Last night C.I. was writing about Iraq. She called me and said she had to take a break. The deaths (assault on the church being among the most recent massive deaths) were just too much. Then you add reading about the priest who was host execution style (one of two priests murdered in the attack on the church). I asked her if she minded if I wrote about this and she said go for it.
To write about Iraq as often as C.I. does requires that you follow it and that you know what's going on. You really have to immerse yourself in it. C.I. even more so because that's how she is. I've noted that before. In college, she would have to know everything about a topic before she wrote a paper. (Which was why she was never surprised or caught off guard in orals.) To write about the church slaughter she has to be able to picture it in her head.
I think sometimes that this is why a lot of people moved on from Iraq. (A lot moved on because they never really gave a damn about ending the Iraq War, they just wanted something to promote vote-Democrat! with.) I think those who really write about the topic at any length suffer a lot for it.
You really can't address Iraq day after day and not grasp what a failed-state it is, how horrible things are for Iraqis. There is no improvement. "Better" is being able to say, "It's not as bad as the worst!" Which is why so many outlets insist upon using the 2007 period as the benchmark.
Michael Ware reported on Iraq from Iraq. He had to stop because he got PTSD. That does not surprise me at all. He was right there, in the thick of it. If you caught any of his reporting for CNN, you knew he wasn't providing the fluff. He was doing the hard stories.
C.I. will be the first point out (as she did last night), that she's not there. That the Iraqis and the service members have it rough. She referred to her issues last night as "a big, endless whine." But it wasn't. She was so upset by the deaths, her eyes ached from crying. (She was still crying on the phone.)
But I don't see it as a whine. Endless or otherwise. I see it as the pain that comes with addressing reality and doing so on a regular basis.
Last night, as we finished talking, I asked her what she was going to do. She'd written the part up to the Donovan song ("The War Drags On"). She said she was going to wrap the thing up quickly and just post it.
"In my mind I can't study war no more," Laura Nyro sang in "Save The Country." It does wear on the soul. There's a level of detachment that I suppose you can grab -- if it's your nature to be detached when it comes to human beings dying.
I do the group on Thursday nights and individual sessions with veterans throughout the week. There are days when I can't write about anything here (you've probably noticed). I'll end up looking for something fluffy because it's just really too much real for one day. (I love my job, I'm not complaining. But it can be rough going.)
I'm lucky in that I can find another topic and write about it. I'm lucky in that I only have to do four journal entries a week on top of that.
I asked C.I., because I knew she was thinking about how hard it was, if she thought it was time to stop yet? She said she thought she could go through July 2011 but that might be it.
It amazes me that she kills herself, she puts herself through hell, to write about Iraq and those like Danny Schechter who used Iraq to make money off of can no longer be bothered with writing about it. They used it for their own means and then they moved on. I'll tell you one other thing, Danny Schechter never felt anything anger at George W. Bush when he did cover Iraq. He never felt for the Iraqis, he never cried for them. It was obvious by his detachment. He made a movie about Iraq where it was all about him being overwhelmed by cable lies, for goodness sakes. The realities of war he ignored. He sidestepped. (Yes, he notes the attack on journalists at the Palestinian Hotel and that's pretty much it.)
"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills):