The Media US Politics

American Forces and Chemical Weapons in Iraq

Americans need to be confronted with the reality of war, in human terms, not numerical projections or strategic pronouncements. Where is the independent media that forces us to confront our darkest actions, our least noble moments? An absent media, a dishonest government, and apologists ready to excuse any action by the US government will lead to war without end, without moral restrictions, and cannot be permitted.
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An Italian documentary will air today, arguing that the US forces in Iraq attacked Fallujah using white phosphorous indiscriminately, causing “terrible injuries to civilians.”

One American solider was quoted as saying,

“I heard the order being issued to be careful because white phosphorous was being used on Fallujah. In military slang this is known as Willy Pete. Phosphorous burns bodies, melting the flesh right down to the bone.”

The Independent (UK) this morning offers a telling insight:

Ever since the assault, which went unreported by any Western journalists, rumours have swirled that the Americans used chemical weapons on the city.
On 10 November last year, the Islam Online website wrote: “US troops are reportedly using chemical weapons and poisonous gas in its large-scale offensive on the Iraqi resistance bastion of Fallujah, a grim reminder of Saddam Hussein’s alleged gassing of the Kurds in 1988.”

This video game war will continue to drain away the lives of young American men and womyn, countless Iraqis, and the future for hope of peace in the Middle East as long as we allow it to be an abstraction, a diversion from Natalee Holloway coverage. Americans need to be confronted with the reality of war, in human terms, not numerical projections or strategic pronouncements. Where is the independent media that forces us to confront our darkest actions, our least noble moments?

While a number of commentators are rightly focusing on the absolute decay of US moral authority as a result of the Iraq War, our violation of internationl law, and the inhumanity of using a weapon that chemically burns bodies–against a city full of civilians–I am perhaps most troubled by the fact that Americans will never get full disclosure on the subject, will never receive unfiltered media coverage of the events. Our media is so beholden to the US government and military that there is no frank coverage

I highly recommend that you find a way to watch the film “Enemy Image,” which chronicles the way that war coverage has changed since Viet Nam. Watching it made me think about an assumption that is often made about the war, that media helped end it. It’s more simple than that: the truth ended public support for the war. Film images of the deaths of American soldiers, the burning of Cam Ne, and Walter Cronkite’s famous editorial about the war didn’t demonstrate excessive influence of the media at all, but the power of the truth about the brutality of war to make us reconsider the inhumanity of waging war.

This video game war will continue to drain away the lives of young American men and womyn, countless Iraqis, and the future for hope of peace in the Middle East as long as we allow it to be an abstraction, a diversion from Natalee Holloway coverage. Americans need to be confronted with the reality of war, in human terms, not numerical projections or strategic pronouncements. Where is the independent media that forces us to confront our darkest actions, our least noble moments? An craven, servile media, a dishonest government, and apologists ready to excuse any action by the US government will lead to war without end, without moral restrictions, and without dissent.

Update: Video and Photo Links here

About the author

Don Pogreba

Don Pogreba is a eighteen-year teacher of English, former debate coach, and loyal, if often sad, fan of the San Diego Padres and Portland Timbers. He spends far too many hours of his life working at school and on his small business, Big Sky Debate.

His work has appeared in Politico and Rewire.

In the past few years, travel has become a priority, whether it’s a road trip to some little town in Montana or a museum of culture in Ísafjörður, Iceland.

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