Baghdad Blues: The Hot Lookin’ Iraqi Chick at the End of the Cul-de-sac.

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The serious discourse about the next war began against a backdrop of drum beating and the braying of talking heads, wanabe paladins, side show hawkers, whores and pimps started immediately after
the greatest threat to the Christian free world since the Moors invaded Spain and Central Europe was vanquished forever. The world was at risk yet. An evil unfathomable with capabilities
unimaginable existed in yet another of the world’s armpits had stood up and stepped forward to be the newest greatest threat to mankind and world peace and security since Fidel Castro or Ho Chi
Minh. The ruling American Triumvirate—the Cowboy in Chief, The Prince and the Little Banty Rooster (code named “Snowflake”)—was on a roll and they weren’t inclined to stop while we were ahead.

Submitted: January 14, 2018

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Submitted: January 14, 2018

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Dogs herald the coming of the killers.  Barking, sniffing, wormy scavengers, they range beyond, scouting the route of the advancing killers, chewing and gulping flesh left behind earlier by less thorough hounds of prey. 

Food is where the killers are, or have been.  It is what remains after the bomb attacks, bits and pieces stuck to walls or scattered about sidewalks and streets or rubble heaps.  Sometimes it is pooled about the scattered heads and torn bodies of the freshly shredded.  While whole bodies and large body parts are transported to morgues and hospital emergency rooms, and municipal cleanup crews pickup much, maybe most of what remains, there is always something left behind.

It is there for the taking, just waiting to be lapped up. 

The liberator’s bombs leave plenty of food, too. 

At the other end of the block, in a stone and concrete house with no air conditioning, the young woman hears the dogs and looks at the clock on the wall.  It is a few minutes before noon.  She looks at the boy on his prayer rug.

“You must hurry.  You must go to our aunt’s house by your secret route.  You must leave immediately.”

###

The serious discourse about the next war began against a backdrop of drum beating and the braying of talking heads, wanabe paladins, side show hawkers, whores and pimps and started immediately after the greatest threat to the Christian free world since the Moors invaded Spain and Central Europe was vanquished forever.  The world was at risk yet.  An evil unfathomable with capabilities unimaginable existed in yet another of the world’s armpits and had stood up and stepped forward to be the newest greatest threat to mankind and world peace and security since Fidel Castro or Ho Chi Minh.

The ruling American Triumvirate—the Cowboy in Chief, The Prince and the Little Banty Rooster (code named “Snowflake”)—was on a roll and they weren’t inclined to stop while we were ahead.  

A smirking Cowboy in Chief traveled the country making his pitch.  Confident, smiling, and almost presidential, he spread the word.  The Evil One has weapons of mass destruction.  Nuclear weapons!  Chemical weapons!  Biological weapons!Worse yet, while no evidence existed, this newly resurrected Evil One had conspired with the now vanquished Greatest Evil and funded the attack on New York City! 

The media went wild.  His is the biggest and most powerful armies in the Middle East.  It has more tanks than any other country in the world.  It has more artillery pieces than any other country.  It has more rifles than any other country.  And it has more secret programs to build nuclear bombs, deadly nerve gas and other chemical weapons of war and even biological weapons than any other country.

###

The rumbling began deep in the bowels of the Pentagon.Two young enlisted intelligence specialists looked at the piles of paper and photos on their desks and then went to their commanding officer and said, “It’s not true.”He went to his commander and said, “It’s not true.”

And so it went.

###

The First Cowboy’s premises were challenged.  But The Prince and the Little Banty Rooster came to his rescue.  The halls of the capitol and the airways of America echoed and reverberated with words like “axis of evil,” “hero,” “patriot,” and “homeland” filled the air like raindrops in a tropical cloud burst.  The Prince questioned the loyalty, patriotism and circumstances of birth of domestic dissenters and the Little Banty Rooster strutted in front of the Big Guys at the Pentagon and on the military bases giving rah-rah-sis-boom-bah-kill’em-kill’em-go-team speeches to the captive audiences they ordered up for him. 

From the bowels of the White House, the Little Voice chimed with whispers questioning the circumstances of birth—maybe even the circumstances of conception—as well as the decidedly un-Christian sexual orientation of those who opposed invading Iraq.  The language and near evangelical zeal of the attack was picked up by other faithful and it soon seemed some were incapable of speaking a complete sentence without using at least one if not all of those words.  God was on our side.  God had blessed America and America had a mission from God to abate one more evil in the world.

