
when reports of American combat casualties from the first
Gulf War proved to be low, never mind the Iraqi civilian deaths
and those of the surrendering, demoralized soldiers that were
killed against orders in a massacre. That murder traumatized
American troops ordered to perpetrate this carnage. (Bush
Senior's contrived, wholly unnecessary invasion of Panama
massacred hundreds of civilians who labored under the illusion
they were our allies.)
Now, it is estimated that between one and two hundred thousand
of our vets suffer from the debilitating Gulf War Syndrome.
As many as ten thousand of them may have already died from
the illness. It may have been caused by the 300 tons of depleted
uranium bombs that were expended there and which continue
to cause cancer in the nation's children.
Other scientists speculate that the illnesses and deaths
may have been as the result of bombed Iraqi chemical or biological
plants. Still other researchers blame experimental Anthrax
vaccines administered to our soldiers. (The only allied soldiers
who have not exhibited symptoms of this illness are from the
French contingent who did not receive the vaccine.) In a new
war, our children will be once again exposed to the toxic
cesspool we created a decade ago, not to mention the mines
and weapons the Bush/Reagan administration sold Hussein during
his war with Iran.
Now the screeching heads of the American right are heaping
scorn upon our French and German allies for resisting a new
slaughter. But the French and Germans know the horrors of
war all too well.
At the battle of the Somme during 'The Great War', sixty
thousand British troops died on the first day. There were
seven hundred thousand casualties at the Battle of Verdun
in an area smaller than ten square kilometers. The Germans
threatened a campaign of 'weissbluten', to bleed the French
white. The battle commenced with a nine hour bombardment.
In one attack, two hundred and thirty German guns fired 110,000
artillery shells of poisonous phosgene gas at French lines.
It is likely that Bush is not familiar with the historical
accounts of the 'Great War' and the horrendous slaughter at
Verdun, the Somme and numerous other fields of carnage. It
is unlikely that George W. Bush ever read Barbara Tuckman's
The Guns of August. Hopefully, Condi Rice or Donald
To these brave, heroic, arm chair warriors who will create
so many new corpses, I would like to bring to their attention,
the eye-witness accounts of German and French soldiers who
fought in one of the bloodiest battles of World War 1, 'The
War to End All Wars'. These are the voices of war.
(From the comprehensive web
site discussing The Battle of Verdun)
Witnesses of the Battle of Verdun
A French captain reports: ...I have returned from the most
terrible ordeal I have ever witnessed. [.] Four days and four
nights - ninety-six hours - the last two days in ice-cold
mud - kept under relentless fire, without any protection whatsoever
except for the narrow trench, which even seemed to be too
wide. [.] I arrived with 175 men, I returned with 34 of whom
several had half turned insane....
A French Lieutenant reports: ...Firstly, companies of skeletons
passed, sometimes commanded by a wounded officer, leaning
on a stick. All marched, or rather: moved forwards with tiny
steps, zigzagging as if drugged. [.] It seemed as if these
speechless faces cried over something appalling: the unbelievable
horrors of their martyrdom....
The last note from the diary of Alfred Joubaire, a French
soldier: ...They must be crazy to do what they are doing now:
what a bloodbath, what horrid images, what a slaughter. I
just cannot find the words to express my feelings. Hell cannot
be this dreadful. People are insane!...
A German soldier writes to his parents: ...An awful word,
Verdun. Numerous people, still young and filled with hope,
had to lay down their lives here - their mortal remains decomposing
somewhere, in between trenches, in mass graves, at cemeteries....
Louis Barthas recounts the bitter man-to-man fights: ...Woe
betide anyone who fell into the hands of the enemy alive;
all sense of humanity had disappeared. Soldiers, wounded,
stretcher-bearers - a distinction was no longer made....
An eye-witness: ...One soldier was going insane with thirst
and drank from a pond covered with a greenish layer near Le
Mort-Homme. A corpse was afloat in it; his black countenance
face down in the water and his abdomen swollen as if he had
been filling himself up with water for days now....
A soldier tells: ...The soldiers put their feet in front
of them and pulled up out of the swampy and smelly soil. A
disgusting impenetrable stench surrounded every move. Some
did not manage to pull their boots from the mud and had to
continue in their socks, puttee or even barefooted....
A French soldier describes the horrors of a bombardment:
...When you hear the whistling in the distance your entire
body preventively crunches together to prepare for the enormous
explosions. Every new explosion is a new attack, a new fatigue,
a new affliction. Even nerves of the hardest of steel, are
not capable of dealing with this kind of pressure. The moment
comes when the blood rushes to your head, the fever burns
inside your body and the nerves, numbed with tiredness, are
not capable of reacting to anything anymore. It is as if you
are tied to a pole and threatened by a man with a hammer.
First the hammer is swung backwards in order to hit hard,
then it is swung forwards, only missing your scull by an inch,
into the splintering pole. In the end you just surrender.
Even the strength to guard yourself from splinters now fails
you. There is even hardly enough strength left to pray to
A witness tells: ...We all carried the smell of dead bodies
with us. The bread we ate, the stagnant water we drank. Everything
we touched smelled of decomposition due to the fact that the
earth surrounding us was packed with dead bodies....
Henri Barbusse describes the trenches as: ...a network of
elongated pits in which the nightly excreta are piling up.
