FORTUNES OF WAR
24 March 2003
Maybe it's because I'm a gurl. Maybe it's because I didn't grow up in a military family. Maybe I've just been watching too much television lately, but...war is nuts!.
Today was "the worst day of fighting on the ground." There have been ambushes of our troops.
First of all, there is a sense of unreality about it. A commentator looking at the dark skies of Baghdad, talking with a reporter and suddenly they say "I think I can hear something...let's listen." Right. Let's listen to the sound of the city being blown up. We don't want to miss a minute of it.
And then there is the incredulity of the sense of the ambush. Iraqis came waving a white flag and then opened fire on the troops. Not fair! they say.
There is talk of the Geneva convention and the rules governing treatment of prisoners.
I am by no means excusing any of the appalling actions of Iraqi troops, but this whole "Geneva convention" thing has always confused me. What the hell are "rules of war?"
We sit down together and set up the rules by which we agree that we can attempt to kill each other?
I mean--are these little boys who have never quite grown up, or what?
It would be funny if it weren't so damn tragic.
I mourn with the rest of the country the loss of the lives of the soldiers who died today, but the news has kinda neatly skipped over the lives that have been lost on the other side. We're the guys in the white hats. If the enemy dies, that's OK, 'cause he's the bad guy.
Doesn't matter if he had a mother, a wife, a kid like our guys who died. Maybe on some TV station in Iraq there is a commentator holding his picture and telling all the special things about him--his hopes, his dreams, his hobbies, his sense of humor.
I guess it's the incredulity in the voices of the politicians and reporters that they would dare try to ambush us. That they would do something unexpected.
Isn't "all fair in love and war?"
What's this civilized gentleman's agreement on how we need to coduct ourselves while we're trying to blow up the other guy? It's OK if we blow him up without waving a white flag, but if we wave a white flag, we're doubly bad because we blew him up anyway? It's a bad thing to use strategy?
God, I hate this stuff. It just makes no sense. War is hell. It's not neat and clean. You don't shut down at 11 o'clock and go to the nightly news and then over to Jay Leno.
The real time coverage makes this all seem like another cop show. I listened to the sound of the guns and had to remind myself that there was somebody in the gun's sights. A real person, flesh and blood that the guy with the trigger was trying to murder.
I finally just had too much. Too much. I'm going to an Academy Award party and get a dose of fantasy for awhile.