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Epitaph on Empire

Epitaph on Empire
by Philip Giraldi, Dr. Paul's foreign policy adviser.

I have opposed the Iraq war since before it began, but it only became personal for me about a year and a half ago, on April 29, 2008. I remember the moment well. I had flipped open the Washington Post and there, on the front page, was a color photo of a 2-year-old Iraqi boy named Ali Hussein being pulled from the rubble of a house that had been destroyed by American missiles. The little boy was wearing shorts and a T-shirt and had on his feet flip-flops. His head was hanging back at an angle that told the viewer immediately that he was dead. That small boy looked remarkably like my little grandson, similarly attired, who was sitting beside me eating his cereal. When I gasped at the photo, my little guy looked up at me and grinned, wondering why grandpa was crying.

Four days later, on May 3, a letter by a Dunn Loring, Va., woman named Valerie Murphy was printed by the Post. Murphy complained that the Iraqi child victim photo should not have been run in the paper, because it would "stir up opposition to the war and feed anti-U.S. sentiment." I suppose the newspaper thought it was being impartial in printing the woman’s letter, though I couldn’t help but remember that the Post had generally been unwilling to cover anything antiwar, even ignoring a gathering of 300,000 protesters in Washington in 2005. Rereading the woman’s complaint and also a comment on a Web site suggesting that the photo of the dead little boy had been staged, I thought to myself, "What kind of monsters have we become?" And in truth we have become monsters, bipartisan monsters wrapped in the American flag. Bill Clinton’s secretary of state, Madeleine Albright, once said that killing 500,000 Iraqi children through sanctions was "worth it." Every day our Democratic administration continues the policies of the preceding Republican administration as it bombs and kill farmers in their fields, children in their schools, doctors and patients in hospitals, and families in wedding parties. We do it using pilotless drones, helicopters, and airplanes flying so high in the sky that they are invisible to those on the ground. The slaughter is strictly 21st-century high tech, death from the skies, bloodless, without looking into the eyes of those we are killing. We do it because our leaders tell us we need to kill to keep others from attacking us, but we all know it is a fraud. Does any American really believe that what is going on in either Iraq or Afghanistan has anything to do with genuine threats against the United States?

The more we kill, the more we give cause to those who hate us, guaranteeing that the bloodshed will never end. Whatever our government does or does not do, we will surely leave Iraq and Afghanistan some day, and those two countries will quickly learn to live without us. Last Thursday, U.S. Army Gen. Ray Odierno told reporters at the Pentagon, “I’m not sure we will ever see anyone declare victory in Iraq, because first off, I’m not sure we’ll know for 10 years or five years." If Odierno had deliberately sought to define his war in terms borrowed from National Lampoon, he could not have done any better. One thing that is for sure is that there will be no friendly crowds as the last C-17 lifts off from Bagram Airbase, and we will leave only hatred behind us – hatred and the dead, hundreds of thousands of dead.

Continue reading: http://original.antiwar.com/giraldi/2009/10/07/epitaph-on-em...