Across the nation, middle aged men who had worked diligently and for whom money had been no obstacle in their pursuit of draft deferrals during the Viet-Nam War sallied forth dutifully to see evil in every scarf or rag wrapped Anti-Christian Muslim head. 

The prime time cable news picked up the scent of money to be made and the race was on.  Prime time legal analysts normally occupied with celebrity divorces and celebrity murder trials and other weighty items of national importance picked up the drum beat or counter-drum beat depending on their denied political affiliation.  Sober looking Senators and Congressmen demonstrated their versatility with the new mantra—“Support the Warfighter”—and and the word “Warrior” hadn’t been used this much since Hollywood’s Cowboys and Indians movie era. Even the prime time psychiatrists and family counselors joined the debate asking and answering critical questions:  Was the First Cowboy simply out for revenge, after all The Evil One had humiliated his Daddy during Gulf War One by only losing most of his army and national war fighting resources, or was there a true evil afoot in the world that could only be quenched by the combined might of the greatest industrial powers of the world led by the biggest most powerful military the world had ever known?  And, don’t forget little Amy Carter’s sleepless nights.

Then, the final justification, the 21st Century is The American Century, a truth self evident probably written in the Bible somewhere and a modern Manifest Destiny.  If you didn’t believe them, there was an internet site that explained the whole thing.  And if it is so written on an internet page, all knew it to be true.  It was there for all too see.  And if that didn’t convince you, tune in to one of television gospel shows and they’d tell you, too. 

America is God’s chosen country.  Islam is the preferred religion of the devil.  American’s mission from God was to spread democracy throughout the world so as to give Muslim heathens a clear cut opportunity to choose between the Christian God and the Devil.

Of course, not everyone shared this vision of the 21st Century.  Russians, French, Muslim devil worshippers, Hollywood liberals and other American Traitors, to name but a few, believed otherwise and said so.

So, the cable news added more commentators and experts.  Washed out Lieutenant Colonels and other washed out “Special Operators” passed over for promotion twice and then sentenced to a pension and life on the sidelines populated the airways like flies on fresh manure. 

The drums played louder.

###

The young woman is getting ready for work.  She works for an old American as a translator.  She wears tight jeans, a snug blouse, a baseball cap, sun glasses and a pony tail.  She looks American.  She’s cool.  She’s American cool, but only inside the Green Zone, outside the Green Zone she still wears traditional dress. 

Two years prior, she had been a student at Baghdad University.  She had wanted to be a teacher.  Her secret hope and prayer had been to go to America.  She studied English and watched black market videos of American television shows to learn American English. 

She comes from a good Sunni family and lives in a mixed neighborhood.Some members of her extended family have married Shia Muslims and even Christians.  Her father had had a good job at the University and they had a good life—at least as good as might be expected in Saddam Hussein’s Baghdad.  There wasn’t always electricity and there wasn’t always running water, or even trash pickup, but her father was employed and they had food, clothing and a place to live.  Better yet, she and her sister’s had been able to avoid being molested or raped by any of the ruling elite by dressing in traditional garb.  Neither she nor her sister or any of their friends not been fed to Ousay or Qusay’s pet lion’s for not being sexually pleasing. 

The boy on the prayer rug is her younger brother.  He is looking at her.  He doesn’t approve of her clothing.  He doesn’t approve of the fact that she works outside the house.  She tells him that she must work for them to eat.  He tells her that God will provide.

Like many other people in Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, she too hoped the Americans would rescue them.

###

Once it became clear that only traitors, Frenchmen, Russians and Saddam Hussein’s henchmen were opposed to invading Iraq, and that we wouldn’t pay bribe money to any foreign country, or domestic politicians up for re-election, that opposed us, the invasion became what is known in horse racing as a “sure thing.”

None the less, the United Nations, a notoriously anti-American international organization with a mind of its own voted against the invasion.  This surprised many because the Triumvirate had dispatched the ringer, an American Saint, to make the sale.  The nay sayers and other traitors were not surprised, they said, because no one at the United Nations worked for Snowflake and were thus free to form their own opinion.

