Once a life, now just a foot.
October 30, 2003 9:23 PM   Subscribe

The severed foot : "The force of the blast propelled this severed foot over a high wall, into the yard of an unoccupied house." - In Iraq, has the US seized something similar to the West bank or the Gaza strip (but the size and population of California) in which "The light at the end of the tunnel" casts a wan, pallid light over a future in which such events will seem routine ?
posted by troutfishing (30 comments total)
Why do you hate America so much.

posted by moonbiter at 9:42 PM on October 30, 2003

Meanwhile, Robert Fisk reports that the control perimeter around the Baghdad airport has shrunk from it's original 5 miles down to 2 miles - "...On the edge of that radius, a man might just hit a plane with a missile range of 8,000ft."
posted by troutfishing at 9:43 PM on October 30, 2003

Note that the first link has an actual photo of said severed foot, so not safe for surfing while eatting... or something.
posted by asterisk at 9:52 PM on October 30, 2003

Damn liberal media. That should be the US LIBERATED one foot. Its a small start, but you damn liberals are failing to see the big mass-liberated foot picture! Saddam kept that foot in chains you ungrateful chomsky reading peaceniks!
posted by skallas at 10:15 PM on October 30, 2003

that should take care of this years christmas card needs quite nicely.
posted by quonsar at 11:20 PM on October 30, 2003

That is so wrong. Excellent.
posted by moonbiter at 11:23 PM on October 30, 2003

it's a bit mushier and more sentimental than last years card.
posted by quonsar at 11:31 PM on October 30, 2003

I knew something was afoot.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 11:59 PM on October 30, 2003

This is serious. Right? No, left foot.
posted by stbalbach at 12:27 AM on October 31, 2003

I <3 Quonsar with all the love my cold, dead heart can muster.

I think your point is a good one, troutfishing, but sometimes all you can do is laugh at the futility of it. I still maintain I feel like I'm living in a Gilliam flick.
posted by The God Complex at 12:59 AM on October 31, 2003

I'm starting to understand the cranky mefite's desire to crap in these threads. "My goodness, look, another FPP with a link to a news article or two and a rhetorical question."

Jesus christ, go get your own blog please, we don't need 4 of these posts every single day. Yup, war sucks, got it. This war in particular really inflames your sense of moral outrage, wunderbar. Thank you so much, I'm crystal clear on that. You can just assume at this point that if I desire any more information to confirm or disconfirm my views, or if I want to read an op-ed piece for the same reasons, I can find these things on my own.
posted by kavasa at 1:04 AM on October 31, 2003

From the small amount of the article I can actually read, seems to me it wouldn't make any difference to this event had the US invaded or not.

It's sad, but hardly unusual for countries such as these.
posted by shepd at 1:15 AM on October 31, 2003

It's sad, but hardly unusual for countries such as these.

Yeah, there was car bombings and guerilla warfare terrorism all over the place in Iraq before the Coalition of the Morally Wounded got in there.
posted by The God Complex at 1:19 AM on October 31, 2003

kavasa, you are *so* right! jesus christ *needs* a blog.
say, ya wanna buy a box of christmas cards?
posted by quonsar at 1:22 AM on October 31, 2003

The American Co-Council of What The Fuck, We're All Gonna Get Raptured Soon Anyway Players.
posted by quonsar at 1:26 AM on October 31, 2003

If Fox really wanted ratings they'd hire us to write the tickers and the captions.
posted by The God Complex at 1:45 AM on October 31, 2003

Glad to see you remember this, TGC. Few people are so astute.

As something to whet your pallet, the US is accused of killing 9596, a far cry from the amount of lives lost to the Iran-Iraq war; numbers which tally closer to the millions than not.

Terrorism has been the modus operandi of Iraq for long before the US set eyes on the land. Car bombings are nothing more than a convenient form of such outrage.

It's sickening to see Iraq returning to its previous ways, rather than grasping at the opportunity America has (albeit wrongfully) provided them.

