The Iraq War, for it or against it, justified or unjustified, has not been reported fairly. On this point, everyone agrees. That the good news has not been shown is just as true as that the bad news has not been shown. The truth about just what has been reported is in question here.
The ACLU recently reported the extent to which the Pentagon has tightly controlled the flow of information that is available to the American Public. There are no photos of caskets, no battle field footage that hasn’t been re-run thousands of times, no images of dead people. Read that last one again… no photos, videos or even realistic reporting about DEAD people. It’s almost as if the war has been sanitized to the point that even the “official” casualty lists do not sound real. What’s goin’ on?
With all due respect to both sides of the debate, the American people have not ever yet truly participated in the experience of the war. We haven’t seen dead soldiers return in flag draped coffins and we haven’t been able to mourn them or truly honor their sacrifice. We haven’t seen the extent of the human casualties both civilian and military, enemy and ally to truly appreciate the horror of what has been accomplished. We’ve only seen the scrubbed version of the war, the sanitized version that the Pentagon has gone to great lengths and considerable expense to present to us.
“At every step of the way, the Bush administration and Defense Department have gone to unprecedented lengths to control and suppress information about the human cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan,” said Nasrina Bargzie, an attorney with the ACLU National Security Project. “Our democracy depends on an informed public and that is why it is so important that the American people see these documents. These documents will help to fill the information void around the issue of civilian casualties in Iraq and will lead to a more complete understanding of the prosecution of the war.”
When the real sights and sounds, horror and bloodshed of the reality in Iraq finally become known, will history treat our government harshly or will it be regarded as a necessary component of modern war? Did the military truly learn the lesson of Vietnam in that the bloodshed, violence, and mayhem of war be hidden from the citizenry at all cost? We’re there, we’re not leaving, and we the people are ignorant of the true cost in blood and sacrifice.
Yes, we do not hear the good news, but neither do we hear the bad. I fear that the war WILL go on forever, as long as the official Pentagon version of the events in Iraq is all we hear. I fear that the citizens of this country will not be stirred to truly rise up against it, because we’ve been anesthetized to it’s horror. I fear that the horrible reality of war has been transformed into glorious conquest in a cruel attempt to justify it’s fearful cost.