The rumblings in the Pentagon bowels grew louder as the two young enlisted intelligence specialists pressed their cases.  “These are not centrifuge tubes; they are artillery cartridges.” 

intelligence specialists were quietly transferred to infantry units at the tip of the spear of invasion forces and several Army officers, including at least one General, were discretely assigned the duties of auditing the number of water closets in the Pentagon.  The upcoming invasion was hyped more than the Super Bowl—even more than some of the Super Bowl beer commercials.  The interaction of the most powerful nation to ever exist with a little piss ant pervert and his band of unholy carnivores had been reduced to an event the equal of a grudge fight between two professional wrestling entertainers.  Otherwise unemployable Generals and other retired military officers became analysts on the cable news networks talked it up and made it sound as though Iraq actually had an Army that could fight. 

If Snowflake says “WMD exists,” then WMD exists.

“Ready, set, go,” the starter pistols sounded and enough men, iron and fire power rolled north from Kuwait to defeat all of the combined forces of the WWII Axis powers.

Mr. Saddam is reported to have said, “And, now it begins,” when told that the Americans and their allies had invaded.  He could have looked out his window.

No one has reported what he said a short time later when a young, first generation Chinese American soldier, hung an American flag from his nose in Palestine circle.

###

Sometimes Fatima works inside the Green Zone and sometimes she works outside.  She prefers to meet the Americans outside the Green Zone and ride with them to where ever they are going.  The killers, protectors of their own faith, watch who comes and goes from the Green Zone.

Inside the Green Zone, she works in the old palace.  She doesn’t like working inside the old palace because it is so confusing.  There are many important people there.  Many of them know the President of the United States and they sit and tell each other stories of who they know and how they know them and of important things that they have done or are doing.  They smoke horrible smelling cigars they call “Cubans” and exchange ideas as to how to smuggle them into the United States.  Sometimes, often times, they complain about the Iraqi government or people and their disrespect for the law.  They say, “These people need to stand up and take back their government.”  Most of these American Patriots, seldom if ever, venture outside the Green Zone.  It is safer for their Iraqi counterparts to come to them than for them to leave.

But, she knew from CNN and Fox that they were not alone in their complaints.  The complaint in influential American circles, in those circles of men and women who were possessed of tremendous wisdom by virtue of the fact that the President or Vice President said they did, was surprisingly uniform regardless of who said it:  “These people need to stand up and take their country back,” and “They want us to do it for them.”

And, in Washington D.C., a prominent member of the Senate who knew which way the wind was blowing gave a pre-presidential campaign speech criticizing the American role in Iraq, asserting that the Iraqi’s ought to take on more responsibilities themselves and that “These people need to stand up and take their country back,” and “They want us to do it for them.”

One day, the local keepers of their faith kill her neighbor.

Her neighbor worked for the American Army.  She had been a secretary.  They had warned her, “You must not work outside the home.  It is against the holy Koran.”  But, the woman’s husband was dead and she had children to feed and clothe.  The neighbor woman’s husband had been killed by the death squads because he was a Sunni.  She is Shia. 

Fatima has been warned otherwise, too.  “You must not work for the Americans.”

But, her parents were killed in the American invasion and she has a child, her younger brother, to support.  He has to eat.  He has to have somewhere to sleep.  He has to have clothing.  She speaks, reads and writes English.  She learned this in the University before the Americans came.  The Americans pay very well.

Both women would ask each other, “Does Allah really want us to lose our homes, for our children to be cast into the streets?  To starve and beg for the barest of sustenance?

Both women, one Sunni the other Shia, decided that that is not God’s will.  That it is the will of ignorant deluded evil men.

Shortly thereafter, as the woman had exited her bus coming home from work, someone walked up behind the woman and shot her in the back of the head.  She had had a partial retainer that replaced her upper front teeth and the bullet tore it from her mouth and launched it down the street.  It rested against a wall several days until someone took it.

Then the killers came to Fatima once more.  They told her flatly, “You are a woman.  You must not work outside the home.  You absolutely must not work for the Americans.  You have been warned.  Next time we will kill you.”

So, she purchased a gun.  The old American taught her how to use it.

Then they tried to kill her.  Two of them, a short distance from her home.  They walked up to her on the street while she was walking to the market to buy food for her brother.  They walked up to her with a gun, a pistol.  They showed her the gun, they said, “We warned you.” And, “And, now we are going to kill you.”

