Five Million

Rochelle set us a one hundred word flash fiction theme, prompted by a photo, each week.  Why not give it a try?


PHOTO PROMPT – © J Hardy Carroll

……….and then the truth hit her. They were weeping over America’s fallen heroes. But there were five million orphans in Iraq. Five million! What sense did that war, or indeed any war, make? They were supposed to be the good guys; making sacrifices for the greater good; spreading freedom and democracy throughout the world. How did that fit with five million orphans? Five fucking million! (65)

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About micklively

Fifty-something, pacifist, six sigma black belt, lean implementer, brewer, vintner, guitarist, wood-turner, and slave to collies.
This entry was posted in Middle East, war, writing and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

57 Responses to Five Million

  1. This brings up the terror in France. I’ll never understand war naively so. Love the last line. Said it all, and how amazing you came up with two. It’s your genre alright Mick.

  2. Very powerful words. What are we fighting for, as you said it is driven by greed and propped up by a marketing spin of how it is for freedom and democracy, and muslims are terrorists, but that is as nonsensical as killing the infidels. I wish more people would read between the lines and discover the truth.

  3. They put the Vietnam war on television, front and center. If they did that today, showed daily all the lives lost, ruined, destroyed it might enrage a ‘few’ more people, but no, we get the Kardasians, the pregnancy, engagement, or divorces of people who don’t count anymore than any one else except they get photographed more often. “Photographed” Maybe the key!!!! How about we start posting selfies of the war dead! Look at how riled they got when G John, beheaded a few, why not show those blasted, bombed, etc, etc! Understand your rage! The defeat is we also have a congress that seems to have been castrated before taking office. If they can’t line their pockets – it ain’t gonna get done!

  4. Great question Mick! That tide of evil runs world wide.

  5. rgayer55 says:

    You nailed it. Greed & power. Propaganda and lies. A viscous cycle with millions of young lives snuffed out over the centuries.

  6. SarCou says:

    I feel a song coming on. War! What is it good for? etc etc. Great piece – so much said in so few words. The comments are interesting reading too.

    • micklively says:

      Yes, it’s seriously weird. Politicians and military are (supposedly) under our democratic control, very few think war is a good idea, yet we’re (apparently) unable to stop fighting. So I conclude either we’re all liars or democracy is a sham.
      Many thanks for your feedback.

  7. liz young says:

    You’re right, mick – greed for land or power – why can’t we all just live peacably and failry?

  8. Sightsnbytes says:

    I tell my son that in war, there are no winners. Great story.

  9. Graham Lawrence says:

    Very powerful.

  10. Such an honest and powerful story!

  11. This brought a tear to my eye. So very, very well done. Thank you.

  12. lillian says:

    65 words of anger, frustration, and indignation. Your emotions are front and center here, which is what you intended, right? And the hope is that your emotions will light others and that somehow, there will be action, rebellion, something that says STOP!
    During the Viet Nam war there were many communications experts who thought that we became saturated with media coverage, pictures of war, and that it became too common and removed at the same time. Words like “casualties” — say it like it is, the writer means dead. 60 casualties means 60 dead. Are we immune to understanding the pain of others?

    • micklively says:

      I guess we just become inured to it. The refugees drowning in the Mediterranean were big news in the early days, but they’re appearing less on front pages and commanding fewer column inches now.
      Many thanks.

  13. Dale says:

    War… does it every really help anything?

  14. hafong says:

    It’s questions worth asking though there seems no answers. Excuse me, there are answers but we’re not willing..??


  15. I don’t like wars and all the terrible suffering that goes along with them. But I honor the soldiers who fought for my country.

    • micklively says:

      I honour the soldiers who fought for your country and those who fought for mine too. I even honour those who thought they were fighting for my country when, in fact, they were fighting to line the pockets of industrialists and prop up globalisation.

  16. Dog eat Dog world… there will always be preys and predators.

  17. ansumani says:

    …and then they fight for the rights of the unborn child…I hear your loud and clear. Let’s hope for hope.

    Nicely written showing the outrage.

  18. Nortina S. says:

    War has become dinner table chit-chat. We’re so conditioned to it, either by constant news coverage, movies, and video games, that 5 million orphans in Iraq won’t even cause some people to bat an eye. It’s a sad truth of the world we live in today.

  19. Good, hard-hitting story, Mick. If aliens are waiting until we become peaceful before they visit us, as has been said in some sci-fi stories, we’ll never see them. The bleeding never stops, and seems to be getting worse. The newscasters often mention how many children died as if that will stop the killing. I don’t have much hope for that. Men have been fighting and dying since they lived in caves. Well written. —- Suzanne

  20. The tragedy of war. And the senselessness. And how we insulate ourselves from the consequences.

  21. Sandra says:

    The horror of it all just seems to mount, day by day. Well articulated.

  22. Those 65 words pack a really powerful punch – great job.

  23. Dear Mick,

    None of it makes sense, does it?



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