Whose Death Squads?
Money and His Fool
Yesterday a tall, handsome, strong
young man stopped a moment to look
at our Icon Wheel, picked up an Afghan coin.
"I’m going to Baghdad next month," he said,
sunlight glinting across high dollar sun glasses.
"The writing on the coin says God is Merciful
and Compassionate," Jay told him.
"Why are you going to Baghdad?" I asked.
"I’m a security guard, just got back from
a year in Beijing.
"That was a better assignment," I said, making
a note to find out what Blackwater is doing
"This one pays more," he said and walked away.
"He's not going to come home," Jay
said just as I was thinking it.
We're probably wrong.
Blackwater has only lost 25 men,
several famously mangled on a Fallujah bridge,
since the US invaded Iraq. They train security
forces, for one thing, and are properly
equipped. Unlike Blackwater Guards
enlisted men and women do not earn
a base pay of $600 dollars a day.
I've been wondering who could possibly benefit
from scores of dead bodies, bound with Iraqi police
hand cuffs, heads bored through power drills,
battered by torture, that turn up
every morning in Baghdad — some reports
say it's a pay for kill scenario.
Even Newsweek reports the El Salvador option
holds sway in Baghdad.
Remember Rumsfeld, Bush, Cheney fast tracking
training for Iraqi security guards?
Was that code for training death squads?
Blackwater was working for Bremer.
Government vehicles transport the death squads
in and out of Baghdad neighborhoods.
US Media wants to call it Civil War.
The thing is —
Sunni and Shi'a intermarry everywhere in Iraq.
It's a non-sectarian society so if there's a civil
war someone went to a great deal of trouble
to create it.
Better to locate oil fields.
Why did the United States build permanent military outposts
like Camp Balad, swimming pools, private air strips,
suburban neighborhoods, I-max theaters, body building
temples designed by Arnold Schwarzenegger —
instead of Iraqi schools, hospitals, water treatment plants,
roads, neighborhood grocery stores, government service agencies?
Why hire Halliburton for billions and not
Iraqi citizens to rebuild their own country?
Who benefits from jobless societies?
Who benefits from civil chaos?
To whose advantage is it when people live
in bombed out homes, are afraid to step outside,
and government is completely undermined?
Who will resist the multinational oil deals
just now being finalized, if the Iraqi government
is completely dysfunctional?
This tall, handsome young man who, briefly,
examined an Afghan coin yesterday
doesn't ask what you have to do to a society of people
who write God is Merciful and Compassionate on money,
to make them hate you.
He just does it, buying into the coin of
the Empire, nevermind it's teetering
on the verge of economic disaster, morally bankrupt,
Afghans, when their money became worthless,
turned coins into jewelry.
How long before hundred dollar bills
turn up in Chinese Walmarts as paper finger pulls,
origami fish, folded paper earrings?
* Image: The Fool and His Money
©Susan Bright, 2006,
Susan Bright is the author of nineteen books of poetry. She is the editor of Plain View Press which since 1975 has published one-hundred-and-fifty books. Her work as a poet, publisher, activist and educator has taken her all over the United States and abroad. Her most recent book, The Layers of Our Seeing, is a collection of poetry, photographs and essays about peace done in collaboration with photographer Alan Pogue and Middle Eastern journalist, Muna Hamzeh.
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