Thu, 20 Mar 2003

“Here are the first images of civilian casualties from the war with Iraq,” said the CBC anchor, and we saw a little eight year old girl lying in a hospital bed. “According to the Iraqi government,” she continued, “U.S. cruise missiles struck and destroyed a customs office, while others landed in a suburb outside Baghdad.” And we saw a pregnant woman with a bandage on her stomach.

Of course, there will be civilian casualties in this war, and it’s even possible that these two conveniently pathetic specimens are among those casualties. But it would be nice if the CBC would at least read a disclaimer before showing these images – something like, “Bear in mind, this footage was released by a totalitarian government which has a vested interest in spreading misinformation.”

As much as I’m relieved that it’s finally started, this is going to be a depressing war. It’s depressing that, due largely to his own inept diplomacy, a significant part of the world is less willing to trust George W. Bush’s public statements than it is Saddam’s. In their minds, there is no difference in credibility between the more-or-less elected leader of the world’s greatest democracy and an autocratic thug who routinely murders his own citizens.

It isn’t just the dirty-toed hippies who feel this way. It’s becoming routine to hear even the ordinarily apolitical schmoes on the street discoursing on the evils of depleted-uranium shells. I hope this war is quick and relatively painless. Otherwise I expect I’ll be biting my tongue a lot in coming weeks.


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