Thursday 20 March 2003

Accountability

I’ve written enough about Iraq. There’s nothing more to add, apart from the hope that this regrettable war can be brought to a swift conclusion, with the minimum casualties on both sides. What happens after that is anybody’s guess but one thing is certain: it won’t even vaguely resemble the outcome planned by Bush & Co.

My sympathies lie primarily with the soldiers who have been placed in this invidious situation: having to fight a war over which the citizens of their countries are deeply divided. Nothing I have read expresses my own thoughts and feelings as well as Dave Rogers’ essay, Responsibility:

So when the shooting starts and the terrible things happen, the burden is on us to keep faith with them, not to judge them, even if we couch our judgment in words like “grieve.” Better one should grieve for oneself than presume to grieve for the moral failure of a soldier doing his or her duty, holding up their end of the bargain while we shirked ours. They will not fail in their military objective. Some few of them may fail in their duty as a soldier and as a human being, and commit acts not in accordance with the laws of war. Even then, the burden is on us to keep faith with them, because we placed them in those circumstances, through our own inaction and indifference. We keep faith with them by holding our tongues, and we forgive them, and we ask them to forgive us. We let them down first. Our institutions will hold them accountable. It’s hard to say if anyone will hold us accountable.

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Comments

I agree 110% with everything you've said here, Jonathon.

Luckily, overall I think people everywhere seem more cognizant of this distinction.

I'm praying that we can all maintain this perspective.

Posted by Loren on 21 March 2003 (Comment Permalink)

Last weekend I attended a silent peace vigil on the bluffs above the ocean in our town. The silence was the best part. And the black night. And the wind.

Last weekend I re-viewed Black Hawk Down. It was as far from silent as anything I can imagine. It felt like the right time to watch it again.

Last night I discovered that the Army had endorsed the film as realistic in detail and representative of its core values.

http://www.dtic.mil/armylink/news/Jan2002/a20020116bhdown.html

These were the lines that had persisted in my memory from the first viewing:

"When I get home people'll ask me, "Hey Hoot, why do you do it man? Why? Are you some kind of a war junkie?" I won't say a goddamn word. Why? They won't understand. They won't understand why we do it. They won't understand that it's about the man next to you. And that's it. That's all it is." --Delta Force Sgt. Hooten


Last night I wrote a bunch of stuff and it boiled down to this:

If Warfare, performed honorably, is self-justified, then Diplomacy, performed honorably, must be paramount.


Last night I wrote this letter to my local paper:

President Bush warned members of the Iraqi military that "I was only following orders" would not be an acceptable excuse.

I would suggest that "I was only being patriotic" is no more acceptable a response from an American citizen.

Support your country, but stay informed and alert to the possibility that we may not be 100% justified in our actions. Be ready to require moral and political accountability once the "fog of war" begins to lift. To do any less would be truly un-American.


Last night I watched the coverage, and yes, it felt like mourning. I'm hoping for the best.

Posted by Jim on 21 March 2003 (Comment Permalink)

"...but one thing is certain: it won’t even vaguely resemble the outcome planned by Bush & Co."

I disagree. So far one thing IS certain: Bush & Co. have a plan that is flexible in it's execution, yet steadfast in it's 3 goals... (1) liberation, (2) regime change and (3) disarming WMD. Exactly what else have they _really_ claimed to be after? Nothing. And count on it, like it or not... like the methods or not, Bush & Co. WILL get that EXACCT outcome.

Posted by Anon on 22 March 2003 (Comment Permalink)

Actually, they went to war to (a) maintain national security (b) prosecute the perpetrators of 9-11 and (c) enforce UN resolutions... (see Bush's letter outlining his legal authority for invading Iraq).

Each reason is spurious!

The liberation stuff is propaganda. Truth may have been the first casualty in this war, but language didn't last much longer.

Posted by nardo on 25 March 2003 (Comment Permalink)

Black Hawk Done

"The truth about Jessica"

http://www.guardian.co.uk/Iraq/Story/0,2763,956255,00.html

..."It was like a Hollywood film. They cried, 'Go, go, go', with guns and blanks and the sound of explosions. They made a show - an action movie like Sylvester Stallone or Jackie Chan, with jumping and shouting, breaking down doors." All the time with the camera rolling. The Americans took no chances, restraining doctors and a patient who was handcuffed to a bed frame...

...The American strategy was to concentrate on the visuals and to get a broad message out. Details - where helpful - followed behind. The key was to ensure the right television footage. The embedded reporters could do some of that. On other missions, the military used their own cameras, editing the film themselves and presenting it to broadcasters as ready-to-go pack ages. The Pentagon had been influenced by Hollywood producers of reality TV and action movies, notably Black Hawk Down...


"WAR SPIN" (Correspondent) BBC2 Sun eve 5/18

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/correspondent/3007953.stm

Correspondent is shown on BBC Two on Sundays, usually at 1915 GMT.

Correspondent is also shown on BBC World and News 24. Both use a shorter edit of the programme.

The BBC News 24 edit is shown the same week as the BBC Two programme.
Sundays: 0030 GMT & Mondays: 0230 GMT

BBC World:
Sundays: 0330 GMT Mondays: 0030, 0930, 1430 GMT Fridays: 2230 GMT

Posted by Jim on 17 May 2003 (Comment Permalink)

For all those which do not serve!!! I have a few comments about your logic. First off Bush & Co. are doing the right thing by taking out a world threat; remember the whole "war on terrorism thing." Secondly what do you know of what we do as service men & women. You are not in any place to comment on the actions taken by any branch of service!!! Finally! For the whole Black Hawk Done comment F. YOU!! You good for nothing A-hole. How dare you speak of any soildier, you know nothing of what we go through for you to keep your freedom!!!!

PFC Heiden, USMC

Posted by PFC James Heiden on 22 September 2003 (Comment Permalink)

This discussion is now closed. My thanks to everyone who contributed.

© Copyright 2007 Jonathon Delacour