U of Virginia Does Iraq

By David Swanson

As an alumnus of the University of Virginia, I receive its magazine in the mail, a magazine that always makes me question how I can have received as good an education at UVA as I think I did, when the people who produce this magazine seem not to have received the same. The Summer 2008 issue contains an article called “Stories from Iraq”, which contains not a single story of a single Iraqi, coincidentally the exact same number of campus peace organizations in existence at UVA. Instead, we get the stories of alumni, and most of them could have been written from summer camp – except that letters home from summer camp usually include complaints. Judging by the article UVA Magazine has concocted, this “war” is going so well, and its main purpose of training Americans in a variety of job skills and esteem boosting progressing so well, that it’d be a shame to ever end it.

Alumnus #1 got shot at by evil terrorists but captured them alive. Alumnus #2 is a doctor over there to save people’s lives (by people, we of course mean Americans). Alumnus #3 works very very hard and goes to church and risks his life bravely. Alumnus #4 was part of the invasion of Iraq way back when, and he enjoyed it because being in Kuwait had been so unpleasant. (No word on whether he ended up enrolling in archery class or swimming lessons.) Alumnus #5 reconstructed Iraq and imagines that it would be really nice if he could look back and say he’d actually reconstructed anything. Alumnus #6 was minding his own business when some people who lived in the country attacked his troops. He found destroying those people “exhilarating” and he in fact “felt a visceral satisfaction unlike any I had ever known.” (Plus he got high marks in human skull carving 101.) Alumna #7 was touched when an Iraqi woman thanked her for her help. Alumnus #8 went to Auja searching for “Saddam, among other things.” (Other things? No shit? What other things might those have been? Not the WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION that escaped mention in this whole embarrassing piece of propaganda that might as well have been written by Pentagon employees? Oh wait.) Alumnus #9 …

Well read the rest yourself. Skimming through, it appears to get worse and worse. And all of these no doubt heavily edited tales come from people with words like Captain, Colonel, Major, and Lieutenant in front of their names. Apparently none of them KILLED anyone who had flesh or blood (although alumnus #6 did destroy some enemies). Apparently none of them have any thoughts on why in the hell we’re spending our granchildren’s money to continue occupying a distant country with ever worsening violence, while 80 percent of the people who live there (people who almost completely escaped notice in this article) have long said that the United States should get out and go home. Apparently none of these people learned from UVA’s honor system any particular wisdom in the area of honor.

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