With any luck, in the future Iraq will make the best of this.
posted by shepd at 2:13 AM on October 31, 2003

A boy climbed down into the blast hole -- a crater roughly the size of a two-car garage. And I thought, If something like this happened in the U.S., the whole neighborhood would be locked up tight. Police everywhere. Cleanup crews. Forensic scientists. A sense of order emerging from the chaos. But that's not how things work here. One day later, and the site of all that carnage seems abandoned. Left behind.

How cheap this crap has made us all.


It's sickening to see Iraq returning to its previous ways, rather than grasping at the opportunity America has (albeit wrongfully) provided them.

With any luck, in the future Iraq will make the best of this.

You write of Iraq as though it was some sort of an adopted child and not the vast country containing millions of individual people and multudinous villages and sects that it is. And furthermore, you write of Iraq --as so many ungratefully do-- as though it contains people so culturally and intellectually backward that they lack the abilty to call a spade a spade.

I am sick of the Iraqi people being described as so "just so". I wouldn't even be so arrogant as to attempt the same on my own hometown. Let alone drop fucking bombs on it. Who knows what you're really going to hit? Who are you going to emotionally scar for life? It could be your neighbor.

You justifiers of death and empty substanceless liberation of a people need to learn how to live in the real world. The "real world" that we've brought upon Iraq and not the cop out "well, it's better than Saddam Hussein now". What the fuck do you think you know you're talking about? Would you expect an Iraqi to criticize US leadership?

Well, there there little fella. . .

Why do some hate Iraq so much?
posted by crasspastor at 2:37 AM on October 31, 2003

Whoah.........that's a hard comment to follow. Spoken like the voice of Jehovah from on high emanating from spinning, fiery wheels in the sky and propelled by the force of an Onkyo 1000 watt power amp.

I almost wish I hadn't posted this, but sometimes an image grabs me as so singularly bizarre...

This sort of thing - a random foot lying around - happens all the time in Israel, I guess, except for the Orthodox volunteers who instantly gather up all the distinct body parts for burial.

So, the US has - at the cost of how many hundreds of billion dollars so far (and how many Iraqi and US lives as well?) bought a West Bank X10.

Oh boy. George W. can do my christmas shopping......I'll give him my credit card and tell him to buy nice stuff for all my relatives - I'll tell him to go to Target, have it giftwrapped - so easy......But NOOOO - what does he do but max out my card buying and giftwrapping fucking severed body parts?

quonsar - Oh how I wish I could send your Christmas card to my born again (as if being born once wasn't enough) relatives who voted for Bush and supported the whole Iraq thingy (except that I actually like them in spite of their political beliefs)......oh well * daydreams pleasant thoughts of thousands of identical, glossy Christmas Cards with pictures of quonsar's holly-wrapped severed foot marching through UPS automated sorting machines... *

shepd - Sure, Iraq had terrorism before the US invaded or, rather, a terrorist - Saddam. But, before you invoke the Iran-Iraq war (a truly dismal war with millions dead, yes) remember that the US supported Iraq in that war and turned a blind eye to Saddam's use of poison gas then to stem Iranian advances. (Don Rumsfeld was the US point man on that one, as I remember.) Then, there was the atrocious US duplicity after the first Gulf War, when the US failed to support the Kurdish uprising against Saddam which originated, in part, from US broadcasts urging on the uprising. I can't fault Collin Powell's (or should we now call him Cooley Powell? - He's sure carrying a lot of water for Bush & Co. these days.) clinical logic in arguing then against the US army's going all the way to Baghdad, but why the hell did the US give the Kurds the impression that they would get US support?....Saddam's forces gassed and massacred them by the thousands. This nasty little chapter is depicted in (sanitized form), BTW, in "Three Kings".

And - I almost forgot - the US ( through the CIA ) played a part in the rise of Saddam Hussein to power. From the start, he was partly a monster of our own making.

Now, the US invasion and occupation - and the terrorist attacks seeking to drive out the occupiers - is merely another chapter of torture in the long process - through multiple wars, a decade of UN sanctions and allied bombing, and Saddam looming over it all - which has ground down the once affluent, highly educated, secular, proud country which was Iraq.

Was it by design?

