Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Gift That Keeps on Giving

On September 11, 2001 a few Saudi ideologues attacked America to great and horrifying effect.

A handful of powerful American ideologues, for their own selfish purposes, used that horror as a misdirection ploy to invade Iraq, taking the focus off of bringing the September 11 murderers to justice.

Eleven years and more than a trillion dollars and countless human lives later, the Iraq War has wound down. The point man for that invasion, a serial Vietnam draft dodger named Dick Cheney, recently announced that we should invade Iran. Cheney, who lives in splendorous wealth and comfort, protected around the clock by taxpayer funded body guards, is consistently grotesque until the end.

The predictable consequences of sending hundred of thousands of young Americans into the perversity of warfare continue to play out. The Chicago Tribune tells the story today of one of the countless  people damaged by Cheney and his pals mad response to a criminal event.

"PERU, Ill. —— 
They buried Anthony Wagner in his hometown two days before Veterans Day. It was cold, with a stinging wind that tore the last few leaves from the trees and pulled the cemetery flags into taut ribbons of red, white and blue. A lone sun ray spilled from the sky, briefly painting the grave markers with a stripe of gold before vanishing into the clouds.

Wagner couldn't get out of Peru fast enough when he was a teenager. He was a hard case back then, prone to fighting and partying, and he had ambitions too big for a small town to hold. When an Army recruiter visited his high school in 2001, he saw his chance to escape.

But a few months after he enlisted, Wagner stared at a mess hall television screen and watched the twin towers disappear in pillars of smoke. Just like that, his future was set on a new course.

He spent a violent year in Iraq, and the things he saw and did there changed him. He shipped out a rough-edged but essentially stable young man. He came back with a brain injury, a propensity for extremesubstance abuse and a savage case of post-traumatic stress disorder."

Read more:      From Baghdad to Occupy      Chicago Tribune