Shocking and Awe-ful

The blood of this war is on all of our hands

By Gabriel Perez
Published on LatinoLA: March 31, 2003

Shocking and Awe-ful

Today the people of Iraq continue to experience the terror of bombs pounding their country as an unjust war continues to be waged by the U.S. military. Over 400,000 Iraqi children, have already suffered and died from U.N. imposed sanctions and the pollution of depleted uranium in Iraq?s water sources from U.S. bombs used in the first Gulf War. But the Bush Administration has made it clear that this U.S. sponsored genocide on the people of Iraq is not enough. Against overwhelming worldwide opposition and with no evidence of weapons of mass destruction, the U.S. has decided to move forward with a unilateral, pre-emptive war against Iraq.

Contrary to what the Bush Administration and the corporate media would like you to believe, this War on Iraq is not about the victims of 9-11, weapons of mass destruction, or the ?liberation? of the people of Iraq. This war is part of a conservative international agenda of U.S. imperialism that began with the formation of the right-wing think tank, the Project for a New American Century (PNAC).

PNAC was created in 1997 on the basis that ?American leadership is good both for America and the World ( The blueprints for this War on Iraq, as well as potential future wars of U.S. aggression, lie in a PNAC report, ?Rebuilding America?s Defenses,? which calls for the U.S. to significantly increase military spending and to ?fight and decisively win multiple theater wars.?

Why does all this really matter? Why would the U.S. government want to enact an imperialistic doctrine from the likes of such a think tank? The answer lies in the fact that members of PNAC are now the key leadership of the Bush Administration; Vice President Dick Cheney, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, Defense Policy Board Chairman Richard Perle, and Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz. Surprisingly, the activities of PNAC were reported on a March edition of ABC News Nightline (

With the (s)election of George W. Bush and the events of 9-11, the members of PNAC found the perfect opportunity to implement their imperial doctrine. The War on Iraq has certainly proven to profitable to wealthy U.S. interests. Upon the announcement that Halliburton, of which Dick Cheney was CEO, would receive a $489.3 million contract to rebuild oil wells in Iraq, the company?s stocks soared from $.54 to $20.66 (, 3/25/03).

While current military spending has reached $358.2 billion, and an additional $74.7 billion pumped into this war, federal spending on education is projected to only reach $61.4 billion in 2004 (U.S. Office of Management and Budget, U.S. Dept. of Education). Across the board budget cuts have been made in California, which include a $3.9 billion cut in education. The only exception has been a 1% increase in spending for Gray Davis? coveted prison system (CA Dept. of Finance). What if the $15 Billion bribe the U.S. offered Turkey in exchange for a northern front were given to assist the state of California?s faltering education system? While our education and healthcare systems continue to crumble, the prison and military industrial complex continue to expand to accommodate youth marginalized by our under funded schools as new members of California?s prison population or the military?s next casualties of war.

As the invasion intensifies, the list continues to grow with the names of predominantly Chicana/o and Black youth returning in body bags from the front lines, which a local Venice High School student has so accurately described as this country?s ?disposable soldiers.? The military has spent hundreds of millions of dollars aggressively recruiting youth of color in Los Angeles schools with promises of a better future. The cost per recruit to the military has reached $11,600, money that could much better be spent on recruiting and funding for our youth to attend college.

The media has attempted to outrage the American public with images of Iraq?s military forces training children to fight the U.S. invasion of Iraq. But we have military training programs for our youth in local high schools, known as the Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC), taught by retired military personnel and based on military curriculum--- what is the difference? We teach war at a young age in the U.S. as well, be it video games, movies, or the JROTC.

Unfortunately, we will not hear the truth of this war on the evening news, as it seems in-house military analysts have become as customary as news anchors, with no in-house anti-war analysts providing a ?balanced? perspective of the war. When Disney owns ABC, General Electric owns NBC, Viacom owns CBS, and AOL/Time Warner owns CNN, it is no surprise we are receiving such imbalanced news coverage? General Electric profits from the war as an arms dealer to the military! It appears that the networks are afraid that public exposure to the truth may continue to fuel the mass opposition to the War on Iraq.

This unjust war will only end when the popular consciousness of this "nation" becomes actively engaged in opposing this war. Each person?s effort will make a big impact; everyone?s effort will stop the war. The blood of this war is on all of our hands, so it is our responsibility to join the billions around the world who are actively demanding peace and an immediate end to U.S. world aggression.

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