Torn Asunder

The politics of Iraq have shifted a bit; their prominence in the national debate have abated some, though they have not gone completely.  In a lot of ways, I kind of wish they would.

It’s a necessary debate, and one we should be passionate about, but any political debate, no matter how passionate, often loses the real meaning, the true depth.  Eventually what started out as the focus becomes the periphery, and try as hard as you can, the central theme becomes centered around a small cabal of people in Washington who wear suits and carry briefcases, who have staffs and aides and convert everything into platitudes that only serve, at their very best, as a gross characterization of what’s really going on.

I find myself from time to time despising the politics of Iraq because over here it’s about scoring points, its about vindicating your own opinion while at the same time proving the other side wrong, and in the end, that’s not what it’s about.  This is what it’s about:


Grief.  Anguish.  That incomprehensible feeling of watching  your world torn asunder, your heart cleaved out of your chest and left lying on the cracked and broken sidewalk still beating but forever irreparably damaged.

Or worse, getting used to it.

We have just barely crossed over to the second month of the new year, and already Iraq has experienced one of the deadliest attacks it has seen since August.  In a dual bombing, both of which focused on pet stores, the US estimates 64 dead, while Iraqi officials estimate up to seventy, with over a hundred injured.

And I think the part that I can’t let go of is the fact that the bombers were mentally disabled women.  How… how could they?

The report talks about responders picking body parts out of pools of blood, finding one bomber’s severed head.  One even found a cell phone ringing off the hook; most likely a petrified loved one whose calls of worry would only end in having their worst fears confirmed.

This is reality in Iraq.  There were no stuffed suits harmed in the making of this tragedy, just people trying to enjoy a day of rest, some of them perusing kittens and puppies, and deciding which they would bring home with them.  You find that every day here in America, that widening of the eyes and glow of the cheeks when your kid finds just the right friend to take home…

…and then it’s shattered, ripped apart by 15 kilograms of explosive strapped to the chest of a woman who in all probability has little grasp of what is going to happen to her and the people around her.

At this point, it doesn’t matter much who was right or wrong, the blood in the streets of Baghdad have already left an indellible stain on our own country’s history.  We can never wash this blood off of our hands, and if there is any true justice in this world, the anguished screams of families who have lost the people they love over there will ring forever in our own ears.

That is perhaps the only way we will ever take Iraq out of the context of a political football, and restore it to the reality where it belongs.

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