Monday, October 19, 2009
A man in fatigues hates war? bhwahhh?!
After watching the films tonight, so many images cycle through my head, most of which come from Control Room. Having decided to boycott much of the media's portrayal of the war in Iraq during its heyday in the early 2000s because I felt extremely deceived by the many American news sources, it was very interesting to explore, seemingly from within, the most actively denigrated news channel in recent history. The documentary seemed well balanced to me, but in a film about deception and the murkiness of different viewpoints, there was no way I could bring myself fully believe any of the film's messages, other than the fact that I became introduced to images of the war that I had never seen before and important people that I had never heard of. I couldn't help but notice the jarring effect of the US military uniforms in comparison to the suits and formal attire of the journalists interviewing the highly ranked personnel. Just as the people of Iraq saw the US fatigues in Baghdad and instantly feared of violence and death, I couldnt help but view the military PR reps as embodiments of the war (and thus ideals that I wholeheartedly do not support). Most noteworthy for me, was the interview clip in which the lead US PR guy (the blue eyed man stationed at the coalition media center) discussed his response to viewing the images of dead and wounded American soldiers versus similar images of Iraqi soldiers. "Those images are what make me hate war," he responded in his gentle poker face. How can a man in US fatigues that works to defend the American war in Iraq to the media claim that he hates war? This may seem like an ignorant observation, but I think this touches on an important issue integral in the Iraqi perception of the US occupation. The images of American soldiers in homogenous desert camo fatigues in the media becomes emblazoned in the minds of all those who see them in action, firing guns, raiding homes, and dropping bombs. It is for this exact reason that the soldiers were ordered not to present the American flag. In a way, fatigues, tanks, and guns can represent a sector of the American people (ideally, separating the war from its American people) while the presentation of a flag represents the nation as a whole, a unity of millions of people against a nation. The war in Iraq created some seriously negative sentiments against the American people, but could it have been worse if the tanks were painted with the American flag and soldiers were ordered to parade around Baghdad with the flag in hand? I think so. With the omnipresent eye of the media turned on every major event, illuminating the shadows and dark spots, governments take great care in hiding as much as possible while attempting to portray themselves as being completely open. (This makes the PR rep's comment about hiding the military's location from the media so shocking. But this seemingly honest admission of deception adds to an image of truthfulness and reliability.)
Posted by Erik at 7:10 PM