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The grand kids were all in the living room watching Scoopy Doo Laugh Olympics when a commercial came on asking for donations to African orphans, with sad music and graphic pictures of suffering.  Grandma sprinted over to the television to turn the channel.  "Why do they show this stuff on television?' she asked to nobody in particular.  That's us folks.  We can't be bothered with anything unpleasant,and our Big Brother media, now controlled by only five major corporations, "protects" us by focusing on a dazzling loop of distractions from O.J. trials to John Edwards affairs to the latest Simple Sarah Palin crap. We fall for it and we should all be ashamed.  Especially me.  I should know better.

Bobby and I were starting guards on our high school basketball team and had known each other since kindergarten.  So when I opened up a package from him that contained a bloody human ear I knew I had lost him forever.  Yeah, he made it back from Vietnam but was a skeleton of himself.  He was welcomed back to our small town with an article in the newspaper, and a series of keg parties.  He looked the same to those who had only slightly known him but when I, one of his best long-time friends, looked at him I didn't see Bobby anymore.  He had gotten addicted to opium while in Southeast Asia and started shooting heroin when he returned home.  He died in the corner of a Christmas party at around 3 am. Nobody noticed that he had quit talking and didn't attend to him until he turned blue and the vomit that suffocated him began dripping from his mouth.  My wonderful Bobby -a funny kind kid and a teenager who was reading his beloved Archie comics  just days before being shipped to hell was dead.  

Oh, sorry, I am probably boring you and you may be ready to go to the next Sarah Palin article.

I guess I am an asshole for talking about war. After all, we are winning in Iraq and gas is too high. I don't have as much money to spend on Wal-Mart trinkets  as usual and I may be in the beginning stages of the heartbreak of psoriasis.  The clothes I just took out of the dryer had some serious static cling, I have to make my son happy with a pair of $120 Nike basketball shoes and promised my neighbor to help decorate his house for his daughter's important and required sweet sixteen party coming up this weekend.  I have real pressures and don't need anyone to remind me of unpleasant things, like how my tax dollars are still being used to blow off the legs of six year old Iraqi girls.  Well, Fuck You, Fuck the War, Fuck Sarah Palin, Fuck the media but mostly Fuck Me.  I should know better.

We are an entire society suffering from mass ADHD.  What is important in a few news cycles dominates and then we move on to the next distraction.  The cable news is always rushed, someone makes a good point  on a serious subject and then we hear, "You have the last word, we only have 30 seconds left in this segment."  The news moves from  the crying victims of a hurricane to a cute little feature on how a WWII vet saved Aunt Bee's pet ferret that was stuck in a tree.  We watch the next feature on how a church group had a coat drive which somehow means that  we no longer have to worry about homeless people, because a couple of them just got coats.  Issue solved!  

Are these issues solved?:
*help for the mentally ill who wander our streets
*disgusting conditions at Vet hospitals
*the government spying program on its own citizens
*the 47 million without health care- of which a 100,000 or more will die this next year due to not getting proper, preventative care
*the insanity of still locking up millions for smoking or possessing pot
*the pure evil of Guantanamo
*are our ports secure from terrorist's attacks
*the millions of homeless
*people living in poverty in one of the richest countries in the world
*the crooks who charge 450% on title loans and payday loans to those who can least afford it
*the millions losing or who have lost their homes
*the auto makers who simply refuse to make reasonable cars to replace the embarrassing fleet of Hummers and SUV's that clog our roads, pollute our world and make us dependent on oil dictators.
*The oil industry's incredible and obscene profits which they use to buy  and dominate advertising with pretty music and lies about how much they are doing for the environment.

Are we no longer in a two wars?  Hell, look at any liberal website, including this one and you will see dozens of posts each day on Sarah Palin or Joe Lieberman.  Nothing on the wars.  Not a damn thing. Well, let me help.  

Casualties in Iraq
The Human Cost of Occupation
Edited by Margaret Griffis :: Contact
American Military Casualties in Iraq

American Deaths
Since war began (3/19/03):

Since "Mission Accomplished" (5/1/03) 

Since Capture of Saddam (12/13/03):

Since Handover (6/29/04):

Since Election (1/31/05):

American Wounded

Latest Fatality Nov. 13, 2008

Since, the "successful surge", only 1,194 of our troops have died and only 7,857 have been seriously wounded.  That seems to be just dandy to many Americans.  A  February  2008 Pew Report showed that 48% of us think the war is going well.  The death toll has risen to 627 in Afghanistan.  Since the start of the war in 2003 to now more than 320,000 brain injuries have been reported.  There were 790 attempted suicides among Iraqi veterans in 2007 alone.  Eighteen active vets commit suicide each month.  A CBS report showed that there were 6,256 suicides among those who served in the armed forces in 2005 alone.

