Thursday, December 15, 2005

differing views on America's role in the world

Kathreb quotes Nobel laureate Harold Pinter:

The invasion of Iraq was a bandit act, an act of blatant state terrorism, demonstrating absolute contempt for the concept of international law. The invasion was an arbitrary military action inspired by a series of lies upon lies and gross manipulation of the media and therefore of the public; an act intended to consolidate American military and economic control of the Middle East masquerading -- as a last resort, all other justifications having failed to justify themselves -- as liberation. A formidable assertion of military force responsible for the death and mutilation of thousands and thousands of innocent people.

We have brought torture, cluster bombs, depleted uranium, innumerable acts of random murder, misery, degradation and death to the Iraqi people and call it "bringing freedom and democracy to the Middle East".

Meanwhile, CNN's Anderson Cooper writes:

I'm always incredibly impressed by the U.S. service members I meet here. They are not all as optimistic and supportive of the mission as the captain I spent time with today, but they are all dedicated to their units, devoted to their fellow troops. I think a lot of us in the states forget how difficult it is for the families of these soldiers and marines, airmen and sailors.

They are away for so long. Multiple tours in Iraq are not uncommon.

Every soldier I talked to today said the media hasn't done a good job of telling the full story from Iraq. It's a complaint I've heard before, and certainly understand. I do think television tends to focus on the bombs and the bullets, the most dramatic headlines. So much of what happens here never makes the nightly news.

When today's patrol ended, one of the soldiers said to me, "Sorry it wasn't more exciting for you." I told him I wasn't looking for excitement, and in fact, I was glad the day unfolded as it did.

It reminded me that life in Iraq is never what you expect it to be. The situation here is far more complex and the fight far more nuanced than it is often portrayed.

I don't know anything about either Pinter or Cooper, but I'm more partial to nuanced views than to black-and-white moralizing. Cooper, in his article, comes off as politely skeptical about certain aspects of the war effort, but he at least seems capable of appreciating the complexity of the situation. Pinter, meanwhile, comes off as over-dramatic... as most writers do when they are more in tune with the paltry drama of their inner lives than with the actual world around them.

Want a writer who understands both himself and the world? Try Vaclav Havel.


No comments: