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Mar 20, 2008

Before I Could Explain


Compared to almost any image and accompanying description I've seen these past five years, this says everything one needs to know about Cheney/Bush's Iraq war.

It was included in FirstPerson, a feature of the MSNBC website where readers can post their own pictures.  The specific section, titled "FirstPerson from the frontlines," is dedicated to images from U.S. soldiers in Iraq.  The picture was posted by "Anonymous," and the description reads as follows:

Picture of me and some Iraqi kids home alone in Ta'meem Ramadi in 2006.
They had a wall rug with a picture of the signing of the United States
Declaration of Independence in their living room.
I asked them if their parents told them what it meant and they did not have a clue.
Their parents purchased the rug in a market.  I also have a second picture of the entire wall rug.

We had to leave before I could explain what the picture meant.

Every time I think about this, I just want to cry.

FirstPerson from the frontlines (MSNBC)


This kind of sums it up.

He could not put down his gun for this "family portrait" because there is no trust or safe haven for American soldiers outside of their encampments. We haven't integrated with any of the Iraqis.

Leaving before explaining "Independence" - well that does speak volumes, now, doesn't it? McCain could get his hands on this photo with the caption and make a whole commercial about it. "My Friends... we are NOT going to leave before Iraq knows the meaning of Independence!" Too bad that really means - "We'll militarily occupy and oppress this country for as long as it takes to give them their freedom".

The facial declarations and physical postures of "Iraqi kids home alone" are about as enthusiastic and welcoming to Anonymous as I suspect any future explanation of that 1776 proclamation might be.

Surprise surprise, back in 1919 ~ Citing the language and the spirit of the U.S. Declaration of Independence, Ho petitioned U.S. President Woodrow Wilson for help to remove the French from Vietnam ~ His request was ignored.

I see the hands of the girl in pink. Photos of my children at a similar age show their hands in similar deployment — out in front, exploring unconsciously and constantly, unsure what to do while posing. Looks like that may be a human trait, not the mark of a particular human culture. The child is open and taking in the world, unsure but curious.

Compare with the soldier's hands, gloved and insulated against his environment. His world is dangerous, one he's armored against. His hands cradle his weapon, a means of unleashing massive lethal force on his dangerous surroundings.

This photo asks many questions. How are those children safe without body armor and potential deadly force? What protects them in the same way the soldier's armor and weapon protects him? What is the social dynamic that brings the soldier into that living room? Aside from some of the clothing, that picture with the teevee and the sofa and the iconic wall hanging could have been taken in a living room here in the US, perhaps in the soldier's home town.

The hope I have for a future for my children lies in the power held in that little girl's hands and the fear I have for my children's future comes from the forces that guide the power in that soldier's hands. Which force do we want to tap? Which force are we going to tap?

This is what life looks like outside our protective bubble, at the other end of our gun.

To pursue his humanist instinct, Anonymous would have had to become a deserter.

That Israeli soldier is so laden with American gear that this image could be mistaken as Iraqi.

How to take this comment?
"We had to leave before I could explain what the picture meant."

There is no way the occupier could explain what that picture meant! Yes he could come up with some bs about democracy... forcing it down the throat of people of Iraq. He could come up with some more lies.
There is no connection to what he is doing in Iraq in that picture!
None of the present children are smiling!
Number of children who died because of wounds, lack of medical care and lack of clean water is growing!
Number of orphans in Iraq has dramatically increased.
Number of children going to school in Iraq has decreased.
Number of sick children, injured children, disabled children has gone up. Families have been broken up by the 5 years of occupation...and this soldier is having picture taken out with children. How cheap!
Another name for Iraq is Palestine!

Oooooo hoooo hoooo hooo. I would not want to be negotiating with that little girl in the blue scarf. That little one is going to grow into a force. Too bad she won't be on our side.

It is the inevitable "humor" of trying to tell others how to manage their affairs. And "what the picture meant" is an accurate description because those days [if they ever existed, American Indians would dispute such an iconographic reading] are over. Anglo Saxon America has always only ever been about separating the indigenous population from its natural resources. One cannot steal a continent, murder its inhabitants, clear it with slaves and credible claim to be a "beacon of freedom." The Americans got rid of the British in order to more "efficiently" remove the indigenous population and relieve it of the trouble of managing its resources.

I doubt if this soldier spoke Arabic or the children spoke English, how could he explain anything to them? And dear God, why?
I find this picture disturbing in the extreme, how fully armed and dangerous he is, how defenceless the children. The story of this whole horrific invasion summed up in one picture.

The eyes of the older children tell the tale. Guarded,wary,NOT happy. The men in the wall hanging fought a war to rid THEIR country of an occupying army. Too bad the irony was lost in translation.

Lytom: Scarf? Really?

Roger Bixley your line is too cryptic...more effort in communication, if it is possible, really!

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