Friday, November 2

U.S. Middle-Class Diplomats Discover Iraq Deployment a "Potential Death Sentence"

Now that the U.S. State Department is forcing relatively privileged Americans to deploy to the new embassy in Iraq, the foreign service officers are aghast--outraged, even!--on discovering that those assignments are "potential death sentences." The hapless diplomats could have discovered this long ago if their arrogance had permitted them to cross the American class-divide to hear disturbing accounts about a mysterious sickness from U.S. soldiers deployed there since the first Gulf War in 1991.

When 3844 largely poor and ethnic U.S. soldiers die for "democracy" in Iraq, most Americans have no trouble going about their daily routines on the home front.

No, the "war on terror" abroad isn't much a distraction for most of us Americans, even the Democrat- controlled congress; we manage very well, thank you, to carry on, despite overwhelming evidence that the White House ensured our troops' deaths (1) with "fixed" evidence to start the war and (2) profiteering contacts to a Florida body armor manufacturer where union workers alleged supervisors instructed them to skimp* on construction quality.

No problem here, amigos and amigas. Eyes front and just keep moving.

But the U.S. government's covert "poverty draft" has been much less effective in compelling middle class American professionals to serve God, mom and country in Iraq; these relatively privileged citizens needed to be enticed by other means to serve on that dangerous war front.

Oh, and how they are howling over impending tours of duty in the scorching Iraqi sand, an assignment some of them now liken--surprise, surprise--to "potential death sentences."

On All Hallow's Eve, appropriately enough, ThinkProgress.com posted the following news brief about a mini-State Department uprising in which foreign service officials voiced--out loud!-- panicky disquiet over their impending "forced postings to Iraq."

In a “contentious” hour-long “town hall meeting” today, several hundred U.S. diplomats “vented anger and frustration Wednesday about the State Department’s decision to force foreign service officers to take jobs in Iraq, with some likening it to a ‘potential death sentence.’” The AP reports on the exchange:

“Incoming is coming in every day, rockets are hitting the Green Zone,” said Jack Crotty, a senior foreign service officer who once worked as a political adviser with NATO forces. […]

“It’s one thing if someone believes in what’s going on over there and volunteers [via the "poverty draft"], but it’s another thing to send someone over there on a forced assignment,” Crotty said. “I’m sorry, but basically that’s a potential death sentence and you know it. Who will raise our children if we are dead or seriously wounded?” [Dick Cheney will. If not Dick, George Bush will. I know; your marriageless, childless babe abd boss Condi Rice happily will assume responsibility for your progeny.]

“You know that at any other (country) in the world, the embassy would be closed at this point,” Crotty said to loud and sustained applause from the about 300 diplomats who attended the meeting in a large State Department auditorium.

UPDATE: ABC News has the audio. October 31, 2007
Oh mercy, me; you are a rascal, Jack Crotty. What great timing, Jack, to suddenly discover the Bush administration is handing out "potential death sentences" to Americans posted to Iraq.

You are one wild and crazy guy, Jacko.

Hey, Jack, here's a question that could put an arc on that learning curve you're working on regarding the U.S. presence in Iraq: Does the date "19 March 2003" mean anything to you? I didn't think so.

Jack, I have a all-stations News flash for you: You aren't the first American to face death at the hands of angry Sunni insurgents outraged at a veritable devil's catalogue of U.S. war crimes and crimes against humanity, to date claiming 1.1 million Iraqi lives.

Let me repeat, Jacko: You will not be the first American to daily confront outraged Iraqis who will see you as the tie-and-jacketed errand boy representing an invasion and occupation force responsible for tons of discarded radioactive depleted uranium (DU)--a covert "weapon of mass destruction" (WMD), according to the UN, in which the U.S. is world leader--left in spent munitions throughout Iraq since the 1991 Gulf War that has driven Iraqi birth defects and children's cancer rates off the charts.

But the Pentagon officially claims DU is harmless to civilians, so its a-okay, in their expert opinion, to let it lie about, wherever troops assemble, particularly on battlefields and logistical support units in Iraq and Afghanistan, Jack.

But most doctors disagree with the Pentagon's "medical experts." During the brief Gulf War I (1990-1991), U.S. forces deposited 320 tons of depleted uranium munitions on the Iraqi landscape, to harrowing effect to our troops.
....Medical experts report that this phenomenon of multiple malignancies from unrelated causes has been unknown until now and is a new syndrome associated with internal DU exposure.

Just 467 U.S. personnel were wounded in the three-week Persian Gulf War in 1990-1991.

Out of 580,400 soldiers who served in Gulf War I, 11,000 are dead, and by 2000 there were 325,000 [or 55.9%] on permanent medical disability.

