March 26th, 2003

26 Mar 2003, by

I’m listening to war coverage on NPR. I have felt ambivalent about listening to the news. I’m really not interested in a blow by blow take on the war. It’s particularly annoying to hear news only about the war. I want to know all the same things I heard about before the war : business, health, science and politics. Furthermore, I don’t want to know the harsh and gritty details of the war. On the other hand, I am concerned about people, about our troops, and I don’t want to be completely ignorant of what is happening. As is usual for me, I am getting all my news on the web and through NPR, so I’m sure I have a disjointed view of what is going on. I have not seen maps, I have not seen any footage, I have seen only one or two stills. It struck me as odd the other day when, as I was listening to journalists asking whether Bush had watched bombings on TV and were told that Bush didn’t really watch much TV but that he had been briefed, they acted shocked and dismayed. As if the war can’t be understood unless seen on video. As if the war can’t be understood if not seen through the journalistic filter.

I’m encouraged by the dedication and determination of our forces. I know that our military are just regular folk and that some of them are dying. I know there have been and will be civilian casualties. It’s clear, however, that they are trying very, very hard to be precise, to minimize damage, and I’m sure that these efforts make operations more difficult and probably more dangerous for them.

One last observation on the war. I find it interesting that, even though it’s rather clear that there’s no connection between the Iraqi regime and the September 11th terrorist attacks and direct connection between Al-Qaeda and Hussein seem fuzzy at best, the Iraqi military are using a number of tactics that might be favorably called “guerrila” and unfavorably called “terrorist”. Surrendering and then ambushing our troops, hiding gear in hospitals, pushing a line of civilians out ahead of their advancing troops and so on and so forth. It makes me wonder how many mental what-if games Hussein has been playing since the last Gulf War and how much that has made him switch from standard battle tactics to these more desperate maneuvers.

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