She pulled her gun and killed them both.  She shot them both in the face—two times.  Just like the old American told her to do.  Before she shot them, they had pointed their gun at her face and pulled the trigger.  It didn’t fire.  They had forgotten to put a bullet in the chamber. 

And now, she has two guns and she carries both of them and extra ammunition under her traditional robe.  This is very un-Islamic.  She doesn’t have gun permits so she can’t carry the guns into the Green Zone.  This is another reason to meet the old American outside the Green Zone and ride with him to the Iraqi Ministries that he works with.

###

She hears the dogs and looks out her front door and down the street.  Mangy, wormy and malnourished, they enter the street from one of the alleys.  The one in the lead was carrying some type of flesh in its mouth.  The others, snarling and barking, are trying to tear it from his mouth.  Some rip a piece off and run away with it. 

She knows the killers are coming for her.  They are coming for her in her own home.  If they kill her, will they kill her brother?  If they kill her, will they take him and make him one of them?  Is it possible that her brother, her flesh, the flesh that had shared her mother’s heart beat, the breath of her mother’s lungs, could grow to be like them?

Not if she can help it.

Moments later, three men entered the street a few blocks away.  They are unshaven and unwashed.  They walk south along the street to her home.  Like the dogs that accompany them, they range from side to side as though their journey is without direction.  But as disjointed as their venture was, their eyes were focused on Fatima’s and she knew that they were coming for her.

It’s daylight, almost high noon.

They must be police officers.  They move about too freely to not be.

###

The house seems hotter than usual, smaller than usual, closing in on her.  Breathing is difficult. 

“Fatima, someday, I will work and you will stay in the house like a good Muslim woman.”

“What if I don’t want to?” 

“It is Muslim Law. “

“Where does it say that in the holy Koran?”

“That is blasphemy.  Do not talk like that.”

“No.  It is blasphemy to say untrue things about the holy Koran.”

He shakes his head and looks at her with sad eyes.  “Fatima.”

“Stand, now, prayers are over.”  She grabs him under his shoulders and lifts him to his feet.  “You must go to Aunt Miloof’s house.  Do you remember your secret path?”

He looks at her.  His eyes are wide and he is frightened.  He shakes his head “Yes.”

She gets her guns and the extra magazines from their drawer.  She works the slide on each of them, checks the barrels for obstructions, inserts the magazines and pumps a round into each chamber.  She checks the safeties and makes sure that they are off, and sticks each gun under her belt, behind her back.  As a last measure she practices drawing with her right hand.

She watches the approaching men.  They’re sloppy. Their guns are in their hands and they dangle loosely, like a character in an American gangster movie.  She remembers  the old American’s words.  “If you’re going to be in a gunfight, you want to win.  Don’t try to negotiate your way out of it.  Once they come at you with their guns, there will be no negotiating or maybes.  Kill them before they kill you.  Kill the closest first.  Keep moving.  Remember the geometry.  In a standup gunfight, your survival is a function of luck, God’s will and math.  You might not be able to do anything about God’s will, but if you take advantage of the geometry you’ll make your own luck.  If you go straight at them, they don’t have to do anything but shoot straight at you—you’ll walk into their bullets.  Move sideways; make them have to put their fire on you.  Keep up your fire on them.  Don’t fire wildly, you’ll run out of bullets.  If you fire once or twice toward them they will move and it will throw their aim off.  Then, find the closest, stop moving, and kill him.  Move again and pick your next target.  Kill him.  Unless you’re going to hide behind one, stay away from walls.  Bullets tend to ricochet along walls and can actually help a bad shot succeed.”

She murmurs to herself, “Today I will die, and you will die with me.”

She stands straight, hands at her sides, her face lifted heavenward.  “Merciful Allah be with me in these moments.  I do this not for anger or violence but for family and community and faith.  If I am right guide my hand and my eye that I may requite the world of the approaching evil.  If I am wrong forgive me and have mercy on my family and my soul.  If today should be my last day guide my brother and grow him into a man of wisdom and compassion and purity of heart.  I place my life and all of my faith in you.”

She steps out her door and into the street.She moves off at an angle and watches their reaction.

 


© Copyright 2019 Eddie C Morton. All rights reserved.

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