As the Freep goes to press this Easter weekend, amidst the rituals of a predominantly culturally Christian nation, the perils of the Bush administration’s imperialist occupation of Iraq were thrust into the mainstream media limelight. The Columbus Dispatch ran a New York Times article on its front page pointing out that which the Free Press has been pointing out for nearly a year, that the U.S. is planning a long-term military occupation of Iraq. The Pentagon is demanding long-term access to four key military bases in Iraq.

Alas, the shroud of Iraqi liberation is ripped away and the resurrected body of the new Roman Empire exposed. As the Times explained, “A military foothold in Iraq would be felt across the border in Syria, and in combination with the continued United States presence in Afghanistan it would virtually surround Iran with a new web of American influence.”

Occupying the Middle East through bomber diplomacy, however, will be much more difficult than the heyday of early 20th century U.S. gunboat diplomacy in Central America. The U.S. government has spent an estimate $50 billion a year since the last Gulf War establishing unwanted military bases in Saudi Arabia and now Qatar.

In fact, the reason that the U.S.’s great ally, Osama bin Laden turned against us in 1991 was over the U.S. military base in Saudi Arabia.

So, as 43 million Americans go without health care, our infrastructure rots and Ohio’s public schools remain unconstitutional, the federal government with its record $400 billion yearly budget deficit will again search for the Holy Grail in the sands of the Middle East: a western military empire dominating the Middle East oil supply.

Where will it end?

The BBC reported Easter weekend that many in Syria believe that “There will be American tanks rumbling through the narrow streets” of Damascus next year. Syria’s great sin: conflict with Israel. Syria backed Iran during the Iran-Iraq War, invaded Iraq with U.S.-led coalition troops in 1991 and aided the U.S. in its war against Osama’s Al Qaeda. Still, the new American Empire rattles its sabers and demands obedience to the new sick Caesar.

Render unto Bush the Middle East, proclaims Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz and Perle. And the majority of the American people say “Blessed are the warmongers, for they shall be called the Children of the UK.”

In the repressive heat of the Baghdad summer, the people go without water, electricity and sanitation services. The Independent of Britain reports that, “Baghdad, whose public services were once a First World standard, has slipped back 100 years. The phones don’t work since the liberating Americans bombed the exchange centers.

Looted hospitals report new epidemics of water-borne diseases, that have killed the majority of an estimated million Iraqis since the U.S.-led sanctions from the Gulf War, like dysentery, cholera, typhoid and polio. The Independent also notes that “recently declassified documents of the American Defense Intelligence Agency show the allies deliberately targeted Iraq water supply during the previous conflict – a war crime, not that most Americans care, as they busy themselves worshipping their version of an imperialist Christ who in reality was crucified in lands occupied by the Roman Empire.

Meanwhile, tens of thousands of Iraqis took to the streets on Good Friday demanding that American invaders cease the occupation of their country and leave their oil alone. The Saudi foreign minister, Prince Saud Al-Faisal, insisted to all who would listen that the U.S.-led forces have no legitimate right as occupiers to exploit Iraqi oil and that the UN sanctions should remain in place until the Iraqi people establish their own legitimate government.

Reuters reported that U.S. officials insist that the Iraqi people will not be allowed to take possession of their oil wells and the revenues from them until their debt, estimated at more than $100 billion including war reparations, is paid off.

No wonder while organized criminals looted the treasured antiquities of the world’s oldest civilization as U.S. troops stood by, the Oil Ministry was zealously protected by the Marines. The corps’ hymn may now add, “from the halls of Montezuma to the shores of the Euphrates, we have fought our bankers’ battles, on the air, on land and seas.”

As U.S. Christians reflected on Jesus’ time in the tomb on Saturday, the Times of London pondered the epidemic of U.S. cluster bomb injuries resulting from U.S. air attacks. On the day Jesus was crucified, three Iraqi boys between the ages of 7-14 were killed and two others injured in cluster bomb explosions.

As American children hunted eggs on Sunday, Iraqi parents hunted for unexploded U.S.-made cluster bombs to protect their children.

Sergeant Jason Daniels told the Times, “They are a huge pain in the ass. The only way to get rid of them is to explode them one by one. What I heard is that they began using the cluster bombs because they ran out of high-explosives.”

I doubt that the American people will check the shrapnel-scarred face of Ali Hassan and realize that he resembles Christ, or that the injured legs of his brother Hala remind them of the tortured limbs of the Messiah. Their agony is transferred by imperial decree by the New Caesar into acceptable collateral damage as a result of sorties needed in the necessary attrition while servicing the enemy during the liberation of Iraq. And the vast majority of the American people said, “Amen.”