The bottom is covered with a swampy layer from which the feet
have to extricate themselves with every step. It smells dreadfully
of urine all over....
A French stretcher-bearer describes the consequences of a
flame-thrower attack: ...Some grenadiers returned with ghastly
wounds: hair and eyebrows singed, almost not human anymore,
black creatures with bewildered eyes....
Louis Barthas also describes such an attack: ...At my feet
two unlucky creatures rolled the floor in misery. Their clothes
and hands, their entire bodies were on fire. They were living
torches. [The next day] In front of us on the floor the two
I had witnessed ablaze, lay rattling. They were so unrecognisably
mutilated that we could not decide on their identities. Their
skin was black entirely. One of them died that same night.
In a fit of insanity the other hummed a tune from his childhood,
talked to his wife and his mother and spoke of his village.
Tears were in our eyes....
A soldier tells: ...Seven days without sleep, seven days
of fatigue, thirst and fear made these healthy men, these
beautifully disciplined companies into a gang of loiterers.
Critically ill, but calm and satisfied, because they were
now out of danger and appeared to be still alive....
A German officer recalls: ...We saw a handful of soldiers,
commanded by a Captain, slowly approaching, one at the time.
The Captain asked which company we were and then started to
cry all of a sudden. Did he suffer of shellshock? Then he
said: ...when I saw you approach it reminded me of six days
ago, when I walked this same road with approximately hundred
men. And now look how few there are left.... We watched as
we passed them; they where about twenty. They walked by us
as living, plastered statues. Their faces stared at us like
shrunken mummies, and their eyes were so immense that you
could not see anything but their eyes....
A German soldier describes: ...The men who have lived in
these trenches just as long as our infantry men, without going
insane under these infernal attacks, must have lost their
sense for a large number of things. Our poor men have seen
too many atrocities, have witnessed too many incredible matters.
I cannot believe that we will be able to cope with this. Our
poor little mind simply cannot comprehend all of this....
An eye-witness: ...There is nothing as tiring as the continuous,
enormous bombardment as we have lived through, last night,
at the front. The night is disturbed by light as clear as
if it were day. The earth moves and shakes like jelly. And
the men who are still at the frontline, cannot hear anything
but the drumfire, the moaning of wounded friends, the screams
of hurt horses, the wild pounding of their own hearts, hour
after hour, day after day, night after night....
A German soldier: ...the soldiers fell over like tin soldiers.
Almost all our officers get hurt or killed and many of our
men get killed because of their own artillery fire, which
is too close and therefore causes many victims...
A French soldier: ...my battalion comes straight from the
land behind the front-lines, the men are exhausted and did
not sleep. The battalion consists of 800 men - the battalion
that we are here to replace lost 800 men...
A German eye-witness: ...The losses are registered as follows:
they are dead, wounded, missing, nervous wrecks, ill and exhausted.
Nearly all suffer from dysentery. Because of the failing provisioning
the men are forced to use up their emergency rations of salty
meats. They quenched their thirst with water from the shellholes.
They are stationed in the village of Ville where every form
of care seems to be missing. They have to build their own
accommodation and are given a little cacao to stop the diarrhoea.
The latrines, wooden beams hanging over open holes, are occupied
day and night - the holes are filled with slime and blood...
A neutral contemporary feels: .that they, within the framework
of this World War, are involved in some affair, that will
still be considered horrible and appalling in a hundred years
time. It is this Hell of Verdun. Since a hundred days - day
and night - the sons of two European people fight stubbornly
and bitterly over every inch of land. It is the most appalling
mass murder of our history.
A soldier: .One of the trenches is so filled with wounded
and dead bodies the attackers have to use the parapet in order
to be able to move forward.
A German witness: .the latrines cause major problems. They
are completely blocked up and smell terribly. This stench
is fought with chlorinated lime and this smell mixes with
the battlefield smell of decomposition. Men even wear their
gas masks when using the latrines.
A French eye-witness: .mud, heat, thirst, filth, rats, the
sweat smell of corpses, the disgusting smell of excreta and
the terrible fear: 'it seems we will have to attack', and
that when nobody has any strength left...
A German soldier: .and during the summer months the swarms
of flies around the corpses and the stench, that horrible
stench. If we had to construct trenches we put garlic cloves
in our nostrils.
An eye-witness: . you could never get rid of the horrible
stench. If we were on leave and we were having a drink somewhere,
it would only last a few minutes before the people at the
table beside us would stand up and leave. It was impossible
to endure the horrible stench of Verdun...
A German officer: .the number of defectors increases, the
front soldiers become numb by seeing the bodies without heads,
without legs, shot through the belly, with blown away foreheads,
with holes in their chests, hardly recognisable flab's, pale
and dirty in the thick yellow brown mud, which covers the
A French soldier: .everyone who searches for cover in a shell
hole, stumbles across slippery, decomposing bodies and has
to proceed with smelly hands and smelly clothes.
A German soldier: .in the drumfire bravery no longer exists:
only nerves, nerves, nerves. When anyone is exposed unto such
trials and tribulations he is no longer of any use as an attacker
It is this horror, this tragedy, this crime against humanity
that George Bush lusts for. Having avoided serving in Vietnam
and apparently not well versed in the writing of those who
did serve in this nation's wars, Bush Junior is about to repeat
the mistakes from history that he never bothered to learn.
What will our own children say about their experiences of