My Bloody 1040
April 14, 2003

Tuesday is tax day in America, and I just mailed my forms. Before any overseas readers chide me for plumping the wehrmacht, let me assure you that I had no choice. Not one dollar of mine spent on this war possessed my fingerprints, because it never passed through my hands. Thanks to the Pentagon's smartest weapon, the withholding tax, no Thoreau will ever stiff Caesar a penny again.

For all you American liberals who bitch that we feed our government less than the Swedes do theirs, congratulations. Every bomb brings us closer to your utopia. Send some roses to the neocons, whose passion for taxes reveals the Marxist gene in their lineage. But before you send any love letters to the IRS, take a look at how they plan to spend your money.

A couple of months ago, I urged Fox News to quench its viewers' bloodlust by showing Iraqi casualties. Instead, Fox and the rest of our allegedly free press have played an endless loop of Saddam's statue falling. Stirring. By the way, did you notice the extremely tight shot around the pedestal? When the focus withdrew for a couple of seconds, what appeared to be the gratefully liberated masses of Baghdad (population 4,000,000+) turned out to be maybe two hundred people. The tape plays on.

Meanwhile, the child above hasn't made it to Fox, and he likely never will. He's not the sort of clip-art Americans want to see. But he is real, and my taxes really did this to him.

His name is Ali. He's twelve years old. I don't know what little boys pass the time with in Iraq, but they're probably like boys everywhere: wrestling each other, kicking balls into makeshift goals (and occasionally windows), trying mother's nerves. Ali won't do those things again, and that rips my cynical heart to shreds. Yet, even as I weep for Ali – and the tears persist – I cry as much for the nation that made him so. For the only "points of light" it has left are the crystallized lumps of coal in its chests and skulls.

Yes, yes, the "realists" will say that Ali is a sad, but necessary, consequence of 9/11. My voice is too hoarse to remind them that he didn't pilot those jets into the World Trade Center, nor did his recently deceased family. Even the thug who ran his country took no part in that. You and I, however, played an undeniable role in Ali's horror, whether we wished to or not. Remember that as you finish your taxes tonight, and pray that a democratic Iraq never votes its heartache into revenge.

(If you wish to help Ali and other Iraqi children like him, click here.

~ Matt Barganier

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Matt Barganier works for an educational philanthropy in Baton Rouge, LA. A late bloomer in his mid-twenties, he has only recently joined the ranks of web punditry. He is an alumnus of Louisiana State University and the University of Alabama.

Archived columns:
4/7/03 – Laughter or Despair?
3/31/03 – Liberate the Vatican!
3/24/03 – A Guest Column from National Review
3/17/03 – An Aural MOAB for the Middle East
3/10/03 – Woolsey's Folly

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