Saturday, April 12, 2003[posted by jaed at 2:08 PM]
Not in your name:
There's a spate of anti-war protests scheduled today. And so at this point, I have a number of things to say to some of my fellow Americans, to those who have so often insisted that this war would not be fought in their names - No, no, not in my name!
His hair is cropped short. Half his teeth have been knocked out, his face is battered and the eyes sunken and haunted-looking. His chest is covered with 50 separate cuts from a knife, his back has even more marks, which he says are cigarette burns. Two of his fingers were broken and deliberately bent into a permanent, contorted position and there's a hole in the middle of his palm where his torturers stabbed him and twisted the blade.
Today, though, Adnan was a happy man, so happy that he could barely restrain his excitement. He was finally freed from a prison in downtown Basra, after British troops entered the city and drove the remaining defenders away.
This man was not freed in your name.
English-speaking Iraqis came up to reporters to express their own delight. Among them was Saad Ahmed, a 54-year-old retired English teacher. "We have been waiting for you for a long time," he said. "We are now happier than you.
"You are victorious as far as the war is concerned, but we are victorious in life. We have been living, not as human beings, for more than 30 years."
His son Emad, a 23-year-old student, added: "It's a great day for us and for all Iraqi people. Every family in Iraq have one, two, three deaths because of Saddam, either from wars or in his prisons. I am very happy." One of those joining in the celebrations, Qusay Rawah, said the downfall of Saddam's regime in Basra was a day "we had prayed for".
Their prayers were not answered in your name.
More than 100 children held in a prison celebrated their freedom as US marines rolled into northeast Baghdad amid chaotic scenes which saw civilians loot weapons from an army compound, a US officer said.
These children were not rescued in your name.
"I am very happy today, like I have been reborn," Karim Kadem, a 27-year-old man who returned on Thursday to see the place where he was imprisoned for two years. "I thought I would die here."
Kadem said he was accused of opposing Saddam and the party. Five other friends arrested with him were either killed or blinded. He has permanent injuries to his arms; he can no longer lift them fully. Kadem said he returned to the prison to exorcise his fears.
"I wanted to see the place. I wanted to relieve my heart of the bad memories," he said.
His heart has not been relieved of fear in your name.
When news got out that Al-Emeri was back, crowds of men flooded into the streets and pressed around him, cheering and clapping and pushing up against Marines in defensive positions. One man rushed up to an American with a wreath of plastic flowers to hug him, rifle and all, despite the Marine's best efforts to maintain his distance.
His family were among those who rushed out to greet him - including his 15-year-old son, Ali, whom he hadn't seen since he left Iraq. When they first saw each other, they embraced tightly and wept.
Ali Al-Emeri said he was afraid to ever let his father go away again, but Al-Emeri assured him: "Stay home. You are safe. I am here, the U.S. forces are here."
This father did not at last come home to his son in your name.
Enjoy your protest today. Try to forget that you used your own freedom to try to keep freedom from others.
And may posterity forget you were our countrymen.