Oh yeah, I forgot - the foot! The foot!
posted by troutfishing at 4:16 AM on October 31, 2003

Meanwhile, Robert Fisk reports that the control perimeter around the Baghdad airport has shrunk from it's original 5 miles down to 2 miles

If I remember correctly, the last time Robert Fisk was reporting from the airport he was claiming that there were no U.S. troops there, contrary to the live pictures on CNN, etc. He's so credible!
posted by pardonyou? at 6:40 AM on October 31, 2003

Oh yeah, I forgot - the foot! The foot!
posted by thomcatspike at 6:47 AM on October 31, 2003

Thank you, troutfishing, for post and commentary, and a gold star to crasspastor for an exemplary piece of moral outrage that manages to avoid the timeworn phrases and images that have lost their power to move anyone; I wish you were writing speeches for one of the Democratic candidates currently tiptoeing gingerly around the issues.

thomcatspike: Excellent link!
posted by languagehat at 6:54 AM on October 31, 2003

*solemnly intones* There is no victory in da feet.
posted by SPrintF at 7:25 AM on October 31, 2003

Damn liberal media. That should be the US LIBERATED one foot.

If I weren't so strongly opposed to the sprayed-monitor meme, I would make use of it here.
posted by rushmc at 8:02 AM on October 31, 2003

languagehat - thanks. I second that thought on crasspastor's speech.

thomcatspike - that was a nice movie about a foot. I know people with CP but almost full mobility who do far, far less with themselves than Christy Brown.

pardonyou - time will tell, won't it, if he's making it up this one. It shouldn't be too hard to fact check though.

I found this blog from the Baghdad airport site, 8/10: "The CSH is across from the airport.
When we got here the first thing said to us was - "We don't really need you, and asked "them" not to replace outgoing nurses". Nice welcome. I don't have a job yet.
The temp is 120-130. The sun hits the sand and radiates back up to get your face. My uniform gets too hot to touch. We take showers at night as the water gets too hot during the day. And the dust is everywhere. Iraq is very flat, no hills or rises. This is not a sandy country - its all dust. Fine dust, like talc. Inches of it. Tan as you walk in poufs of dust. The helicopters blow up BIG clouds of it as they take off.
Lived through our first mortar attack last night, worst one ever here, so they say. About 16 morters. Started about 4 am and they walked the mortars across the airfield. BOOM fssstBOOM, fsstBOOM, grab your Kevlar, grab your flak vest and GO! People really Scrambled to the shelters - basically milvans with dirt piled up the sides.

Now camp Anaconda, of which sustainer airfield is a part of, is very big. While the hospital is close to the edge of the camp, and across the street from the airfield, no mortars have ever fallen INSIDE the hospital perimeter berm. About a month ago a FST team (forward surgical Team) was hit and basically lost 9 people. But again, outside our area. We did not get any casualties last night - not even Iraqis, so I guess they got them all.

Some nurses here have real problems treating the Iraqi EPWs. I don't subscribe to that prejudice. I believe we are obligated to remain on the moral high ground and treat all patients as we would want to be treated.
Step off of soapbox SO here I am.

OK, now the bad news.
We may not be home till spring.
Don't know for sure as things change without prior warning or notification.

Dad, I hope you can care for the cats till then, if not let me know
Should have brought my window AC units...
Send an electric fan please!

Love, Major Pain

this: ""The plan as I understand it is to turn Baghdad International Airport (now the center of most U.S. military operations) into a commercial aviation center handling civilian flights," Smith said.
That won't happen until the Baghdad airport is considered secure, and nobody can say when that will be.
"Anaconda has the centralized location, the room and a secure perimeter," Larson said. "This is the right place for us."

Fisk said this in July, 2003: "Some of the soldiers spoke very frankly about the situation in Baghdad...they all say that Baghdad airport now comes under nightly sniper fire from the perimeter of the runways from Iraqis. Two of them told me that every time a military aircraft comes in at night, it's fired at. In fact some of the American pilots are now going back to the old [Vietnam era] tactic of cork screwing down tightly on to the runways from above rather than making the normal level flight approach across open countryside because they're shot at so much."

