Sunday, January 14, 2007

The Next Warriors

Perhaps one of the most horrifying results of Bush's war in Iraq is what it is doing to the victims who wait for us in the future. this aspect of the legacy of Bush and Cheney and rummy and their apologists could be called "no child left with a healthy mind":
Iraq's Young Blood

By Christian Caryl
Newsweek, Jan. 22, 2007 issue

[snip:] Ammar is 17 years old. A tall, thin boy with a beard just starting up, he has already seen far more of the dark side of life than anyone really should. As the grisly toll of Baghdad's death squads spiked last fall, he helped out in the room at his local mosque where bodies are ritually washed before they are buried. Some corpses had been burned with chemicals. Limbs had been cut off, eyes torn out. One day at the beginning of November, a neighbor of Ammar's, a college student and fellow Sunni, disappeared at an impromptu checkpoint set up by the Mahdi Army. When the neighbor's body finally turned up at the mosque for burial, Ammar saw that he had been beheaded. (He recognized his friend from the clothing.) "I ran into the garden and threw up," Ammar says. Then he vowed revenge.

Sectarian warfare is reshaping Iraq in all sorts of malevolent ways day in and day out. But it is also forging the future by poisoning the next generation of Iraqis. Like many of its neighbors, Iraq is a young country: nearly half the population is under the age of 18. And those children have had a particularly turbulent upbringing. Kids like Ammar were born in the aftermath of one debilitating war, against neighboring Iran, then suffered two others and years of impoverishing sanctions in between. They are especially vulnerable to the demons that now grip Iraq. Hassan Ali, a sociologist at the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs, estimates that at least 1 million Iraqi kids have seen their lives damaged by the war—they've lost parents and homes, watched as their communities have been torn apart by sectarian furies. "These children will come to believe in the principles of force and violence," says Ali. "There's no question that society as a whole is going to feel the effects in the future"—and not only Iraqi society. From the Middle East to Europe to America, violence may well beget violence around the world for years to come.

Posted for Gregg

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