Sunday, March 23, 2003

Don’t allow yourself the luxury of falling into depression and cynicism and despair.

Embedded Media in BaghDAD Don't Feel Powerless

At the tragic time when human conscience is close to a poweless whisper some pastors & bloggers are among the first to voice the sad fact that Mr Bush is a small man ordering a scared and insecure country into war.
Conscience is not on the military's radar screen, and it's not on our TV screen. But media messages do not define the limits and possibilities of conscience. We do.
The United States and other nations did nothing to deserve or invite this terrorist threat, he complained, but we will do everything to defeat it.
The risk of new and imminent 11 September-type terrorist attacks loomed large. We choose to meet that threat now, where it arises, before it can appear suddenly in our skies and cities. And he warned: Should enemies strike our country, they would be attempting to shift our attention with panic and weaken our morale with fear. He went on, somewhat lamely retaining the conditional: In this, they would fail.
The small man could not settle on a constant pronunciation of even his chief adversary (Iraq or Eye-rahq, or Eye-rakk). Was this the sole superpower's Commander? In Chief?

A telling account of the first Gulf War, Jarhead, by Anthony Swofford, has just been published. It gives us the experiences of a young marine 13 years ago, and he is horribly honest about what drew him into the army. I wanted to be a killer, to kill my country's enemies, he says. He gives you a sense of his fellow soldiers' desire for the actual physical experience of killing, and he vividly describes how, when he and his colleagues were cheated – as they saw it – of that experience, some of them carried out acts of desecration on corpses as if in a spirit of revenge.
Reading this book makes you angry; angry with the young men who lived out their aggression in such vicious ways. But also, more than that, angry with the politicians who used that aggression to serve their even more destructive ends. As Swofford says furiously at the end of his book, I belonged to a fucked situation.
· The Illness of Victors [CommonDreams]