But this Yahoo/Rueters story from September 7th seems to support Fisk: "...two surface-to-air missiles were fired at a coalition aircraft leaving an airport in the capital.

It was not known who fired the missiles, and military spokesman Lt. Col. George Krivo acknowledged that it was difficult to secure Baghdad International Airport against such attacks.

"This is not the first time that such weapons have been used in this area ... this is not an unusual occurrence"

Apparently, they might have been aiming for Donald Rumsfeld

I dug up this security summary, from an Iraqi-German business organization (from 8/27/2003 - two months old, but telling): "


Most of Baghdad and surrounding areas in Iraq remain dangerous with increasing attacks on forces and minor attacks on Westerners. The overall trend observed is that of a deterioration of the security environment in the country.

The situation throughout Iraq, especially in and around Baghdad and Basra, is changing frequently. All Westerners, media, NGOs and aid agency staff need to be on the alert for any potential incident. These incidents occur without any warning at all. Be prepared, have the right protection equipment, carry and know how to use first aid kits and ensure all of your crew know how to administer first aid.

The security situation is still high to all in situ who are not Iraqi, however the danger and threats are also to the local fixers and drivers employed by outside companies who also require sufficient training in awareness, driving and first aid skills.

Many incidents are not making the headlines – most of them are not being reported at all by the forces involved as they are possibly trying to minimise the threats and play down the overall threat to all involved in working in Iraq."

Well - I've got no more time to dredge the web - No good October 2003 material to corroborate or discredit Fisk. Maybe someone else can take a crack at it?
posted by troutfishing at 8:51 AM on October 31, 2003

thomcatspike - that was a nice movie about a foot. I know people with CP but almost full mobility who do far, far less with themselves than Christy Brown.

My thinking behind the link: artist will complete a bust leaving the left ear missing, symbolizing: a life left incomplete .
posted by thomcatspike at 9:13 AM on October 31, 2003

I don't think you can make any kind of accurate comparison to the West Bank and Gaza. Maybe if America was moving millions of its citizens into Iraq, appropriating Iraqi land, and brutally oppressing anyone who tried to stop them, you could compare.

But currently what we see is the US Government trying to achieve strategic and financial objectives, with a resistance force trying to undermine those objectives. It is not a case where the United States and the Iraqis are fighting over a homeland, and so far it's not a popular resistance in the sense that the average Iraqi sees the only positive outcome for his future in joining a resistance group.
posted by cell divide at 10:00 AM on October 31, 2003

cell divide - I very much doubt that the average Palestinian sees only good in the current Intifadah.....No course of action, as far as I'm aware, is either fully positive or absolutely negative. But, sure, the comparison is crude. So render it down to: an occupying army is opposed by native elements which employ terrorist tactics. Meanwhile, the occupying force attempts to control the larger, restive population - some actively opposed to the occupation, some merely embittered - by restricting human movement within those occupied territories. Resentment grows.

Not exactly the same, of course - as is no historical comparison - but still very similar.
posted by troutfishing at 9:35 PM on October 31, 2003

thomcatspike - I think I understand. I'll chew it over. I've noticed that - usually - your logic becomes more obvious over time.
posted by troutfishing at 9:43 PM on October 31, 2003

woah woah woah there!

In no way do I support what America has done with Iraq, but one has to put this in perspective. To blame America for this foot is going one foot too far. The fact is, as long as Saddam ran Iraq, it would be a violent country. Saddam has more or less assured everyone of that.

Is Iraq backwards? No, merely different. Many intelligent individuals are there (one of them wrote a very competent article for Linux Journal lately). However, under the current government, they have been kept "in the dark". Also, a certain segment of population (present in *many* countries) has been trying its hardest to keep the country in the dark ages.

The ends don't justify the means when it comes to the current Iraq war, I agree. But that _doesn't_ mean the Iraqi people shouldn't take this possibly unwanted opportunity and ride with it. When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. It also doesn't mean you can blame America for every bad thing that happens there.

If someone is raped, then murdered, by different people, you don't just charge the murderer with rape also, and let the rapist free, do you?
posted by shepd at 2:56 PM on November 1, 2003

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