“Craig-splaining” …

Holidays can bring family and friends together for celebration. Memorial Day is no different with BBQ parties on the patios of America. We love them here in Georgia. Even if our politics are left of center and our slobby, right winged relatives with “Duck Dynasty” t-shirts show up ready to lob the usual politically charged insults (usually without bringing a covered dish, rude.) It starts quietly with a few “libtard” comments thrown around, then goes to the full blown “worshiping your messiah” (referring to the POTUS.) Of course, it never occurs to these relatives that one might be in disagreement with some policies of the POTUS. Doesn’t matter. These relatives just think that people on the left are controlled by the “librul media.”

My friend, Craig, has a great way of “splaining” things to people in the Right Wing. Below is an essay that “Craig-splains” events in Ramadi so people on the Right can understand… maybe. It might help remind a lefty of some of the pertinent facts regarding the situation there…

If you draw a circle around the irregular boundaries of Iraq and throw a dart directly at the bullseye, you will hit the city of Ramadi, strategically located on the Euphrates River, capping the only road to Syria. Prior to 2003, it was a hustling-bustling oasis of economic prosperity and a spring of optimism and advancement. Population-wise, it was an anomaly of Iraq, not a microcosm – while the country of Iraq was roughly 70% Shia ruled by Sunni Saddam and the 20% Sunni population, Ramadi was 95% Sunni. But it wasn’t 95% Saddam loyalists.

Ramadi was made up of closely-knit Sunni tribal groups whose values and culture transcended the Sunni/Shia divide. While the Ramadi men made up a large portion of Saddam’s military, they were not fans. In particular, they opposed the excesses of his abusive rule, demonstrating in the streets against him in 1995 after he executed three military officers and a popular Iraqi air force general – all from the tribes of Ramadi – because they had dared to speak out against him.

Over the past few days, the city of Ramadi has fallen to the terrorist group ISIS. Using tactics designed to instill paralyzing fear and hopelessness so great that its victims believe it’s useless to resist, ISIS has invaded Ramadi, inundating us with images of American-trained and American-armed men succumbing to terror, casting-aside US-taxpayer-purchased weapons for the later use by ISIS, as they cowardly run to helicopters to be airlifted to safety. More than 500 people from Ramadi have been killed and hundreds more have fled the violence.

Bless their hearts. The people of Ramadi can’t catch a break.

The only thing that could be worse than what just happened, is if a stronger force than ISIS had invaded Ramadi and killed 9,000 people and caused tens of thousands of people to leave everything behind and flee the violence.

Like we did. A mere dozen years ago. In 2003.

We in America need to once-and-for-all decide who “the terrorists” are. Are they the people who invade and seek to impose their will on the conquered through a campaign of fear and lies and unspeakable violence? Or, are they the people on the inside who fight to defend their country and repel the invaders?

Because we Americans have been both. And we have done both, specifically in the exact same city of Ramadi.

We can ~not~ be the world’s leader in values; be the shining city on the hill lighting the paths of liberty and justice; be the global beacon of hope and freedom; or, be safe from terrorism in our own country, as long as we are defining “terrorists” as those who disagree with us – regardless of whether we are right or wrong – and defining “terrorism” as fighting against us, whether we are the justified defenders or the illegal and immoral invaders.

At the beginning of Bush’s 2003 completely-unjustified military assault on the Iraqi people, his administration arrogantly announced that we would not be keeping an official body count of the “enemy” lives we took. But the Iraqi body count has been studied by numerous organizations over the years, with counts for the period of 2003 – 2006 ranging from a low of 150,000 Iraqis dead to more than a million, depending on the level of detail in the study.

Recent studies show the count to be around 500,000 Iraqis dead, for the period between the 2003 invasion through the 2011 withdrawal, a number which includes the tens of thousands of Iraqis indiscriminately slaughtered by Bush’s initial Shock & Awe campaign and the multiplied thousands of unarmed innocent women, children, and non-combatant men. But that number does not include the untold hundreds of thousands of Iraqis seriously injured and maimed; the mothers mourning the loss of innocent sons; men broken over the loss of their families; orphans crying at night for the comfort of their parents’ arms; refugees by the millions who left behind all worldly possessions and the unmarked graves of family members as they fled to uncertain and risky futures into the inhospitable desert and unstable country of Syria.

And we’re just going to say, “ooops”? “Sorry for decimating your country and massacring your families – in hindsight we were mistaken; but, love us anyway, because you’re better off without that mean ol’ Saddam.”

There wasn’t an al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) organization in Ramadi before we invaded; there were no ISIS members. We instigated the violence in the Sunni Triangle cities of Fallujah and Ramadi in early 2003 when we massacred 100 civilians in Fallujah, including women and children, who were protesting our invasion. We de-stabilized the area by disbanding the Iraqi army, creating chaos and anarchy and severe unemployment among the men who were serving in the army. With Bush’s honeypot theory, we expressly invited outside terrorists to come in and organize the Sunni insurgency against us, with Bush proudly proclaiming “we’re fighting them over here so we don’t have to fight them at home.”

And with our inability to distinguish between the terrorists we had invited and the civilians who lived there, we repeatedly slaughtered unarmed innocents, driving otherwise peaceful people into the camp of the insurgents. The results of our actions in 2003, led to the formation of AQI in 2004 which changed its name to ISIS in 2006 and morphed into its present state of power and increased numbers after combining with the harvest of Bush’s seeds of democracy which were carried on the winds of change to the fertile ground of Syria.

If Russia had invaded the US and quickly established control over our government and military, would we individual gun owners be “terrorists” because we hid behind our mini-blinds and fired on the Russian invaders and used our red plastic containers full of lawnmower gas to improvise devices which would explode under vehicles carrying Russian invaders?

Of course not. And neither were the Iraqis “terrorists,” just because they fought against Americans who had invaded their country under no recognizable justification. Yet we tortured and killed and Gitmoed Iraqis “picked up on the battlefield” who were merely defending their country from illegal invaders.

And if Russia had killed our families, who among us would not have dedicated the remainder of our lives to the mission of inflicting maximum misery on Russians?

It’s currently en vogue among the same conservatives who supported Bush’s abjectly immoral invasion of Iraq and who high-fived over the unbridled destruction unleashed by Bush’s Shock & Awe campaign on the Iraqi people, to wring their hands and cry and say “Christianity is under attack” and “the only religion left that can be discriminated against is Christianity” and “Arabs hate us because we love Jesus.”

But just do what Jesus said and put yourselves in the shoes of others. Would YOU love us, if we had done to you what we have done to them?

Now, one can be prepared for such occurrences in advance. I like that “Red Dawn” reference, eh? Wolverines!

Have a wonderful Memorial Day.
(Essay reprinted by permission from Craig Hardegree© 05/23/2015)