Thursday, March 27, 2003

Another source of information from the ground in Baghdad:

The Iraq Peace Team, which is putting up diary entries from members in Baghdad, including an American doctor's report

And for the record, before the vituperative comments start coming, remember my philosophy: listen to everyone. Don't believe everyone, but do listen intelligently and critically. Listen to CentCom, listen to the soldiers on the field, listen to the mainstream press, the alternative press, and yes, even listen to peace activists who are visiting hospitals and being present to the people of Baghdad. Disregard most of the rhetoric, but don't dismiss the stories because you have a beef with the source. The war is made of many things. It is made of American leaders who say what they are really about is the liberation of the people of Iraq. It is about soldiers enduring hell on earth trudging up towards Baghdad battling sand, mud, wind and guerilla warfare. It is about fascist, inhuman thugs using human shields as they fire on Coalition troops and threatening civilians with death if they act in support of the invaders. It is about Missionaries of Charity staying in Baghdad with their orphans. It is about the consequences of a war started during the beginning of the growing season. And yes, it is about the big picture - weighing the suffering of the Iraqi people under Saddam against the suffering of a war waged to dislodge their tormenter and the untold consequences for the region and the world.

But it is also about the small picture - the facts of civilians harmed and killed. It is not an argument for or against war. It is just a fact. And those who say they are so interested in "realism" and truth, absorbing as much of the big and small picture as possible should not hesitate to read these narratives, again, with as much salt as you like.