To illustrate my point here is an series of excerpts from an excellent  2007 CBS report.  Of course this report has faded from public view.  It was reported so it must be solved right?  

(CBS) They are the casualties of wars you don’t often hear about - soldiers who die of self-inflicted wounds. Little is known about the true scope of suicides among those who have served in the military.

But a five-month CBS News investigation discovered data that shows a startling rate of suicide, what some call a hidden epidemic, Chief Investigative Reporter Armen Keteyian reports exclusively.

"I just felt like this silent scream inside of me," said Jessica Harrell, the sister of a soldier who took his own life.

"I opened up the door and there he was," recalled Mike Bowman, the father of an Army reservist.

"I saw the hose double looped around his neck," said Kevin Lucey, another military father.

"He was gone," said Mia Sagahon, whose soldier boyfriend committed suicide.

Keteyian spoke with the families of five former soldiers who each served in Iraq - only to die battling an enemy they could not conquer. Their loved ones are now speaking out in their names.

They survived the hell that's Iraq and then they come home only to lose their life.

Twenty-three-year-old Marine Reservist Jeff Lucey hanged himself with a garden hose in the cellar of this parents’ home - where his father, Kevin, found him.

"There's a crisis going on and people are just turning the other way," Kevin Lucey said.

"Going to that morgue and seeing my baby ... my life will never be the same," she said.

Beyond the individual loss, it turns out little information exists about how widespread suicides are among these who have served in the military. There have been some studies, but no one has ever counted the numbers nationwide.

"Nobody wants to tally it up in the form of a government total," Bowman said.

Why do the families think that is?

"Because they don't want the true numbers of casualties to really be known," Lucey said.

CBS News’ investigative unit wanted the numbers, so it submitted a Freedom of Information Act request to the Department of Defense asking for the numbers of suicides among all service members for the past 12 years.

Four months later, they sent CBS News a document, showing that between 1995 and 2007, there were almost 2,200 suicides. That’s 188 last year alone. But these numbers included only "active duty" soldiers.

So CBS News did an investigation - asking all 50 states for their suicide data, based on death records, for veterans and non-veterans, dating back to 1995. Forty-five states sent what turned out to be a mountain of information.

And what it revealed was stunning.

In 2005, for example, in just those 45 states, there were at least 6,256 suicides among those who served in the armed forces. That’s 120 each and every week, in just one year.

"Those numbers clearly show an epidemic of mental health problems," he said.

Do these numbers serve as a wake-up call for this country?

"If these numbers don't wake up this country, nothing will," she said. "We each have a responsibility to the men and women who serve us aren't lost when they come home."

Great and exactly what action was taken? Were there days of emergency congressional hearings?  Did people take to the streets?  No, it faded from view and the issue was replaced with talk and views of John Edward's haircut, you remember the price, right? and babble about the bullshit Bradley Effect.    

But this is all self-righteous nonsense, this negative stuff I am so nastily bringing up.  The Iraq people are in support of us. We are winning.   Well, I hate to bum you out but in March of 2008 in another Pew Report only  4% of Iraqis believe that U.S. Forces are responsible for the drop in violence.  And here is the latest report from two days ago if you have the time:
"I repeat my call on the occupier to get out from the land of our beloved Iraq, without retaining bases or signing agreements," al-Sadr said. "If they do stay, I urge the honorable resistance fighters ... to direct their weapons exclusively against the occupier." Yeah, looks like everything is just hunky dory.  

Somewhere in Iraq or Afghanistan one of our planes will soon fire at a building targeted as dangerous.  It will be blown up.  It will be reported as a precise, targeted hit and called a success.  What we will never be told is what happened to the people nearby.  We will be spared from seeing the man holding his ten year old's blown off head and wailing in anguish.  We won't see the little boy frantically digging through the rubble trying to find parts of his little sister.  We won't hear the screams of a baby gone blind due to the attack.  These events will be reported as sterile numbers, "Twelve civilians were wounded in the attack the media will report."  We will  yawn, turn the page or flip the remote and go about our business as our tax dollars kill more and more people. Real living breathing people, all whom have names. We won't see the "unpleasant, tasteless" pictures of flag covered coffins or blood covered, confused children.  Our media, now controlled by five major corporations, down from over 50 in 1983, will protect us from the horror not for some noble reason but to continue the brainwashing needed to keep this killing clean and justified.    

Oh, enough of this false seriousness,  I have to go.  I just heard the latest breaking news, Sarah Palin's breasts are actually silicone implants-silicone-gate they are calling it and she is about to speak on the matter.  I can't miss that.    


Originally posted to idahospud44 on Sat Nov 15, 2008 at 08:27 AM PST.

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