Friday, July 27, 2007


It has been recorded as 130 degrees in Baghdad, and here at home, it is time for Congress to take its summer vacation, and the President will probably head for the ranch. The Iraqi government has taken a siesta from its grueling tasks, because of the searing heat. Even ordinary Americans head for the parks and the beaches when the weather warms up. But those combat troops in Iraq have no such luxury at hand. They are loaded with all kinds of gear, armored vests, ammunition, guns, etc., and there is no relief from the heat as they patrol in Iraq.

I don't know how anyone goes about doing their job in 130 degree heat. I have encountered 111 degrees in Nevada and remember that one had to watch the dashboard window of the car, making sure the car wasn't left in the sun, or the window would explode and splinter into hundreds of shards. Your best bet for survival was an air-conditioned room, sitting with a iced can of soda or bottle of beer, trying to ignore the weather.

When I lived in Nevada, I had guests visit from Michigan. The temperature soared over 110, and they arrived looking as though they had entered the gates of Hell. I turned the air conditioning down as far as it would go, and these people were still hot. I took them for a tour of the area and we got out of the car to have a root beer at a local stand, and one of my guests fainted. We ended up taking the ice from the rootbeer and holding it to her forehead as we waited for the paramedics.

When anyone came through the front door of my house, my guest would call out, "Close the furnace door!" Used to Michigan's pleasant summer weather, occasional rains, and only a short spell of intense heat, this guest was particularly bothered by Nevada weather. His face was perpetually red, and he complained of a lack of oxygen in the air. So, can you imagine carrying all those supplies and wearing that uniform in heat that has soared to 130 degrees?

There should be a law. I think I have voiced that statement hundreds of times in months past, but it is true. There should be a law that, since this War was more or less invented by George Bush, Dick Cheney and others of the Administration, they should be forced to go about their business in Baghdad, not ensconced in the air-conditioned, luxury palace built for an Embassy, but in some little hut with nothing but an open window and two hours of electricity daily in which to run the fan.

Yes, these people should have to risk going to the market after needed supplies, not with an armored guard and snipers in the trees protecting them, but only their fear to sustain them. Their enthusiasm for war might wane a bit if they themselves faced the daily danger our troops have had to face.

"Oh, that's just war, every war, what do you expect?" my Republican friends tell me, and they are right. Usually, wars are fought because one's country has been attacked and there is no other way to go other than to declare war. There are casualties and one expects them. This is why the War in Afghanistan was so important, to drive out Al Queda, to capture or kill Osama bin Laden, to protect our country and the world from a growing menace. Instead of finishing it, we allowed the Taliban and Al Queda members to flee to the Pakistan mountains, where they are holed up today.

Somehow, we were sidetracked into Iraq and now, I think the really important reason for it is taking place right now. We are now finagling over the oil interests. I read that we are bartering between major American oil companies for longterm oil rights in Iraq. And this is the part that makes the gall rise and a bitter taste to invade the mouth, the fact that our troops are braving 130 degree heat and constant death and danger to bring about greater profits for the oil companies, already staggeringly rich. Add this to the fact that the real enemy, the perpetrator, the man guilty of engineering 9/11 is reportedly alive and well in the Pakistan Mountains, a folk hero to the people who hate everything about the United States, who protect him and encourage him, while Americans battle in Iraq, a country not involved in 9/11.

We can pay for our oil. We always have. We undoubtedly always will, at least until that sunny day when Alternative Fuel is available. Never before have we invaded for oil, took control over it, and designated which company will be in charge of it. But exactly that seems to be happening now.

So, as you hoe your garden or water your flowers, perspiration dripping from your brow, remember those soldiers working in 130 degree temperatures, some of them just barely out of high school or those who should be in high school, and some of them failing to survive to mop their brows and complain of the heat.

We can't bring them home, no matter how we try. Their fate is in the hands of men who travel in lush limousines, specially-equipped airplanes, rolling along in motorcades, protected by Secret Service agents and policemen, very important people compared to that lowly soldier suffering in the heat, fearing for his life. This war is fought by the nobodies, while the somebodies profit....and it doesn't seem as though anybody can stop it, any time soon.