Wednesday, November 23, 2005
Thanksgiving in Iraq
As the time comes to celebrate Thanksgiving here in the United States, my mind wanders and my thoughts shift to Iraq. This is frequent occurrence for anyone who has been involved with the war; just ask any of the hundreds of thousands who have been deployed there.
This Thanksgiving, we have 160,000 troops in Iraq. This means there are that many empty seats at dinner tables across the US. This also means that the families of all these troops are worrying each minute about whether or not their loved one will make it home for the next Thanksgiving. In Iraq, many troops are feeling homesick, wondering why they are caught up in a seemingly endless war with no mission to speak of, when they could be home eating comfort food with their families by the fireplace. This year, real "Thanksgiving" for the troops will not involve a plastic turkey and a presidential photo-op, but instead will be when they've made it through the day alive and with all of their limbs intact.
Although the Iraqis don't celebrate Thanksgiving, one must ask, "What do they have to give thanks for?" They certainly aren’t thankful for living at the hand of an illegal and immoral occupation that has killed and wounded scores of their people. They aren't thankful for George W. Bush's version of freedom, which provides them with less electricity, potable water and security than they had before the occupation. My Iraqi friend in Baghdad is not thankful for the daily bombings that cause her great distress and have blown out her apartment windows.
Instead, the Iraqi people will give thanks when the unemployment rate of 60% goes down, the unannounced house raids on innocent homes stop and the last US troops have left their country.
During the upcoming holiday season, please show your support beyond slapping a yellow magnet on your car. We know the ultimate solution would be to end the occupation now, but please also consider giving in some way to the troops. There are a variety of ways you can do this, but please visit www.ivaw.net for some ideas.
Photo: Tim Goodrich (right) at Camp Casey II, Crawford, Texas August 29, 2005. Photo by Jeff Paterson. Copywrite 2005.