Michael: How many Nogunri Incidents will be legacy of Iraq War?New evidence surfaced recently confirming the intentional massacre of hundreds of civilian women and children near the Korean village of Nogunri on July 26, 1950 by American G.I.s.
There is no doubt the tragedy occured, it has been extensively documented and President Clinton appologized to the Korean people in 1998, giving compensation to the families, however inadequate it might have been. Nogunri is an example of the sort of attrocity that occurs in every war, even one launched out of a noble intention of protecting the people. Even one in which the results has been unarguably positive for many of the citizens involved, and their progeny.
How many psychic landmines, like Nogunri, will we stumble upon in the coming years as we begin to understand the vast human cost of Bush's lies and aggression in Iraq? We are only begining to reckon the cost of the use of depleted uranium munitions from the first Bush War. The uncounted human cost of the decision to destroy Iraq's infrastructure will not be fully appreciated for years to come, even as the cost in lives of the ill-considered embargo on Iraq has become searingly apparent. The human cost of modern war is certainly immense, and the sheer scale is one very good reason the Pentagon is not counting the cost in Iraqi lives.
Travesties such as Abu Graib, the destruction of Fallujah, and the collateral damage of the Shock and Awe bombardment have already come to light. But Nogunri makes it clear that it can take generations before some attrocities are acknowledged, or widely known. The number of unreported or concealed incidents that are likely still awaiting public scrutiny in Iraq makes me shudder at the full horror of what is being done in our names.
How much responsibility do civilians bear when soldiers of their country destroy the civilians of another nation? I don't know if there is any settled moral calculus to solve that equation, but it certainly doesn't zero out. Before those of you who believe that this war is justifiable dismiss any remaining balance as being compensated by the goal of a 'free' Iraq, consider what we have actually wrought in Iraq, not what the Neo-Cons foolishly hope for.
If wishes were fishes, nobody would ever starve. Aspirations are not achievements; they are really nothing at all. Consider that, despite the intentions or hopes of our 'leaders', what we have likely achieved by attacking Iraq is another Muslim Theocracy in the diplomatic orbit of Iran, or the disintration of Iraq into three parts, the wealthiest and most populous being another Muslim Theocracy in the diplomatic orbit of Iran. Either way, in the zero-sum game of geo-politics that this Administration insists is the only way to keep score, the score of Bush's War is Iran 1, U.S. -1.
If you can live with the untold suffering and death we have caused Iraqis just to deliver them into the clutches of theocracy, you have a stronger stomach than I.
We can't change the political fact that the Shiites find Iran a more credible ally. We can't change the fact that the Kurds' nationalist aspirations have been loosed. We can't kill the Sunni insurgency militarily and we can't force a political accomodation by the other two factions sufficient to end it. As odd as it many sound, America is now a secondary political player in Iraq. Despite having the most powerful security and fighting force in Iraq, it avails us nothing - except to lay those psychic land mines for the future at an increasing cost of treasure, American soldiers well-being, international presitige, and innocent Iraqi lives.
As many retired American command officers and top diplomats have warned, we've already lost the war in Iraq, we just haven't realized it yet. The longer we stay, the higher the cost of defeat.