Poor Dead Fucks
By Cody Wayne
August 1, 2003
Man, I’m getting really sick and tired of how seriously I’m taking the world these days, aren’t you? It’s a total pain in the ass. Isn’t someone else supposed to be the one who cares while I can just sit back and shut up and sip my Pabst in the comfort of blissful ignorance and total emotional vacancy? Isn’t Acid Logic supposed to be funny and meaningless and tic and all that shit?
I guess I’m not so much funny as I am awesome. But seriously, how can I, a young, aimless, misinformed, naive American youth, have any thought worth including in the public forum on serious political and social issues?
And God said, “Let there be web-zines.”
An interesting revelation came to me (now I sound like a Smith) while listening to the daily news stories from Iraq. Soldiers are getting killed and injured every day over there. That’s what they’re telling us. Leftovers from Saddam’s army, they say. How they know, we don’t know. Knowing knowing knowing. Know one knows (get it?). Someone knows something, fer sure, but they’re just not tellin’ anyone. No one knows, really, what the fuck’s going on over there. No one, not even with all the intelligence reports getting downloaded directly into their brain can truly state what the hell’s goin’ on at any given time in any given place these days. There’s too much information, plus it keeps mutating and evolving so much that it’s becoming increasingly, in an exponential sense, impossible to know enough. I’ve heard speculation that the last time any one person was capable of knowing all there was to know about mathematics was in the 20’s.
Here’s one thing I know; we aren’t being given the names of the dead and injured soldiers anymore. Didja notice that? Didn’t that make all the local and major media news back in March and April? I could be wrong, but don’t you remember that?
In the Associated Press, an article by Bassem Mroue on May 27 (postwar Iraq):
“In the other incidents this week: -On Monday, one American soldier was killed and another was wounded when their convoy was ambushed in northern Iraq. -Also Monday, one soldier died and three were wounded when their vehicle hit a land mine or a piece of unexploded ordnance in Baghdad. -On Sunday, a U.S. soldier was killed and another injured when a munitions dump they were guarding exploded in southern Iraq. The blast was not thought to be a result of hostile action, Central Command said. -A U.S. soldier died Tuesday and two were injured in a road collision near the town of Tallil. -Also Tuesday, a soldier drowned in an aqueduct in northern Iraq.”
In the El Paso Times, an article by Robert Seltzer on April 6: “These are the names of the seven soldiers who on Friday were confirmed dead, their bodies identified almost two weeks after the ambush of the 507th Maintenance Company on March 23:
* Robert Dowdy.
* Ruben Estrella-Soto.
* James Kiehl.
* Lori Piestewa.
* Brandon Sloan.
* Johnny Villareal Mata.
* Donald Walters.
Previously identified as killed from the 507th were:
* Jamaal R. Addison.
* Howard Johnson II.
The Department of Defense also announced the death of Master Sgt. George A. Fernandez, a native El Pasoan who was shot Wednesday in northern Iraq.”
Or, go to Google and type in “names dead injured soldiers postwar iraq,” and see the truth that I speak of in the short description lines of the first page articles. And I definitely recall watching the local news here in LA and seeing two marines walking up to the door of the family of the killed and giving the bad news. I remember the interviews with the crying family members saying that Johnny loved his country and wanted nothing more than to defend it with all of his honor. Now, there’s none of that.
Doesn’t it seem as though we’re now being distanced from the friends, the families, the emotional attachments, the loss during this victorious postwar Iraq period? As it is, from what I can gather, we went in for the kill and the super nationalist war drive was on “high” and all the seemingly blind and misguided support for the initial cause was strong and names of the killed were given. We were told about the local soldiers who died. We were given interviews with the family of the killed. We were given information to send condolences. We were shown pictures and we were given names because, at that time, in that initial invasive drive to Baghdad and beyond, people wanted victory and, along with that, people wanted their heroes.
Now that we’ve seemingly captured Baghdad and the initial cause and fervor for ousting a great enemy has been apparently completed, who are the dead soldiers? Aren’t they heroes too? Don’t we deserve their names and stories just as much as the first invading soldiers? What seems to be the difference in then and now when it comes to honoring our brave soldiers who are risking and losing their lives to protect our freedom and our way of life?
We heard of Dowdy, Estrella-Soto, and Sloan, but now who's dying? Are these dead soldiers less significant because they weren’t fortunate enough to die in the charge? Are they less important because they died after victory was claimed? Why has there been a recent media blackout? Who blew the horn ordering the halt on the open release of dead soldier names? Someone had to have made the executive decision to hold off on name-giving… why?
I must state the obvious: we are being asked to emotionally disconnect from Iraq at this point. (“Calm down, killer. That frothing is unbecoming.”) We are being forced to move on to other countries and slowly forget about Iraq and what happened there. Christ, even while writing this I’m getting increasingly more shocked by the vast implications of this cycle. Drive nationalism up, beat the war drums, make baseless claims, ATTACK ATTACK ATTACK, aaaahhhhhhhh, and wipe the whole dirty mess away like after a big satisfying dump. Isn’t that what happened in Afghanistan? It’s like Uncle Sam has been constipated since the last major war/invasion (A-stan), had just recently taken a well-known prescribed laxative known as “nationalism,” and was jumping around holding his ass waiting for the right moment to open the bathroom door again and viciously unload a literal shit-storm on the defenseless toilet bowl, this time dubbed “Iraq.” (Is it just me, or can everyone more easily visualize the feeling I get when I put things in terms of bowel movements?) And now that the shit-storm is over, Uncle Sam can sit back and bask in the afterglow of a great shit, read the paper, and let a few little turds eek their way out as needed. The main idea here being that, after the shit storm, there’s no need to strain over the effects of the nationalist laxative. The shit is over. And little things, like personalizing the war effort by honoring, by name, those who gave their life to defend the liberty of their god-blessed country, are no longer a major part of the immediate agenda.
I don’t wanna make this into a long drawn out article. I could go into all the class inequality involved with the military and the lack of deep media coverage and investigative reporting now that the excitement is over, but you’ve already heard all those arguments and feel the way you’re gonna feel.
For now, I claim that the video-game analogy applied to the way in which warfare is being broadcast by the major media outlets has come around full circle. Now, the dead directly involved with the war are just another collection of impersonal, faceless, family-less pixels lying huddled in unsettling positions who, like in any video game, quickly fade away to make room in the memory storage for more carnage and, inevitably, more dead bodies.
Here's a listing of those killed since May 1st and a related article from Take Back the Media.