Thursday, March 27, 2008

Without Empathy or Remorse--An Essay by Jamala Rogers

Without Empathy or Remorse by Jamala Rogers

The American Heritage Dictionary defines psychopath as “a person with an antisocial personality disorder, manifested in aggressive, perverted, criminal, or amoral behavior without empathy or remorse.” Without empathy or remorse.

The word psychopath came to mind when I heard Dick Cheney’s response to Martha Raddatz from ABC News last week on the Iraq war. She told Cheney that “two-thirds of Americans say it's not worth fighting." Cheney snapped back in his dispassionate, dead voice, "So?" Without empathy or remorse.

There have been a bunch of psychopaths in the White House running this country. It accurately describes Bush, Dick, Condi, Karl, Scooter and the rest of their crew. They have operated in a fashion that is way past irresponsible; it is criminal. Impeachment is in order.

Bush and his warmongers have put US troops in harm’s way through an illegal war; they have put us all in the crosshairs of the so-called war on terrorism.

I was captivated by the Winter Soldier testimonies of veteran soldiers who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan. Their riveting stories about murderous actions and unnecessary destruction re-affirmed why we must bring the troops home. Not in 100 years, but now!

PBS’s Frontline 2-part special on Bush’s War takes an indepth look at how Bush took this country into war. The special lays bare the deceptive tactics and military machinations used to confuse and convince the American public that an invasion of Iraq was necessary and justified. These exposés are a troubling punctuation to the 5th anniversary of Bush’s war. The Iraq war is now the second-most expensive and second-longest war in US history.

According to the National Priorities Project, over $500 billion dollars has been spent on this war. That’s about $275 million a day and over $5 billion for each month. Over 4000 US soldiers have been killed and more than 60,000 wounded. Many of these injuries will have permanent emotional and physical consequences for individual soldiers, their families and their communities. Without empathy or remorse.

The Bushite slogan to “Support our troops” is as empty as our savings accounts. Troops are getting deployed to war zones for two, three, and even four tours of duty escalating combat stress and exhaustion leading to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Troops are being exposed to depleted uranium, dangerous inoculations and infectious diseases and then find minimal support when they return home to an under-funded system of care. Without empathy or remorse.

Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz has said that not only has the Iraq war cost the US 50-60 times more than the Bush administration predicted, the war was also a critical factor in the sub-prime banking crisis whose impact is reverberating around the world. Stiglitz believes the war costs are closer to $3 trillion when you add in all the costs such as medical, family support, etc.

On the Iraqi side - a side which almost is never discussed in US corporate media - is the massive destruction of the country’s infrastructure and upheaval of its governance. 700,000 Iraqi people have been killed and 4 million have been displaced from their homes. Without empathy or remorse.

Bushites, including presumptive Republican presidential nominee John McClain, are holding on to the belief that if they keep saying the troop surge is working then the American people will come to believe it.

A Pew Research poll suggests that those of us who prefer peace over war must step up our game. Their poll reports that media coverage on Iraq has declined and with that comes a drop in public awareness about the war. Only about 30% of those polled knew the current casualty numbers. The unjust and illegal invasion of Iraq has slipped from the minds of many US citizens as we struggle to fill our gas tanks, keep a roof over our heads, put food on the table and get affordable health care.

Peace activists must get smarter and bolder about our anti-war strategy. We must get louder and more creative about our message. We have let a bunch of psychopaths alter our future and destroy lives without empathy, remorse or consequence. They must be stopped. Editorial Board member Jamala Rogers is the leader of the Organization for Black Struggle in St. Louis.

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