By Liam Dynes
Originally published on Nov. 11, 2003, in The Brock Press
With Remembrance Day upon us, it would seem to be necessary to draw attention to a semi-parallel situation at play in the world today.
November 11 is set aside to remember the losses from the first and second World Wars, and this is, of course, an absolutely necessary occasion, but in a society that takes such care in remembering its past wars (and the Americans do have their equivalent in Veteran’s Day, so this argument does, in fact, have some merit), we’re doing a pathetic job of recognizing those dying in a current war.
The United States and its allies are currently embroiled in the latest battle for freedom and liberty in Iraq, and just this past week, the allied death toll was higher over a course of seven days than it had been since conflicts began in March, long after the war was officially declared “over.”
And yet what do we see? We get a TV movie based on the largely fictional “rescue” of Jessica Lynch, but next to no media coverage of multiple helicopter attacks and hotel bombings. We can get footage aplenty of rifles with helmets adorning them in tribute, but the details are few and far between. In fact, the American government seems to be actively covering up the aftermath of these deaths, rather than mourning and tributizing as would be proper.
President George W. Bush is not attending soldier funerals, as was customary for past presidents, national addresses are conspicuously missing any reference to the dead or injured, and the Pentagon has sent out memorandums to media outlets banning outright any footage or mention of caskets being returned to the United States.
None of this is even taking into consideration the fact that U.S. and British officials also physically prevented NBC reporter Jim Miklaszewski and his news crew from taking footage of last week’s attack on the al-Rashid hotel in Baghdad, a move that Miklaszewski described to the Washington Post as “an attempt to censor the news [because] this event shot holes in the administration’s insistence that everything was going well in Baghdad.”
We may not be American, and this may or may not be a war (or conflict depending on your wording) that you support, but as we have our day of reflection, let us remember not only those who died long ago, but also those who are dying now (soldier and citizen alike), and who will still have to die before this situation is resolved.