The efforts were antithetical both to well-informed public debate and to sensible policy-making. The casualty issue was not alone in suffering such treatment during the prologue to the Iraq war. Distortion and miscalculation infected the official discourse on many of the key issues surrounding the war, including: the magnitude and immediacy of the threat, the likely financial cost of the war, the troop requirement, and the difficulty and expense of post-war reconstruction and stabilization efforts.
It would be encouraging to conclude that the tendency to "disappear the dead" resides in the handling of just one war or one set of wars. If this were so, it might be easily excised. However, several of the problematic concepts and "news frames" examined in this report predate both the Iraq and Afghan conflicts. The problem resides, more than anywhere else, in the confident belief that the United States has discovered a new way of fighting wars that is virtually bloodless -- a belief that seems immune to the fact that these "new wars" (beginning in 1991) have claimed the lives of approximately 50,000 people (of which 10,000 were non-combatants). Excising this conceit may prove difficult because it pertains to the utility of America's post-Cold War military predominance. Nonetheless, until America's opinion leaders disabuse themselves of this notion, the nation will be brought to war easily, but left unprepared for and perplexed by the consequences that follow.
Best New Blog finalist - 2003 Koufax Awards
A non-violent, counter-dominant, left-liberal, possibly charismatic, quasi anarcho-libertarian Quaker's take on politics, volleyball, and other esoterica.
Lo alecha ha-m'lacha ligmor, v'lo atah ben chorin l'hibateyl mimenah.