I got home late last night, but just in time to see the opening couple of minutes of the new NBC’s news program Rock Center. With the Iraq War coming to an “end” after nine years, the program began by recounting the cost of the war. Cost-in terms of dollars, American lives lost, and the number of soldiers wounded. But not a word about the “collateral damage” caused by the war. Collateral damage in terms of the number of Iraqi citizens killed or wounded which estimates put, at least, in the tens of thousands if not more, and the amount of destruction done to Iraqi homes and businesses and infrastructure. Maybe something was said later in the program which I missed, but nothing was said in those first few minutes.
All that is very troubling to me for two reasons.
The first is that, as a nation, we have never been willing to really talk about the human cost of the war. We have been purposefully shielded from those images and that heartbreak in an effort to make the war more palatable to the American public. And, the second reason is that the very real human suffering, when it has been talked about, has always been referred to as collateral damage. Something like “Opps. My bad.” and never about children being killed or mothers losing a leg or a family’s home being destroyed.
Until we are honest…
And, until we demand a level of honesty from our elected officials about the true cost of war, war will continue to be far too easy.