Wednesday, October 03, 2007


I hadn't read a blow-by-vicious-blow account of the latest Blackwater incident until I saw this article in the NYT this morning. It's truly brutal. I don't know what to say.

I have to admit: I don't read the paper every day. It's easier not to. Every single time I do, I come across stories like this, which make me feel like I might go crazy with anger and grief. But lately I've been thinking: Oh well. Driving ourselves crazy is the least any of us can do. Someone has to bear witness to atrocity. And that's one thing Americans (myself included) aren't doing very well. Sure we hear the word "Blackwater" and we see Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert make some jokes about them, and we vaguely know, from the buzz in the air, that there was a "shooting incident" that is a little muddled and someone's ass is probably going to be shipped home and fired for it. But that's all politics--it's dancing around the issue, which is that 17 Iraqi civilians are dead and 24 are wounded and possibly not a single one of them fired a shot.

Hey, I love the Daily and Colbert Shows as much as the next young liberal. I know a lot of people who get their news solely from these guys (opinions already included) and they're probably more up on current affairs than your average American, but the problem with the Stewarts and Colberts of the world is that they neuter the news. When a current affair or international problem is being framed for a joke (no matter how cynical), you're never going to hear about how one woman was towing her already-dead 11-year-old son's corpse along by the wrist; or how another woman was killed cradling her dead husband's remains (which were later mistaken for infant remains, since the two were bombed shortly after and the husband's body burned up so much there was only a baby-sized bit of him left when the smoke cleared), or the young guy with the destroyed head whose mother screamed for help. That stuff's just not funny.

But maybe it's stupid to single out Stewart and Colbert. I don't know that we can hear about any of that stuff on TV. It's what happens when our television content is federally controlled.

So, I'm asking you to read this story because it's disgusting and horrifying. I'm going to try harder to read these accounts as often as they're published. I think it's really important not to turn away from what is actually going on--from what our country is responsible for. I've been negligent.


Post a Comment

<< Home