From The New York Times:
Quietly, as the United States presidential election and its aftermath have dominated the news, America’s three broadcast network news divisions have stopped sending full-time correspondents to Iraq.
“The war has gone on longer than a lot of news organizations’ ability or appetite to cover it,” said Jane Arraf, a former Baghdad bureau chief for CNN who has remained in Iraq as a contract reporter for The Christian Science Monitor.
Mike Boettcher, a Baghdad correspondent for NBC News from 2005 to 2007, said nightly news segments and embed assignments with military units occurred less frequently as the war continued.
“Americans like their wars movie length and with a happy ending,” Mr. Boettcher said. “If the war drags on and there is no happy ending, Americans start to squirm in their seats. In the case of television news, they began changing the channel when a story from Iraq appeared.”
The Iraq story soured long ago; now the American people look elsewhere, to Afghanistan, to The Good War(tm), to fields of poppies where our bad guys can be unambiguously bad and we the Sleeping Giant roused to wrath, while the illusion holds. But it will not hold forever. One day soon, we will see the images of the civilians killed by our savage pursuit of those we make it okay to hate. Then, sunk deep into the wastes of the graveyard of empires, where will we turn?
Of a Forgetful Sea
Sometimes, I forget the sun
sinking into the ocean.
Desert is only a handful of sand
held by my daughter.
In her palm,
she holds small creatures,
tracks an ant, a flea
moving over each grain.
She brings them to places
she thinks are safe:
an island of driftwood,
the knot of a blackberry bush,
a continent of grass.
Fire ants carried on sticks,
potato bugs scooped
into the crease of a newspaper.
She tries to help them
before the patterns of tides
reach their lives.
She knows about families
who fold together like hands,
a horizon of tanks moving forward.
Here war is only newsprint.
How easy it is not to think about it
as we sleep beneath our quiet sky,
slip ourselves into foam, neglectful
waves appearing endless.
–Kelli Rusell Agodon, Poets Against the War
Were Jesus walking the earth telling parables about the Kingdom of God, his modern version of Lazarus at the gate might instead be a haunted derelict of a person harmed by the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan; stepped over, ignored, beneath our notice.
It’s easier to ignore the suffering and lost outside the gate. But the ignored are the favored ones. We should make sure we are on their side.
If you want to keep your eyes open, you might take a look at Boettcher’s website, NoIgnoring.