As patriotic Americans prepare to attend fireworks displays tonight, often in local parks, I cannot help but contemplate the discrepancy between these “harmless” displays and the real fireworks overseas. According to the Brookings Institute, as of 28 June, over 1700 Americans–patriotic Americans–had died, and over 13,000 had been wounded, not for democracy or “American values” but for a lie. Nearly 2500 Iraqi police and military have died for American hegemony. And very conservatively, 20,000-30,000 Iraqi civilians have been fatally caught in fireworks.

But children will light sparklers and set off firecrackers. Grown-ups will revel in a reaffirmation of propaganda. Flags will fly everywhere. And my stomach will be further tested.

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