Spinning Out Of Control
By Sheila Samples
more than 60 soldiers who crowded into two mammoth, 10-ton
Chinook helicopters early last Sunday had to be breathing
a collective sigh of relief.
After surviving what had been the toughest, bloodiest week
in Iraq's escalating anti-American insurgency, they were finally
headed for some well-deserved, desperately-needed rest and
relaxation (R&R). Their hearts had to be beating in concert
with the powerful copter rotors' throbbing mantra, "Next Stop...Baghdad
They never made it.
A single strike from a shoulder-fired missile brought down
one of the Chinooks, killing 15 and wounding 21, according
to the U.S. military command. Another soldier was killed in
an ambush in Baghdad just after midnight, and two coalition
civilian contractors were killed on Sunday in a separate incident
The toll of U.S. troops killed in Iraq has burgeoned to
378 and, unfortunately, some - if not most - of the 21 wounded
in the Chinook, which was completely destroyed in the crash,
can be expected to die.
Does the Bush administration have a plan that deals with
stemming the flow of U.S. blood - the daily slaughter of American
soldiers and marines? If we are to believe the president's
weekly radio mantra, everything is going according to plan.
On Saturday, Bush defended his "work" in Iraq by saying the
upsurge in violence would have "no effect" on America leaving
"The terrorists and the Ba'athists loyal to the old regime
will fail because America and our allies have a strategy,"
he announced, "and our strategy is working."
Smoke the cold-blooded killers out. Bring 'em to justice.
Yep. Sounds like a plan to me.
All we have to do is kill every Iraqi who hates the freedom
we are "providing" for them - raid their homes, encircle their
villages with concertina wire, seize their weapons and money
and resources. After we kill all the terrorists who are drawn
to the region to fight the freedom occupation, we can "transfer
sovereignty and authority" of the remaining rubble to the
few remaining freedom-loving Iraqis. Then - and only then
- will our "work" in Iraq be finished. We'll be home free.
Or - better yet - we can get on with the business of delivering
freedom to other evil regimes in the region.
Upon learning of the tragedy, CNN went directly to the Crawford
ranch, where Bush was relaxing after a gruelling campaign
jaunt through Kentucky and Mississipi. However, the CNN reporter
on the ground advised that Bush had no reaction to Sunday's
unbearable loss of American life because he was still "being
updated." The vice president, as is his wont, was also silent
on the matter.
U.S. occupation chief Paul Bremer repeated the administration
mantra on both FOX and CNN that those at fault were "enemies
of freedom who will stop at nothing." Bremer, appearing a
bit pale and startled, revealed that the battle in Iraq "is
a universal battle. Nothing will stop us in our work," he
said robotically. "We are not going to be deterred..."
So, a defiant Donald Rumsfeld, our zany secretary of defense,
was charged with taking center stage, and repeating his surreal
mantra on every single Sunday morning squawk show. If broken-hearted
Americans turned on Sunday to the administration or to its
enabling corporate media for comfort - for some viable explanation
that would justify the stuffing into body bags of yet 16 more
of our cherished husbands, sons and brothers - they were disappointed.
They were left to drown in their own tears; to be crushed
under the weight of their collective anguish.
"It's a tragic day for those people who were killed or wounded,"
Rumsfeld told FOX News' Tony Snow. "But this is a war. There
are going to be days like that."
Snow nodded his head wisely, and asked, "But are we killing
as many of them as they are of us?"
"Oh, my goodness, yes!" Rumsfeld sputtered. "We are killing
many more of them! Why - on any given day we capture or kill
many more of them than they do of us. But, by golly," he grinned,
"there are good things going on in Iraq, too. Bad news always
drives out the good..."
Rumsfeld reminded viewers of FOX News Sunday, NBC's Meet
the Press, ABC's This Week, and CNN's Late Edition that they
should remember the video clips aired round-the-clock last
week of Saddam "cutting off heads, hands, tongues, and fingers
of his subjects." He suggested that we should all go back
and watch Saddam throw people off three-story buildings.
"It's tragic," he said, "but in a war, we are going to have
days like this. We are fortunate that there are so many wonderful
young men and women who are willing to fight the global war
on terror," Rumsfeld said. "We can't hunker down and wait
for terrorists to attack. We have to go get them."
It didn't take long for Rumsfeld to descend into incomprehensible
clatter-babble. "We know why they are doing it," he said.
"They will do anything for money. And remember, they cut off
people's hands, heads, tongues and fingers. Don't forget that."
Rumsfeld then went into his familiar Q&A routine - "Is our
presence in Iraq helping the recruitment of terrorists? Probably.
Is Saddam still a threat? No. Is it a threat that we haven't
found Saddam yet? Maybe. Will the threat subside if we get
Saddam? We just don't know. Maybe - maybe not."
Among other things that appeared to bewilder him, Rumsfeld
said he "didn't know" if we underestimated the strength of
the Iraqi resistance. "There are many things we don't know,"
he said. "There are questions that aren't answerable because
the answers are unknowable. But," he concluded breezily, "our
goal is to continue doing what we're doing."
Our goal? Continuing to keep our young men and women
in harm's way in a deadly shooting gallery from which there
is no escape, and to lose more and more of them on a daily
basis is not my goal. Nor is it the goal of the majority of
the American people, especially those who continue to receive
their loved ones home in body bags under a tightly-controlled
I submit that the answer to why we are in Iraq is
knowable, but those who know full well that the answer is
"greed" are standing admidst the mangled body parts of our
young men and women, and dare not speak its name.
George W. Bush must step forward and present to a grieving
world something more substantial for the loss of American
lives than ridding the world of evil - of getting cold-blooded
killers on the run and bringing them to justice. If he cannot
- or will not - do this, then the administration's "Operation
Iraqi Mantra" madness must come to a screeching halt.
Because it is becoming increasingly "knowable" that, as
long as Bush's "work" continues in Iraq, Americans will be
forced to accept a steady flow of blood-stained body bags.
Sheila Samples is an Oklahoma freelance writer, a former US
Army Public Information Officer and www.axisoflogic.com