Sometimes a Duck is Just a Duck
Judging from some of the comments about my post yesterday on the deadly attack on my CBS News colleagues, it is clear that many of you are eager to debate the war in Iraq and America's role in it. Makes sense to me. After all, if you aren't passionate one way or the other on what's happening over there what are you going to be passionate about?
What's fascinating, though, and not a little unfortunate, is that so many of you dear readers were so quick to riff negative off my quite apolitical homage to my fallen co-workers. The post was supposed to share with you my sorrow at what happened to people I know, or to people my friends know. It wasn't intended to be a critique (or an endorsement) of our war aims or the means by which we are carrying them out. I was trying on Memorial Day to wite about the pain and loss we feel when our loved ones leave us too early. I wasn't trying to defend (or denounce or even discuss) war coverage here or abroad.
One commenter said he "noticed the picture smiling for this article," meaning, I suppose, that he thought my standing head-shot that accompanies this blog inappopriately contradicted the sad tone of the post. Hopefully he'll read more of my posts to know that the shot stays the same, regardless of what I write about. One gentlemen objected to my use of the word "shitty"-- he probably wants to wash my mouth out with soap. What he does not know is that I used the word not just to convey my sense of disgust over what happened to Paul Douglas, James Brolan and Kimberly Dozier but also because a friend of mine, who serves in our military, used the word to describe what happened.
Several people took advantage of the post to declare that the trio were not "heroes"-- a term I did not use-- but rather simply a part of the media machine that has served as an apologist to the Administration. Several others used the forum to deride me for comparing the casualties to casualties suffered by military personnel-- which I also did not do. A handful of people, fortunately, saw the piece for what it was; a personal tribute to three people who deserved a better fate. Nothing more. Nothing less.
It is painfully clear to me that there is so much anger over the war in Iraq that it is capable of spilling over even into a topic like the one I focused upon. And I think the comments worked best when you all began to discuss among yourselves the global questions arising out of our involvement in Iraq without even mentioning my post. Remember, Bench Conference isn't a political blog, although we touch on the intersection of law and politics from time to time, and it isn't a foreign affairs or military blog. It is a legal blog and I diverged from that focus yesterday only because of the extraordinary nature of what happened to people who get their paychecks from the same place I get mine.
The fact is, you can write about life and death in Baghdad, on a micro-level, without making some grand statement about the war itself or about how it is being prosecuted. You can say you are sorry that your friend is injured without implicating or boosting the Administration or its critics. Sometimes, a duck is just a duck.
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