painting © by Claudia Chapline

In a dream, I’m standing on a ladder painting a large (American) flag. When I awoke the next day, I sketched the flag in my journal and then I made a small painting from the drawing/dream. The stars resemble exploding bombs, the stripes, missiles. A skeleton’s head emerges from the war machinery.

For me, the flag painting symbolizes the discrepancy between American ideals and manifest American policy.

March 11, 2006*
Claudia Chapline
Artist, activist, Gallery owner
Stinson Beach, California


May 1, 2018 — PDJ Commentary

US neo-cons, fortified by Iraq war architect John Bolton as National Security advisor; an unfettered Benjamin Netanyahu as prime minister of Israel, and the belligerent Donald Trump as US president, aided by a compliant corporate media and complacent Congress–the same forces capitulating the US into the illegal, immoral, and disasterous Iraq war–are aligning to fell Iran, their final target in the Middle East.

We are reposting Claudia Chapline’s prescient American Flag of Death dream and fortifying the original with the stark costs of war to re/awaken you to the horrors the US war machine inflicts before — once again– it is too late and another country is decimated and millions of people suffer:

–2.4 million Iraqi civilian deaths.**

–4,489 US soldiers killed in Operation Iraqi Freedom (originally Operation Iraqi Liberation -OIL – 2003-12.

–14 journalists  killed by US forces

–$1.1 trillion US taxpayers dollars spent on Iraq war direct spending (plus billions in hidden costs) **

–12,095 US bombs dropped on Iraqis in 2016 (Barack Obama’s final year as president)

–26,172 US bombs dropped on 7 countries in the Middle East in 2016

–215% increase in civilian deaths in 2017, Donald Trump’s first year in office from

Obama’s final year as US-led bombing is increasingly “indiscriminate”

–50% more coalition (mostly US) air strikes in Iraq and Syria in 2017

Total cost: the destruction of Iraq, the cradle of civilization, and the genocide of a people

GW Bush initiated six minutes of “shock and awe” on Baghdad, Iraq, based on a lie about WMD and occupied the country for years; Barack  Obama extended the bombing and mayhem to Libya, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, and Lebanon. Donald Trump has increased the bloodshed seven fold. Congress, regardless of whether the Democrats or Republicans are in control, has relinquished its Constitutional role in matters of war and peace. The war the media cares about is the alleged cyber battle with Russia.

Total cost: destruction of Iraq, the cradle of civilization; genocide of a people, and demise of the soul of the US democracy, eradicated by its own missiles and bombs. Can/will we the people find a way to stop the war machine; make reparations, rebuild what we have destroyed, and redirect money from armaments to create a thriving and healthy nation at home?


**Figure from a stunning story by Medea Benjamin and Nicolas J.S. Davies,, March 16, 2018.

*** Brown University


* Around the time of the dream, marking the third anniversary of the U.S. bombing of Iraq, the U.S. invasion and occupation had killed hundreds of thousands of Iraqis.

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