Saturday, June 03, 2006

Do the people need to know?

Or, what do the people need to know?

The question raises in the case of Haditha. I made fun of this the other day, but the truth is our Conservative friends probably see little to no reason why people need to be informed of what went wrong there.

And they have a point.

You tell the average Joe on the street about Haditha and what is the next step? Well if you are against the war it fits into a narrative. The war was a bad idea, and leads to bad things. As Haditha shows.


The rationales for the war have collapsed. They told us it was about weapons of mass destruction; there weren't any. They told us it was about connections to al Qaeda; there weren't any. They told us it was about helping the poor suffering people of Iraq; now we hear about Abu Ghraib and Haditha.

But if you are for the war, Haditha's meaning is a little harder to grab onto. You have to shift the focus away from the events in Haditha and towards the people commenting on those events. The story isn't about what happened in Haditha (in fact Conservatives have to pretend not to even know what happened there. The story is about those rotten liberals and how they hate the troops and how they are rushing to judgment before we even know anything.

But in this narrative there's no reason to even consider whether Haditha matters or not. Either the soldiers are innocent or they are guilty and the military will bring them to justice. In either case, there's no reason for civilians to be concerned in the slightest, because any concern reveals a lack of trust in our troops. And of course all good Americans want to trust our soldiers.

It is an interesting conflict.

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