VIEWPOINT: A Thought for Memorial Day 

Something to ponder on this memorial holiday that should cause every American to think twice about ever trusting our media or either party in power. . .

When Baghdad fell after the U.S. invasion, for about a year and probably still largely going on, the major problem creating violence in Iraq was not insurgents vs. coalition troops, as one would assume from reading the front pages of every American newspaper.

According to The Guardian and other international media sources, the major instability problem in Iraq was roving gangs of thugs that were not politically motivated and had nothing to do with insurgents; criminal gangs and many former law-abiding citizens turned criminals due to little threat of police retaliation, freely roamed throughout Baghdad and other major Iraqi cities, looting, kidnapping for ransom, raping and pillaging at will. This reality of utter lawlessness was never even reported in our media as far as I ever saw.

Baghdad has about 7 million population, whereas Los Angeles has a little over 4 million and the greater Southern California area has about 18 million, which kind of illustrates how large of a city Baghdad is. Most Americans from my own experience, even among activists, have no idea that Baghdad is much larger than Los Angeles.

To give an idea of how bad things were and continue to remain in Baghdad, when the initial invasion was over, the current military was disbanded and there was no coherent police force in place. Imagine what would happen in Los Angeles if the police and national guard suddenly disappeared and there was no federal military--that is what happened in Baghdad.

On top of that, there were and remain, days with little to no electricity and very poor water and sewage systems; this in weather of sometimes over 120 degrees and dropping near freezing at night. On top of that, many hospitals and emergency systems were partially or completely destroyed. And on top of that, people often have to wait in line for 1-2 days just to fill up their cars with gasoline.

I have read and seen on film where kids of people who can afford it are driven back and forth to school in private taxis because it is the safest way for them to go and that groups of people go shopping together in order to enhance safety and otherwise, many people remain unemployed and virtual prisoners trapped inside their homes because of it being so unsafe to even go outside in a typical neighborhood.

Shopping for necessities, unlike John McCain and others have pretended, remains an extremely risky endeavor. Also, almost everyone owns and often carries one or more guns. I've seen several films made by activists who have gone over there that validate what is stated in these last two paragraphs.

If our media had any courage at all, every American would long ago have clearly understood just how tragic of a mistake the current Administration made, instead of half of our population still believing that it was the right move, howbeit some of that half have begun to question whether the Administration has handled this supposed "right move" correctly. It is not just it wasn't handled correctly. What Karl Rove and Company did was utterly insane from any kind of viewpoint, which is what every American by now should easily understand and what very few, because of our media of mediocrity, actually do.

There is something very, very wrong in America today, compared to when I was a kid; in other words, within two generations, our country has dramatically changed for the worse. We long ago lost anything remotely resembling the former LA, NY Times and Washington Post and meanwhile, while Rome is continuing to burn, Bernstein is busy promoting a book about the private lives of an ex-first lady and her philandering husband, while Woodward remains marginalized by lying right-wing media hacks.

And lest we forget, on this Memorial Day celebration of our troops who have fought and died to protect our "free and democratic society", we will again be reminded by our ever-on-the-ball corporate media, that Paris Hilton is facing eminent incarceration and other such important factoids of earth-shattering significance. No doubt, old Ben Franklin would repent of the day he ever became a printer's apprentice.

Richard Aberdeen is an author and activist living in Nashville.

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