Jackass ride in love/war


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Category: International Date: 06 Apr 03

Who on earth doesn’t remember the heady rush of adrenaline, the thumping heart, the sweaty palms, the loss of reason, the thrashing about of unwieldy emotions love brings.


When we face “the one” helplessly, and with abandon, when there are intimations of immortality and grandeur — when there seems to be no other option but to allow us to cross continents, run on empty, and float in a bubble that’s not rooted in everyday reality. Broken marriages, illicit affairs, overdoses, grand theatre, great art, timeless writing is testimony to its power.


Shakespeare says it even better in A Midsummer Night’s Dream than he does in Romeo and Juliet. Cupid aims his arrow and a beautiful woman falls in love with a Jackass.


War is no different. Like the one against Iraq. The adrenaline of a man who can with his little pinkie set hundreds of thousands of soldiers in motion, flood a country with bombs and missiles, disregard the UN and buy up the support of smaller countries.


Then there are the trigger-happy, testosterone-pumped soldiers, the intimations of grandeur in holding weapons that can wipe out 20, 30 or a few thousand lives in seconds.


This US-led war against Iraq, with the heart stopping images of peeled-off faces, blown-off legs and charred bodies of innocent people, is an unstoppable momentum begun very early this year when thousands of coalition troops began pitching tent not too far from oil fields.


But blind love is in life and literature interrupted, indeed severed by the clearing of the dust which reveals the tear stained tears of children, a devastated wife, a betrayed husband, a splintered family, a shrivelled passion – often the damage is irredeemable, but sometimes, a clear voice of reason can salvage a man or woman with dust in their face running behind a jackass.


And so it is with war.


All’s fair in love and war until reality breaks in and as the adrenaline drains from us we sit wide-eyed and astonished at the carnage around us.


What we need now is that clear voice of reality.


With the dust of hate in their eyes America is following the jackass of war.


Their networks have turned into a parody of reporting and propaganda machines. The families of their felled boys are being told they died to save “freedom”. Everyone’s following the jackass.


The voices of reason are being ignored, dismissed.


Several journalists have died, some are missing, and at least one sacked for saying Americas plan has gone horribly wrong. Journalists, who haven’t had jackass dust thrown in their faces are covering Iraq because its now no longer an option, it’s a duty, a responsibility using the might of the media to counteract mass propaganda to give voice to the dehumanised and mounting death toll of the Iraqis, the voiceless. And that is what we must continue to do. As Booker Prize winner Arundati Roy does in the UK’s Guardian:


“After using the “good offices” of UN diplomacy (economic sanctions and weapons inspections) to ensure that Iraq was brought to its knees, its people starved, half a million of its children killed, its infrastructure severely damaged, after making sure that most of its weapons have been destroyed, in an act of cowardice that must surely be unrivalled in history, the ‘Allies’ – sent in an invading army Operation Iraqi Freedom? It’s more like Operation “Let’s Run a Race, but First Let Me Break Your Knees.”


Mainstream American and British TV continue to advertise themselves as “balanced” when their propaganda has achieved hallucinatory levels.


Despite Blair’s earnest submissions, and all his fawning, Bush has made it clear that the UN will play no independent part in the administration of postwar Iraq. The US will decide who gets those juicy “reconstruction” contracts.


While the American people will end up paying for the war, oil companies, weapons manufacturers, arms dealers, and corporations involved in “reconstruction” work will make direct gains from the war. Many of them are old friends and former employers of the Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld/Rice cabal. Bush has already asked Congress for US$75 billion.


Contracts for “re-construction” are already being negotiated. The news doesn’t hit the stands because much of the US corporate media is owned and managed by the same interests. It’s become clear that the war against terror is not really about terror, and the war on Iraq not only about oil.


Then there is the voice of Ellen Dust, an American columnist on the subject of pressure on American journalists to join the propaganda machine.


“Should I wonder whether this war is an elaborate means of distracting the country while its economy bucks and lurches toward the brink of a full-blown depression? No and no. That sort of remark will simply have to wait until our boys are safely back home.”


So all’s fair in love and war then. But even those in the throes of love and war madness must realise that one day the dust will clear, and history will record how thousands died because of those who blindly followed the jackass.

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All Articles Copyright Ira Mathur