Archive for the ‘Iraq’ Category

Home Fires

7 June 07

The New York Times has introduced a new blog, Home Fires, on its website. The blog is written by several returned Iraq war veterans. Returning home from a war zone is a welcome relief for the soldiers and their families, but in many ways it is never as easy as just walking off the plane and going home. It will never be the way it was before. Too much has changed. Or maybe, as one soldier recounts, everything is the way it was before  and fitting back into life is relatively easy. The truth is, there is no road map. Read the blog to find out first hand how some of our troops are dealing with the adjustment. Also, interesting comments section.

Update on the Global Voices website – must have just been a hiccup, access is back to normal.

Advertisements

Project Censored

31 May 07

Expand your mind a bit with the top 25 censored stories of 2007. Among the stories are:

  1. Future of Internet Debate
  2. Halliburton Charged with Selling Nuclear Technologies to Iran
  3. Oceans of the World in Extreme Danger
  4. Hunger and Homelessness Increasing in the US
  5. High-Tech Genocide in the Congo
  6. Federal Whistleblower Protection in Jeopardy
  7. US Operatives Tortured Detainees to Death in Afghanistan and Iraq
  8. Pentagon Exempt from Freedom of Information Act
  9. The World Bank Funds Israel-Palestine Wall
  10. Expanded Air War in Iraq Kills More Civilians
  11. Dangers of Genetically Modified Foods Confirmed
  12. Pentagon Plans to Build New Landmines
  13. New Evidence Establishes Danger of Roundup
  14. Homeland Security Contracts KBR to Build Detention Centers in the US
  15. Chemical Industry is EPA’s Primary Research Partner
  16. Ecuador and Mexico Defy US on International Criminal Court
  17. Iraq Invasion Promotes OPEC Agenda
  18. Physicist Challenges Official 9-11 Story
  19. Destruction of Rainforests Worst Ever
  20. Bottled Water: A Global Environmental Problem
  21. Gold Mining Threatens Ancient Andean Glaciers
  22. $Billions in Homeland Security Spending Undisclosed
  23. US Oil Targets Kyoto in Europe
  24. Cheney’s Halliburton Stock Rose Over 3000 Percent Last Year
  25. US Military in Paraguay Threatens Region

As far as I can tell, many of these stories come from known newspapers and organizations. Whether you agree with their findings or not, it is always valuable to read something from different points of view.  Project Censored is a media research group with Sonoma State University. They track news stories printed in independent journals and newsletters, pointing out the most underreported stories in the mainstream press.

The Yellow Ribbon

11 December 06

The day I heard about the invasion of Kuwait, August 2nd 1990, I was 14 years old and I didn’t want to be a nerdy kid who cared about world politics. In my school that got you nowhere. I wanted to care about the latest band, the latest song, shopping & hairstyles. (Like how to get those teased bangs even higher!)

I distinctly remember telling my dad, “I don’t care that the Iraqis invaded Kuwait, what does it have to do with me?”

Boy, did I set myself up for something big that day.

A few weeks later my brother was among thousands of US soldiers taking up residence in the Saudi desert. (And so seriously bothering Osama Bin Laden that his US hatred fully solidified.) Not that the US soldiers were thrilled to be in the land of the two holy mosques, my brother recalls that the Saudi desert was just heat, sand, heat, sand, heat, sand and heat.

I thought at this point, okay, so the Iraqis invading Kuwait really did have something to do with me after all. I couldn’t believe that my brother was in the middle of it all. (Or that I would be there in less than two years time.)

I started wearing a yellow ribbon – that is what you do in America if your relative goes to war. I decorated my locker at school with photos and ribbons. Me and another girl, who I hardly knew, were the only two with any relatives in the desert. One day I found my father’s old Army dog tags on a chain. He had worn them during his time in the army back in 1964 – he was in Germany and was extremely lucky to miss out on the horror that was Vietnam. I took his old dog tags and decorated them up with yellow ribbons. I wore them everyday, everywhere.

I don’t know if my brother knew it at the time, but he was my hero. Not because he was a marine serving in the gulf. But because he was my big brother. I worshiped him, even though he mostly ignored me, or farted on me if he did notice me. (I bet he is proud of that memory.)

The yellow ribbons started to fade and unravel quickly, and they had to be replaced often. In an effort to be adequately covered, I took a short piece of ribbon and entwined it through several holes in my tough leather motorcycle jacket.

Later, when I was myself in Kuwait, and someone caught sight of the yellow ribbons on the jacket, they asked me why an American was wearing the color of the “Remember the Kuwaiti POWs campaign.” I explained what it means in America and how my brother had been part of the military during the Kuwait invasion and liberation. He seemed shocked. He didn’t expect that my family had been involved in the war, only in the aftermath – the rebuilding. I wasn’t wearing the yellow ribbon in memory of the POWs, but I did know what it was like to wait for someone to come home. To hope for that, and to cry for that.

These memories came back to me this weekend as I watched the HBO documentary “Baghdad ER,” when I saw all those buff soldiers with their close-cropped hair and tattooed skin, injured and hurt. Could’ve been my brother. Those soldiers are all somebody’s brother, son, husband, father, uncle, or nephew. (And someone’s wife, daughter, mother, aunt or niece.) Someone out there is feeling what I felt all those years ago – the waiting and the uncertainty. Except for now it is all so much worse, so much more cloudy, so deadly, so unending and in many ways, so senseless.

If you haven’t already, watch Baghdad ER – available from HBO.com. It will break your heart. I thought that I would be prepared for it, having spent my childhood watching MASH and China Beach. It is devastatingly real.

I still support the troops, although I no longer wear a yellow ribbon. The yellow ribbon is only for my memory now, tucked away in a box. I hope that for thousands of other Americans the yellow ribbon can be just a memory, too.