Troops Home Fast: Day 32, Amman, Jordan
While I was still in JFK, an Iraqi gentleman approached me who is now displaced and living in Jordan. He recognized me and was "honored" to meet me and grateful for my work but wanted to convey something to me. He said that while what the peace movement is doing in the US to end the occupation is very gratifying to the people of Iraq, it is "too late" for his country. He said everyone who could leave, has left, and that most of the country is beyond repair. The miraculous Babylon, which has been in existence for thousands of years, didn't even last three years after the Americans got there. Hundreds of thousands of Iraqis dead, added to the over a million who died during the sanctions ... He sadly informed me that the Americans are not stopping the sectarian violence, only encouraging it in his country, and he holds little hope for any future for the land that he was born in and loves.
We were picked up at Queen Alia airport in Amman by Munther who has worked in and out of the government of Jordan and consulting for NGOs for years. He helped broker the 1999 peace agreement between Jordan and Israel - as his specialty is water and agriculture. He is so fortunate to live in Jordan with his family, but he has been shot and been the target of rockets in his home for his work for peace. Munther realizes that a true and lasting peace cannot be achieved by eternal war and killing and has paid some tough prices for his beliefs.
The most horrifying testimony of the day was when we met with "Dr. Nada," an Iraqi doctor who stayed in Baghdad to help her people during the sanctions and the invasion. She didn't abandon her country, or sell it out like many privileged people who exited during the Baathist regime (like Iyad Allawi or Ahmed Chalabi) or the sanctions ... which she, as a supervisory physician at a major Baghdad hospital, said killed two million children. The children died of pollution and sicknesses from depleted uranium during the first gulf mistake of George the First. The babies died because of the war, but also because there is no medicine and very limited medical facilities to treat them. Dr. Nada brought the daughter of a friend, three-year-old Farrah, who had short brown hair and big brown eyes. There were so many young children playing in Queen airport yesterday when I got here and dozens running around the hotel. My heart almost bursts with sorrow when I think of all of the children in Iraq, Palestine, Lebanon and Jordan who have had such horrible lives and had many of their lives cut short by the evil war machine that seems to be running our world.
US General Abizaid said to a Senate committee yesterday that Lebanon could be an effective government and US partner in the war on terror if only their equipment could be "upgraded" and their troops "trained" properly and that the US would be happy to "assist" them. With all of the degraded and spent Israeli equipment and bombs and the billions of upgrading the US military equipment needs, it looks like it is going to be another banner year for the war profiteers!
Dr. Nada also told us about seven harrowing days she spent working in an emergency room in Baghdad between April 2 and April 9 in 2003. She said that over 100 casualties PER HOUR were coming through her hospital alone and that many died because they could not be helped in time. She was responsible for the triage and she had to work knowing that number 100 that hour would almost certainly die. The people her hospital operated on at that time were just rolled out into the halls with no histories or IDs. She said that she remembers that time as "amputated body parts swimming in a sea of blood."
Dr. Nada stayed in Iraq all of those years but now lives in Jordan because of the continuing violence of the militias and death squads and kidnappings in her homeland. She says that the Americans, even though they don't kill every innocent Iraqi, are responsible for "100 percent of the deaths," because they are not protecting the Iraqi people, and the occupation is fueling the violence.
I will be leaving Jordan tomorrow to head to Camp Casey III to confront George with the horrors of his failed policies in the Middle East. We just got an update that he will be leaving town on the 9th now, instead of earlier published reports that said the 14th. Munther also commented to me yesterday that he couldn't believe that George didn't have the "courage or courtesy" to meet with me. I responded: "He doesn't even have the courage to be in the same town with me, anymore." This cowardly cowboy and his minions who are so quick to condemn children to early deaths need to face up to the reality of their crimes. We need to be as relentless and as ruthless for peace, and in peace, as they are for war.
I can't bear to stand by and watch more innocent Farrahs and Caseys be killed. So I will be sitting in the ditch on Sunday to ask the same question: "Why?"
Cindy Sheehan is the mother of Casey Sheehan, who was killed in Iraq on April 4, 2004, and who inspired Camp Casey, which is set up near George's ranch in Crawford, Texas every time he is SUPPOSED to be there. Cindy is also co-founder and President of Gold Star Families for Peace and author of three books: Not One More Mother's Child, Dear President Bush and Peace Mom: A Mother's Journey Through Heartache to Activism. She is currently in Amman, Jordan, meeting with Iraqi officials while on Day 32 of the Troops Home Fast.
Camp Casey Three will run this summer between August 6th and September 2nd. Everyone is welcome.
Donate to Camp Casey Three.