Friday, November 18, 2005

Oh, Katie!

I'm sure you were as shocked as I was, Bush, if you happened to have caught this morning's lead story on NBC's Today Show. A car bomb attack, it seems, on the very hotel in Baghdad where NBC has its headquarters. The plan appears to have been a typical one: a first car bomb makes a hole in the blast wall defense system, then a second larger trcuk bomb careens through the gap to do the greater damage--and kill some Americans. In this case, the first suicide bomber muffed his mission, and the truck then exploded outside the blast wall, leaving the foreign journalists at the hotel unharmed--but eight innocent Iraqi bystanders dead. To which news Katie Couric exclaimed, "Thank God no one was hurt!"

Okay, poor Katie, a slip of the tongue. What she meant to say, of course, was "none of our own people." Fair enough, to be relieved not to lose friends and colleagues. Still, behind the slip was an attitude that's common enough: that American lives are more important than other lives. I've said it often enough in these pages, Bush: the American press chooses not give and accounting of the Iraqi dead. We don't hear the same mounting tolls that we hear daily about the American troops. And again, fair enough, in a sense. They are family. Even so, I regret the propensity to pass over those others, who are just as dead. You like to talk about terrorists targeting "innocent Americans." We need to remind ourselves that the civilians killed on the Iraqi streets are no less innocent.

Along these lines, another thing seems curious to me, Bush. When disaster strikes abroad, our media are always anxious to keep a running count of the dead and be sure that we are informed of the dreadful numbers. But they have been much more reticent about the numbers left dead by Hurricane Katrina. (That said, the smaller numbers killed by less devastating recent events--tornados, floods elsewhere in the country--have been faithfully reported.) I just wonder what's behind the relative silence on those numbers from New Orleans and the Gulf Coast. Perhaps it's just the difficulty in keeping accounts, with so many still missing. Still, it does seem odd...

I hope things are going as well as can be expected for you out there in the Far East, Bush. At least it puts some distance between you and the escalating rebellion over here against your policies. Judging from news reports, you seem to have heard that things are not going too well. Still, rest assured: your folks are fighting back. They've been working on the spin factor with outstanding diligence. They just can't help it if it all rings a bit hollow. The truth is, I fear, there's nothing solid underneath.

1 comment:

PK said...

It strikes me as sad that "our" people can't look at a woman, child, or man, that has just lost a loved one over there, and feel the pain you can obviously hear in their voices, or see in their faces. That we have come so far, in the US, that there is no compassion for another people that we share this earth with. That the cost of war does not include them. The insurmountable grief they must feel is unconscionable to me. Bush deserves to go before the Hague.