by Joyce Marcel
American Reporter Correspondent
April 17, 2003
FOR LACK OF A 'BEAUTIFUL MIND'
DUMMERSTON, Vt. -- For lack of a beautiful mind, I care about the Iraqi dead and wounded. I care about the looting and destruction. I care about the lies and hypocrisy of my government and what comes next: the profiteering and the attempt to convert the Iraqis to Christianity.
For lack of a beautiful mind, I can not be like Barbara Bush, the queen mother, our lady of the white hair and pearls, who believes that her son the president was called upon by God to lead this nation.
"Why should we hear about body bags and deaths...?" she said on television just before the war. "Oh, I mean, it's not relevant. So why should I waste my beautiful mind on something like that?"
For lack of a beautiful mind, I care about Bubbling Bob.
"Dozens of corpses lay rotting by roadsides or in cars blown up by U.S. forces as they captured Baghdad," reported David Fox of Reuters. "Nearby, the corpse of an airport worker rolled around in the current of a pool... 'That's 'bubbling Bob',' said one soldier. 'Been there a while. I ain't gonna fish him out. Let the Iraqis do it.'"
For lack of a beautiful mind, I am condemned by conservatives like Cal Thomas, who is syndicated in 540 papers. He wants me, among many others, to stand trial in a "cultural war crimes tribunal" for being "wrong" about the war in Iraq, as if might makes right.
For lack of a beautiful mind, antiwar protesters like myself "have proven themselves irrelevant of today's reality, which includes a freed Iraqi people for whom the operative conjunctive phrase isn't 'yes but' but 'yes and,'" crows Kathleen Parker, whose column is syndicated in 300 newspapers.
Yes and let's loot? Yes and let's destroy 8,000 years of mankind's history by smashing every precious artifact in our own museum? Yes and let's burn the priceless documents in the National Library and Archives? Yes and let's take revenge? Yes and let's steal the hospital beds out from under the wounded? Yes and let's protest the installation of a puppet government and be shot by American troops? Yes and let's let anarchy and chaos rein.
For lack of a beautiful mind, I cannot be like Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, who said about the looting, "Freedom's untidy. And a free people are free to make mistakes and commit crimes."
"Is this your liberation?" a frustrated shopkeeper screamed at a U.S. tank crew as they watched a gang of young men steal everything in his hardware store and cart it off in one of his own wheelbarrows.
"'Hell, it ain't my job to stop them,' drawled one young marine, lighting a cigarette as he looked on," Fox reported. "'Goddamn Iraqis will steal anything if you let them. Look at them.'"
For lack of a beautiful mind, I have a hard time supporting soldiers like Sgt. Michael Sprague of While Sulphur Springs, W. Va., who told British reporter James Meek, "I've been all the way through this desert from Basra to here and I ain't seen one shopping mall or fast food restaurant. These people got nothing. Even in a little town like ours of twenty five hundred people you got a McDonald's at one end and a Hardees at the other."
For lack of a beautiful mind, I am repelled by the words of Sgt. Eric Schrumpf, 28, who, while explaining to New York Times reporter Dexter Filkens how frustrating it is when Iraqi soldiers use civilians as human shields, said he had deliberately killed an Iraqi woman. "I'm sorry, but the chick was in the way."
For lack of a beautiful mind, I agree with the Iraqi man who told a U.S. Marine, "I'm going to exercise my right of free speech for the first time in my life - we want you out of here as soon a possible."
For lack of a beautiful mind, I noticed right away that there were only a few people in Fardus Square when the Americans toppled that large statue of Saddam Hussein. Granted that it was a beautiful piece of symbolic video footage, why didn't our corrupt media report that the square had been blocked off by U.S. soldiers, the few Iraqis allowed inside were exiles who had been flown into the country a few days before, and that the entire production had been staged for the cameras?
For lack of a beautiful mind, even though North Korea, Iran and Syria are now making conciliatory overtures to the U.S., I believe that the theory behind this war, that America will be safer when the Middle East is a series of "Americanized" democracies because democracies don't make unprovoked attacks on other countries, is corrupt. As David Olive wrote in The Toronto Star, "When the world's most powerful democracy launched its invasion of Iraq last month, that theory failed its first test."
For lack of a beautiful mind, I am repelled that Bush's Republican party contributors are lining up for contracts: Halliburton, SteveDoring Services of America, Bechtel, International Resources Group, Exxon.
For lack of a beautiful mind, I am disgusted that the Rev. Franklin Graham, who said after Sept. 11 that "The God of Islam ... is a different God, and I believe it is a very evil and wicked religion," is planning to participate in the rebuilding of Iraq, along with other Christian fundamentalist groups.
"We are there to reach out to love them and to save them, and as a Christian I do this in the name of Jesus Christ," Graham said.
For lack of a beautiful mind, I believe that George Monbiot of The Guardian told the truth when he said, "They have unlocked the spirit of war, and it could be unwilling to return to its casket until it has traversed the world."
Joyce Marcel is a free-lance journalist who writes about culture, politics, economics and travel.