by Lloyd Daniel


Part I


Now that we know that the case for the invasion of Iraq was largely based upon a combination of exaggeration and lies, it’s kind of hard to take the fact that well over 7,800 American soldiers have been evacuated from Iraq to hospitals, in the United States, for “medical reasons”. According to the United States Central Command (CENTCOM), and numerous other sources, this number includes over 2,200 Americans wounded in combat or in other war related incidents. Some of the soldiers’ injuries are “comparatively minor”, while some others are devastatingly severe. To date, more than 400 Americans have died in Iraq. Interestingly, the government often doesn’t report, to the public, the wounding of a soldier unless another soldier involved in the incident is killed. Here’s another way of explaining it. Let’s say there’s an attack on a U.S. convoy and 5 Americans are wounded, but no one is killed, often, none of the soldiers are reported, to the media, as wounded. But wounded they are. Because most American troops wear high-tech body armor, the damage done often involves damage to or the loss of hands, arms, legs, hearing, sight and so on. In mid-October, the Boston Globe newspaper reported that, “Approximately 20% of the injured in Iraq have suffered severe brain injures”. And though General Tommy Franks has declared, “We don’t do body counts.” several research institutions and media outlets have reported an estimated 10,000 to 15,000 Iraqi deaths. Included among the dead are an estimated 4,300 civilians or so-called “non-combatants”.


In late October, Lt. General Ricardo Sanchez, commander of all U.S. and coalition forces in the war, stated that American soldiers, in Iraq, a country about the size of California, were suffering an average of 30 to 35 attacks a day from Iraqi resistance fighters. This is more than a 200% increase over September’s average daily attack figure. The guerilla cells, which apparently include many fighters from other Arab and Islamic countries, are primarily using land mines, improvised bombs, rocket-propelled grenades, small arms, and as of late, suicide bombers, and surface to air missiles. Because of the way reports of these attacks are being manipulated, the casual observer, generally, does not appreciate their frequency or severity. But in many ways, America’s unjustified and illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq has become “a Vietnam in the desert”.



Part II


In political terms, now that the United States has gone from its largest national budget surplus ever to its largest deficit ever, we’re being told that we have money for bombs, but not for education, money for missiles, but not for health care, money for illegal detentions, but not much for the jobless, and plenty of time for war, but none for peace. But Congress, nevertheless, recently approved $87 billion for the war, on top of the $82 billion already spent. The United States’ war of aggression in Iraq has little, if anything, to do with protecting the American people. Preemptive invasion and occupation of other people’s countries for the sake of profit and false pride is bad policy. It’s illegal policy. It’s immoral policy. It’s colonialism. It’s what the American Revolution defeated.


The era of drunken pirate gunboat diplomacy is over. And any nation that pins its hopes for the future on such a ruthless and unjust approach will, in the long run, only reap national disappointment, humiliation, and tragedy. America’s ruling elite, if they’re not too busy handing out reconstruction contracts, should heed the advice of nations that have lost empire, nations that have been there and done that, and know what lies ahead for the United States, if it stays its current global course.  They should ask nations like Germany, France, Portugal, Belgium, Japan or the former Soviet Union, about what happens to a nation that overreaches its capacity. One is pressed to wonder, at what point, if ever, will enough people inside the un-elected clique currently occupying the White House, recognize that colonialism is dead. And to wonder if they will ever accept that young Americans need not go through psychological trauma or shed more blood in a war, despite all the “stopping terrorism” rhetoric, that’s not for justice or democracy, but for conquest.


No nation has the right, wisdom, or ability to run the world. And the lives of our youth,  as well as our tax dollars, could be better spent. A nation can defeat opposing armies, but it will never defeat the logic and motion of history. The Iraqi people deserve free and fair, United Nations supervised, elections, and the United States government needs to be prepared to accept the results of those elections regardless of who wins. Iraqis deserve the right to determine their own destiny. American troops deserve our support. We should support them by bringing them home, now.


Editor’s Note:

Lloyd Daniel, a former Missouri State Representative, is a writer, an educator, and an advocate. He’s a member of the National Black United Front, the NAACP, and the American Civil Liberties Union. His website address is www.fountaincity.com/lloyd

He is the author of Liberation Education which is published by New Democracy Press.

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