March 9th, 2005

I’m tired. Writing group, while both worthwhile and entertatining, takes a lot out of me. I’m not a night owl, so staying out so late that night makes me useless for writing (and most everything else) the next day. I’m not sure whether I’m going to get habituated enough to be able to write something useful on Wednesdays, or whether I just need to give that one day up as lost and try to get the time somewhere else in the week (the weekend would probably be the only possible place for that).

I’m troubled, too, though not by anything personal. This whole business with Giuliana Sgrena has me quite upset. Ever since I heard the description of the tape that was released when she was still held hostage (I haven’t seen the tape, of course, because as I have mentioned before, I don’t get moving images with my news) of her clutching her knees and saying her mental health was bad as well as her physical health, I have been thinking about her and praying for her. I know that she’s not anywhere near the only journalist taken hostage and all that but something about her story spoke to me, and so I’ve been thinking about her a lot, even before American troops tried to kill her when it had finally seemed she was free. So when I heard about the roadblock and the shooting this past weekend, and learned of the secret service man who died by literally covering her with his own body, I was really shaken up. I told my husband that this whole thing was really upsetting me and he shrugged and said it was par for the course, no more horrifying than everything else that was going on in Iraq and the sort of mistake one had to expect when one shoved weapons into the hands of eighteen-year-olds. And maybe he’s right. But that doesn’t change that I’m affected by this story, and that I find it terrible, and that no way I turn the facts (and allegations) around satisfies me. I feel no better if it was all just a horrible mistake, nor am I satisfied if this sheds light on dozens of cases a day of this sort of thing happening to civilian Iraqis that we never heard about because they aren’t famous journalists. I’m no closer to peace if it was a plot to kill her instead of a mistake, as her Arab captors intimated to her before her release, for what she knows. If this is the sort of thing our troops are told to do on purpose then I weep. If they did it as a knee-jerk reaction to the constant peril they undergo that has led them to overdeveloped trigger-fingers then I weep. If it’s incompetence, it’s the worst kind, the kind that costs lives and reputation. If it’s engineered, then it’s an evil I can hardly set my brain around. This situation is so terrible, on every side, and I can’t believe that denying the Italian government access to the information they seek could benefit anyone, not even the soldiers who’ve been involved.

Here‘s Orcinus on Sgrena.

Here‘s some depressing stuff on the number of dead and wounded soldiers coming out of Iraq that aren’t being tallied in the official government casualty count.

It’s also too cold. I know I’m dressing warmly enough, but I’m still cold all the time. Today I caved and bumped the heat a couple of notches because I was so miserable, but our heating bills are terrible and I can’t really be doing that often (or even infrequently, to be honest). It’s not even as cold as it was in December and January but I’m still wearing a ton of clothes and freezing. I think it’s just that my body has had all the cold it can handle for one season. Either that or I’m getting sick. I don’t think it’s me, though. C’mon, it shouldn’t snow in March, right? That’s just wrong.

Another interesting read : a blogger examines one of C.S. Lewis’s pieces on hate in light of increasingly strident eliminationist rhetoric that seems to be entering the public political discourse, moving from the realm of the far right into the mainstream right, and discusses how hate controls you, not the other way around. In the same vein, here’s another fascinating essay on the cognitive dissonance and projection involved in far right jargon tactics.

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