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Mother Load 

Crank Call

"To initiate a war of aggression is not only an international crime; it is the supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole."

Nuremberg International War Tribunal, 1945

I hope you all had a happy Mother's Day, because I know of some mothers who didn't. Two of them, at least, are here in Vermont, having lost their sons in Bush's war, but most are in Iraq, where an uncertain - rather, an uncounted - number of mothers have lost their children, and where their surviving progeny, in many cases, are now missing arms, legs and other body parts. An Iraqi mother puts the case bluntly, shrieking at the BBC: "Saddam and Bush are bastards! They've killed our men!"

Listen to the lady - Saddam and Bush, she says, together forever on a roster of thugs, an "axis of evil" in no way concealed by cheering troops, toppled statues, Private Jessica and dumbbell dives onto aircraft carriers. President Pipsqueak's lying remark that the war in Iraq is officially over - "Mission Accomplished" - is as false as his father's "Read my lips" and a million times more callous. A billion, a trillion, a googol or more. Like I said, no one's counting. Not on their side, anyway. To Bush and his crew, it's just a lot of dead Indians.

"We hated Saddam," one Iraqi admits, talking to London's Independent, "but at least under Saddam you could be safe. The Americans said they were coming to liberate the Iraqi people, not for the oil. But this is not liberation."

The New York Times reports that smoke still billows "over Baghdad's skyline as looters set fire to the city's former telephone communications center... Baghdad is once again a place of almost hourly eruptions of gunfire. Criminals are shooting at other criminals. ...Fam-ilies are settling scores."

This is the toll that war exacts when you play on the losing side. And "unless we do something in the near future," an American official tells the Times, "it is likely to blow up in our face."

It's already blown up in Saudi Arabia, where seven Americans died on Monday after a war to make us all safe. The Bush administration has replaced its first choice for Iraqi "reconstruction," Lt. Gen. Jay Garner, with a civilian from Foggy Bottom, L. Paul Bremer, who declares himself "delighted" to help Iraq on the path to democracy and says that his goal is to help the Iraqi people "regain control of their own destiny."

This, too, is a lie, since the Iraqi people want us to scram just as fast as we can pack. No "weapons of mass destruction" have been found in Iraq, and even Newsweek, not known in these days for its liberal bent, says that Bremer's appointment is designed to "keep a lid on the situation" so Junior can win re-election. It's the only thing he cares about, really, after money, "pussy" and God.

Do you want a source for the "pussy" quote? What for? You pay no attention when Caesar lies - why should you care when he speaks the truth, strutting, smirking and puffed like a peacock? In point of fact, Bush's stunt on the aircraft carrier - "In this battle, we have fought for the cause of liberty and the peace of the world... America is grateful for a job well done" - is a giant leap to fascism.

The U.S. Constitution makes the president commander-in-chief because he is not a military man, because the military proper and the military mind are not the masters of this nation. "This is not some made-for-TV backdrop for a campaign commercial," says Democratic Senator Robert Byrd, shocked to the core. "This is real life, and real lives have been lost."

Silly old man - hasn't he heard? We've captured the eight of spades, the nine of clubs, "Dr. Germ" and Tarik Aziz, until recently Iraq's deputy prime minister and a man who even speaks English. But he lies, says Bush; he "still doesn't know how to tell the truth. He didn't know how to tell the truth when he was in office, he doesn't know how to tell the truth as a captive."

And a hospital in Baghdad, according to the Times, has enough painkiller left "to give just four more injections. There is no fluid to sterilize equipment. Too few staff to look after patients." A mental case wanders the empty halls, off his medications, saying, "I hate the world and the world hates me." Asked why he hasn't fled the scene, the madman replies, "I don't want the monkey to see me and I don't want to see the monkey."

Well, too bad. We're stuck with the monkey for at least another year. And when Mother's Day started in 1870, it wasn't about hearts and flowers, Hall-mark cards and telephone calls. It was about peace, organized by women who had lost their sons in the American Civil War. "We will not have great questions decided by irrelevant agencies," said Julia Ward Howe, who wrote "The Battle Hymn of the Republic." "Our husbands shall not come to us, reeking with carnage, for caresses and applause. Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn all that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy and patience."

This was a great American dream, a dream as yet unfulfilled. "From the bosom of the devastated Earth," said Howe, "a voice goes up with our own. It says 'Disarm, Disarm! The sword of murder is not the balance of justice.'"

And "N one but the dead," Mark Twain replied, "are permitted to speak truth.

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