Well…Iraqis. I was captivated by the cover photo on a recent edition of Newsweek…it was the picture of a young boy, probably 4 or 5 years old, holding a machine gun. The cover story talked about the new jihadists, about the essentially generation and a half of children, adolescents and young adults who have, for various reasons and as a result of several situations, are becoming the next generation of soldiers, militia, insurgents, jihadists, whatever you want to categorize them as. I prefer to see them as a generation and a half of children and young men and women who have been traumatized by war, by economic embargo, by poverty, by seeing more than anyone should ever have to see, whatever their age, and it’s frightening to think about an entire society of people traumatized and un(der)educated and how we (people somewhere close to my age) will interact with them one day. (Incidentally the un(der)educated part is a statement of fact rather than critique. It used to be 70% elementary-aged children attending school. That number now is more like 36-39% and even then, those children probably aren’t learning everything they should what with all the bombs exploding outside the school windows.) Violence begets violence and we are not innocent in this matter. Well…America is not innocent. Well…our political leaders who have established the policies in the early ’90s that drove the people to trust the militias and the…well…gangs…for their welfare rather than their government. Let’s face it, neither were stellar. No one really had anyone’s best interests at heart…save their own.
So here we are. 5 year olds running around with weapons of not so mass destruction but they can do some damage. 9 year olds with their own kalishnakovs. 17 year olds who are pissed off with the other side after helping to prepare nearly 300 brutally killed people for burial. No wonder they are traumatized. What, then, should be our response? A “surge” of military strength? Who’s going to raise a generation of children who have experienced the atrocities of war…a war that we prompted and intensified? Correction. That this government prompted and intensified? (I no longer give major institutions the right to speak for me. They lost that privilege a long time ago.) And for what else should we be responsible. No. Really be responsible for this time. What should we do? And how can we do it? The big picture seems too big…and the powers that be can’t even catch a small glimpse of that picture. Who, then, can take the lead? Who sees what I see, and a whole lot more, and can do something about it? Really do something about it? You want to talk about unfair and injustice…here it is.


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