It’s not often I feel so moved as to break off from a post, to write compulsively on another subject, but this has saddened me so much I feel compelled to express the views welling up from within.
I have the the greatest regard for Bill Moyers. I seldom miss a viewing of his “Journal” on PBS. His is the voice of reason and balance amongst a media paralyzed by the inhibitions of corporate indoctrination. Yet tonight, I watched only the first fifteen minutes of Bill Moyer’s Journal, before reaching for the “Off” switch in disgust.
Tonight’s program, an “Iraq War Anniversary Edition”, was devoted to a new film by Phil Donahue and Ellen Spiro called, “Body of War”. It follows the post-war life of one Thomas Young, a twenty-four year old US enlistee who wanted to fight in Afghanistan, but ended up in Iraq. Five days after arriving there, he was shot in the chest and will spend the rest of his life in a wheelchair, paralyzed from the nipples down.
It’s a sad case. One of many sad cases. Perhaps it’s a case just sad enough to deserve the telling. But not now. Not at this moment.
This week marks the fifth anniversary of the beginning of the Iraq war. To be precise, it marks the day when one major superpower, and a few other hangers-on-nations hoping to curry favor, invaded another sovereign nation that had shown, or made, no act of aggression towards its invaders.
In the last five years, 4,000 US troops have died due to their country’s aggression; 176 British troops have died due to their country’s aggression. Somewhere around 600,000 to 1,000,000 innocent Iraqis have died due, not to their country’s aggression, but at the whim of America and its so-called “allies” in this illegal war.
It might be expected that, five years on, Bill Moyers Journal would tell the story of an Iraqi widow trying desperately to survive without her breadwinner; perhaps, the sad tale of one of the 5,000,000 (yes, five million) Iraqi orphans resulting from this unprovoked military aggression.
I know Bill Moyers is against this war. I respect his efforts, the often lone voice of the US media, attempting to inject a modicum of reason and commonsense where none prevails. It is because of this respect, this empathy with a voice crying in the media wilderness, that tonight I fear for the very future of mankind.
I have lived in America five and a half years. There is much here that both confuses and depresses me. Most noticeable in this country, compared to other nations, is its self-centered, insular, self-indulgence. That self-indulgence was never more emphasized than tonight on Bill Moyer’s Journal.
Discounting the harm, suffering, violence, and humiliation imposed on the Iraqi people by a megalomaniac of stupendous proportions, a people who may have wanted rid of their dictator, but never at the price demanded by his assassins, tonight the “Journal” chose to focus on the effects this manipulated war has had on one of its own soldiers; the suffering of a fellow American.
One could hope the people of America have learned something from the degradation they’ve been dragged through, yet again, by leaders intent on cementing their own personal powerbase throughout the outside world. It happened in Vietnam, with disastrous consequences for that nation and its people.
Uneducated by experience, and with not an iota of remorse, America launched itself, yet again, on a bloody and endless round of violence, torture, slaughter, and violent self-aggrandizement that has once more destroyed a whole nation, its people, its vast historic treasures, its dignity, all at the whim of another megalomaniac president and his band of criminal cohorts.
I could have hoped that Bill Moyers, on such a significant date, might have turned outward and examined the results of such megalomania; its effects on the true victims of this carnage. Instead, he chose to turn inward, like the rest of the US media, and examine only the results of this war on the perpetrators; the guilty; the violators of international law. To examine only how they have suffered.
If the great Bill Moyers chooses this course, who is there left to speak out for the real victims?
Filed under: Sense of hopelessness