02 June 2006

Alleged Reality

(A color photo of two small, dead Iraqi children - a boy and a girl, in the back of a pickup truck surrounded by grieving adult men has been removed.)

It was very hard to upload this photograph.

Not hard in the technical sense of keystrokes and downloads and that stuff... But hard in the sense of its content.

This image is allegedly from the scene of the alleged massacre of Iraqi civilians by US Marines who allegedly snapped after the death of one of their own after a roadside bomb allegedly hit their convoy.

"ALLEGED" is one of those words you hear all the time in the news. I took a journalism class years ago and that was one of the first words I was taught. The technical meaning aside, 'alleged' allows you to basically say anything without it having to be true. Allegedly, using the word allows the user to present a veiled truth, a soft truth that can be denied or confirmed later as opportunities dictate.

You know what is NOT alleged?

The following statement: "This war is a crime against humanity. The people that led us into this conflict for greed, for lies, for personal revenge, for oil, for contracts, for a place in history - they are all criminals and should be thusly tried, convicted and punished!"

You know what is NOT alleged?

The fact that the two kids, the two little kids in this picture are dead. They will not grow old, they'll never get married or have kids of their own, they'll never play again, they'll never laugh again, they'll never have a chance to be a part of the new Iraq. Considering that this war has completely destroyed the old Iraq, it seems as though this kids should have had a chance to live in their new nation.

You know what is NOT alleged?

The fact that their are some Marines who's actions, whether justified or not, have cast a shadow on the finest fighting force in the history of this country...

Let me stop for a second and can all the flowery journalistic bullshit.

This photo of these dead kids simply broke my damn heart. I get a little queezy thinking of the last few minutes of their lives surrounded by bombs going off and bullets flying all around them. Regardless of whether or not someone in their house detonated that bomb that killed the Marine, these kids and any others that may have died probably spent the last few minutes of their lives in more terror than 99% of us will ever experience. I don't really know if those Marines were right or wrong for killing those 24 people - I wasn't there, I don't know how angry or scared or confused they may have been and I just can't imagine what was going on in their minds! People everywhere are either puzzled or angry or supportive or in denial of these Marines and their actions... Frankly, to me - this war, in this modern age of digital photography, and the Internet and satellite television is bringing home the true ugliness of warfare. I'm sure war has been an ugly event throughout history, with murder and sadism and cruelty and torture in every conflict. Only now, we can see it first hand with a press of a button or a click of the mouse.

One thing that I am convinced of now is the dark side of man. What I mean is - you have these ugly things that trained soldiers do, like Abu-gharib, like Haditha, like other killings and things of that nature that have been reported... These are trained soldiers! Now, what does TRAINED SOLDIERS mean? Very little when it comes to right vs wrong. See, the problem is - these are human beings. Teaching them how to fire a rifle, or toss a grenade, or flank an opponent, or iron a crease... It doesn't take away the heart of a human. It doesn't take away feelings, fears, nightmares, hopes, dreams. It doesn't take away or change a thing in a person's soul - I mean really. Just putting on a uniform and WANTING to be an ideal, doesn't always reach into the total essence of a person. Sure, some things change - I believe that. But, not everything. Those Marines in Haditha, regardless of their training, regardless of the Marine legacy, they killed 24 people. I wasn't there, I don't know if they were justified, I don't know that they were unjustified - I just know that war brings out the worst in people, whether you think they're good guys or bad guys. The conflict of combat, the clashing of wills, the desire to prove your cause the most worthy - it brings out the darkness in man.



357martini said...

Nicely stated........war is hell

The Thinking Black Man said...

Yeah, I just can't imagine being over there. It's really a no win situation, some people will live, some will die and in the long term, I think the country is going to fall into a civil war, and that will basically undermine everything we're setting out to fix.