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Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Military Fatigue

I have had a persistant interest in the war in Iraq since 2003. I started working for a company called Basra Entertainment, yes named after the city in Iraq, in June of 2003, for an expat Iraqi. One of the first projects we took on was a documentary project about Iraqi women and their plight under Saddam Hussein and after (never realized because of the situation in Iraq). Being the Associate Producer of the company I dove into the research. What I learned was shocking - Saddam Hussein was as much of a monster as any dictator there has ever been. The case for deposing him, simply because of his cruelty towards his own people, was strong. I wondered why the Administration didn't pull out this argument along side the WMD bogus one. Perhaps they considered Americans more self interested than they actually are. Claim, that if we don't invade, there will be a mushroom cloud spouting from our soil imminently and this will convince them. But claim the moral authority to depose a despot and they think it won't fly.

Tell the American people after 9/11 that what they can meaningfully do to 'help' the country is to shop. Ask them to sacrifice, to contribute to the war effort - like the American public was asked to do during WWII - and the Administration thinks it won't fly. Oddly enough, I believe, that had they asked for some sort of sacrifice instead of asking for consummerism the war would be more popular now, no matter the outcome. I think we can safely surmise that Karl Rove knows politics but knows sadly little about human nature... makes one wonder if he actually is...

Last night we watched "Ghosts of Abu Ghraib". Painful to watch and embarassing to say the least. "Proud to be an American" just does not hum itself in one's head after watching that. I have watched a number of documentaries on Iraq to this point and more in my Netflix cue to come. Our current project is a screenplay following two pre-teen boys in their lives in Iraq from late 2003 to 2006. The writing is hard. It is not a pleasant experience, but something about it feels also important. It is a little message but one that if we can convey may make us all feel just a little bit like a contributor instead of simply an observer.

Which brings me to my title. In this war, I've no doubt like in any, it is difficult to even be an observer. There have even been some documentaries about conspiracy theories which I have stopped watching in the middle or refused to watch at all, much to S.O.'s disgust. (Think he thinks I am trying to hide my head in the sand) But as a mother I do have to draw my line in the sand at exactly the place whereby if I cross it I will go into despair. It is not my children's fault this war is happening and they should not have to pay the price of a destraught mother. We all have to put up the wall at the boundary just before where we can continue to function. I feel like I have a pretty wide boundary, but there was a long period of several months where neither myself nor the President of our company could really continue to talk about Iraq as we did regularly. This screenplay has forced me to return to immersion in the subject and I am feeling fatigued. It is that fatigue that the MPs in the "Ghosts of Abu Ghraib" speak of that once you get there you either break down or detach.

I don't blame anyone for not wanting to look at this war. Especially when we are stuck with an atrocious Administration who have usurped our Constitution in countless ways known and, certainly, unknown. It feels hopeless. The best we can do is hold our breath and wait for Nov. 2008 to roll around and then again for Jan. 2009. It is a long time to wait and we have to carry on. I have to continue to research, watch documentaries, write painful scenes of death and despair and hope that I can keep myself from slipping in so that I can continue to raise happy children.

Can any of us imagine ourselves in the place that families of wounded soldiers, Marines and sailors have found themselves in? Denial is a lifesaver for human beings. It most certainly has been for the families of military and the men and women during their service in Iraq and Afghanistan as well. But we must draw the line at institutional denial... and I think this is what we have seen for the past 6 years. Maybe now is the time for those who haven't yet, stand up and yell.

1 comment:

demondoll said...

People are yelling. Just need more people to listen to it.