Shock and Awe Plastered in Permanence

By Mahbubul Karim (Sohel)
April 14, 2004

Nothing original popped out of his head. He looked perplexed, shifted weight from one leg to another, eye sockets rolled. Plenty of “hmm”, and “umm” were heard, and the old messages are replayed, the “incredible” Mr. Bush’s non-credible portrayal of war in Iraq.

"One thing is for certain, though, about me, and the world has learned this: When I say something, I mean it. The credibility of the United States is incredibly important for keeping world peace and freedom."

After seeing one hour long press conference, an infrequent event for this administration than a solar eclipse, foreigners from thousands of miles away or a hard-working American in neighboring suburb, sipping a club soda under a tropical colored umbrella or in a music roared tavern may ponder, how and why the intelligent Americans had “elected” this mediocrity loaded person as their leader. Does he deserve to be leader of the “free world”? Can he be the “Leader of the civilization”?

There were the same manners of invoking 911 in almost every other sentence, uttering the mantra of “terrorism”, and the name of “almighty” that supposedly has chosen him amidst all the other many times more qualified citizen, dispersing freedom among the shackled ones.

Bush wants the world to know that America does what it means. America is behind every promise it makes. Does one have to look very far than this “almighty” driven administration to contradict his dubious assertions?

How can the world forget the same conviction driven Bush administration that tried to pacify the world by portraying a “liberated” Iraq where they so eloquently presented their neocon vision that after American invasion there would be flowers with Arabian fragrance on the road to victory, there would be delicious sweets for every “liberated” soul to cherish in a free Iraq? What happened to those flowers and sweets? In every deliberate lubrication of Iraqi freedom sold to public with those non-existent WMD claim, even Secretary of Defense was so sure of their whereabouts that he did not hesitate to say, “'We know where they are”, with delicacy that the best chef could surely envy, they ingrained the hallucinating link between 911 and Iraq in public’s collective imagination.

One year after the “war ended”, now the world sees endless shocking images arising from Iraq. We see residents of Fallujah are streaming out of their city, burying loved ones in the soccer field because they could not take corpses to the city’s cemetery, there is a siege. This is a bombarded and devastated place. Hundreds and thousands dead, countless injured, no real tally is available for the public scrutiny. A very “precise and deliberate” reaction by the “coalition”. Deaths have begotten more deaths. Rage has begotten rage.

Though it would be tempting to pointing finger to last year’s premonitions by all the good folks who did have foreseen this very disturbing scenario, the increasingly chaotic mess, killings of more innocent Iraqis and deaths of hundreds of soldiers, orphaning families rooted on the sand dunes encircling the Tigris and in the vicinity of Mississippi river thousands of miles away alike, nonetheless, is painful to watch the continuing down spiraling of Iraq.

The mourning of the widows, the shrieks of crying children like four year old Nasser Fadil whose left leg was crudely amputated to save his life from the severe blast injuries, and many other children like him either on the side of their shredded parents and siblings, or being placed on the cold hospital floor, waiting to be treated or for surgery for the amputation of their gangrene filled limbs, while the morgues are overflowing with the freshly arriving dead. The irremovable shock and awe plastered in permanence on victims’ face, the dried tears turned into seething anger, all point toward a more devastating future, creeping at the bay.

The major networks showed the grim images of charred bodies of four American contractors last week. There were reports of dancing Iraqis, poking the dead bodies, hanging them, desecrating the honor of the dead human beings, honor that all the major religions presume to be an universal gesture for the ones at the time of their rest. Hostages are taken, threatened to be killed, and the plea of family members for their release, are flooding the news networks.

This war, this anarchy and brutality, vengeance and reprisals, the invocation of God or nationalism, capitalism or imperialism, emanate a tectonic shift from the rosy picture of cakewalk envisioned by the Neo-Conservatives prior to the Iraq war last year. In his press conference last night, Bush failed miserably once again to show true leadership that Americans needed in this troubling time. He tiptoed all the delicate questions, uttered the repeated words of “almighty”, his “conviction”, “terrorism”, etc., and still grasping the last thread of hope of finding the non-existent WMD that his own employed weapons inspector David Kay even said that did not exist prior to the Iraq war, and Bush quacks the jokes of finding “fifty tons mustard gas in Turkey farm” that quite hilariously rhymes with human bum. This is outrageous, an insult to American combined intelligentsias.

Karl Rove was shown sitting and listening intently in yesterday’s press conference. Many claim that he is the man shaping the political strategies in the Bush Administration, behind the scene, and surely there are many others, faces not shown on TV screen, but their goal is the same, re-electing Bush, continuing the “war-footing” policy toward infinitum, if necessary. What other qualification Bush could offer unless it is not the “war against the evildoers”? Beat the drums, play the bugles, and four more years of world’s most powerful office is yours to play in, stage in more wars to come.

This is an abysmal time for American history. The painful memory of 911 still invokes tears; the horrific images never depart from one’s peripheral mind. Politicians know this very well. Left and the Right, liberal and conservatives are trying to manipulate people’s anger, their stoked fear into political gambit, into shaping the political direction of American democracy. Any startling revelations on 911 intelligence failures can generate millions of dollars worth of revenues for the publishing corporations and the media conglomerates with its consequential rising of polls for the hopeful Democrats. And putting more woods in public’s raging anger, inciting hatred against the “others”, in this case, the “Muslim fanatics”, just a few long names of middle-eastern sounding origins in any odious acts, proven or unproven, could raise Bush’s political polling stance in remarkable swiftness.

Is the American citizenry so na├»ve not to see through the conspiratorial maze? Most certainly not. There are clear objections, protests by the millions against Bush’s endless war policies, his curtailing of cherished liberties are openly challenged in functioning courts around the nation.

There are definitely monstrous men and women who falsely claim to be Muslim, with their hideous goals of inflicting deaths and injuries on innocent civilians, far and near, regardless of one’s national origins or religious orientation, even the fellow Muslims do not get any free passes from their atrocious deeds, nonetheless, falsely justified military invasion of a sovereign nation like Iraq, would not curb the coddled aspiration of attenuating terrorism, most certainly it is used as the tool for recruiting millions more. Bush and his hawkish administration has miserably blundered the extraordinary good wills the world had shown toward American tragedy just aftermath of the September 11 devastation, they had turned world’s sympathy into open condemnation for their own naked aggressions.

In his stuttered press conference last night, Bush never acknowledged any grievous faults that his hawkish policies have been able to achieve. A huge achievement! A bonfire must be shooting through the sky, charcoaling all the new leaves of trees in its regeneration of rage.


Mahbubul Karim (Sohel) is a freelance writer. His email address is: