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Is Life Sacred?

Added: Wednesday, September 10th 2008 at 10:28am by robertflynn
Related Tags: religion


In the present, post Orwellian non-reality based culture of “faith-based language” it should be no surprise that the culture of death calls itself “the culture of life.” True, the minimalist “life” of Terri Shiavo was sacred and no expense was too great nor any measure too unnatural to keep her heart beating. George Bush and congressional Republicans interrupted vacations to rush to Washington for a photo-op. They had kept Terri Shiavo on this earth one more day. What could be more thrilling to lapel cross Christians than forestalling death that was more frightful than shame and dishonor combined. 


The money they spent pandering to the Repressive Right could have provided health insurance to hundreds of health-at-risk children but their lives weren’t sacred. And neither are the lives of Iraqis. A study by Johns Hopkins University estimated that 600,000 Iraqis had died as a result of Bush’s invasion of that country. The British government first denied the number, then admitted it was probably accurate. A later survey by the UN and the Iraqi government said the current number was 1.2 million. 


The US media ignored the body count as resolutely as did the Bush administration because that’s more than the number killed in Darfur and Darfur has been declared “genocide.” Suppose the number is only half that, then Bush has killed more Iraqis than he claims were killed by Saddam Hussein who was aided by Reagan and Bush’s father. No one knows for sure how many Iraqis have died because the lives of those civilians, those women, those children, those fetuses aren’t sacred no matter how innocent they may be. The policy was that an airstrike to kill a suspected insurgent but likely to kill more than 30 civilians had to be cleared by Defense Secretary Rumsfeld. More than 50 such strikes were proposed. All were approved. (NYTmes 7-7-03) Bush told the UN, “More than anything else, this separates us from the enemy we fight. We value every life; our enemies value none - not even theinnocent.”


They were the enemy. Their lives were not valued. Most Americans believed their deaths were justified. Even some Catholics agreed although the pope declared the war “immoral and a crime against peace.” That’s the hypocrisy of the death culture. 


How did the Bush administration “support” the troops who still fight in Iraq and Afghanistan? According to the Idaho Observer (5-3-02), the Bushes have used tons of depleted uranium (DU) weapons. DU is a component of toxic nuclear waste. Handlers need radiation protection gear. Tomahawk missiles are DU-tipped.(“Nukes of the Gulf War,”John Shirley, www.gulfwarvets.com)  M1 Abrams tanks “are tightly packed with DU shells, which continually irradiate troops in or near them.”(Nukes of Gulf War) The A-10 "tank buster" aircraft fires DU shells.(Ibid)  We don’t yet  know what effect increased DU will have on those presently in Iraq and Afghanistan but we have some information from the previous war in Iraq. 320 tons of DU were used againstIraq in 1991.(CounterPunch 12-31-01) “A single particle of DU lodged in a lymph node can devastate the entire immune system,” according to British radiation expert Roger Coghill. (Toronto Star 7-31-99) “Two of Every 5 Gulf War Vets Are On Disability,” (World Net Daily, 1-28-03) Some sexual partners complained of a burning sensation during intercourse, followed by their own illnesses. (“Gulf Vets Contaminated Partners With DU,” The Halifax Herald Limited 2-09-01) Dr. Asaf Durakovic, a professor of nuclear medicine at Georgetown University, is a former army medical expert. In 2000 he told nuclear scientists in Paris that tens of thousands of sick British and American soldiers are now dying from radiation they encountered during Gulf War I. He found that 62 percent of sick vets tested have uranium isotopes in their organs, bones, brains and urine.(NYTimes 1-29-01) Laboratories in Switzerland and Finland corroborated his findings.


DU munitions are classified by a United Nations resolution as illegal weapons of mass destruction. Their use breaches all international laws, treaties and conventions forbidding poisoned weapons calculated to cause unnecessary suffering.


At least 13 soldiers were electrocuted in Iraq because of faulty wiring by KBR. Debbie Crawford, an electrician with thirty years experience said those who warned of hazards were told, “OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) doesn’t apply here. If you don’t like it you can go home.” (AP 7-11-08) March 13, 2008 the AP reported that KBR had provided “unmonitored and potentially unsafe” water to troops in Iraq. According to a Pentagon Inspector General’s report, dozens of soldiers fell sick, suffering “skin abscesses, cellulitis, skin infections, diarrhea and other illnesses” after using the “discolored, smelly water for personal hygiene and laundry.”


A Defense Department Inspector General report released yesterday found that the “Army can't be sure some of its body armor met safety standards” because it “repeatedly failed to follow federal contracting rules in procuring billions of dollars worth” of the protective vests for American soldiers. According to the report, “in nearly half of the body-armor contracts given out between January 2004 and December 2006... the Army failed to require or perform so-called 'first article testing' designed to catch and correct any defects in the body-armor manufacturing process.” The Army also “failed to maintain appropriate records to justify why a number of contracts were awarded in the first place.” (NY Times 3-10-08)


“The Defense Department, the nation's biggest polluter, is resisting orders from the Environmental Protection Agency to clean up Fort Meade and two other military bases where the EPA says dumped chemicals pose ‘imminent and substantial’ dangers to public health and the environment. The Pentagon has also declined to sign agreements required by law that cover 12 other military sites on the Superfund list of the most polluted places in the country. Although the law gives final say to EPA Administrator Stephen L. Johnson in cleanup disputes with other federal agencies, the Pentagon refuses to recognize that provision...” (Washington Post 6-30-08)


What about our other heroes, the first responders who rushed to the World Trade Center on 9/11 and those who stayed to clean up in the following days?


“In the days and weeks following the collapse of the World Trade Center, the White House pressured the Environmental Protection Agency not to warn the public about the potential health effects and to not issue guidelines for the public about cleaning apartments and offices.” That is the conclusion of the the EPA’s inspector general. The report states that the White House wanted the stock markets to quickly reopen on Wall Street. Guidance for cleaning indoor spaces and warnings about the potential health effects from debris were not included in the EPA’s press releases. “Reassuring information was added to at least one press release and cautionary information was deleted from EPA's draft version of that press release.” (NYTimes 8-14-03) Tina Kreisher, then associate EPA administrator, said she “felt extreme pressure” from the White House council to understate the severity of theproblem. (The Grist 10-11-03)


Logistics Health, a company run by Tommy Thompson, former Secretary of Health and Human Services, was awarded an $11 million contract by the government to provide medical care to rescue and recovery workers at Ground Zero. It has been slow to do so. Ed Persico who was a Red Cross volunteer said, “ I have absolutely no help from anybody.” He has not been able to get his asthma inhaler prescription filled. “I’m supposed to get another medical ID card in another four to six weeks, he said.” (AP 9-8-08) 


Have I mentioned anything after Terri Shiavo that suggests a “culture of life” in this country?

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