This astounding number of disabled vets means that a decade later, 56 percent of those soldiers who served now have medical problems. The number of disabled vets reported up to 2000 has been increasing by 43,000 every year.
As I said earlier, Jack, you, like those Gulf War I troops, must count on the U.S. taxpayer--Uncle Sam--to raise your children in the event your are killed or seriously wounded by during your impending stint at the U.S.'s massively flawed $593 million new embassy compound in Baghdad.
For, indeed, Americans like you facing deployment to Iraq by 2008, if they were sufficiently aware, would have much more to keep them awake at night about incremental radiation poisoning since the U.S.-led invasion in March 2003.

Just how much depleted uranium left by the U.S. military since 2003 would you imagine awaits you on your arrival, ol' Jack-o-lantern-to-glow-in-the dark? Would you believe 2000 tons? That's the estimated tonnage deposited in just the first three weeks of our current "war." Since George W. Bush on 1 May 2003 pretended he flew the Lockheed S-3 Viking and parked it atop the U.S.S. Abraham Lincoln to declare "Mission Accomplished" in Iraq, untold tons of DU have been added to the existing toxic mix.

Perhaps the dramatic spike in tonnage is why the White House initially hid, then illegally denied Freedom of Information Act requests filed by National Security Archive officials at George Washington University seeking the number of disability claims filed by U.S. troops fighting in the bogus post-9/11 "war on terrorism" centered in Afghanistan and Iraq. In October 2006, that figure was 1 in 4.

Eight months before GWU threatened the Veterans Administration with a lawsuit to coerce release of those numbers, Columbia University's Nobel Prize-winning economic Joseph E. Stiglitz reported (and the media yawned) the Bush White House had dramatically low-balled the costs of the Iraq War, in large part by underfunding medical treatment for veterans returning from the War on Terrorism's dual war fronts. (Original 38-page document here).

In a synopsis of the longer numbers-crunching study, Stiglitz writes:
...[T]he Bush administration has been doing everything it can to hide the huge number of returning veterans who are severely wounded – 16,000 so far, including roughly 20% with serious brain and head injuries. So it is no surprise that its figure of $500 billion [total war estimates] ignores the lifetime disability and healthcare costs that the government will have to pay for years to come.
What the economist goes on to say, Jack, is that the total costs of the war to American taxpayers has been yet another sleight-of-hand voodoo economics trick.** By Stiglitz conservative estimate, our costs will be twice the estimate Bush as told the Congress and the American public. In other words, there indeed may not be sufficient funds in the U.S. Treasury to care of your children, should you succumb to incremental radiation poisoning that continues on the sly in Iraq.

But, Jack, perhaps you caught Michael Moore's documentary SicKo that played well this past summer in American theaters, even garnering kudos from Fox News Network. Like the "war" in Iraq, Moore tells us that our national healthcare system is a global disgrace, little more than a covert corporate strategy for transferring tax dollars from the U.S. Treasury to off-shore accounts protected by bipartisan congressional support.

Countering Bush administration propaganda on why the U.S. system is better than Canada's, Moore half-jokingly concludes the film with a graphic of the url "HookaCanuck," a Canadian singles dating service. Since U.S. healthcare is for Big Pharma, Big Medicine and Corporate America, Moore was telling us to marry a Canadian and substitute our Third World healthcare for world class treatment.

Jack Crooty, rather than willingly deploy to Iraq, I suggest taking your children to Canada and marrying a Canadian; that's the solution sought by a growing contingent of U.S. soldiers who face deployment to a clearly unjust war.

But, Jack, despite the hoopla you raised at the State Department this week, I bet you'll end up convincing yourself to be deployed to the embassy in Baghdad; hey, it's a good gig. And who knows. Maybe you can dodge the radiation and return a healthy man, though your spirit and heart may be damned in the process.

*Also see "Defense Logistics: Army and Marine Corps’s Individual Body Armor System Issues," 26 April 2007, pp.19, http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d07662r.pdf; and Roger Charles, "Government Accountability Office (GAO) Investigating Why America's Grunts Continue To Bleed & Die In Second-Rate Body Armor," Soldiers for the Truth, 2 February 2007, http://www.sftt.org/cgi-bin/csNews/csNews.cgi?database=Unlisted%202007.db&command=viewone&id=6


**A 2 November Raw Story post titled "CNN: Price of Iraq war 10 times pre-war predictions" gets closer to the real costs to American taxpayers, though it's half of Stiglizt estimation. (Of course, we know CNN has a more skilled staff economist than Stiglist.) Here's a excerpt from that news item:

When President Bush's emergency supplemental funding request is granted by Congress in the coming weeks, the cost of the Iraq War will reach ten times its original projected cost of $50-60 billion, CNN reports.

At what will soon be a total tab of $576 billion, the Iraq war is second in cost only to World War II. According to CNN's report, every minute troops are deployed in Iraq, the American public pays $200,000 to keep them there. Since the money is not allocated by Congress as part of the regular budget, there is little oversight of how it is spent and Billions of dollars remain unaccounted for in Iraq as the costs continue to mount....read more

Revised 5 November--editor

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